LOTRO: This Hobbit’s not going to Isengard (at least today)

Has it really been eight years since Rise of Isengard launched? It doesn’t seem like yesterday… but like three years ago, tops.

I started covering Lord of the Rings Online for Massively back in early 2010. The game was fresh off the Siege of Mirkwood expansion and quickly transitioned into a free-to-play format following DDO’s successful switch. So Rise of Isengard is kind of special for me personally in that it was the first expansion that I got to cover while doing a game column on the site. Eight years later, and I’m still writing about LOTRO on MOP — and here. And we’re back to Rise of Isengard all over again.

Except that I’m not quite there. I know I played it pokey in the last expansion cycle for the progression server, allowing myself to get too distracted and taking longer and longer breaks, but ultimately I failed in finishing up the content in preparation for the next pack. While I am level 65 and have Mirkwood and its epic finished, I still have Enedwaith to go.

As such, I’ve vowed to be more diligent in pursuing this goal of staying on track for these expansion unlocks. I thought they were going to be every four months, but I can see why SSG would make Mirkwood three, considering that it was a smaller pack. I’ve put off adventuring on the regular server and spent at least 45 minutes every day pushing forward in the epic. It’s a lot of Grey Company nonsense — Middle-earth could really use a telegram service instead of one overworked Hobbit sent to round everyone up — but I’m pleased to see that I’m heading in a southwardly direction.

One little nice bonus is that SSG handed out a free armor set to everyone. It’s a reskin of one of my favorite sets, the Rohan one, but I’m not complaining. It’s nice to have it in blue, and I feel that it really fits my Hobbit Minstrel well.

Instead of thinking of all that’s ahead of me, I’m just going to keep my head down and plug away. Forty-five minutes a day might not seem like a lot, but it’s pretty astonishing how much you can accomplish when you’re focused and on a time limit. And yes, I’m still reading quest text and having fun; I wouldn’t be playing otherwise. I like how simple the battle rotation is for the minnie, as I have one round for single targets and one round for packs.

And if there’s one advantage to being a full zone behind, it’s that I’m earning XP right now toward the new level cap and can rake in all of Enedwaith’s experience while the previous level cappers couldn’t. Hopefully that’ll give me a slight level advantage when I enter Dunland in a month or so.

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