Alts as Travel Management

The epic quest chain likes to have a central contact who sends you to all corners of Middle-earth. And back. And out and back again. You go from A to B to A to C to B to A to D to A to somewhat near A to A to B to A to… I am getting used to paying large amounts of silver for slow horse rides, now that I am leveling up non-Hunters, but some places do not have stables. Your map back to A has a one-hour cooldown.

I deal with this by having alts. Log on a character, play until you run out of convenient travel options, then move to the next. If my gaming session is long enough, and it often is, I can cycle back to earlier characters to do a few more steps in the quest chain. If I am feeling really ambitious, I can map them all home before work, so they will be there with minty fresh timers when I get home.

Completely destructive of immersion, flow, grouping, and social interaction? Sure, but when the game would otherwise insert a 12-minute travel break (actual time from Rivendell to Echad Dunann on a stable horse), it is not much worse to round that up to an hour and play another character, which might be more fun than waiting on a horse. You can clear dread similarly.

: Zubon

6 thoughts on “Alts as Travel Management”

  1. This remains a vexing point to me. Because, in general, I really ENJOY simply travelling through the beautiful world. But it does so get in the way of doing other things (like completing epic storyline quests) that I also enjoy doing. For people on actual playtime constrainnts it is devastating, I’m sure. (Though on the WHOLE LotRO is great for short burst play… just makes this a glaring exception).

    I can see that giving everyone instant porting to anywhere Guild-Wars style would cheapen the experience overall (and negate a big chunk of Hunters’ and to a lesser extent Wardens’ and Captains’ class identity) but I think they could at least get rid of the cooldowns on the ports to our map, home, and racial town.

  2. I sometimes wonder if I would have stuck with LOTRO longer had it not been for the miserable travel system. I have no problem with spending time on intra-zone travel, but inter-zone travel takes way too long once your cooldowns are used up, and is required far too frequently. Unless you’re a hunter, of course, then you get instant travel to most of the world, but it’s okay with the LOLore because we’re pretending the travel happened off camera due to your mad tracking skillz.

    The newest zones appear to have unlockable “swift travel” (LOLore says you’re still doing the travel, you just don’t have to watch) routes that you earn for doing the local quests. This feature alone would have been a huge improvement to the game back in 2007.

  3. I think the problem is made worse by bad questage that requires unnecessary inter-zone travel.

    Cooking analogy, because Zubon and I like those: Inter-zone travel is like black pepper; it’s nice to have, in the right amounts it improves the whole dish. But too much of it and you can’t taste anything else.

    Kinda puzzling, because LOTRO’s zones are large enough that they -could- have been made more self-contained, in terms of pure quest flow. I don’t know how it is after Evendim, but I always thought there was a rather abundant amount of inter-zone traveling for comparatively “silly” things.

  4. They have redesigned the starting zones very specifically to both make travel more accessible and less necessary. Hopefully they keep this trend going through the other zones and we can all be happy about it, heh.

  5. I don’t want to get too critical on this, but I’m beginning to think Zubon posts are synomymous with travel complaints.

    Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, because travel really doesn’t bother me so much:

    I’d like to point out, for the most part, that quests are optional. This is why I’ve said the extra travel only really bothers me on the Epic quests, because some of those are required to advance in some areas and most players expect to complete the Epic questlines.

    Obviously in designing these quests, Turbine is placing breaks in them so a price needs to be paid if you’re going to consume through them in one go. That price is travel. I’m not a fan of any stretched content at all, but as far as it goes that’s a pretty mild stretching penalty (compared with the likes of hard cooldowns, repetitive content, etc.).

    This again falls under the category of convenience. It’s easy to expect and desire convenience, but it’s not always appreciated when it’s there.

  6. Oh I should have put a =P on that first sentence, because I’m teasing a bit. Overall I really do appreciate your posts Zubon. =)

Comments are closed.