Book III Vol 1: complete with a return to the Rift
I’ve finished Book III vol 1 now. All in all, going at a leisurely pace, it took us 2 sessions. And a pleasant time was had by all, collecting our Rangers.
We were presented with a choice when we met our Shire Ranger. Should he march or should he stay and protect the hobbits? Party advice differed. Would this have repercussions for the future? Would those who suggested he leave, at some point find themselves in a hobbitless future; I think not, hobbits are tough. Would the party member who suggested he shirk his duty and stay eating pies (you know who you are!) cause the fall of Middle-Earth and the destruction of all that is good and find themselves in a barren wilderness? Who knows? Lets see.
There were also more solo quests. I’m still not sure about these in the epic story. It was a little annoying to continuously have to break group when the whole point of us doing it was to do it together. But nevertheless, some of the instances were effective, I particularly liked the one in Forochel in some rather spectacular ice caves. Have an explore whilst you’re in there and remember to look up.
The grand finale was a return to the Rift. Much loved and still regarded by many as the best designed Raid so far in LOTRO, though no doubt being pre-radiance has something to do with it as well. Anyhow, it was a skirmish. Fair enough. But what made it stand out, was that we needed to use fellowship maneuvers. I’ve missed fellowship maneuvers since SoA. We still use them but mostly simple ones; all yellows for bleeds, all reds for wounding, and the blue/green maneuvers for power and healing. The most adventuous we get is sticking a yellow, green or blue at the end of a row of reds. Apparently it’s no longer worth doing any more complicated maneuvers since they’ve not been scaled up with the increased levels, but I think we’ve also grown lazy. A shame. I used to love trying them out and deciding on which to use. And managing to do something like Wings of the Windlord; blue, red, green, yellow, blue, red. A triumph when it worked.
Although the maneuvers used in the skirmish were simple, and I assume missed for soloists, at least it seemed to be a move towards acknowledging them. Perhaps it means we’ll see some changes in the future.