Currently in Lord of the Rings Online, I’m ping-ponging back and forth between my high-level Lore-master, who is going through North Ithilien, and my baby Hobbit Minstrel, who is poking around the Shire in no apparent hurry to leave.
I was running back to Michel Delving the other night to the Bird and Baby Inn to turn in a quest when I saw that the tavern was full of Hobbits enjoying a social gathering of some sort. There were four lasses from one kin playing music in the corner and a circle of assorted Hobbits (including one wearing a chicken on her head) from another. I stopped to listen to the music and was greeted warmly by the crowd. I didn’t want to disturb them, so I just waved back and hung around for a little bit, taking pictures and enjoying the tunes.
I noticed that the kin on the floor was playing some sort of game in /say, and so I took the time to look up their kinship — Concerning Hobbits — on the web. I’d seen them around before, particularly while playing in the Shire, and they seemed friendly enough. The website further cemented this impression by portraying a picture of a kin that was social heavy, RP lite, and generally very friendly.
After wandering around for a little bit, I trotted back to the inn and sent the kin leader a tell asking to chat after they were done (this might be one of the first times that I ever sat in a chair in this game — I didn’t even know you could do that). When they finished, the whole kin surrounded me and we talked for a while about what they were like, my pie preference, and whether I was a doody-head who was sure to open up a faucet of profanities at the first available opportunities.
Long story short, I got a kin invite and joined this Hobbit-only guild. Again, I was kind of bowled over how nice and chummy everyone was, and I accepted their invitation to come join them for the next part of their evening, which was (I kid you not) drunk backwards racing around the race track in the southern Shire. You had to get wasted so that the screen was blurry and then run as a group around the circuit backwards. I didn’t participate but merely watched, chatting with the guild leader and lighting off fireworks as they came around.
It’s definitely a good feeling to have a kin home for my lowbie, and while my LM remains in Lonely Mountain Band, it’s nice to branch out and meet some other folks. I never have a problem being in multiple guilds, and if a guild in particular has issues with that, oh well. MMOs are social games and we should be allowed to be part of several social circles if so desired.
Otherwise, my minnie is coming along very nicely. Almost too nicely, in fact. I’m not even halfway done with the Shire (doing all of the quests, as is my goal) and I’m already level 17. I’ll definitely be outpacing content sooner or later, but even if that happens, it’s not going to stop me from doing the quests. Keeping an eye out for rewards or drops that can be used cosmetically is a big motivator, as is simply immersing myself in the stories.
I did buy a small house — for now — and stocked it with the few items I had. At some point the game gave me a lockbox and a key (level 15? a deed? I don’t remember), and inside I got five slayer and skill deed boosters. This was actually a godsend, because those boosters last for 90 minutes each and can be used to level up skills without worry of a cap.
So instead of continuing on with the Shire, I took a break to head to the Barrow-downs for some serious skilling. I’ve been running around, going through as many of my skills as possible in each fight, and watching my counters climb up. I even managed to complete four slayer deeds without intentionally trying, which is nice. Again, I’m not worrying about virtues, but unlocking those skill deeds gives me access to better skill effects, so that’s obviously important. I figure it’ll be better to get a chunk of them done now than having to wait over a long period of time.