“You have been spotted and the element of surprise has been lost.
The dwarves of Moria are now doomed!”
THEY’RE ALL DOOMED. OMFG YOU’VE DOOMED THEM ALL!
I do wonder whether limiting the availability of legendary weapons to the raiding set is one of those attack roll fumbles on the part of Turbine, which results in their ranged assault taking an unfortunate intersecting trajectory with their own foot. I base this only upon my own circumstances, which may be atypical for the average Lord of the Rings Online player, but nevertheless some level of custom has been lost, even if that level equates only to the purchasing potential of the singular author of this post.
Confessing that I am somewhat averse to raiding would be as to your traditional vampire admitting that they are somewhat averse to sunlight; indeed, the last time I tried raiding my reaction at the keyboard could easily have been mistaken for the pained panicked gesticulations of one fighting off the unseen horror of supernatural fulguration, and I wouldn’t have blamed Mrs Melmoth for leaping with a cry from the arm of the sofa, blanket outstretched like a temerarious flying squirrel, and smothering me to the point of near death. And hopefully because she thought I was on fire, and not because living with my nightly game-induced rantings had finally driven her to manslaughter. So yes, I don’t raid – I may have mentioned this before. As such, upon reaching the level cap in LotRO, I was stuck for what to do, not because there was nothing left to do, but because I was prevented from my preferred path of ‘doing’ by the artificial constraints of the system. As with many MMOs these days, LotRO offers an alternative reward to experience points once a character has reached the level cap; I can’t remember if it was World of Warcraft which first offered this option in the form of increased gold, the first time a set of developers realised that “Hey chief, I could be wrong, but it seems to me that some players actually prefer basic questing over that curious hybrid of aggravated office politics enacted through the medium of Twister which we’re calling the ‘end game'”. I also can’t remember if LotRO’s system offers enhanced cash rewards, but one thing that it certainly does offer is increased item experience for the player’s legendary weapons.
In the last expansion I was able to earn, through working at the skirmish system, a token which allowed me to craft a Second Age legendary weapon for myself. Again, I think this probably wasn’t possible at the very start of the expansion, very much conforming to the ‘these are special weapons, for special people’ format of raiding being the One True Way to progress your character once it reaches the level cap. However, by the time I’d casually sauntered my way to the point where I could use a Second Age weapon, the raiding set were on to earning their First Age weapons, had thrown away enough Second Age weapons to arm the entire population of the Free Peoples, and thus it had been ordained from on high that the peasants of the player population were to be allowed to touch Second Age weapons; although they did have to hang a sign around their necks which read ‘Unclean’, so that everyone who mattered knew that these weapons hadn’t been earned through noble and honourable hard work, but instead these players had simply stolen their way to wealth through lesser means, such as skirmishing and questing.
It was fairly easy to reach the level cap in LotRO’s latest expansion, Isengard, and I still have a whole wealth of quests left to do – entire areas of the map that I’ve yet to properly explore, but I won’t go there yet. The problem is that I would feel I was wasting legendary experience by levelling up Third Age weapons (of which I already have a set which are maximum level), with the potential of breaking them down, and getting a portion of that experience back to apply to a Second Age weapon later on. I enjoyed the experience of crafting my own powerful weapon, naming it, and then levelling it up through questing and skirmishing; I liked working out which weapon title would work well with my weapon, of which I was quite proud, and then questing for the reputation to earn it; I was happy that the weapon would mean nothing in the wider echelons of power within the game, because it meant plenty to me. Hilariously I imagine that those Second Age weapons from the old expansion meant more to me than First Age weapons mean to most raiders, which seems to be more what the spirit of the system should be, even if the mechanics of it, along with the lamentable transitory nature of MMO possessions, results in something far closer to consummate consumerism.
I still use those Second Age weapons in fact, because although the power curve has moved on with the inevitable pressing drive of the expansion’s tidal wave –pushing all before it, and washing clear all that it leaves behind– they are still powerful enough in their own right for my character to quest happily and perform their role in a small group. They aren’t optimal, but they are meaningful, and for me the latter is the greater trait.
