Sunday, April 22, 2007

LotRO Journal - 23-April-2007

Today is patch day in Europe, in preparation of the official release day tomorrow. That means that the farming patch, which the US already has since last Wednesday, will go live in Europe today. Which is the end of farming as we know it. The patch deliberately breaks farming, making it impossible to grow anything at a profit, neither from vendors nor players. It also makes it impossible to cross-breed, and thus to advance your skill to the highest level. Farming is basically "on hold", until Turbine completely reworks the system. I think a less radical solution, like reducing vendor prices for the few crops that made money, would have been better. But I'm willing to give them time to create a new farming system which hopefully works as intended.

As you might have noticed, I liked farming in Lord of the Rings Online. I liked the interactive part most, sowing fields and seeing what harvest I would get. The plant processing meant having work you character for half an hour, without you being able to do anything, except chat, which wasn't that optimal. But at least that gave me opportunity to get a lot of other Real Life ® things done over the weekend, whenever my character was processing his crops. In the 10 pre-order days I spent about 40 hours farming, which is a lot, even if half of that was afk crop processing. But the good news in that is that I managed to explore every single aspect of the old farming system. I did make a lot of money, over 3 gold, but instead of keeping that money, I spent most of it, about 2 gold, to get my farming skill up to master, and for cross-breeding. That still leaves me 1 gold in my pocket to finance my adventuring, which is more than enough at my level.

Every tradeskill in LotRO has 5 ranks: apprentice, journeyman, expert, artisan, and master. And in each rank you can be proficient or master. The recipes that pre-nerf made money were all at master expert level, so most people stopped there. The artisan and master level require more expensive ingredients, so you lose a lot of money whenever you grow a field of those ranks. But I did it anyway, and did master the artisan level, and got proficient in the master level. I didn't get to master the master level, which would have given me the grandmaster title, but I found that the title "master farmer" was what I wanted to run around with. Right now being master farmer is completely useless, there is nothing I can make that anybody would want to buy, even if I just charged them my cost. But maybe when the system is reworked being master farmer becomes useful one day. Right now I only did it for the roleplaying aspects, it gives my hobbit a solid background as farmer who is only forced by the encroaching evil to go adventuring instead of tilting his fields.

Besides skilling up, I enjoyed the cross-breeding system. You start that with rare Sweet Lobelia seeds, which can be found in treasure chests, or received by a quest. You multiply those seeds, then cross-breed them with some other seeds you can buy to make Muddyfoot seeds. Multiply those again, and cross-breed into Dragonsbreath. Multiply those again, and cross-breed into Eagle's Nest. Eagle's Nest is artisan level, so I spent a lot of time growing these to skill up artisan to master. Every field loses you some money, but the alternative is growing strawberries. And as strawberries have the same yield, but sell for ten times less than Eagle's Nest, skilling up with strawberries would have cost me a lot more. The other advantage of going the cross-breeding route is that I stored away seeds and plants of every of these rare pipe-weeds. My guild is planning a role-playing event, a farmer's market, and I'll be running a pipe-weed stall, offering rare pipe-weeds for sale. That could be fun.

I only did very little adventuring over the weekend, wanting to achieve all my farming goals before the farming system got shut down. And I'm happy I did it, there is still lots of time to quest and level up. I did finish a few quests and reached level 14. But there is still so much to do in the Shire. Not only the quests, but also the many accomplishments and traits you can achieve. I'm still determined to get the lifetime subscription. But my immediate problem is getting hold of the LotRO box tomorrow. I ordered one from Amazon UK long time ago, but apparently they haven't even shipped it yet, so I'll never get it tomorrow. Might have to check the local stores whether they'll sell it already tomorrow. I'll try the same store where I was able to get Burning Crusade on release day, but the release of LotRO isn't quite that big an event, and I'm not sure I won't be without LotRO for a few days before I can get the game somewhere.

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