Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Playing a hobbit yeoman
I'm still in the Lord of the Rings Online beta. But as I have already decided to buy the game, I don't play the beta very much, because I want to save the fun for the real version. But I'm always interested in tradeskills, and so I thought I'd better find out early what combination of professions I want to take in the real game. LotRO has 7 sets of professions, and you can't chose tradeskills individually. They are:
- Armorer: Metalsmith, Prospector, Tailor
- Armsman: Weaponsmith, Prospector, Woodworker
- Explorer: Tailor, Forester, Prospector
- Historian: Scholar, Weaponsmith, Farmer
- Tinker: Jeweller, Prospector, Cook
- Woodsman: Woodworker, Forester, Farmer
- Yeoman: Cook, Farmer, Tailor
So having already tried Explorer, where I could gather hides and tailor them into armor for me, but also could gather wood and ore for which I didn't have any use, I wanted to try something else. So this time I went for Yeoman, keeping tailoring (even if I now need a forester to cure the hides for me), and being able to farm not gold, but pipe weed and vegetables, which I can then cook into tasty meals.
Playing a Farmer turned out to be more fun than I would have thought. I spent quite a while growing pipe weed, and ended up making a good amount of money in the process, after getting past the first stage. There are different kinds of pipe weed, of different skill levels, from apprentice, over journeyman, to expert and beyond. You can smoke pipe weed, which gives a fun animation and smoke rings, but there is no in-game advantage to it. But you can sure sell the pipe weed you grow.
There are severat steps to growing pipeweed. First you need to buy 6 seeds, 1 water, and 2 fertilizer. Then you need to go to a pipe weed field, which is usually quite close to the vendor selling the materials. There you sow the seeds, which takes a few seconds, and a pipe weed field grows. You click on that to harvest it (and no, you can't click on somebody else's field to harvest) and get a random amount of poor and fair pipe weed plants. The poor plants you can process at a workbench (again quite close) to seeds, the fair plants you transform into pipe weed. Sell the pipe weed, buy more water and fertilizer and start over.
With the first recipe at the start you still might lose money, getting not enough seeds and pipe weed to cover the cost of the materials. But every step gives you some skill points, until you are "proficient" at the apprentice level, and can start with the recipes of the journeyman level. But you can also keep doing the apprentice level recipe until you are "master" of that level. Once you are master you have the option to add 3 soil to the pipe weed planting recipe. This raises you "crit" chance of getting more yield from 5% to 100%, which is more profitable. And the journeyman recipes are more profitable than the apprentice ones, because while the seeds cost more, the pipe weed also sells for more, and the cost for water and fertilizer remain the same.
Of course pipe weed is not the only thing you can grow, there are a variety of vegetables and grain, which are grown in a similar fashion. And the vegetables can then be used in various cooking recipes. The farm stuff vendor also has various other recipes for sale, but not the seeds for them. Apparently some seeds are drops from mobs, and you need to find the seeds, buy the recipes to grow the field and process the materials, and can then produce more seeds. There will probably also be some trade in the rarer seeds.
There were some minor glitches: The animation of working at the workbench is the same as for sowing seeds, which looks silly. And when your farming tool breaks down it costs more to repair than to buy a new one (Hint: sell it when its down to 10 durability and you still get money for it, then buy a new one). But this being just the beta, and the bugs not being serious at all, I didn't really mind.
The whole farming thing is strangely relaxing, a very different way to play from killing monsters. I like it, and I think I'll make a hobbit yeoman minstrel in the release version. Named Tobold, if that name isn't reserved. As Tobold Hornblower is a pipe weed growing hobbit in the LotR lore, that would be strangely fitting. But I guess the names from the books will be reserved, and I'll have to go for another name. Nevertheless the idea of becoming a peaceful hobbit farmer, part-time between adventuring, appeals to me.