LOTRO: What is old is new again

When you’ve been playing an MMORPG long enough, what was old becomes new again sooner or later. You see quests repeat, mobs reskinned, biomes reused, and old issues come up again in new ways. So why do we keep playing? Because sometimes it’s not the well-worn bits that keep us entertained, but their arrangement and decor. Mix and match and dress things up in interesting ways, and we might forget that we’ve done this plenty of times already.

I was thinking this while fighting “Ash Claws” in Mordor’s Bloody Gore. Despite its gross pustules, spiky bits, and reddish hue, these critters are the same cave claws that have popped up all over the game up to this point. Still, I suppose you can’t expect every zone to contain 100% unique flora. It’s just not practical. So a few brand-new models plus plenty of reworked older ones, and there you go. Has a fresh feel to it as long as you don’t stare too hard.

Grumpy rangers being grumpy while I save their life. I’m sorry, but were you out gathering ingredients for a miracle cure at considerable risk to life and limb? No, you were babysitting your friend and probably sipping too much of the king’s wine. Suck it down and take your medicine like a man.

The adventures continue across the Bloody Gore. Since the zone is kind of a funnel, it’s pretty obvious what direction we’re heading (if the giant vampire-looking castle wasn’t any indication). Don’t know why I’m so eager to head into a cul-de-sac of death, but that’s this game for you!

Probably the only question mark that I had for this region was a mysterious passage that jutted down into the hills and ended in a milestone on the map. What could this be? The quest “unexpected allies” took me to meet one of the incredibly rare semi-friendly races of this country, some more members of the… slightly thick tribal people that we last saw in the deep forests of Gondor. Hey, I’m all for any help I can get, because Gollum knows that the Rangers aren’t the dependable sort.

But of course, what is old is new again, and so I must prove myself worthy to yet another group by performing all manner of tasks. I would love to see this in real life: “You want to become my friend and gain access to my club house? Go murder a lot of animals and bring me back their body parts. Also rob a pizza delivery driver and snag us a few deep dish delights. That’s a lad.”

Does Middle-earth have an asylum that could handle the mental trauma that my character has endured?

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