LOTRO’s maps are… not my favorite

It’s been a good long while since I’ve played LOTRO (a month?) and even longer since I’ve been in any regular gaming pattern with it. I still think I’m feeling the burnout from Mordor a bit, although I know that it probably just comes down to getting out of a routine of playing and then letting it slip. I kind of would like to reverse that, especially as there seems to be some pretty great content ahead, so I put in a couple of sessions last week and got reacquainted with my long-suffering Lore-master.

First things first — I needed to do some housekeeping. This meant cleaning out my bags and stashing cosmetics and housing items in the appropriate vaults and wardrobes. I guess SSG has added a ton of new wardrobe expansion slots, and since there was a sale and I had points to burn, I expanded my cosmetic wardrobe to 240 slots total. That was more than enough to store everything I had sitting around and then some.

It felt good, really good, to have this all organized before I returned to Northern Mirkwood and another round of “questing while lost in the bush.”

Let’s talk about LOTRO’s maps for a while, because this is an aspect of the game that has repeatedly disappointed me over the years. By my count, LOTRO has three types of maps, and all of them have pretty deep flaws. There are the hand-drawn maps, the slightly more stylized realistic maps, and then the Google Earth (aka “We had no time or resources to actually make a map”) maps.

The problem here is that LOTRO’s landscape is really dense and challenging to navigate in spots, and yet the maps all fail (in different ways) of portraying what the actual landscape is like and how you can get around in it. Throw in invisible walls and other natural barriers, and you could find yourself banging your head just trying to get to where you want to be.

And I’m simply not a fan of the blobby/ring overlays for quest markers. More often than not, they don’t do a great job showing you where you actually need to be if the quest itself has multiple objectives. For example, one quest I did the other night required exploring two separate locations, beating up six spiders, and cleaning out 10 spiderwebs. All of these were covered by a large blob that told me nothing of where those two locations were until I narrowed it down by eventually finding spiders to kill and getting rid of that objective.

I really do wish we could zoom in more on maps and zoom out more on the minimap. Man, that minimap is a near-useless piece of work, let me tell you. I would much rather have a DDO/WoW option to open up the full map inside of the UI instead of going fullscreen as LOTRO’s does.

Anyway, it’s probably too late in the game to see any work or improvement done on this feature, but I felt like griping about it anyway.

Most of my attention was devoted the other night to finishing up a whole hub of quests for a bunch of lost Beornings. None of it was particularly exciting, but I did use them to get reacquainted with my character’s fighting style (especially after the latest round of class nerfs). I truly do miss the days of LMs being a pet machine that would chew through mobs. Now I’m in serious danger if more than one bad guy heads my way. Even if not, the fights take a lot longer than they used to. At least I can amuse myself by thinking that these wood trolls look like guys who have wrapped themselves up in linen to look like discounted mummies.

I took a short break from Mirkwood to do the new Christmas quest, which for whatever reason, was making its debut at the tail-end of July. The quest takes players outside of Winter-home to recover a bunch of random sweets that an errant eagle had dropped all over Middle-earth. It’s kind of one of those quests that gets increasingly ridiculous the more you think about it, especially when you start asking:

  • What kind of flight path was an eagle taking that took it over Ered Luin, Forochel, Misty Mountains, and Eregion?
  • Why did the creatures on the ground steal, but not eat, these sweets?
  • Do the denizens of Middle-earth usually deliver confectionaries via air travel? If so, why not rings of power?
  • Why is it so important to recover these sweets at extreme danger to life and limb instead of ordering — or simply making — more?
  • Am I the bad guy when I’m leaping out at snow beasts and other animals and clubbing them to death to get my dessert back?

Oh well, at least I got a new title to toss onto the pile of all the other titles I’ll never use, as well as a cute little fluffy bunny.

2 thoughts on “LOTRO’s maps are… not my favorite

  1. Pasduil August 9, 2018 / 11:32 am

    Heartily agree with you about the downsides of LOTRO maps! Even worse is when there is no map at all, which applies to plenty of the towns.

    Just thankful that people have made good maps of at least some of the most confusing places.

  2. Syp August 9, 2018 / 11:33 am

    Indeed, the community really picks up the ball on this one!

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