Unlike the fall and winter festivals in LOTRO, I have little interest in participating in the spring celebration. It’s simply not as well designed, and the key features — the hedge maze and shrew stomp — lean more toward “frustrating” than “fun” on my scale. Factor in the lack of really desirable cosmetics, mounts, or housing items, and I am more than willing to skip this every year.
However, I heard that SSG added a new questline for 2019, so I acquiesced enough to at least run that. New story is new story, right? And this one seemed slightly promising at first, as three herbalists from Gondor come to work… which ends up being a lot of lounging around and drinking. There is one responsible one in the bunch, but the other two don’t listen to her at all. Anyway, the story quickly switches over to an eavesdropping Elf — one of that race’s many sterling qualities — who butts in to moan and whine about the extinction of a special elf-flower that used to be found all over Middle-earth. The tragic — dreadfully so! — event drove two Elf brothers apart because nothing is more dramatic in the elf world than anything to do with flowers.
Things went from an eye-rolling “the elves are going on and on about flowers AGAIN?” to true groaning when it’s revealed that this incredibly precious and deeply lamented flower is…
A sunflower. Yup. You know, those things that SSG stuck all over the Shire one day this past year to the bewilderment and even annoyance of players? Like the whole region suddenly contracted a plague of tall edible flowers. Well now with this quest I smell conspiracy to commit retcon in the writers’ room! Either SSG had the forethought to get sunflowers in for the quest to come, or the studio is getting in a joke at the expense of rankled players. I mean, with this quest, the sunflowers are now canon, so they’re there for good.
It’s also ridiculous and not at all flattering for the elves to be completely ignorant of the sunflower’s existence in the Shire. I mean, if these two guys were so in love with this one particular plant, you’d think they would have asked around a bit. Perhaps paid to put some pictures on the side of milk cartons: “Have you seen this flower?”
Elves and flowers are always a dangerously stupid mix, and this quest is perhaps the pinnacle of proving such.