LOTRO Legendarium: A whirlwind of activity in Lord of the Rings Online

    
14
If you haven’t noticed already, an extended silence from me in this column space usually means that I’ve taken a break from Lord of the Rings Online for a while. I come and go from the game usually a few times each year now, but Mordor took a heavy toll on my interest and I had to rest and rejuvenate even longer than normal this time around.

Right now I’d say my current activity is “dipping my toes back into the water,” but so far I am finding that water inviting and comfortable. Northern Mirkwood is absolutely gorgeous and a complete 180 from the dreary landscape of Mordor. I’m very much looking forward to questing more there while trying to resist the urge to roll up an alt that I’ll never be able to fully level at this point.

For me, the wide-open beauty of Middle-earth’s landscape in this game is its biggest draw. It’s what makes this MMO “feel” so different than any others that I’ve played, and I am applauding the efforts of Standing Stone Games to continually add to it. I spent a full night doing nothing but touring around the Halls of the Elven-king and geeking out about its mentions from The Hobbit. It’s such a beautiful location and a great example of how the team is not phoning it in during LOTRO’s 11th year.

Elevenses

Speaking of the anniversary, LOTRO just hit its “elvenses” this past month. We enjoyed a couple of nice 11 year rewards, including a really cool pinwheel fireworks item, a new title, and an emote. These hit on a more playful tone for this year’s birthday versus the huge to-do that they made for the 10th.

I’m also very glad to see that SSG made good on its promise to continue to add to the anniversary scavenger hunt. It’s a brilliant concept for a long-running game and one that I would love to see carried over to other MMORPGs. The 11th year quests took us on a trip around ruins, a scavenger hunt given by Ents, and a visit to Gollum’s past. The reward of a Gollum festival mask was inspired, too.

And while it may be too late for this year’s anniversary event (unless it comes back for a reprise, which it sometimes does), the studio is going to patch in Eriador-only versions of the scavenger hunt cards so that lowbies can finish them. This was a huge point of contention last year, and it’s great to see SSG becoming more accommodating with it.

Patch peculiarities

This seems like a good time to talk about the new patch, Update 22.2, which is currently on the test servers. Certainly the main topic of conversation with 22.2 is the start of class changes. SSG has said for a while now that it’s wanted to do a class balance pass, and I guess that time has come. While only six of the classes are currently getting adjustments, more are certain to follow.

It’s a lot to absorb and difficult without testing and live operation to see if these will be a net benefit or loss to the game. There’s certainly a lot of anxiety over the changes, particularly if they impact a class a certain player mains, and I’ve seen a lot of concern expressed over whether or not SSG really knows what it’s doing here. Many traits are being moved and tweaked, some classes are getting buffs, others are due for nerfs, and various builds are being realigned with a more specific purpose. I have no strong feelings one way or the other, but I would definitely appreciate some developer diaries on the subject.

Strangely enough, I was more interested in a few other additions and changes that were mentioned in the 22.2 notes. The studio is prepping some sort of new summer activity — a picnic — that’s going to be accessed in a similar fashion to skirmishes. That festival is also getting a redesigned Thrang boss fight. So some fun stuff coming this summer!

Did anyone else notice that there are a lot of changes being made to the Who and Open Fellowship panels, particularly in regard to looking for fellowship functionality? I’m wondering if this is laying down the groundwork for more extensive renovations to the whole LFF system, which has needed serious improvements and promotion for a while now.

Google, plot a course to the Shire

I’m also really glad to see that a new version of the “Google maps” Middle-earth is coming back. It was one of the best features of MyLotro back in the day and genuinely helped players navigate the world when the in-game maps proved to be too vague or lacking detail. I can see having this open all the time while I’m questing in the game. It’s a large enough world as it is without getting lost all of the time!

Memories

Ever since I was handed this column eight or nine years ago, I’ve had a loose tradition of reminiscing about LOTRO’s history around the time of each of its anniversaries. By now I fear that there’s really little I can say that I haven’t already (probably several times). It’s been a terrific — though not perfect — game with a great run, and I mark it up among the top five MMOs I’ve ever played. I’m truly happy to see that it is still growing, that there is still a passionate fan base, and that the whole game world has been used as an educational tool for the works of Tolkien.

