LOTRO: For Gondor, for groups!

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One of my ongoing blogging goals this year is to try to write a post every week for each game I’m playing. Maybe I can’t do a day-by-day report like some — sometimes my gaming is too boring — but at least this way I’m touching base on all of my titles while keeping the blog format varied for my readers.

So LOTRO is up in the queue today, which is fortuitous considering that I got to spend a nice chunk of time playing the other night. My desktop computer is “in the shop” (read: sitting at some IT guy’s home) with the hopes that it can be fixed, so I’m lugging around my work laptop to do double duty at home and in the office. And I have to say that after four years, this was some of the best $600 I ever spent on a machine. It still keeps up with most of my games if need be, and even out-performs my cruddy desktop in games like LOTRO.

I’m not fully back, per see, in Lord of the Rings Online. A little more than visiting, a little less than a full return. I’m starting to see my gaming habits form around a pattern of establishing a main character in an MMO which remains ready when I make my next port of call in that world. It’s a character to continue my journey with, one that doesn’t have to start from square one and is close if not all of the way through the solo game content.

My Captain is definitely this in LOTRO. I really do not have the time nor interest in bringing up my Lore-master to the cap these days, although I do love that class. Heck, I barely have interest in doing inventory management, as my Captain’s overflowing bags with who-knows-what attests. She’s there to faithfully take me through the final months — or hey, years — of the game if need be.

I do have a ways to go in the epic story. I just crossed over into South Ithilien last night, forging through the woods for bad guys and keeping one eye on the sky for portends. Little things started flooding over me to remind me of the game that I used to call my main MMO home — the sounds, the combat sequence, and most of all the feeling of a real, earthy world that was there for adventure, not to be my personal playground.

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I have to give FFXIV credit for a big change in my playstyle this year: That game got me hooked again on doing group dungeon runs. It’s something I used to do a lot more of, then fell out of favor along the way — actually during my LOTRO years. But last night my kin put out a call to do a quick run through Sammath Gul, and I said why not?

It was a short (~20 minutes) run through a new dungeon to me, and we had a great time doing it. LOTRO is a blast with a group, especially since so many classes have group-friendly skills. I enjoyed buffing, healing, and DPSing as a Cappy, and I even got to see a high-level Beorning at work. That class/race is still quite new to me.

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I like that Turbine’s started to do weekly featured instances for bonus goodies, even though the ones that I earned were a mystery to me. I have no idea what half the loot in this game does any more, other than fill up my bags to a vexing degree.

I’m looking forward to making my way into Minas Tirith at some point, and I may start putting myself into the group finder more often as I’m doing in other games. We will see!

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