While I think that four months was a good span of time for the initial release of LOTRO’s progression servers — what with 50 levels, a whole volume of the epic, and over a dozen zones — I don’t think the same is true for this period of Moria. It’s definitely less content to consume (fewer zones, only 10 levels), and less than a month into it, I had already blasted through the underground kingdom and come out the other side as a newly minted level 60 Minstrel.
I’m not complaining too much, mind you. Unlike some of our kinship, who are loving every minute of being in Moria, I got my fill about a week and a half in and then was ready to egress. Even with the streamlining of quests and travel, the second half of Moria relies too much on confusing zones that are bothersome to navigate. So when I hit 60, I lost a lot of interest in doing regular questing in these areas, preferring to simply focus on the epic until I got out into Lothlorien, where I started back up with all types of quests.
That’s worked out fairly well. Despite uppity elves who try to shoot you on sight and then make you pick flowers for them ever after, it’s a visually beautiful zone that feels refreshingly open and colorful after the dark dreariness of Moria. About the only thing I really don’t like is the layout of the elf city, as trying to figure out how to get from flet to flet can occasionally be maddening. Plus, there’s a lot of returning to Moria for various tasks, and that doesn’t seem to endear itself to players like myself who would rather be done with it.
Still, it’s relaxing. I’ve spent several evenings doing nothing more or less than forging forward in the epic and doing the random side quests while trying not to engage in combat with the “protected” animals. Are elves protected? Can I collect a few of their ears for my hobbit hole walls?
I’ve given some thought as to what I’m going to do when the side quests and epic runs out, and I haven’t really settled on a firm plan yet. I do need to catch up on Bingo quests, and there are always — always — deeds to be done. I could go the raiding route and join my kin in Turtle and Watcher raids (which I’ve actually never done), or grind up my skirmish soldier (ick), or jump back onto my level 19 Cappy and work on her a bit. Another option is to greatly scale back on LOTRO until the next unlock and focus on some other MMO projects. I don’t want to disengage entirely, but I also don’t need to be grinding when it’s not fun or I don’t feel like it.
Most likely than not, I’ll be focusing on the anniversary festival content, especially considering that I haven’t done any of the scavenger hunts on the progression server.
It’ll be a good feeling to have my Minnie fully ready for Mirkwood. Despite what some people say, it’s still one of my favorite expansion areas, although I do hope that SSG opens up more than Mirkwood with the next unlock. Mirkwood plus Enedwaith, perhaps? Or Mirkwood plus the entire Isengard expansion? I wouldn’t mind that!