Dear Gandalf…

I’ve thought long and hard about how to write this letter and I just can’t think of a nicer way to put it: I’m leaving you. Wait, before you get upset and say that I didn’t give you enough of a chance, I need you to hear me out. This past month and change has been a lot of fun; for both of us, I think. Your new player introduction is nicely framed as an entry to the game in a way I didn’t even realize I was in a tutorial instance for a while, which is not something I can say happens often. You know you’re not the first, but you were the best in that aspect. It was just you and I, but that’s what was almost magical, in a non-wizardly way of course due to lore, about it. And when you gave me my first title after just a little while together…I really felt touched.

Once I entered your world proper, my young newbie eyes were dazzled by your graphics, which were back to a more “real” than the cartoony world of Azeroth I’d recently made my home in, and I enjoyed it. Your spellcasting animations were clever, and the tradeskill animations made me laugh out loud. Oh, the tradeskills. When I first found them, I’ll admit that all you laid out for me floored me. A virtual craftgasm. Stuff I could craft, at my level, that was actually useful! As I leveled them up…it began to hurt, and at the end, well, I was reduced to begging in the trade channel and to passersby for skill ups – I’m ashamed, but I was that desperate. The sad thing I was not alone. But even as we shouted out to the passersby “Forester looking for a skill up, boiling hides here!” or “Tailored goods, your hides, my skill!” we…I…was still faithful. I knew it was just a phase, just an aspect of you. I knew that on other facets you still were there when I needed you, making me happy.

But as time wore on, it seemed you grew tired of my company, of our one on one time; our special time. No longer were you content with our long walks in the Old Forest, or even along the beaches of Evendim. No, you wanted for me to get into this “group” thing. I’ll admit, sometimes it was fun. We’d storm through the catacombs or over the land, the names of those with us varying, and have a good time. There were those times where one of our groupmates would mysteriously go LD after winning a nice item or finishing his quest, but I stood by you and kept going, knowing that after this instance we’d be out alone again, just you me and one of a hundred varieties of orcs, birds, or goblins, killing another hundred or two or three, another deed, just me and you. I’m not sure how you told them all apart as they all looked similar to me, but I never minded; I never complained. We’d start a nice quest line, you showing me a tasty sample of what lie at the end only to make the final step involve an elite signature flaming eye circle mob with 4x my hit points and hitting for tons of damage despite being grey, and thus force me to beg for another two or three to join us. Sure I felt a little used, but I was willing, eager even, as you led me on. As our time here neared the end, I really began to tire of it, but I kept on, hoping it would change. It never did.

But what finally has pushed me away has be how we interacted with each other. Every tree limb or spider web, every mound of dirt, sometimes even what seemed to be a blade of grass would come between us and suddenly you’d cry out “not in line of sight”. I could see clearly, and the monsters could see me as they’d hit on me, but yet you said they were not in view. How could you be so blind? This was one thing that drove me away, but there were other issues. Perhaps it was the frequent stutter step video feed you’d give me, or how I’d be walking around and suddenly be stuck in place, yet able to chat, and seeing others in similar straits. Perhaps it was how my pet seemed unable to follow me unless I ran in a straight line across level ground, yet you had gorgeous rolling hills, thus causing him to wander off, agroing dozens of monsters while coming to me. Perhaps it was your tech support whose effectiveness in fixing my issues could be compared to a paper umbrella in a hurricane and with a response speed rivaled only by tetonic movement. Perhaps it was all of these, I don’t know which it was that finally did it for me, but I…just can’t take the pain anymore. It’s not fair to me, and not fair to you. My friends agree, as paying someone to be cruel to you is just not a good idea, although there are places where you can do so apparently, but that’s not up for discussion. It’s time for me to move on.

I know normally that people say that it’s not you, and that it’s me, but you have to know, that it is you. It is. It’s not me this time. So I’m taking my crafting tools and leaving. I’ll leave you that hat collection you gave me – I know I said I liked them at the time, but I hated them. All the hats look…weird. Don’t be sad, we had good times together. I mean, we’ll always have Ered Luin, right? Perhaps sometime in the future, when you’ve had a chance to grow and mature as an MMORPG we can try this again. I won’t say never. Anything is possible, after all.

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Jaded old gamer, and father of gamers, who's been around long enough. Still, he's always up for giving the Next Big Thing a whirl.

