The Farmer’s Faire launched today in LoTRO, details on Massively.
I logged onto my minstrel, who as my cook is currently spending most of his time in Michel Delving. A short ride away to Bywater and I was surrounded by scores of other players all running around doing the various quests. It’s always nice in an MMO to see plenty of activity around you, *especially* in a lower level area for a change not just in the ‘end-game’. A quick check of what was on offer from the token vendor for the event, and I knew all I needed to get was 15 or so tokens for the cooking recipe since I’m not interested in the vanity clothing or the mount. A few quests later and I was done, I had some trouble with one of the quests and indeed the forum has a thread of complaints that it is either bugged or not designed to cope with this many players hammering it. The “Manning the Market” was a highlight though, really nicely written quest with very clever quest text.
Old Forest questing (spoilers follow)
So I decided to give myself a break from Moria on my champion and to level this character some more. He had quests in Buckland and the Old Forest to do so I rode off there.
I’d already done a foray here on this character some time ago, fighting bears and wolves. Now however I was to face my nemesis, the spider lair. Funnily I never did this on my other two higher level characters, it’s an area best played as a duo as there’s some nasty surprises for the solo adventurer.
The atmosphere of the place is truly creepy. First you see a few webs under the trees, so you are forewarned what you are getting yourself into. But soon enough you are surrounded by webbed foliage on all sides. The aforementioned surprises include spiders dropping down around you in ambush.
The quest takes you to investigate an evil corrupted tree, said to be the lair of the spider queen. Going into this I was somewhat overconfident. In warspeech (DPS minstrel) mode I felt very powerful, able to kill the average spiders with a four ability chain. So I took on the tree without concern, blew my melee hit buff cooldown to get through it quickly and indeed it died pretty fast.
But I’d forgotten about the spider queen of course, the quest text even told me disturbing the tree would flush her out of her lair. So this monstrosity attacked me from behind as I looted the tree. After a frantic few seconds of fighting and self-healing I died – entirely my own fault, I’d even forgotten to slot a decent healing potion onto my skillbars! After reviving I ran around looking for her, but no sign, did I have to kill the tree and the spider boss one after another; me a poor little healer? In the end I found her wandering a good distance away and quickly dispatched her by blowing all my cooldowns and debuffs.
The whole area is tightly patrolled by wandering spiders. There are packs of ambushers that attack without warning. It’s a masterpiece of area design, oozing danger and atmosphere. Even with a map you can get turned around by all the webs that force you to sidestep or go in and out of them to navigate.
I went to bed concerned I might actually have nightmares about this (I often have nightmares about spiders without any provocation – a downside of being mildly arachnaphobic). The area was great to play, though I do wish I’d done it on my warden with my partner’s minstrel when we were still duo’ing - it would have been more fun with a friend to share in the atmosphere and surprises I think.