I’ll admit it: I’ve had a few moments of pause in the past day or so where I’m wondering just how foolish I’m being in abandoning my Captain in LOTRO to (more or less) start over with a Warden. With RIFT, it’s no big deal: I just need to zip through 50 levels to get back to where I was, and that will take a couple weeks. With LOTRO, I’m probably looking at months. I was trying to stay on top of the game’s new (usually endgame) content as it rolled out, so if I’m going to do this, I have to pour all my LOTRO time into this one character and storm through the core game and four expansions before Turbine decides to come out with a new one. Since that could be this fall, I have little time to dilly-dally and can’t really straddle two characters at the same time.
So I’m using those paused moments to reconsider. Is the attraction of a new class and playstyle really worth the effort and time it’s going to take? Can I do it? Will I find myself drifting back to my Captain in mid-summer, frustrated with myself for losing all that time I could have just spent in Riders of Rohan?
Maybe. Maybe not. Resolutions are great to make, but I have no illusions that I’m going to finish out all 10.
So let’s look at where I’m at. My Hobbit Warden was actually in a great spot when I put her into mothballs a year or so ago. She hit level 20 without dying, cleared out all of the virtues in the first three zones, has good gear, has eight great outfits assembled, and is the proud owner of a +68% speed horse (Steed of Night).
Not only is that a good head start into this project, but I have three other aces up my sleeve. The first is that +25% XP for monster kills pocket item that will help with XP gain, especially while grinding out virtues. The second is Turbine’s changes to Moria and remote looting, both of which will save time. The third is my personal experience in the game, which will help me stick to what I need to do and cut out the fat.
If I stick with the Warden, the plan is to exclusively focus on virtues (and legendary trait pages) up to the start of Moria. I’m not worried about XP or leveling speed — heck, I got three levels from working on a single slayer trait the other night — and I won’t be slowed by the normal questing or Volume 1 of the epic storyline. That’s right: I’m going to totally ignore volume 1. In my opinion, it’s just not needed at all these days. You can and should do it if it’s your first time through the game, but there’s no great benefit you’re going to get from it that you can’t get elsewhere. It’s almost easier to jump onto the epic storyline with volume 2 (netting legendary items) and proceed from there.
From Moria on, it’ll be the epic storyline plus virtues until I get back to Riders of Rohan. For variety’s sake, I’ll queue up for group skirmishes and the occasional dungeon run just to see what pops (I’ve already run one skirmish duo last night, which was a lot more enjoyable than doing them solo).
Even with the path streamlined, this feels like a tall order. It might even be completely foolish, considering that I juggle several MMOs and children (not literally, but… you understand). Then again, it’s a new year and what better time for a new experience? It’s been a while since I’ve leveled up through the core game, and I have to admit that the Warden looks and plays like an awesome mini-Spartan of yore. Plus, I’ve just wanted a Hobbit main after being shoehorned into playing a Man with the Captain and Lore-master.
So we’ll see how it goes. I’m going to give myself a week to decide whether or not I’m sticking with this. If not, I’ll shut up about this little experiment and go back to my Captain, and that’ll be fine too.