LOTRO: Coming Full Circle
I returned to LOTRO in August and started to work through all the outstanding content that had built up during my absence. I have subsequently completed the Mordor expansion pack, along with all of Update 22: Legacy of the Necromancer and Update23: Where Dragons Dwell. This has meant consistently playing, re-gearing my primary character (twice) and generally tweaking different aspects of their build. I have applied myself to the various stories and have not felt overwhelmed by the narrative. Overall, I haven’t played LOTRO this diligently since I joined back in late 2008. This recent experience, along with launch of the Legendary Server, has been extremely satisfying. It’s all been very nostalgic, and I have found myself of late occasionally recapturing the feelings that I had a decade ago. Especially so when questing with friends and tackling group content. I have also thoroughly enjoyed the new Dwarven focused storyline in the Grey Mountains. It’s a rugged yet interesting zone with some exceeding good ambient music.
It’s a curious thing, that despite having regularly played a specific MMO for a decade, I am not exactly an expert on any of the games systems or the specifics of my primary characters statistics. I often just inspect other players of the same class and have copied their build. I have not been especially selective about the skills tree either and have simply maxed out the red line and put the few remaining points into what seem relevant in the blue and yellow lines. It is only since August that I’ve started taking a greater interest in min-maxing in LOTRO, mainly because the gear check that appears early on in Mordor is so abrupt. As a result, I’ve changed my virtue traits, replaced settings, runes and gems on my LI and been far more particular about the stats on any gear that I equip. The subsequent benefits have been quite noticeable. I even pay more attention now to my skills rotation and vary it according to the enemy. It’s only taken ten years for me to start playing at this “level”, although I still find an excess of number crunching ultimately quite dull.
Despite having changed PC several times since I started playing LOTRO and re-installed the game numerous times, I still have every screen capture I’ve ever taken. I found on taken on 14th September 2009 back when I was playing on the European server, Gilrain. My Lore-master is sporting a very simply cosmetic outfit, comprising of some Elvish light armour (bought in Rivendell) and dyed black. In a fit of nostalgia, I promptly recreated the outfit today and am currently wearing it for old time sake. It’s strange but this simple act seems to embody the sense I have at present of coming full circle. Playing the same MMO for a decade is a substantial investment of time. A lot has happened both in-game and to me personally during this period. I suspect that a good many other players are also having similar such moments of introspection at present. The Legendary Servers seem to have roused many lapsed players into returning to the game. A LOTRO renaissance if you will. Who would have thought it?