Thus, other than paying the rent for the kinship house, I won’t venture into LotRO for the time being. I’ve stopped listening to the podcasts and reading the discussions, and I haven’t looked at the LotRO Store in some time. I have, of course, read that Turbine are looking to start selling non-cosmetic (sinmetic?) armour in the store, a move which seems to indicate that they want or need to find other ways to make money from the player base. Having spent a not inconsiderable amount in the store in the past, I can say for certain that Turbine would still have my custom if they’d just opened up some basic options at the end-game outside of the standard raiding treadmill. Perhaps, though, I dwell in a curious no man’s land between the levelling game and the raiding one, which is only inhabited by a tiny subset of players. As one other curious anecdotal piece of evidence, I have noticed on several of the blogs dedicated to cosmetic outfits that recent submissions have consisted almost entirely of high-end raid items, as though some sort of creative coup d’état was taking place, such that even the realm of cosmetic outfit invention should be purely the preserve of the ‘privileged’. Yes, well done dear, you’ve earnt the highest tier raid gear and managed to put each piece into its correct slot, this is a creative cosmetic outfit how, exactly? You are a unique and special flower though, just like all the other unique special flowers standing around you.
Thankfully Turbine’s payment system is slowly spreading across the genre, such that now I can freely dip into many MMOs. More importantly, I can reward those MMOs specifically offering me rewarding content and game-play experiences. In an ideal world my purchases would offer justification to a developer to produce more content of that ilk, but such feedback loops still seem to be in the embryonic stages of development at the time of this writing. One thing seems clear, however: that exclusionist approaches to the end-game cannot be the best way to maintain a healthy balance of player types, and that if you’re going to exclude non-raiders come the end-game, then why bother with a levelling part to your expansion at all? Concentrate on making exquisite raid content and keep your raiders happy, and at least you won’t be offering half-baked raids because you’ve split your resources, trying to maintain an illusion of a levelling game which has long since fooled anyone.
Not all sheep willingly follow the herd, and it seems to me that developers need to work out whether they should work harder at convincing the players that their interests are the same, or whether they should let part of their flock wander away, and instead concentrate on building the best enclosure possible for the remainder.
“We’ll also introduce the option to bring Skirmish Soldier along to aid you on your adventures throughout Middle-earth.”
— Nereid, Executive Producer for Lord of the Rings Online
Rumours that LotRO’s mounted combat will be a very pretty but slightly tedious on-rails shooter, in outer space, are as yet unfounded.
Turbine have confirmed, however, that they’ve employed a huge number of voice actors for their Riders of Rohan expansion, although they are using them primarily to type text into the quest dialogues.
Despite the general hoo ha surrounding Turbine’s decision to start selling non-cosmetic armour in the LotRO Store, they’re determined to press ahead with moving more core components of the game into the micropayment system; to that end they’re implementing a conversation dialogue wheel system in the new expansion, where responses to NPC’s dialogue can be purchased for between 50 and 250 Turbine Points depending on the type of answer given – monosyllabic grunts being cheapest, while loquacious flirtations and incensed f-bombs are priced towards the more exclusive end of the scale. So now when playing through group content, all your fellow players can see how much of a stingy git you are based upon how your character responds to the shared group conversation system!
It’s quite astonishing how my attitude to a game can alter through the simple expedience of changing how I approach it. That is, how I approach playing it, not how I approach the game itself, lest any of you were having visions of this author walking stiffly, military fashion, towards the computer from the front; then another time sneaking, hunched-over and on tip toes, before slithering into my computer seat from underneath the desk; another time bombing from atop the arm of the sofa while screaming ‘banzai!’; yet another time slowly crawling, sloth-like, with ponderous arms and improbably dextrous legs, from around the back of the monitor.
Heading into Lord of the Rings Online for the recent Update 5 found me completing about forty minutes of, to my mind, uninspiring epic book content. Even Tolkien’s epic tale had its slow patches, and I suppose I should be thankful that at least there was no sign of melancholy poetry or inapposite singing in the LotRO content. I don’t know, maybe the singing in Tolkien’s work was justified, but I always used to skip over reading it because it always seemed awkward to me, the middle-earthian equivalent of the silent mournful contemplation at a funeral being broken up by one attendee gently tapping their foot and then crooning “Oh baby, baby, how was I suppose’ t’know”. Feel free to add head jiving and hand claps to your own taste.
