“Quick, Syp! You need to think of a title that both reflects your dire sickness and the recent launch of Riders of Rohan!”
And there we go. I’m convinced that part of being a journalist is the ability to come up with groan-inducing headline puns. I’m also convinced that part of being a good journalist is stepping down on the impulse to use those puns. I’m not often a good journalist.
So while Riders of Rohan opened its gates and the herd (GET IT) stampeded forth, I was more of the “limping from behind” variety. I just didn’t have a lot of time or lucid consciousness to play, unfortunately. That’s a shame, because for the first time since Mines of Moria, we have a legitimate expansion in every sense of the word for LOTRO. It’s big, it’s epic, it goes far more hand-in-hand with the books than the side-trips to Mirkwood and Isengard, and it’s got horse power.
No, not that kind of horse power. Although my heart still longs for that MMO.
So far I’ve just spent an hour or so starting the new book of the epic story. It was… not a good beginning. Book 6 finishes in Caras Galadhon, which I just call “that fancy-pantsy elf city” but have since upgraded to “shiny hell.” I never spent much time in this city, not just because it has a major elf infestation, but because it’s one of the worst towns in the game to try to navigate. You’re forever going up and down trees, some of which are and most aren’t connected to each other, feeling like you’ve stepped into an alternate universe where Ewoks got high and spray-painted their town with glitter.
Naturally, the first couple chapters of the book keep you right there, having you run all over the place doing mindless chores. I had a genuine laugh when Miss Elfy Highness was like, “Oh, it’s too bad your rest is cut short and you have to leave” because it felt like I was getting a pardon from Satan himself. Too bad that I have to leave? Listen lady, I don’t even need to wait for a boat to go down the river; I’ll just hop on a log and take my chances. Anything to go far, far away from your hippie commune.
Fortunately, once I was in Rohan proper things picked up. The new soundtrack is incredible and the landscape is a lot of fun to explore. Moria and Mirkwood were a little too gloomy, and Dunland was too… bleh… for my tastes. This is perfect. It’s a new culture and a much different part of the world, but it’s beautiful and loaded with civilization.
Of course, I can’t wait to get my new mount. That’s not going to happen for a little while, so I’ll be content with remote looting (which so rocks, thank you) and how cool it is to get knocked off my standard mount and see my character do a faceplant instead of just segueing into running like nothing happened.
It’s way, way too early to deliver any sort of pronouncement on RoR, but I’ve got a great feeling about it. This might just be the shot in the arm that LOTRO’s been needing for a while now.