A month after the launch of Riders of Rohan, there are already people in my kinship who have reached level cap and obtained a set of Hytbold armour. I’m sure you have similar people in your circle of LOTRO friends as well. As for me, I’m taking a more leisurely approach to the expansion although I have recently reached level 81. By and large I am enjoying the new content which is written to an extremely high standard. It would seem even the most minor quest have an interesting back story to them. However, despite having much to offer, Riders of Rohan still has some negative points. There are still issues with the games performance within the new area and I’ve also noticed some interesting by products as a result of the changes to the game mechanics.
It is Turbines continued inventive exploration of the lore which is for me one of the best aspects about Riders of Rohan. I have enjoyed the narrative of both the epic and sundry quest lines. They are engaging and creative. I especially enjoyed my time in Cliving. What is going on with Reeve Athelward? I also like the half-assed botched investigation I carried out into the murder of a local apothecary. A sort of Middle-Earth CSI. I loved the way I contaminated the crime scene, jumped to erroneous conclusions and contributed to throwing the wrong person in jail. The way in which the real culprit tipped their hand was about as subtle as a Rhinoceros horn up the backside but it was still immensely enjoyable.
So far levelling and clearing content has been relatively easy. I have not changed any of my armour or jewellery so far and simply replaced my legendary weapons at level 80. My only major acquisition has been a new one handed sword. So far I have done the minimum amount of reading on the subject of Warsteeds and have managed to spec my legendary bridle and my skills tree through common sense. Mounted combat has been manageable so far and I have developed a technique that suits me and delivers the results. Every now and then I will encounter a warband that does prove too difficult but I have often been fortunate in chancing upon others who have the same goals.
So in many respects Riders of Rohan is proving very entertaining. It is refreshingly new and after the drudgery of Rise of Isengard a welcome change. Unfortunately many of the bugs and flaws that were apparent in the beta have ended up in the final release. To be fair Turbine have already released several hot-fixes and are looking into the known issues regarding lag, rubber banding and client crashes but it doesn’t alter the fact that such problems spoil the game-play The other day I became aware that OOC was constantly displaying variations on a common question. Is such and such a quest bugged? The answer was more often than not “yes”. Quests that can’t be completed can then have a knock on effect on the completion of deeds. Is it a deal breaker? No. Is it a pain in the butt? Yes.
The one thing that looms on the horizon that I am not looking forward to is the rebuilding of Hytbold. There is no other way to reach kindred rep with all the factions and it is that mandatory element coupled with the forty day plus grind that leaves me distinctly underwhelmed. I have been advised by kinmates that when undertaking this content it is best to purchase rep boosters from the in-game store . That in itself is worrying to hear. To be confronted by content so tedious even the most hardcore players are recommend spending money to avoid it is not a good thing. I would also simply like to mention The Beacon Of Eaworth daily repeatable quest. That is certainly not going to be a crowd pleaser.
Finally, I have written in the past of how the move towards solo friendly content reduces the necessity to group. LOTRO to a degree seems to have a community that bucks that trend. However the introduction of open tapping despite its benefits seems to contribute to this issue. What I have found recently is a tendency among some players to simply slipstream others and then leech off their hardwork. Recently I ventured into Wyrmdelf and was offered a standard selection of kill quota quests. As I made my way round the cave system I became aware of another player hovering behind me. It quickly became clear that they were not really contributing to the fight and were simply tagging my targets so they could benefit from my endeavours. The fact that it was a Dwarf is neither here nor there. Now the good thing is for every lazy player like this there are those who genuinely help and pitch in. Sometimes polite words are even exchanged. However, the idea of grouping up is now even less of a consideration.
I have always played other games than LOTRO and therefore always have the option of moving on to something else when I either run out of content or am confronted with something I do not wish to do. Overall I think the Riders of Rohan is a good expansion and I do not regret its purchase. I even bought a cosmetic set or armour for my Warsteed, although it was mainly so I could checkout the associated cash grab that Turbine has turned this aspect of the game into. It is things like this along with the bugs and glitches that takes the edge of the expansion for me. I am fortunate that I have managed to adapt to mounted combat but not everyone has been so fortunate. I still see a lot of people riding regular mounts and fighting on foot. It will be very interesting to see what will be on offer in the next raid cluster and how much mounted combat will be involved.