I’m not sure whether it’s the case that I’m simply tired of the game, or if this latest update –and, indeed, entire expansion– has actually been as lacklustre as I believe. I find myself beginning to wonder whether Turbine are starting to focus a little too much on in-game store items, or if this expansion is a stop-gap while they work on a more impressive Moria-like expansion for Rohan, or indeed if they’re working on another game entirely and have perhaps stretched their development teams too thinly. It certainly doesn’t help that the Warden class, which has been a favourite of mine for some time, has been tweaked and tampered with, presumably to the satisfaction and appeasement of raiders and spreadsheet optimisers, but unfortunately to the detriment of the soul of the class. Such a simple and elegant mechanic has now been twisted and tortured, with new parts bolted on, such that it has become a warped image of its former beauty, it is the Hollywood star unable to accept their aging gracefully, undergoing plastic surgery after plastic surgery until they no longer resemble their former selves, instead appearing more like some poor cousin of Gollum, one who has stood for too long in a wind tunnel while orange paint and superglue were fired with great force at their face.
I had dipped my toe back into the frosty unappealing waters of LotRO because I found the fire of my enthusiasm for Skyrim starting to flicker and diminish. Where before had been a roaring inferno of gaming passion, a veritable burning city of desire, there now stood a small camp fire: warm, safe, comforting, but without the flare, fervour or fascination of that former passion. The game had not changed, and I estimated that I had discovered but half of what its vast and ranging lands had to offer, so why had my view of the game changed so? I contemplated that perhaps I had changed the position from which I viewed the game. I took a step back and looked at how I was playing the game now, comparing it to how I had approached it when I first started out, back when it was fresh and I was unaware of how the world operated. It soon became obvious that I had, in the finest MMO tradition, begun to optimise the way I played the game. Instead of heading out from town and adventuring in the world, I had become a slave to the Quest Shopping List. When I wanted to adventure, I realised, I now immediately opened my quest log and looked at which items I could tick off, preferably those which were the quickest. Then… THEN (for shame) I would open the map and fast travel to the nearest location to my destination, so as to cut out any of that messy running around business. It was I who had devolved the wondrous emergent discovery-based game-play of the world of Skyrim into a simple MMO quest pipeline; I was a cog in die MMO Schleifen-Maschine once again, crushing content with maximum ruthless efficiency. All of a sudden, just like that, the game had become utterly bland, it was the bleak whiteout monotony of Skyrim’s storm-thrashed barren ice flats realised in game-play form.
Thus, last night, after achieving this minor epiphany, I logged-in to the game. I checked my equipment was in good order, headed out of the main gate of the city, picked a direction, and began to walk.
Six hours later I tore myself away, but only so that I could give this weak human shell the sleep it deems necessary to function. I still haven’t finished the main quest line, or many of the quests sitting in my journal, and now once again, I’m very pleased to say, I don’t care to.
A little light LotRO livery now, with a couple of my characters’ cosmetic outfits from the recent Isengard expansion, an update which, if nothing else, brought us some splendid options in the dressing-up department. This is not so much a guide as a bit of a ‘here’s something you can do’, and hey, it might act as temptation to those who are otherwise trying to resist. The devil is in the coattails.
My Captain first. I’ve long been enamoured with the Warrior Priest designs from Warhammer Online, and have wanted something similar for my melee healer in LotRO; with this outfit I feel I finally got close to the spirit of it, even if not the exact substance.
Leather Helm of the Stoic Stag – Rust
Hyrde-Axle – Default/Washed
Wood-Wanderer’s Cloak – White
Clanweave Robe – Default/Washed
Gleaming Gauntlets – Grey
Clanweave Leggings – Default/Washed
Polished Boots of the Dunland Shieldman – Grey
My Warden is still my favourite character by far, and as such I have the most outfits designed for her. Still, this is my current adventuring apparel, a nice mix of elven elegance and that steely sturdiness which is sine qua non to survival in serious skirmishing, if I do say so myself.
Winged Circlet – Umber
Hyrde-Axle – Umber
Campaign Backpack – Default/Washed
Scarred Surcoat of the Pren Gwydh Warrior – Umber
Leather Gauntlets of the Hill Watcher – Umber
Reinforced Leather Dunlending Boots – Umber
Syp recently made a post highlighting a selection of the many LotRO style blogs out there at the moment who are actively pimping outfits, so if you’re interested in LotRO fashion I’d heartily recommend checking out those links.
