Back when I was doing geocaching more often, I sometimes had to veer off the beaten path to go bushwacking — pushing through bushes, trees, tall grass, etc. — to get to my destination. It was slow-going and sometimes annoying, but it also made me feel just a tiny bit like I was pioneering my own path.
Now that I’ve switched over to my Lore-master to level up as a main and try to get her prepped for Moria before this year’s expansion, I find myself doing a curious kind of bushwacking in LOTRO.
The last time I was playing the LM was two years ago. I wrote in February 2015 that I had made the decision to let her go in favor of the Captain, worried that I wasn’t going to get caught up in the content fast enough. Now I’m even further behind… but there is hope.
What I had been doing with the LM previous to that decision was primarily leveling her up via the epic storyline, eschewing side and zone quests for this focus and supplementing the XP loss with XP pots and a back item that had a permanent boost on it. It’d actually gone well, although slowly but surely the epic started outpacing me in levels. When I came back a couple of weeks ago, the epic was three levels ahead of me. Then five. I could still do them, mind you, because the LM’s pets are nothing short of insane, but I worried about what would happen when the level disparity grew too great.
This came to a head on Tuesday, when I wrapped up a chapter and the next quest was silver to me. I was only level 84 and the quest was 91. I needed to get to 86 to access it. I didn’t want to backtrack and find a quest hub, but instead tried out some of the instances as a solution. First up was skirmishes, but after one of those I had pretty much had my fill. Instead, I turned to a suggested farming method, the warg pens. Basically, you just fight your way through wargs to the first boss, then exit and reset. By doing this, you complete two (repeatable) dungeon quests and get a good chunk of XP.
This actually worked. Took me about an hour or so, but after four runs, I blasted from 85 to 86 and got back on the epic track. I’ll have to keep this in my back pocket for the next time I hit a wall in the storyline.
Another great source of encouragement this week in the game was getting a letter from a kinmate, who told everyone that he was happy to craft legendary items. I sent a request for some level 100 LIs for the Lore-master (planning ahead), and he turned around and wowed me by crafting a pair of not second-age LIs, but first-agers. I’ve never owned a first-age LI in this game — I wouldn’t even know how to go about getting one these days — and that kindness just stunned me. I can’t wait until I get up to 100 to be able to equip and use them.
There are parts of the epic that I’m not particularly looking forward to doing again, in particular the epic battles, traversing the streets of Minas Tirith, and the dreariness of Osgiliath, but the fun of the class and the goal that I’ve set have spurred me onward. Plus, it’s kind of great to be back in Rohan, revisiting this gorgeous country and taking screenshots like a nerdy tourist.