LOTRO: Taking Stock of Progress
On Tuesday 27th November 2018, I created a new High Elf Guardian on Laurelin server. To date I have spent 122 hours 46 minutes 32 seconds on this character and have currently reached level 60, exactly halfway through current level cap of 120 in LOTRO. It has been a busy but very enjoyable two months. Overall the experience has revitalised my interest in LOTRO and the MMO genre. I have written several blog posts recently, highlighting the changes that have been made to the base game and first expansion over the years. Let it suffice to say that both Shadows of Angmar and Mines of Moria now offer a fast path through the games main content. My current levelling experience has been radically different to that I had when I started playing LOTRO back in 2008 and 2009. I believe it took me then nine months to reach the level cap of 60 on my primary alt. I achieved this just prior to the release of Siege of Mirkwood in September 2009.
I am currently working through the Mines of Moria Epic Story but have already been given the prologue quests for the Siege of Mirkwood. At present I am taking stock of my progress through the game and planning ahead. I may take time to focus on deeds to increase my virtue traits and to ensure I’ve unlocked all my racial skills. I am also managing the Legendary Item system without actually using the weapons. As I progress through the game, I intend to level several LIs and then deconstruct them, thus ensuring that when I reach level 100, I can craft a First Age Guardians sword and belt and add the legacies that I want. Once this is done, I shall make use of the imbuing mechanic and then effectively forget about my Legendary Weapons apart from occasional upgrades. Having access to the account wide barter wallet has also allowed me to equip superior gear. I purchased The Shield Bearer’s Armour Set, early this week using Medallions of Moria I had earned nine years ago on my Lore-master. I intend to ensure my character is a robust as possible before travelling to Southern Mirkwood.
After doing some research it would appear that the Siege of Mirkwood has remained unaltered since its release. Therefore, there is going to be a noticeable change in level progression as I play through the PVE content. The mob density is high and the XP from quests is more than likely not going to be as generous as it has been up until now. I therefore wish to ensure that my character is as robust as they can be when entering this zone. If memory serves, I believe that Mirkwood was also the first expansion that made key quests and instances solo friendly. One of the most noticeable differences I’ve found with Shadows of Angmar and Mines of Moria since I first played through them, is how the need to group has been sidelined. It’s still there as an option but it’s no longer the only way to progress. I completed The Drowned Treasury instance this week and could happily solo my way through it, due to the “inspiration buff” and my over powered build. It was quite a contrast to my first play through in 2009, where I was assisted by my kinship. Back then, even with six experienced players, it proved quite a challenge.
The two aspects that made LOTRO special for me back when I first started playing, where the social dynamic and the underlying narrative. This was my first MMORPG and I was at a point in my life where I could accommodate the grouping requirement. Hence, I really enjoyed doing instances and activities with a close group of friends. Second time around and nearly a decade later this social imperative is no longer a necessity. I’d argue that actually finding another five people to join a fellowship to tackle an instance such as The Drowned Treasury would be a “big ask”. However, the story is still there, and it has been very rewarding to experience it a second time round and savour it’s details as well as the way so much of it dovetails into the existing canon. So, as I embark upon the next stage of my ongoing LOTRO journey, there is still much to look forward to. However, it is fair to say that although the experience will more than likely be fun, it will be subtly different this time round. Because time changes things. Both MMOs and people