Goodbye Bingo Boffin
When Turbine introduced the episodic content, The ballad of Bingo Boffin to LOTRO last June, I was fully aware of its underlying purpose. The weekly story is a tour guide around the ageing games various zones and serves as a marketing campaign for free players to either subscribe or buy quests packs. The story has at times had its charms and despite its fundamental lore breaking premise, has proven intermittently entertaining. However the current instalment episode 21 First Breakfast is perhaps the most lacklustre undertaking to date. Firstly we now find ourselves in Mirkwood, perhaps the most lamentable zone in LOTRO and secondly the narrative and quest parameters are by far the most arbitrary. I feel that the game that I’ve played consistently since 2008 has now crossed a line and I no longer see any reason to continue logging in for the immediate future.
On mature reflection, I would have thought it would have been one of the larger issues that have arisen since LOTRO went F2P that would’ve proven to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was unhappy about the move to a consolidated skills tree that came with Helm’s Deep, yet I managed to look beyond this. I also thought the cessation of paid expansions was a poor decision yet found a degree of compensation with the bi-annual update system. Loyalty and a sense of idle curiosity about LOTRO’s fate has kept me playing for the last eighteen months but today has starkly highlighted just how far the game has declined. To call LOTRO an interactive travelogue is frankly too generous. The game in its current state is treading water. A new player may well enjoy the original content from The Shadow of Angmar and the Mines of Moria but those languishing at level cap are faced with a uninspiring regional quests a numerous, monotonous reputation grinds.
So for the time being I shall no longer log into LOTRO. The game no longer offers anything that I want to do. Yes there is content but none of it seems to provide any anything of any worth and even the so called “journey” can no longer suffice as an incentive. The journey is simply now a chore and as gaming is supposed to be “fun”, I will have to seek that fun elsewhere. It would appear that the recent server upgrades have failed to address any of the technical issues that have plagued the game’s performance since mounted combat was introduced. As a result many players have decided to vote with their feet. When you consider the size of the current development team and the resources they have available to them, it is highly unlikely there will be some sort of LOTRO renaissance. Perhaps leaving Middle-earth now is a smarter choice than enduring a long and protracted decline.