I would, however, especially like to highlight the splendid effort made by Devonna in detailing all the new and delightful cosmetics that are to be found in the latest expansion – Rise of Isengard, it certainly makes it that much easier to hunt down those rarer pieces which only drop as quest rewards.
Until next time, stay fabulous and carry a fine hat.
I present to you a loading screen advert for Lord of the Rings Online which I saw last night while logging in to perform some maintenance tasks (pay the house and kinship house rents, check lottery wins, admire my lovely cosmetic outfits, consider playing a skirmish or two and then logging out and launching Skyrim, etc.). The familiar band of LotRO mascots return, with the one-eyed dwarf Champion transformed into a Runekeeper, the elf Hunter slightly tweaked in appearance, and a Warden now joining the fray.
Of course what occurred to me is that the standard LotRO group size is six players, and there are only five present here. What’s more, the Runekeeper is clearly full bore into his lore-melting zappity mode, and thus not healing, so where is the Minstrel?
Doing what healers normally do, I assume: standing at the back, out of sight, and topping up health bars while the rest of the group gets on with the tiresome task of having fun killing stuff.
I expect I was probably supposed to be paying attention to the Recruit A Friend offer or something, but such is the way a mind warped by years of MMO tropes works. Or perhaps that’s really what this offer is about, subtly hinting at a way to solve that age-old MMO issue which occurs with the Holy Trinity style of group play:
Recruit A Friend! (Because you need a healer and nobody else wants to do it)
Here’s Sad Geoff. Hello Sad Geoff. Sad Geoff is sad. Why are you sad, Sad Geoff? Ah, Sad Geoff is sad because his friend Big Susan has just shown him a photo of a small rodent she found in the barracks at Isengard. But why is Sad Geoff so sad? Well, let’s have a look at the morale points of the rat shall we? 3066! My, that’s a pretty confident little rat right there, that little fella has drive and esteem to spare! What’s your morale point total, Sad Geoff? 105? Is that K? No? Just 106. Oh dear. Sad Geoff is feeling pretty inadequate right now, that tiny rat would surely give Sad Geoff a blarmed good kicking were they ever to meet. That rat is the feisty go-getting cocaine-snorting marketing rep to Sad Geoff’s poor grey engineer, stuck with implementing the impossible – due yesterday. Not going to be much help to the cause of the Free Peoples are you Geoff? Nnnno-sir. Perhaps you’d better hang up that bow of yours and get into a more sedentary profession, eh?
But wait! Big Susan saw that Sad Geoff was feeling pretty low, so she decided to show him something to cheer him up. Here’s the totem of a defiler orc, also from the barracks of Isengard. Let’s have a look at the morale points of the totem shall we? Six blimey hundred and dear me forty whole morale points for the totem there. I didn’t think it possible for Sad Geoff to become more sad, but finding out that there are inanimate sticks in Isengard that have over six times the level of motivation and confidence as Sad Geoff does, has made our erstwhile Hunter even more depressed: he’s hung up his bow and taken up haberdashery instead. Oh Big Susan, you’re a rotter.
Still, Sad Geoff doesn’t seem quite so sad these days, although that’s mainly because he refuses to stock any items with a greater level of self-worth and positive spirit than himself. Admittedly there was a dodgy moment a while back, when a new batch of zippers got a little too full of themselves, but Sad Geoff quickly smelted them all down into a bunch of moderately depressed button-flies; he keeps an eye on them though, because even now they’re still a significant threat.
Carry on Sad Geoff, you poor demoralised soul.
Betrayed and turned over to the orcs of the White Hand, we find our captive heroine transported to deep within the fiery orc-infested dungeons of Isengard. Will she survive the hardships of the dungeons? Can she rescue her fellow captives? Will she find a way to break her bonds and return to the surface to warn the advancing Rohirrim? Find out in this week’s exciting episode of A Warden’s Adventuuuuuuuures in Duuuuuuuuuunland!
“Orright ya filfth, we’re gonna get ya t’working, *hard*, until that pretty white elf flesh is all flll… uh?! Burr… where’d they go?”
[Back at the Prancing Pony in Bree]
“So you just used your milestone teleport?”
“Well it was just sitting there and off its cooldown, seemed almost rude not to.”
“Huh. Another pastry?”
Tune in next week for more exciting adventures in… A Warden’s Adventuuuuuuuures in Duuuuuuuuuunland!
