A long time ago, I had two MMOs. I played the long game in Lord of the Rings Online (“LOTRO”), especially in the age of Moria and Mirkwood, and I played quick bites in Guild Wars. That was then; this is now. Last night I signed back in to LOTRO, which I haven’t done in months. I bought a bunch of content since I was sitting on 12,000 Turbine points from my lifetime subscription’s income, and I started my journey towards Rohan.
In the last chapter I had just finished Enedwaith both in the epic line and more or less the hubs. I had a plan in mind now. I was almost through level 67, which was a level or two above the current content. I would follow the epic line with zeal stopping at hubs to pick turnips only when I needed leveling. I also bought a few XP boosters because why the hell not.
I headed in to Dunland with gusto, and then ended up completing the first quest hub, Trum Dreng, home of the stag clan. See there was this feast going on, and the rangers were kind of like stay if you want and meet us later… sigh. It was a decent quest hub story, and it hooked me. Here I was ready to forsake all those little kill ten rats quests too.
Yes, there are so many issues with the quest-based system, and yet, Turbine (and many others) find ways to make it work well. Trum Dreng had me killing wildlife for the feast, talking to townsfolk, sending ravens off with messages, etc. It was all building up to the feast. There was trajectory throughout the quest hub. This requires much more finesse than simple adding a few kill ten rats quests, fedex quests, and gathering quests to a hub. I feel Turbine is pretty good at giving focus to each hub, although sometimes it gets a little lost in the bigger hubs with multiple stories going on.
Anyway I hit level 68, and I made some decent headway towards 69. It will be a good week or so before I hit 75 to stand proudly with the Rohirrim. I am not sure how I will balance Guild Wars 2 and LOTRO, but I know that each attacks a different itch.
The biggest difference is degree of alertness required. In Guild Wars 2, I have to be alert. I have to be active. This is in regard to both combat and open world lore. ArenaNet chose to deliver much of the open world lore in a more active sense. LOTRO imparts much of the lore via the conventional quest text delivery. Combat differences are even more apparent as playing the button-cycling game is the most active part of most of LOTRO’s combat. There are so many other differences that are worth noting, but I will save for a later post. This difference is found in so many places elsewhere in my life from my current reading of Moby Dick (hard) and Peace, Love, and BBQ (easy) to listening to music (top 40 vs. This American Life / Radiolab). It is good to have pieces for various moods.
The biggest issue with my return is getting through all the crap in figuring out my character, the skills, and the legendary items. I agree with Syp, Turbine really needs to make some of these systems easier to understand. I have a new mode of dealing with this until level 75. I am going to ignore it, or most of it anyways. I am going to focus on bashing things good, and any trait, skill, or legendary item thing that doesn’t feel like makes me bash things gooder, I am going to ignore for now.
I like Turbine’s style. I like LOTRO’s style. Even after going to a different business model, I feel they have kept consistent in terms of quality and Tolkien’s lore. I am hoping I can find some balance between LOTRO and Guild Wars 2. I am not taking a break from Guild Wars 2, but I feel it is healthy to back off some of my game time from it. I would love to hear about what I have to look forward to from all the people that were playing in Rohan yesterday.