LOTRO: The return trip home

I still take tons of screenshots of LOTRO as it surprises me over and over with its simple beauty. Loved this sunlit snowstorm in Rohan.

Whenever you go on a trip, there’s always that moment when you hit the furthest away you’re going to get and then you turn around and start heading back (unless you’re on a loop but just go with this sentiment). It’s about that time for Bingo Boffin in Lord of the Rings Online. He’s taken me into the heart of Rohan and a series of amusing, sometimes inconsequential, sometimes heartfelt adventures, but I could sense the return trip coming. And sure enough, we found ourselves treading back to the Shire on a different path than the way we came.

I don’t like returning from fun trips until the moment I walk in the door at home. I hate the sense that it’s all over, that the adventure is finished, and that all that remains is to cover the miles and wrap it up. That’s why, in real life, I try to schedule or arrange something neat on the way home so that I have something to anticipate rather than dread on the last day.

We’re not quite home yet, but the goodbyes have already begun. I was honestly a little taken aback at how I felt a twinge of sorrow at having to leave ol’ W.W. behind (with his new family), but Bingo seemed to roll with it better than I. This trip has seen a lot of supporting characters come and go, and I think that’s a fact of adventuring. The road may go ever on, but people come and go at different paces and in different directions.

Bingo never got his own “fellowship” the way Frodo did, but he certainly made a lot of friends and rarely upset those he met. I’ve been keeping my eye on his character to see what the writers would do with a non-Bilbo/Frodo Hobbit, and while there are some similarities with storylines in the books, Bingo’s had his own approach.

He’s certainly more helpless than Frodo and Bilbo — not a swimmer and definitely not a fighter. I can’t recall him ever getting into a scrap directly, now that I think about it. He’s fashioned himself a writer, but there’s a lot more to his depth than just a tourist keeping a journal.

From his silly, over-primping start to the journey, Bingo has started to develop that tougher Hobbit tenacity that served the book characters well. He’s far more likely to charge into action than away from it, and more than once I’ve seen how his compassion and desire to help people has led him into harm’s way. His network of companions aided in that regard, and perhaps it’s more sympathy than respect that he’s garnered, but he uses it all the same to make progress.

Probably the best example of how far he’s come is an instance where Bingo insists that we dive deep into an actual dragon cave to rescue the only character more helpless than he (a “treasure hunter”). At no point does he show fear or despair, but actually leads the way right to the middle of the lair and to assist his friend.

As an aside, I was taking a lot of pictures of the dragon waking up and freaking out, and apparently I took too long in getting out, because I failed the instance and had to do it again. All in the name of screenshots!

We’re not home yet, but it’s coming. Maybe this or next week. I have about a half-dozen quests left, after which it will be time to get past this extended vacation and start getting ready for Mordor.

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