A splendid attempt at storytelling in Lord of the Rings Online’s recent epic book content, somewhat spoiled by the fact that the diverse nature of an MMO means it’s hard to restrict the player as you would in a single player game. Whipping the player’s character off and locking them in a dungeon –from which they have to escape over a period of many quests– would be fine in a single player RPG, but in an MMO the developer has to give consideration to the fact that the player might want to go and play with their friends in the interrim.
Either that or Turbine simply forgot to turn off teleport travel skills.
I didn’t actually teleport all the way out, just tried the skill and the induction happily began, as my captors stood around watching me reading a map and muttering my incantations. If I had managed to port out, I do wonder how I was supposed to get back in to complete the epic story content, which itself leads to further considerations…
“Back again, elf?”
“Yes indeed, thought I’d drop in, y’know, undertake a few more steps of my escape while I had the time.”
“Orright, you know the way, down the hall, first tur…”
“First turning on the left. One cell each. Yes, I remember. See you in a bit!”
“Whatever. NEXT! Morning human. First time in the dungeon, or returning?”
[Deep in the prison…]
“I WILL WORK YOU UNTIL YOUR BONES ARE GROUND TO DUST. I WILL…”
“Oh, lor! Sorry, but I’m going to have to stop you there.”
“Just look at the time! I’m late for my mid-morning dungeon telecon! Sorry, terribly sorry, but I’ll have to take a rain check. I’ll be back later, yah? We can resume our session then.”
“Awww, but I woz jus about to reach the culminashun of me monologue! Iz got a grate bit about ‘the tortured remnants of your soul will rot in the shackles of oppression’ an everyfink.”
“Oh, that does sound truly wonderful, but I really must dash, darling. We’ll pick it up next time, I promise, and I’ll pay full attention to your monologue then. Mwah. Mwah.”
“Bah, fine, off ya go elf.
YOU! OOOMAN! COME ‘ERE! I WILL FLAY YOUR HIDE UNTIL I CAN PLAY CHESS ON YOUR BACK. I WILL…”
[At the prison entrance…]
“Cheerio Grotsch, see you next time!”
“Jus don’t ferget to clock out dis time!”
“Oh deary me, I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t pinned on with leaves! There we go. Ciao!”
“Gerroff wiv yer! Bloody elves.”
Still, at least I’m finally finding entertainment in Turbine’s latest expansion – just in all the wrong places.
It seems that every mob now stuns during combat in Lord of the Rings Online’s Rise of Isengard expansion. I can’t begin to describe how annoying and pointless this feels.
What? Oh yes, well, I suppose I could at least try.
My experience with combat in this latest expansion has been one of general annoyance. I’m wondering whether my frustrations are the result of the change in how character stats work, such that my character has yet to accumulate enough newly itemised gear in order to get back to the level of power she once enjoyed. I do know that Wardens are also suffering a little in this expansion (admittedly it’s the sort of suffering the Sultan of Brunei would experience if he found he’d lost a five pound note), something of which Turbine is aware and intend to address in a forthcoming patch. Regardless of my class-specific woes, the number of misses, evades and parries my character experiences when in combat with basic, even-con mobs, has reached quite tiresome levels. The peak moment of heroism was last night, where my character snuck up carefully behind a stationary guard, took careful aim at point blank range, and then powerfully launched a javelin into the ground at the guard’s feet, with my character presumably smacking their forehead on the up-ended spear shaft with the momentum of the follow through. While my character staggered around clutching their head, the guard –after he’d managed to stop laughing– understandably decided to retaliate. Of course what actually happened was the words EVADE popped up on my screen, and I wondered what level of martial arts training this hillman had undertaken to be able to dodge a javelin thrown at his back at point blank range while he was seemingly oblivious to my character’s presence. And then I started to wonder why these supernatural ninja warriors hadn’t already taken over the lands of Middle Earth.
Do I need to talk about the giant slugs which can parry my attacks? I mean, is it really that hard to define an inheritance class of mob, called slug, with the Has_No_Blarmed_Chance_Of_Parrying field set to TRUE? Or perhaps it’s just an indication that it’s time to sharpen the ol’ sword, when a slug successfully uses an eyestalk to perform a parry and counter-riposte to your attack.
