Getting back into an old MMORPG you used to play, that is, except that the bike has 45 buttons and you have no idea where you are or what you’re doing and you have sixteen different destinations that you don’t remember signing up for.
Welcome back to LOTRO! my mind cheered.
If it’s been many months — or years — since you last played a particular MMO, there’s an odd combination of familiar and foreign that washes over you as you log in. Captain Crunch was standing out in the middle of a field, as I imagine she had been for the last six months excluding union-backed coffee breaks. Why was she out there? I dunno. Oh. I’m in North Downs. A vile shudder ran up my spine. I remember I didn’t like this place.
Hey! I guess I’m still in the kinship, as bright blue text pops on the screen and old friends welcome me back. I check the kinship list, and everyone’s 60 or higher, except for me — Mr. Level 32. Guess I won’t be teaming up with them anytime soon.
I stand in that field for a good ten additional minutes, as I reacquaint myself with all of the skills on my hotbars. I don’t remember what half of them do, and I had a moment of panic when I recalled the whole virtues/deeds/traits system and wondered where I was in the middle of that. The urge to reroll a fresh character was strong, but I held out — I always loved my captain, and wanted to see her through to the end before any more alts made their appearance.
Opening my inventory, I was greeted with the sight of eight stacks of fireworks. Fireworks? Huh. Really? Guess I need to shoot those off!
Icons on the right side of my screen informed me that my house was locked until I ponied up enough cash to the virtual landlord. No wonder Crunch was slumming it in a field!
I have to say, it is like riding a bike after a long absence, but that doesn’t mean the first few miles aren’t going to be wobbly and uncertain as all get out. Even after I got reaccustomed to the interface and combat, there was a half-year’s worth of new additions and changes to the game that I knew nothing about. The skirmish system? Guess I should poke around in that and learn it. Turns out, it’s pretty fun! (But that’s a topic for another day.)
I think the one thing that always pleases me when I log into LOTRO is just how pretty the world looks, and how much it feels like a “world”. Oh, another pleasing thing? The incredibly helpful community. I had no problems finding a few people to help me wrap up Book quests, and they were really nice throughout it. We even talked, which is a delicacy you don’t see much in the PUGs of WoW.
I decided that I did need a bit of newness to my return, and continuing to wallow in North Downs wasn’t going to hack it. So once I finished the Book quest line for the zone, I deleted all of the remaining quests and set out for Evendim, to work on quests, deeds and the Book line there.