LOTRO: Sing me a song of leveling

Don’t underestimate music. It’ll break you down and send you fleeing, even if you happen to be a 10-foot, 700-pound stone troll. That’s how awful my music is. I’m a true battle bard.

As the rush of the initial week gave way to a more steady adventure, I’ve found that long daily sessions in Lord of the Rings Online continue to be compelling and fun. We even saw a queue last Sunday, over a week after the server launched, so I know that it’s drawing in the crowds. That’s a good sign, in my books. If it can establish some strong communities and a support network, then players are more likely to stick around.

Mostly, I’m just losing myself in the moment-to-moment of the journey, not thinking about what lies ahead or how much I have to do. Slowing down to fully read quest text and finding all of the quest givers is much preferred to racing around trying to gobble up XP. I’ve encountered quite a few places and stories that I either never visited, don’t remember, or weren’t in the game back when I was going through these low-level areas years ago.

Bree-land took short of forever to complete, but that shouldn’t have surprised me. I keep forgetting how absolutely enormous this zone is. Seriously, just look at this map. Even considering that Bree-land does double-duty as both a newbie area and a combined level 15-20 leveling zone, it has so much territory and quest density. Still, I think that the northeast area — Far Chetwood — is too far off the beaten path that few even come out there.

While I’m rediscovering all sorts of delightful things, there are a few bummers to absorb. I forgot how much I hated the Eriador maps until I had gotten used to the more modern zone maps in this game and had to go back to using these. They’re far too vague and unhelpful, especially around the fringes, and too many times I’m finding myself lost or going on extended detours because I can’t figure out how to get from A to B. Wish those maps would get updated, ASAP.

My Minstrel continues to grow in power and ability, and I never get tired with her firing off insta-shots even while moving. It makes for a much more fluid play experience than my Lore-master, who had to plant her feet before starting up her attack routine. Plus, I’ll never get tired of one-shotting mobs when those crits happen — it’s so satisfying.

I’ve also invested a lot into travel and transport with this character. In addition to her awesome go-anywhere goat, my minnie has milestones down to a five minute cooldown timer. That short cooldown, combined with three bindable milestones and one Hobbit recall to Michel Delving, means that I can jet across the landscape very, very quickly. I try to plan strategic ports so that I always have a quick recall to my questing hub and any good stable networks. It’s certainly cut down a lot on travel time!

Once out of Bree-land, I started to make good, fast progress, even with the XP debuff (and no, I’m not using those XP boosting items. I deleted them on Day One of the server to reduce the temptation.). Lone-lands is pretty linear and went quickly, and once I got to the eastern side and started to hit high-20s quests, I took a break and went to North Downs to get me to 30 before resuming.

My current priorities:

  1. Level to 50
  2. Complete Volume 1 of the epic story
  3. Do any class and racial deeds
  4. Get all of my five virtues from the available zones
  5. Finish zone questing in all available zones
  6. Then, time permitting, go back to work on reputation and deeds
  7. Dungeons? I’m not that drawn to these right now
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