Yet there's one type of currency that always seems to fly under the radar in my gaming experience: Destiny Points. I'm forever forgetting they're there and I almost never use them. To be honest, I'm not quite sure why they're in the game in the first place.
Destiny Points are a shared currency between your characters that seem to be vitally important to PvMPers (monster play) and vastly less pertinent to your average PvE adventurer. Still, as they exist and offer you an opportunity to get an edge -- however slight -- in the game, I figured it was about time to dive into the subject and see if they're worthwhile or just more junk for the closet.
There are three primary paths to earning Destiny Points, rated from the slowest method to the quickest: participating in session play, simply leveling up, and engaging in PvMP. Unless you head into the latter, you're going to find that DP comes in small drips and drops over time -- and the buffs that you can buy with them will be disproportionately expensive. Still, it's nice to get an added bonus for leveling up and running around as a different character, so I won't knock it.
I'll add that while those are the most common ways that you'll be getting DP, they aren't the only ones. There are a few repeatable PvE quests in the game, such as in Lothlorien, that hand out Destiny Points like candy, and if you're serious about accumulating them outside of monster play, that might be worth looking into.
Another nice aspect of DP is that you'll find that all of your characters on a server share the same pool of points, which means that if you're an altaholic, you'll actually be doing yourself a favor if your primary form of DP accumulation is by leveling up.
Unfortunately, right now only VIP players can spend DP, although everyone can earn them. So if you're not a VIP player and have no plans to become one, I'm guessing the rest of this article won't apply to you. May I suggest reading through the back editions of Road to Mordor while we proceed? Good.
In a word? Everything. Destiny Points are the de facto building blocks of monster play, and I've heard that if anyone's even remotely interested in checking PvMP combat out in the future, they should save up the DP now.
Destiny Points allow you to level your monster's skills up, increase your traits, change your appearance, and more. To max out just one character is going to take hundreds of thousands of DP, and for comparison's sake, my PvE account has only racked up 32,000 DP so far.
Fortunately, questing and killing in the Ettenmoors will keep Destiny Points rolling into your wallet at a steady pace, particularly if you stay on top of the dailies provided.
One of the coolest things you can do with DP in monster play is to jump into Troll session play. It costs a whopping 5,000 DP to do, but it's worth it. Troll play is like being given the keys to Middle-earth's tank -- a heavily armored, heavy-hitting wall of muscle and bad disposition. There are special quests and goals for Troll play, and PvMPers are encouraged to at least give it a go once.
If you're a Freep in the Moors, then your DP revenue is going to be quite a deal less than Creeps, but still not inconsiderable. It's not a bad idea to be free with some of the DP perk buffs in this case, especially if you want to get an edge over your competition.
Welcome to the "rest of us" crowd, those that stare at our Destiny Point counter with a slightly befuddled expression. Seeing as how LotRO is primarily a PvE game, this is going to be the vast majority of players out there.
My thoughts are, if you have DP, you should spend it. There's little to "save up" for here, as most of the perks that can be purchased are temporary buffs, so use them when you need a nice boost.
You can access the DP perks panel through your barter wallet (B) and then by hitting "Perks." There are quite a few more perks than there used to be, so I'm just going to highlight a few of my personal recommendations:
- Enhanced XP: Essentially, this gives you a chunk of additional "blue bar" rested experience. Yes, you get enhanced XP by logging out, but sometimes you run through it faster than accumulating it, and I've always thought that it's a good idea to maximize your play time by always having a blue bar up. This is more of an issue at lower levels (since you level faster) -- by the time I'm in my 40s, I'm rarely if ever running out of enhanced XP. So, yeah, go for it if you want to get some nice headwind toward the next level. Seeing as how one of these perks is just 250 DP, it's not going to set you back much at all.
- Tomes of Experience: Like the enhanced XP bonus, this is a great way to sprint toward the next level, but it acts a little differently than the previous perk. For one thing, it's on a timer, meaning that once you buy it you better make use of it before the clock runs out. For another, it affects both monster kill XP and Legendary Item XP in different amounts. The 2,000 DP version of this perk lasts the longest -- six hours -- but has the weakest effect.
- Rouse Spirit: I'm adding this as a highly situational perk, and here's why. Sometimes you spend a great deal of effort and time getting to a certain spot in the game only to die, and you don't want to waste your hourly revival on a subsequent death. The difference between having a dread effect and not having one from death can be a tipping point, so dispelling that dread is occasionally a necessity. You can use buffs, hope tokens, and Minstrel skills to do so -- or you can toss 1,500 DP on a one-time dread-cleansing buff. As I said, it's highly situational, but it's good to have for when you really, really do need it.
What's always disappointed me is that I feel that there should be better PvE services to spend DP on than what's listed here. The LotRO store is simply crammed full of extremely useful buffs and many of these have no equal in the perks panel.
Destiny Points in Rise of Isengard
The last thing I want to talk about is a possible change to how Turbine is handling DP when the expansion hits. Since the studio announced that free and premium players will finally get access to monster play in a limited form, it stands to reason that it's going to have to allow for these players to use DP as part of that experience. Two of the working theories is that either free/premium players will only be able to spend DP on monster play, or that there will be a "currency cap" that you'll have to pay to remove in a similar fashion to how Turbine treats gold for free players.
That's it for this week -- tune in next time as we explore the secret life of Hobbit planking!
When not enjoying second breakfast and a pint of ale, Justin "Syp" Olivetti jaws about hobbits in his Lord of the Rings Online column, The Road to Mordor. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.