The reason for noticing all these niggles is that I’m constantly given time to contemplate them mid-fight, every time an enforced pause is foisted upon me. I’ve mused on the stun as a mechanic before, but the ironic situation is that every time I’m stunned in combat I’m simply being given yet another opportunity to mull and fume over the fact that there’s nothing to do when I’m stunned. Every stun is now a short advert break for how annoying stuns are. Quite frankly I’m seriously considering that this is all just a prelude to Turbine slipping in adverts for the LOTRO Store during the intervening period.
Slug parrying getting you down? Visit the LotRO Store today and pick up a Slug-Be-Gone salt shaker legacy for your legendary weapon of choice, only 250 Turbine points!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled grind…
What is the point of the stun? What?! Kif, I’m asking you a question! In the past I imagine it was a numbers game: someone, somewhere, had a spreadsheet which showed that if you halted play for two seconds every fight, and added all the delays over all the many many fights in which the player would engage, that you could add another day or two to the /played time for a character, which when multiplied by a healthy number of subscribers would probably equate to a second kidney extension to the CEO’s swimming pool.
In a free-to-play game the point becomes more about the fact that it’s unavoidable and, barring the odd class with a long cooldown ability, unbreakable, therefore I have no control in this; it enforces the realisation that, at any point, the game could simply choose to win, and therefore the only reason you experience victory at all is because the game lets you. It doesn’t add any level of peril, because most fights are never anywhere near the level of challenge where a stun might stall your defence for long enough that the mob could kill you. And even if it did, even if the mobs were clever enough to whittle your health low and then pop a stun and finish you off, what of it? All that shows is that the only way for the game to win is to STOP YOU PLAYING YOUR CHARACTER… If you really want me to stop playing your game, just say, I’ll go and find another one. Stuns like this, used consistently and for no tactical reason, are just one of those supreme examples of blasé thoughtlessness that we often see in MMO combat design.
Or so it seems. I’d be very happy for someone at Turbine to explain the stun mechanic to me, to outline why it adds anything to the combat, anything at all, except for extreme annoyance and frustration and downright hair-tearing incredulity on the part of the player. Alas, my only –admittedly cynical– hypothesis for an explanation so far is something along the lines of “This is the sort of tedious trite crap we’re going to be pulling over and over again at the end game, so we thought we’d get in there early and build up your tolerance to it”.
Bit of a case of the lurgy at the moment, so the usual verbose verbiage is in short supply. Instead here’s a quick dump from my brain sphincter, until more solid content is forthcoming:
If you consider free-to-play MMOs to be a bit of a purchasing minefield, try navigating through the world of mobile phone tarrifs, which isn’t so much a minefield as a field full of weasels with mines strapped to their backs, so that they can chase after you if you try to escape.
If real life imitated MMOs, we’d only spend a few years in a town before moving to the next one over because we’d done everything there was to do in our previous town. By your mid thirties you’d be living in a town at least two countries distant, never having revisited your home town, and scared to go on holiday anywhere else because you’d have to single-handedly kill all the indigenous wildlife around a hotel before they’d deign to let you in.
The first super villain who works out how to switch on collateral damage will win City of Heroes approximately three and a half seconds later.
If you think about it, for saving all of Middle Earth, Frodo obtained a short sword, a cloak, one piece of epic armour, chronic depression and a debilitating mental weariness which forced him to leave the land forever. Perhaps Tolkien was ahead of his time and was foreshadowing Lord of the Rings Online all along.
Final Fantasy XIV was the first game in the series to almost live up to its name.
Rumour has it that the reason Blizzard’s next MMO is taking so long to come to fruition is due to legal wrangling with the Pratchett estate over Blizzard’s world design. Titan is a flat world balanced on the backs of four e-peens which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant shoulder pad which flies through space. The Pratchett estate claims that simply taking the ‘s’ out of the name of their famous series –on which Blizzard’s world is based– doesn’t really differentiate it enough from their trademark.
If you took all the people who have spent more money on MMOs than they have on other forms of entertainment, and got them to form a line from New York towards London, you’d find that most of them had drowned.
Sources close to KiaSA suggest that TERA Online is having difficulty in beta testing with regards to balance. Engineers are still adamant that they’re not going to reduce the boob size of female characters to correct this, however, and have suggested the lore be updated to reflect the fact that the females of the Exiled Realm of Arborea naturally develop a second set of ‘ballast breasts’ on their backs instead.
Apparently, according to at least one website, Melmoth is a bit more snarky when he has the lurgy.