For the MMORPG geek, content patch days are sporadic holidays that arrive wrapped in excitement, anticipation and agonizing waits for the server to get back up. They’re third down on the totem pole of new releases, under “MMO launch” and “expansion release”, but that’s not to say that people don’t get all a-quiver for a good chunky patch.
Patch day! It’s enough to make one sing in happiness, to dance into McDonald’s beaming and order that triple shake with the confidence of one who will soon be exploring a changed and updated world!
So today’s patch day for LOTRO, which brings the first major post-Mirkwood content update: Volume III: Oath of the Rangers (or as the devs fondly call it, “Ranger Round-Up”). It’s the best type of content patch, hosting new goodies for everyone of all level ranges.
For everyone still progressing through Volume I, there’s the wonderful change letting you solo each step of the chain so that you can actually finish these stinkers without having to hop back into a time machine to a year when a bulk of the playerbase was actually doing them and you didn’t need a magic wish pony to get a group. Personally, I’ve been spinning my wheels in Trollshaws until this patch released, because I want to progress through the story in the correct order without overshooting anything.
There’s a lot of other new goodies, including:
- A new book (Volume III Book I) for end game players
- A new skirmish (The Rift of Nûrz Ghâshu)
- Duo mode for skirmishes
- 4 raid versions of high-level skirmishes
- Level 64 skill upgrades
- An upgraded Spring Festival
- Lots of class fixes
- A lot of improvements to skirmishes, monster play and crafting
There really is nothing worse than getting a content patch that has nothing for you at your level. Well, I mean, there is getting eaten alive by fire ants while you are on fire, but this is a close second. I’m all for Turbine — or any company — adding more content at the end game, since I’ll be there sooner or later, but it’s really nice to have something in the Here and Now that I can experience.
I’ve narrowed down Captain Crunch’s To Do list by focusing on what I consider to be the essentials to getting her to the level cap: go through the epic quests, finish all the virtue deeds as I progress through zones, and push to level at a steady pace. I have no idea how long it’ll take me to hit 65 at this point, but I’m up to 41 already (long deed grinding sessions might be mind-numbing, but man they do dish out the XP in droves). My experience with her isn’t going to be a “stop and smell the roses” — I want a level capped character (to be just like Spinks!) so that I can get a taste of everything at the top.
But once I get there, I will create my rose-sniffing alt (or alts) to meander through Middle-Earth, and with that character I’m going to do the complete opposite and be a content completionist. Do a lot of the quests in each zone, level a couple crafting professions, level fishing and see what else can take me off the beaten path. I’m also interested in seeing how the new and improved Lonelands feel compared to the tooth-pulling agony that was the old system.
Classes? It’s tough to say. I have a lot of love for the Lore-Master (and I do have a level 28 one on hand), but I am feeling partial to trying the challenge of a Hobbit burglar or warden. And then there’s always the unique joy of the minstrel. Aghh! Time to get a lifetime sub, methinks!