It’s Like Riding A Bike

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.

15 thoughts on “It’s Like Riding A Bike

  1. chaosmos February 17, 2010 / 8:28 am

    Have you noticed any difference in the response time in combat? I read that one of the latest updates changed the “sluggish” feel of the combat powers, and I was curious if it was for real…

  2. Rancidmilk February 17, 2010 / 8:45 am

    I’ve been back to DAoC for about 4 months now, after a five year (yes, year!) break. So much has changed, yet so much has remained the same. The first miles back on this bike were….very painful lol.

  3. Jim February 17, 2010 / 8:51 am

    I just went through this very experience when returning to WoW. I find that starting a new character and running them through a few levels is usually much better for remembering the mechanics of the game.

    The world is in lotro is very alive. I love to just walk around and explore things.

  4. silvertemplar February 17, 2010 / 9:35 am

    Yes i must agree on the “LOTRO feels like a world” part. That is the one thing that stood out for me above all the other MMOs i tried the last few months. All the rest feels alot like “virtual lobbies” , a zone feels like a “virtual map” instead of a seamless world where people would “live in”.

    Even WoW is guilty with this thing where you just don’t get the feeling how anything would actually “live in this zone” . It is almost like going to the Moon and kicking around the rocks and then going to another Moon but now the rocks are purple, and again you kick around the purple rocks.

    LOTRO you can stop there and see them hobbitsses fishing,farming and the inn ..you know it just feels “realistic” in a “fantasy” kinda way.

  5. Tarisai February 17, 2010 / 10:43 am

    Agree that LOTRO feels lived in. It has a great atmosphere and is HUGE compared to many MMO worlds.

    I remember just wandering around exploring ruins, climbing up high just to take screen shots of the vistas. I wonder how it would look now that I have my mega-rig…

    Must resist temptation to spend time and money I don’t have…

  6. Fuzzy February 17, 2010 / 10:57 am

    At least you didn’t have a Warden. Forgetting all of your gambits would REALLY mess you up.

  7. thade February 17, 2010 / 1:07 pm

    That is very funny that you would write such a post, as I find myself – after almost exactly two years since I left – seriously considering a return to WoW. Much of what I scorned it for (primarily guild/organizational-related issues) can be avoided as I now have enough friends who are all playing (and beckoning me to come tank for them) that it might just be fun again. I’m excited also that “enough friends” need only be around ten instead of twenty-five. It’s funny that whatever might prevent me from returning is less my old criticisms against it’s design and more the social pressures and anxieties that amassed during my time there.

    Controlling my old tankadin and heally-priest each might be like riding a bicycle…but guild-shopping and handling the weird ways that players married to the game handle those of us who are not married to the game, that is not much like riding a bike. It’s more like…trying to reason with a room full of angry eight year olds.

  8. Ethic February 17, 2010 / 2:49 pm

    Server? If Landroval I will look for you when I play. Have a minstrel around 30 that I’d love to play more.

  9. Syp February 17, 2010 / 2:58 pm

    @ Ethic – Sorry, it’s Gladden!

  10. koljarn February 17, 2010 / 6:10 pm

    On the one hand – welcome back to the ranks of the Free Peoples.

    On the other hand – you’re going to have a rough time if you have to solo with a Captain. I’ve abandoned my Captain alt at level 55.

  11. Chris February 17, 2010 / 7:39 pm

    Good call, Syp! Evendim and onward breathed new life into the game for me. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your return 🙂

  12. kaozz February 17, 2010 / 8:05 pm

    It is always nice going back to a game you haven’t played in ages. It’s always refreshing.

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