And so it begins.
It’s been over a month (two months?) since I last logged into LOTRO, a realization that gave me a pang of guilt. But I couldn’t resist checking in now that Update 14 landed. It’s what I’m calling a pocket expansion: bigger than the average update but smaller than a full-fledged expansion. There are three (sort of four) new zones, 5 more levels (and new skills?), the essence system, a new epic book, and well over 100 new quests to chew through. Good stuff.
This update is notable for finally taking us out of Rohan and into Gondor proper. A surprisingly quick trip through the Paths of the Dead served as a transition between the two countries. Is it just me, or should Turbine have doled out more quests in the Paths of the Dead? It’s such an impressive set piece that you just breeze through like it was a rest stop.
Along with the new update came a producer’s letter that contained a few changes for the upcoming plan for the game. Beornings will start at level 1 when they come out, which is as it should be (and will give Turbine a chance to sell more insta-boosts to 50 in the store, I’m sure), the level cap will NOT be raised to 105 later this year (I don’t care either way), and Turbine’s making an effort to allow you to keep a legendary item and build upon it instead of constantly recycling them. I heartily endorse this last decision with a reserved opinion for when I see how it’s going to work.
I didn’t get much into Gondor itself because I got invited to fill in a spot with the Monday night Dums. These are folks from my former kin that get together once a week to run skirmishes together and level oh-so-slowly (my level 95 was easily 10 levels higher than the rest of them, but I did not lord my superiority). Oh, and they dress up all bizarrely and have some sort of suicide pact that I only realized about halfway into a run. “Hey, let’s give that dragon a cuddle!” was their battle cry.
Another “tradition” of theirs that they told me was how they love to throw down all of those temporary banners that skirms give people, even though nobody knows what those banners do. It’s just for looks, especially when they can get about ten slapped down on a spot.
It was a fun run — I definitely approve more of skirmishes than most group content in this game — even though I had a really bad blue-line healing build slapped together after the update’s trait reset. Even with those ten extra levels I couldn’t grab aggro that well.
And let me tell you, after a couple of months of playing nothing but action combat-style MMOs, it was a bit of an… adjustment to go back to the global cooldown and traditional fighting. It wasn’t horrible, but I found myself a little impatient at waiting for slow skills to fire off so that I could get to the next one. Could Turbine speed up combat a little bit? I wouldn’t mind, trust me.