Every time I’ve taken a new character up through Lord of the Rings Online, I’ve identified a few points where the game seems to bog down, to bend over backwards to keep you in a somewhat unpleasant place for longer than necessary. Early on, there’s one that threatens to leave a bad taste in what is otherwise quite a tasty zone.
I speak, of course, of the Old Forest in Bree-land. Bree-land is already hideously big and makes you feel like you’ll never get out of it when you quest your way through there. At least it’s full of interesting sights and largely pleasant music and settings. I generally like Bree-land. But my heart always sinks when I get to the point where I have to head into the Old Forest.
And I know what you’re thinking: “Well, Syp, it USED to be bad before they put in the new map. Now it’s way better!”
It’s better, I’ll give you that, but it’s light-years away from “fun” or “easy to navigate.” Map or no, Old Forest is a dense maze that makes it surprisingly easy to lose one’s bearings and not even easily see where the “walls” are. Again, it’s not impossible to go through — I’ve done it countless times — it’s just like having to go through rush hour traffic. You’d rather not, but you kind of have to if you want to get to your destination.
What’s the true kicker here is that LOTRO goes overboard in how many times it makes you go into the Old Forest. There are scads of quests, deeds, and epic book missions that require you to head into here and bumble about. Seeing all the sights, getting all of the flowers, and wrapping up all of the quests take too much time — all while the forest’s walls seem to close in and heighten that claustrophobic feeling.
I just sigh and wish I was past it. Again. It’s the bane of Bree-land, iconic or no. I wouldn’t be opposed to a revamp that took out the walls and make this more of a traditional forest that you could explore by going around trees and making your own path.