The Shire II: Elf Edition

The Shire is one of my three favorite zones in The Lord of the Rings Onlineâ„¢ Volume One: Shadows of Angmarâ„¢. It has the best Middle-earth atmosphere, and it captures a place in a way I have never seen in an MMO. Hobbits level by delivering mail, carrying pies, keeping vermin away from the crops, and rescuing chickens. The edges of the zone show its connection to the rest of Middle-earth: dwarf raiders, human brigands, and some goblin dens. The core of the zone, however, is light and fluffy, with bright colors, peaceful villages, and few aggressive monsters.

The Lord of the Rings Onlineâ„¢ Volume Two: Mines of Moriaâ„¢ Book Seven: Leaves of Lorien (no â„¢ yet) brings us Lothlorien, the Shire with a different accent and palette. And killer elf archers, but gain some reputation to walk by them. In Lothlorien, you will find quests to pick berries, check on saplings, and clean the river. The colors are bright, but not WoW bright. Instead of taverns and farms, you can spend time on flets, tree houses that have a great view of the woods below. And yes, you can carry a package of arrows across the zone as if it were a pie or mailbag.

After Moria, it can be nice to be somewhere with a sky. Where there are trees instead of corrupting fungus. Where you can walk without having enemies attack you every ten meters. Lothlorien is where the Fellowship rested.

The Shire remains a better zone. It is more complete and has more content, instead of relying on repeatable quests and grinds for barter items and reputation. But there is something perfect about the peaceful woods filled with elves who do not want you there, as there is in the rolling hills filled with hobbits that want to join them for dinner.

: Zubon

Which is to say that I agree with Ravious.

3 thoughts on “The Shire II: Elf Edition”

  1. Great perspective piece. ;-} One of the great aspects of Tolkien’s story is that it’s an epic JOURNEY through a diversity of wonderous locales, both dreadful and hopeful and everywhere in between. I can’t praise Turbine’s crafting of the geography itself enough (even if it’s not remotely to scale. ;-}).

  2. Nice post, thank you. I’m looking forward to getting to Moria and then through it. Very nice to hear they made Lothlorien close to the Lore in spirit like the Shire, which is an excellent zone in all MMO gaming.

    FWIW, I tried out LotRO at the MoM expansion (and then got my wife involved) because of your and your colleagues’ posts — by seeing all the changes and honest feedback, they got me interested :) This likewise is a great example — please keep it up.


  3. I really wanted to like LOTRO. Roaming around in a beautiful rendering of that world was great. Unfortunately, I found the quests uninspired and tedious. That wouldn’t have been a show-stopper except that you couldn’t grind mobs effectively as an alternative method of leveling so that had me leave.

    Sad really, this is the game that got me interested in MMOs when it was being called Middle Earth Online. I jumped into AC1 in the interim then AC2, WOW, EQ2, etc. always expecting that when this game came out I’d leave all the others for Tolkien’s world. Too bad it didn’t work out that way for me. Glad others are having a good time in it though.

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