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23 October 2008 @ 11:24 pm
Moria Beta post, #2  
This post will have a few tidbits up front and then discuss the new Warden class.

There are a variety of small changes that are going to make life easier for people. For one, we do get a 'keyring' so that keys no longer take up inventory space. Also quest items will have their own space that is not in our packs too. One awkward aspect of this system is that you must still leave a blank space for the item to appear in your bags initially, and then it goes away into whatever alternate dimension the devs created in the packs. Still, better to have just one space left blank than who-knows-how-many spaces.

There are two new outdoor regions. Eregion, including Mirobel which was first seen at the end of Book 14. There are many layers of quests to be done in various camps in this area. In the accelerated XP-gain of Beta, we could hit 53 before actually setting foot in Moria. That will tone down in Live, I'm sure, but I am betting some people will be 52 if they choose to wait.

The second outdoor region is on the other side, just touching the edge of Lothlorien. It ends just at the edge of the forest. The word is that the devs want to 'do right by Lothlorien.' While I'd like it sooner, I'm ok with the delay for them to do something interesting.

One GOOD note to make is that Moria's zones are actually arranged on your map from top to bottom, a vertical slide rather than a top-down view. There are three deeds for quest completion for the Upper, Central, and Lower halls. That should help you better determine which is which. I believe I counted seven Moria zones. There are lots of things to see, including going down to the Foundations of Stone where Gandalf and the balrog fell. Look around long enough and you might even manage to locate the body of Durin's Bane, as you'd expect.

The class is definitely an advanced one. I enjoyed messing around with the gambit system. Firstly, you do not discover gambits as with Fellowship Maneuvers. You learn gambits like skills. Secondly, the Warden will have the cleanest quickbars of any other class. There are a scattering of skills such as ranged javelin skills, three 'stances', and some skills to muster the Warden (and nobody else) to a few places. Of the skills that build the gambits, there are only three. Attack, shield bash, and taunt. (yell) You do not actually have to put your gambits on your quickbars. There is a 'default gambit' skill for this. The DG skill changes depending on what attacks you've made. It starts as a default icon. Say you go after your enemy with an attack and then a bash and you get "The Boot" up for a low damage interrupt. Hit 'attack' again and it becomes Onslaught, which is a good attack. Hit bash again, and the DG now shows Wall of Steel, a big attack that also leaves you with a Parry buff for 15 seconds or so.

Using the DG will clear your gambit bar and you can start over. There is also a skill to clear the most recent action and one to clear the entire bar.

Your primary concern will probably be Agility and Vitality because you'll only be wearing medium armor and getting your Block/Parry/Evade as high as possible is key. They work fairly well as an off-tank, particularly if someone needs to pull the boss off to one side while people work on another mob or mobs. The Warden's self-heals and self-buffs are not generally all that much, but by thinking ahead the Warden can keep on top of a fight and end it in good shape.

The Warden's three stances are for huge power regeneration in combat, huge morale regeneration in combat, and for very rapid attacks. (with defense taking a big hit)