I almost never feel *compelled* to log into Lord of the Rings Online, yet I am always glad I did when I spend an evening in this game. By now, this MMO is so old hat to me that it’s not exactly a strongly compelling fresh experience. However, there is still a deep satisfaction I get out of this game that I don’t elsewhere.
I think it’s the sense of world LOTRO provides. It’s a more relaxed, laid-back pace, this game, from questing to travel to combat, and while doing all of this I can simply enjoy the sights and sounds of Middle-earth without a lot of frantic distractions. Plus, at least the quest track isn’t confusing and it keeps me going forward.
This week, finally, for the last time, I wrapped up my adventures in Northern Mirkwood. Again, it’s a great area atmospherically, but it’s a very difficult area to quest in due to the low light, mob density, and difficult terrain. So it really didn’t help that SSG threw in a ton of quests here. You might recall that I ended up abandoning them just to leave this region and then had to return when I realized that by doing this, I had disabled many follow-up quest chains. So back I went to diligently hack out more quests involving spiders and trees and other things that went bump in the night.
At least this gave me a reprise of that wonderful feeling of escape when I left (yet again) for the well-lit sunny marshes of the river-elves. Naturally, they’re all slouching about doing no work — allegedly because there was none to be had, but I know better.
I spent a couple of very relaxed and relatively cheerful evenings in this area, questing while listening to music and catching up on a few podcasts. Apart from reading the massive blocks of text that come with every quest acceptance, the game doesn’t need my brain for more than basic navigation and screenshotting abilities.
Have I said how much I love the day/night cycle in this game? Night feels vastly different than day and the transition between the two takes so long that often I don’t witness anything more than a certain time period while questing. I actually am quite fond of night questing thanks to the starry skybox and the hushed landscape.
Plus, the lights of settlements really pop out so wonderfully against the dark. I did a few chores for these elves which culminated in a rather silly “catch the thief whoops you just missed him again” quest. I do wish that LOTRO offered quest choices — it’s something that Turbine oh-so-briefly flirted and then abandoned back in Riders of Rohan.
Before too long, I was back at Lake-town and feeling as if I had regained some nice forward momentum. That’s really needed, considering I’m an update and a half behind the times right now. I should be able to catch up so long as I make logging in more than a once-a-week habit.