19 thoughts on “Dear Gandalf…”

  1. Heartbreak sucks, man. I’m sorry.

    But think of it this way, would you rather stick with someone you don’t like just to be with someone? Even if it’s Gandalf – and he’s a cool cat – it doesn’t make sense to stick around just because you’re familiar with the hand that beats you, ya know?

    Best wishes, Ozzy.

  2. Was a good game, but I felt I had to bail out before they started charging me beyond the box price. It’s fantastic done art, pretty solid use of lore, poor overall execution. I loved the deed and trait execution, although the killing gets very monotonous for the higher level ones. And leveling speed seems fine. I play not that much, and after a month sat at 35th. I didn’t get a chance to do the monster game – I tried it, felt confused and alone, and bailed out.

    Alone…that was actually probably the thing that bothered me the most. The game is so big, you spent all your time alone. I felt like I was back on EQ’s test server. Besides the ooc chat about random offcolor subjects, I never interacted with another person some days.

  3. You are genius.

    I recommend switching to some easy free ugly games for a while, that fortifies a man’s soul. Like, gunz.

  4. “The game is so big, you spent all your time alone.”

    How can that be? There are four million characters in there, man! ;)

  5. Best “I’m leaving” letter I’ve ever seen.

    I’ve got a lifetime subscription, but I don’t believe I will be playing LOTRO for a year or so, for all of the above reasons and more. Fortunatley, Azeroth is always there…

  6. Four million characters…what an odd measurement to have. As I’ve said before – we sometimes look for a way to celebrate even mediocre achievement. While there’s nothing wrong with it (I mean, if your kid/spouse/signifigant other) has had a terrible day, you might try to make them smile by highlighting the one thing that didn’t go wrong that day.

    The last zone I went to was Evendim. Solo capital of the world I was told. Go there at 32, I was told. At 35, I found that many quests had a signature (for wow’ians, that’s basically an elite, thier elites are basically boss and their bosses…well, they’re insane) at the end. With the absolutely packed npc volume, I had no area to run around and try and kite it even a little bit. Even on the pulls I’d get an add. Looking at their /who function would show me in the zone with maybe 2 other people. So now I’m stuck with group quests to do, and no group to possibly do it with.

    One thing I found really different was their horse quest. A bit tedious, but it was nice to not simply walk up and buy one because I’m x level. The 1 hour errand running to unlock the horse was a bit much though.

  7. The one hour errand was re-flippin-tarded. But the race around the farm was brilliant. It just needed to be that and it would have been fine. I also think 35 was far too late to be getting the mount. You pretty much start to need it before level 30.

    But oh well… such a great letter, Oz.

    It truly is one of those games that’s just completely “Ok.”

    Not as great as it should be. I’ll keep checking in from time to time though, provided they one day say, “Okay, we know there are too many group quests.”

  8. I’d watch that Gandalf. Did you talk to Frodo? He was going on about how Gandalf and Elrond had taken a “special interest” in him. Yeeeeaah.

  9. Sorry LOTRO was not to your liking…
    I must say though that fellowhips are one of the best things about LOTRO…fellowship maneuvers are awesome…
    As far as the /who function…that thing never returns the actual numbers of people on in your zone, primarily because it defaults to a very small level range around your level and also because a majority of people I find are ‘anon’ (most likely because of the incessant gold-seller spammers (how about a new blog title “Kill Ten Gold-sellers”…there’s a quest I could get behind and repeat many time :))…best way to find fellowships has always been the good old /l channel :)

    Best of luck back in the WoW grind or whereever you end up…


  10. You gonna catch that Tabula Rosa cat on the rebound? I heart it’s into you. Kind of attractive, too. But I’ve heard it’s a headcase. . might go psycho on you.

  11. That was amazing. Haha. Great writing; it was so serious that, of course, I was laughing my head off by the end. What a great way to put the point across that it’s so very true. LOTRO was just a mediocre attempt at making a Lord of the Rings-themed WoW, in my opinion.

  12. My roommates and I just quit as well. We have a list of similar complaints, but my biggest one you didn’t mention (probably because you left before endgame madness) is that everyone ends up with the same armor / weapons. everyone has the best crafted item and other than the epic armor (which looks terrible / isn’t dyeable / and doesn’t really give better stats than the crafted armor… doesn’t really matter.

    Really, there’s just nothing left to do… and it’s only been 4 months

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