LOTRO Renaissance? Not Quite.

Not all those who wander are lost.  Some are just on the way to Enedwaith.  I set aside City of Heroes this week after running through three of the four Praetorian arcs from start to finish.  CoH can do well in the future, if they expand on the Praetoria area of the game.  With some trepidation, I fired up LoTRO on the day of the subscriber head-start for the new content.

The game is mostly as I remember it.  They were nice enough to tell me that they had refunded the points that I had spent in my legendary items.  They neglected to tell me that my skirmish soldier (a healer) had also been reset.  Thus, the first skirmish that I attempted was a total bloodbath – and I was the supplier of the blood.

After re-training my soldier, I skirmished for a long while to get the feel for my character back.  Honestly, champions are easy to play.  Beat on things, get angry, and then beat on multiple things at once.  Learning to play a champion is easy – remembering where all the icons are and what they do is more difficult.  Unlike CoH, LoTRO requires at least three toolbars for a character, and most of my character are actually using five toolbars strategically spread about the UI.

Having re-acquainted myself with melee AoE, I set off for Enedwaith,  Enedwaith is the new zone south of Eregion.  Which will come as a shock to anyone trying to level up while playing in Eregion, because mobs jump 15 levels all at once.  If a level 48ish character wanders in, they are not likely to wander out again.  I’ll admit that I like what I’ve seen in Enedwaith so far.  It is a good expansion, and it is outdoors under the sun for a change, rather than in a cave or in a gloomy forest.  It was needed – I know people who refuse to play in Moria or Mirkwood because it is too depressing to visit long-term.  On the other hand, the problem that I experienced before with LoTRO – a lack of casual content for people at the level cap – is still there.

I liked the fact that there were small 3-person dungeons in Mirkwood.  I intensely disliked the fact that they were set up for people to farm for hours at a time, collecting  loot tokens.  I like skirmishing – you can skirmish every day and do a few different skirmishes.  It’s not a grind.  On the other hand, hitting the same instance again and again is a grind.  In the Moria expansion, a casual player could collect the materials for and create excellent general-purpose gear without raiding.  It wouldn’t be radiance gear, and it wouldn’t be the top-end stuff, but it was good stuff.  The craftable level 65 gear you got out of Mirkwood was actually inferior to the level 60 gear you could make in Moria.  In other words, crafters are in serious need of some love right now.

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