LOTRO: Ill Omens Skirmish Event
The following was included in last Monday’s LOTRO patch notes (Update 23.3 Release Notes). February 7th brings a new event: “Ill Omens” to Skirmishes throughout the game! Evil stirs in Minas Morgul, and harbingers of the Dead City spread across Middle-earth! Each day, your characters will have the chance to participate in a Skirmish Assault, which will send them to specific sets of existing Skirmishes in search of dangerous new foes. Characters who complete a Skirmish Assault will earn a special currency that can be exchanged for new equipment and cosmetic rewards. As for the most dedicated Skirmishers of Middle-earth, there are several new Deeds and titles to be earned during “Ill Omens”. In addition, characters who complete twelve Skirmish Assaults while the event is active will earn a powerful cap-level statted reward.
I finally got around to logging into LOTRO today, as I’m preparing my level 64 Guardian to enter Southern Mirkwood. So, after spending some additional points on my skirmish soldiers to boost their statistics, I decided to try the Ill Omens event. A new NPC, Nedda Pinleaf, has been added to the Southern Bree skirmish camp (as well the ones in the Twenty-first Hall and at Ost Galadh) who bestows both a daily and a meta quest. Effectively you’re required to run four out of five specified skirmishes and defeat the “Harbingers of the Dead” that now appear as an additional encounter. Completing this daily event earns you Tokens of Ill Omens which can be used like any other barter currency in the game. As ever the rewards are mainly cosmetic offering pets, cloaks and housing items. After completing 12 daily events successfully, players are rewarded with an Epic Level Essence of their choice.
I subsequently played through Defence of the Prancing Pony on my Guardian (with Archer Skirmish Soldier) and then Thievery and Mischief on my Lore-master (with Warrior Skirmish Soldier) to determine what (if any) difference adding the “Harbingers of the Dead” has made to these skirmishes. Although it is enjoyable to have an additional enemy included in the proceedings, it doesn’t significantly impact upon the difficulty. So far, the Harbingers that I have fought have been statistically comparable to standard encounter bosses. However, they may still present a challenge to the ill prepared player. Furthermore, it should be noted that for the daily quest to be completed you must undertake the required skirmish at your current level. If you reduce the difficulty level via the Instance Finder, then the quest will not register as completed, despite a successful outcome.
I have always enjoyed the Skirmish system in LOTRO and therefore welcome this event that highlights their presence in the game. Skirmishes are great for social, group gaming but can also provide a quick fix for the solo player who wants to get things done. The cosmetic rewards that the Ill Omens event offers are not that important to me, but I do welcome the opportunity to earn some high-end essences. At the current level cap, tweaking your build with replacement essences can make some interesting differences. Plus running skirmishes earns skirmish marks which are invaluable when levelling alts, due to their account wide availability. My Guardian is currently decked out in level 63 skirmish vendor gear. Plus, I think it is prudent to have regular events in an MMO, to keep players engaged. Being able to set achievable short terms goals is a mainstay of my approach to gaming