LOTRO: Golden Woods blues

What motivates you to log on and play an MMO? We all have various answers to that which depend on the time and situation, but typically the answers are (1) the social connections, (2) the experience of story, (3) achieving personal goals, or (4) obtaining rewards such as levels, gear, and useful items. The more motivation, the more compelled I am to jump into a game. The less, then it depends if I want to play or not.

I’ve been thinking about this lately in my LOTRO adventures. I feel stalled out right now, with nothing new to do at the endgame until the next update comes out and nothing new to achieve on my progression server character until the next unlock happens. Both should be early/mid summer. And with the anniversary content done earlier than expected, I’m left puttering around Lothlorien on my goat, doing quests not for rewards, not for XP, but merely for the experience of doing them. And while it is a pleasant enough zone, the Elf fetch-and-do quests are the epitome of fluff. Go pick flowers. Go pick mushrooms. Go pick berries. Go meditate. Go light candles. We’re too lazy, we’re Elves, you do all the hard work you Hobbitsy thing.

Whenever I get into a situation like this in an MMO, it calls for various solutions to stave off burnout. Playing less is certainly an option (and one I’ll be pursuing this month as I branch off into other online games). Setting other goals is another one, as is simply exploring the world and paying more attention to detail.

For example, whilst going around Bree doing anniversary content, I took a look through this gate into a section of town that none of us have ever — or will ever — go into. Makes me really want to see what might be back there in this rich section, but alas, I’m a mere dirty adventurer.

Or I was reminded of this little Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle easter egg in the turtle house — you can see the nunchuck next to one turtle and a rat up on the rock. LOTRO doesn’t have that many of these pop culture references, especially in comparison to other MMOs, and the ones it does boast are usually pretty low-key like this.

At least this prodded me in the direction of Bingo Boffin, whom I had last left in Rivendell. I spent a few nights catching up on his questline throughout Eregion and Moria — oh Willem Whisker, where are you off to now? As always, these were a refreshing break from the more serious LOTRO epic story. My only regret is that there isn’t some way to farm Bingo Badges so that I’d have enough currency to buy everything I wanted from Bert.

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