So since I can’t recall anything new to share, why not turn over the mic to you? What have been your favorite or most vivid memories from LOTRO over the past 11 years? Share with us in the comments!

Every two weeks, the LOTRO Legendarium goes on an adventure (horrid things, those) through the wondrous, terrifying, inspiring, and, well, legendary online world of Middle-earth. Justin has been playing LOTRO since its launch in 2007! If you have a topic for the column, send it to him at justin@massivelyop.com.

14
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
2Ton Gamer

It’s a great game to play and come back to. I for one am a little busy atm and had gotten to Northern Mirkwood and a little tired of the dailies for rep, but still a ton to do.

Reader
aYates

Just because of this article, I’m re-DL LOTRO.
I never played past level 15 or so, but I always enjoyed the scenery and I thought it was a solid MMORPG albeit dated graphics/gameplay. That was a couple/few years ago.
I’m sure some newer game came along and lured me away.
If I get back into it, maybe I can resist the siren’s call of the new shiny(i.e BLESS, etc.)

One of my main concerns with LOTRO is it’s future, although I assume it’ll be around for the next 3-5 years.

Reader
DG

I’m with ya. Just patched up and ready to start from scratch.

Reader
Nick // Genghis

Lifetime subber here, been contemplating coming back myself just to check out N. Mirkwood and Mordor and I have a slew of characters throughout all level ranges and need to level a beorning at some point… Yea I’m re-DL too…

Reader
aYates

Started over, Human Ranger Lvl. 5, so far.
Having fun. My older cpu runs this on Ultra-High and the environments look great.
Not sure how long I’ll last, but it’s certainly a nice place to visit!

Reader
Bruno Brito

Gonna download it too. Got nothing to lose. I’ll level to 30 or something and drop =P

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Liandreth

Gah! You guys are tempting me to get back into too. I do tend to have a lot of fun. Rolled on the EU RP server back in the day, Laurelin. They usually have a ton of RP stuff going on. Oh man… what to do, what to do.

Reader
Kylus Ravencourt

I just started playing lotro. So much content I can enjoy at my own pace. I don’t fully understand what the future of the game is though. So the fellowship is done? So what now? This article gave me the sense that the game is over.

mosselyn
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
mosselyn

Not at all. They’re doing their own storytelling now, and I think they’re doing a good job of it. You should definitely not feel the game or the story is over just because they got past the destruction of the ring.

Reader
Kylus Ravencourt

Well, I have not ever been past level 32 so I still have the main story to go through. So still plenty for me to do. :)

Reader
Weilan

They will be milking it until people lose interest from now on. It’s so expensive for so very little content, outdated gameplay and everything. Playing a WoW private server is cheaper and a lot more rewarding.

Reader
Roger Melly

From the wikipedia page about the 4th age based on Tolkien’s writings .

“Despite the fall of Sauron, there were significant kingdoms of evil Men that had to be dealt with before the White Tree could grow in peace. ”

So there is a whole other Epic story line to be touched upon .

I believe I read somewhere that Tolkien also described the rise of Orc cults in the power vacuum left by Sauron .

The Dwarfs also retake Khazad-dûm but that could also be the subject of a whole campaign because it would still be teaming with nasty’s .

Tolkien did start to write a sequel to Lord of the Rings but never got far into it before he gave it up for being too dark . It was about a secret satanist like religion that rises in the world of men . It was thought they may be the followers of Morgoth . I suppose they could even expand on this idea.

Cadaver
Reader
Loyal Patron
Cadaver

I have a fond memory of teaming up with a random party of fellow dwarves and hunting trolls in the Trollshaws. Nothing particularly epic about that, but it just felt right. It felt like Middle Earth, and that’s the highest compliment I can pay to this game.

Sadly, that dwarf’s journey ended before the gates of Moria almost 10 years ago. I’d like to continue his story, but performance problems and Turbine/SSG’s unhelpful/non-existent customer service have conspired to prevent that.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Stormwaltz

The last time I was around for a class redesign was when they added trait lines in 2013. My Lore-master (main, level-capped, six years of play) was destroyed, losing 2/3s of her “bread and butter” skills. I left the game for three years.

I still don’t have the heart to play the changeling Turbine left in my LM’s character slot. She was halfway through Rohan; my post return character hasn’t made it past Trollshaws.

Suffice to say I’m… hesitant about the possibility of going through that again.