Mirkwood, Enedwaith or The Great River?
Due to the nerfed levelling curve of Shadows of Angmar and Mines of Moria, I recently completed the Epic Story up to Volume II, Book 8: Scourge of Khazad-dûm and reached level 64 without any major problems. Hence, I wrote about preparing to play through the Siege of Mirkwood expansion. Content that I haven’t touched since its release in 2009. Well to cut along story short I completed the prologue and travelled over the Anduin to the Malledhrim bridgehead and quickly remembered why I disliked the dark and dingy forest with its densely packed mobs. So I revised my plans and decided to go to Enedwaith as I was the right level to revisit that zone. I was not a big fan of the story, finding the feuds between Dunlending clans and the machinations of Saruman somewhat of a distraction. However, I did like the sub-plot about the Dwarf Nâr at the library at Zudrugund to be more engaging, so I headed South, rather than striking East.
Enedwaith is a curious zone, made when the game transitioned to hybrid, free-to-play back in 2010. It looks very different from other regions and the terrain looks less European and more like North America in places. But frankly it makes for a nice break after trekking through Moria. So I started moving through the various quest hubs which are very linear. The XP flowed freely, and I soon gained another three levels. Yet due to my rather orderly approach to life, my subconscious started nagging me for bypassing Mirkwood. I must admit, I also got a little bit frustrated with some of the quests which did that classic LOTRO thing of sending you backward and forwards, continuously between two remote points, on a endless spree of spurious errand. Hence, I decided to move on, but did I go and join the Malledhrim? No, I promptly went to The Great River area, where the initial level 70 content gave out substantial XP.
Naturally, if I had remained playing on the Legendary Server none of this would have been an issue but I stand by my choice to roll a new alt on Laurelin. So as a compromise, I have decided to do some skirmishes (the current event is good motivation for this) and then mop up some outstanding deeds in lower level zones. Hopefully this should get my Guardian up to 70 and then I shall bite the bullet and follow just the Epic Story through Southern Mirkwood. Then it will be time to tackle the journey of the Grey Company through Enedwaith and Dunland. However, I do find this “agony of choice” malaise to be a curious thing. I guess the reason I’ve never encountered it before is because I don’t usually level alts and have previously just played through all content on my primary character, as it was released. The fact that there weren’t options and choices in the past is why I simply blitzed through what was on offer. I also think that it’s preferable for me to stick with content in the order it’s intended, because having played quite intensively since last August, the narrative has made a lot more sense. You notice how minor characters reappear in the story later and tend to have more significance than you think. So to recap, I’m bound for Dol Guldur but reserve the right to contradict myself and change my mind, because gaming is about enjoying yourself.