LOTRO: Old Forest tales

Every Hobbit must grow up sooner or later, and so Syppi summoned her courage to cross the Brandywine and see what awaited her in Bree-land.

In my experience, there are some phases that I go through reliably when I roll a new character in a familiar MMORPG. Mostly it goes as such:

  1. Get super-enthusiastic about starting fresh, can’t restrain myself from jumping in, like, right now and getting this going!
  2. Devote tons of time with this baby character, enjoying the “new car smell” and fast advancement, reveling in the flow of the beginner zone.
  3. Start to enter into crisis by the second or third major area as everything slows down and doubt sets in. I begin evaluating whether or not I’m really in it for the long haul with this character or if it was a fling.

Maybe it’s a weird psychological barrier that emerges with MMORPGs, because as fun as it is to start over and explore the game through the lens of a different class or character, sooner or later you can’t avoid the fact that there’s So Much Content ahead of you and a massive time commitment if you’re really going to stick it out. So the doubt creeps in, the personal evaluation. Am I enjoying this at the moment, moment-to-moment? Will it continue to be enjoyable for the foreseeable future? Do I need to do anything to improve this experience? Or is all of this a sunk cost fallacy waiting to happen?

And honestly, I don’t know. It’s a nice break from Mordor to come back to Bree-land, and I like building up a new character, but I’m not quite as on fire about it as I was a few weeks back. Sometimes I feel that time spent playing this character really should be devoted to my Mordor toon so as to finish that more quickly.

One of the weird things about vintage LOTRO is how creepy the corpses are. You rarely look at them more than in passing as set dressing, but if you do stop to zoom in, you’ll be treated to weirdly dessicated faces without eyes and shrunken lips, kind of like mummified bodies. I don’t know what the artist was on when they made these, but they are all some of the creepiest models in the game.

Moving on.

We always talk in chat of different types of houses we’d love to have in LOTRO, and while I would totally flip over a Rohan house, I also wouldn’t mind getting Tom Bombadil’s abode to make into my own. It’s such a comfy and cozy house — with good music to boot!

All of the quest lines — side quests, the epic book, Bingo Boffin — all sent me to Buckland, and then into the Old Forest. I remember hating and fearing this place back in the day, especially before there was an easy-to-use game map. Not knowing where you were and how to navigate this dense maze instilled dread, and I recall the mobs being a lot more dangerous. Now there’s no threat or confusion whatsoever, especially as I one-shot everything on the run. It’s still a pretty neat area and one that I think the devs pulled off very well in a relatively small section of the overall zone.

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