In LotRO the past week, Maedhroc has been grinding away at reputation in order to get the “World Renowned” deed. No real reason beyond bragging rights, but I’ve gotten some good practice in while I was at it. Soloing Grimbark and Ivar “hard mode,” even way above level, requires keeping a balance between outgoing damage vs. survivability … and skirmishes can be run at every level, so I got some good tanking practice running those at 65 and “tiering up” to increase the difficulty. Keeping idiot NPCs alive is always a challenge!
My two largest accomplishments, however, were not really connected with the reputation grind. First, I finally went back to Mirkwood and completed the “Death From Below” instance, inspired by Doc Holiday’s video walkthrough. I can’t remember if Maedhroc ever completed it previously, although my memory is that he did once and decided it was too hard to bother repeating. Galadhalion, I know, has never completed it. It’s considered a “challenging solo instance,” although I have to admit that going through this time it wasn’t that hard. Apparently I’ve become a better player! Or at least, I have much better gear than I used to.
The other big accomplishment was that last night, fellow Valar Guild members Gildor, Ardisian and I grouped up for 2.8.3 (“A Relic in Lumul-Nar”), the Hall of Mirrors instance. We’ve all had it sitting in our quest logs for months or years; it has a reputation of being a really hard instance, and nobody ever wants to group for it. But we were all determined to bang it out (or at least give it a try), so I looked up a strat guide, then we grouped up and went on in.
Frankly, it wasn’t that hard. First, we ran it at the default level of 60, which I’m sure was a big part of it; but also, we just followed the strat guide and worked well as a team. I’m getting to be a pretty solid tank, and for the first warg boss pull especially, I just pulled one mob and locked it down (“tank as crowd-control” as they say) while Gildor and Ard burned down the other one, being quick on the draw with corruption removal and anti-poison potions. The entire instance went like clockwork, except for one bad pull that we quickly recovered from with no deaths (“Crikey, that was a lot of bats!”), until the end.
We could have just destroyed the relic and ported out to finish the book quest, but we figured that while we were there, we would try to finish off the instance. Unfortunately, the bottom of the instance is an extremely annoying puzzle where you have to align mirrors in exactly the right sequence. That part isn’t so hard, except that monsters keep spawning next to the mirrors and resetting them. So while you’re fixing mirrors A, B, and C, the monsters are resetting mirrors D, E, and F. You could keep doing that all night, and probably would.
The answer appears to be that you have to split up so you can all turn the various mirrors more or less simultaneously, but that means two things: first, people will be soloing monsters at the mirrors (fine for some classes, impossible for others), and second, everybody has to know how each mirror has to be aligned. I had a chart from the strat guide that gave me what I needed, but Gildor and Ard didn’t and both got killed when trying to solo monsters anyway. Probably you could check your map and see if any given mirror was right, and the two of them could have done half while I soloed half but … meh. We all completed the book quest and we were content. Even if we had fought the final boss (with or without hard mode), all we would have gotten was Lothlorien Medallions … and the right to go “Nyah, nyah, nyah!” at all those people too cowed by the Hall of Mirrors to go down there, I suppose.
Still, it was a fun trip and it’s always good to get a book quest taken care of. I’ve come to really love being the tank. You don’t get to see the huge damage numbers flashing overhead or cast lots of flashy spells, but with all of the monsters pounding on you and all the other party members depending on you to keep them safe, half the time you’re still the star of the show.