LOTRO Legendarium: Bilbo’s further adventures are anything but adventurous


It is certainly not a quiet week around Lord of the Rings Online, as we got both a mid-tier content update and the 14th anniversary celebration. I don’t have a lot to say about the anniversary, other than a regret that SSG isn’t continuing to expand the rather excellent scavenger hunts, but I do have a few words about the “Further Adventures of Bilbo Baggins” quest series that enjoyed a good dose of promotion and marketing.

Ever since last fall’s War of the Three Peaks DLC, SSG has been all-in on its new mission system as a means to deliver content. Missions are, basically, small level-agnostic instances that can be run repeatedly for tokens. They’re not as complicated or involved as skirmishes, nor as geographically bound as daily quests and tasks. It’s a flexible tool that isn’t super robust, but it does seem to allow the devs to quickly pump out additional content.

We saw more of these missions appear in last month’s Wildwood update, and now we received a 10-mission series for April. Before I get into the actual Bilbo Baggins series, I do want to say that I’m not completely sold on missions. I do like that they’re relatively quick and painless, but that’s kind of offset by the fact that you have to start them from a particular NPC (versus using the instance finder) and that they’re clearly designed to be repeated numerous times for tokens.

I’m always a little weary of systems that devs come up with to have us repeat over and over again. I understand why studios keep trying this, but ultimately it comes down to activities that wear out their welcome and then become anathema for the player. The repeatability factor is the only explanation as to why the Bilbo Baggins series wasn’t just handed to us as a normal questline, and I was not thrilled at the game in effect asking me to re-run these many, many times past my interest in them in order to get all of the new rewards.

The mission structure actually works against a continuing narrative, which was tried for the first time here, because it keeps yanking your character back to a fixed NPC starting point even as you’re supposed to be going on a journey. It was really weird to, say, head into the Misty Mountains, find evidence that Bilbo was taken somewhere, be pulled back to Rivendell, and then be told to go back to the Misty Mountains.

As for the tale itself, I regret to inform you that it’s a severe disappointment no matter what your expectations might be. Even the name is misleading because there’s no “adventures” plural here. If I may spoil it for you, these 10 missions can be summed up as, “Bilbo felt like going on a walk one day, visited a friend, and got captured by goblins. The Elves freaked out that Bilbo was gone, yet didn’t go look for him themselves because they’re lazy elves. So you get him back. The end.”

C’mon LOTRO, you can do better. I know this because your narrative is – and continues to be – one of the highlights of the game. The Bingo Boffin series was one of my absolute favorite sidequest series, and I thought maybe we’d be getting a bit of that here. Instead, it’s rather lackluster missions with no great or even interesting tale to be told, and then we’re asked if we want to go on that disappointing ride a few more dozen times.

SSG said earlier this year that it really wants to get some sort of release or event out every six weeks to keep us engaged, which is an admirable pace. But if it’s sacrificing quality to make cheap, forgettable releases like this, then maybe it’s worth putting some more time into it.

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.

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Did Gamigo buy Daybreak? Am I making that up? If they did then there’s your answer. These titles are just being milked not invested in, so no money for quests.

Ardra Diva

do you really have the graphic quality maxed? DX11? ultra-high? Seems like the game looks a lot better on my machine than those screenshots.

Cory James Hill

I think the outdoor environments look A LOT better than anything indoor, and that’s the nature of the graphics quality across the board.


So it’s kind of the same bull shit Arenanet is passing off as content with Dragon Response Missions?

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Ashfyn Ninegold

The Wildwood missions are a big disappointment. They give you tokens, which you need reputation to spend, but no reputation. You can start doing them at level 20, but since the zone is level 40, you won’t be able to gain Wildwood faction rep until then, doing them is rather meaningless. It didn’t take long for the community to figure this out and stop doing them. Their only benefit is to help complete the weekly 15 and 45 mission quests for Motes of Enchantment. I’ve done all the Wildwood missions and they do not bear repetition. They are just a bit too overly long to be quick in and out missions unless you’re a high DPS class and even then, boring as all get out.

The Three Peaks missions are much better, slightly more challenging and reward reputation and Motes of Enchantment for every mission, have a 4-day weekly that grants motes and is an easy way to complete the 15 mission weekly for yet more Motes.

For a slow player like me who doesn’t do much group content, Motes of Enchantment is the best way to get relatively decent gear and essences. Therefore, doing missions is the best way to get Motes. I guess having more options for doing missions is better than fewer.

I’ll say this though, I don’t use my high level alts to do them because they are too difficult at the higher levels for my still poorly geared and virtued high levels. I use my low levels, below 100 to do them, since they scale with level, but the mission rewards are the same no matter what level. Low levels can run them far faster since there are fewer mobs, fewer elites and fewer challenges and the speed with which they can be done with a well-geared low level takes most of the sting away.

I also think they are a fairly good way for returning players to re-enter the fray and begin the long journey to understanding the current circuitously complex and convoluted gearing system.

Roger Edwards

I think you’re being too kind here Justin. Missions per se are far from inspiring and as for this 10 part instalment, it is frankly pathetic. There are zero new assets used in its creation and it just stinks of SSG treading water. Remember there is an expiry date on this content being given away free and at some point in the future, non-VIP players will have to pay for the pleasure of playing The Further Adventures of Bilbo Baggins, which is risible and slightly insulting.

I don’t believe that SSG have sufficient staff with the necessary skills to integrate anything genuinely new in to the game anymore. All content updates for the last few years have just been more of the same. A new zone with narrative driven PVE quests, a few instances and lots of grindy, repeatable stuff such as rep factions. Due to the games age and the turn over of staff, do they have the skillset to create and add something wholly original? I suspect not.

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I read your review of it as well Roger, and was like, Y I K E


It has been frustrating to see the issues that have occurred for lotro over the last few years for such an amazing community of players across all countries who love and enjoy this universe and game like your self and most of the folks here. I am sure it is also frustrating for their studio as they know the issues with the network, latency, possible engine updates, content, and its limits, etc. I am currently leveling up a Hunter, installed a UI skin, and installed render.me – I guess we will see what happens this year.