I hadn’t planned on going to Angmar quite so soon after Misty Mountains on my progression server Minstrel, but all quests — normal and epic — were leading there, and as I’m level 47, I figured I might as well rip off that bandaid, hit 50, and get this place in my rear-view mirror as soon as possible.
Welcome to Angmar, where enthusiasm in LOTRO goes to die.
Oh, you don’t think so initially upon entering the zone. Look at that picture up there! It’s a little frontiersy and rustic, but there’s a blue sky and waterfall and trees. This won’t be so bad!
…Or so you think until about six quests in, when you enter the zone proper and the atmosphere hits you like a ton of bricks. There are a handful of zones in LOTRO I cannot stand, and this is one of them. There are good reasons, too. The sky turns into this horrible shredded mess and a grating sound starts screeching nonstop from the soundtrack unless you turn it off. Apart from the southern tip, Angmar itself has nothing growing and is a dark, craggy wasteland full of dead trees, orcs, more orcs, angry tribes, giant statues that will one-shot you until you complete a certain quest chain, and just loads of ugliness.
No matter what level of energy and drive you have going into Angmar, Angmar will relentlessly wear it down until you hate life and cannot remember the Shire any longer. The look, the flow, the characters of the zone — none of it is appealing. And to make matters even worse, there’s like a dozen or so necessary deeds to get done here.
So all that’s left to be done is to roll my Hobbit sleeves up and get to work. This isn’t fun play, it is a grim task, and at least I am forewarned of the danger.
In fact, I’ve spent 47 levels preparing myself mentally for Angmar, knowing that it would be a major hurdle to overcome in these first four months of Eriador content. My strategy is the same as dealing with pretty much any large and undesirable task in my life: To prioritize it, to set daily goals, and to get it done without dithering around.
What helps me here is that I set a time limit every day. For about 30 minutes to an hour, time permitting, I’ll devote myself to doing nothing but Angmar without any destractions or procrastination. Just keep plugging away at quests and deeds. And when that time limit is up, poof, I’m done for the day and will move on to other games to cleanse myself of this evil. I’m not going to marinate in it all evening or get pushed away. I’m just going to get it done.
And also to help is my cheery Christmas outfit and the chatty kinship that keeps me company. I also like to mute the soundtrack here and get something really peppy going on my MP3 player, because everyone knows that orcs love that EDM.
Wish me luck!