It took me about a week, start to finish, but I went through the entirety of the new zone in Lord of the Rings Online — Yondershire. This was the hefty zone expansion that SSG delivered for the game’s 15th anniversary, going back in a way to the early game nostalgia while offering something new.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to see Bingo Boffin — and his extended family — pop up in this zone. I’m a major Boffin Head, as we call ourselves (or we will, when I convince others to join me), and it was an unexpected treat to go through a lengthy storyline with him and his goofy relatives. I won’t spoil what it was, but I was laughing out loud during various places.
There were certainly a lot of callbacks to the old Shire in the Yondershire’s quests: mail delivery, hide-and-seek, tavern hopping, and the like. I never really felt like the zone was the Shire, though. Outside of the towns, it had a generic look that could’ve been Anywhere, Middle-earth.
Neeker-Breekers! This one wanted to pose for a camera shot, so I obliged.
Anyway, I was overwhelmed — in a good way — by the number of quests that this zone offers. There are four town hubs, and each has quite a few quests and story chains to experience. There was that light-hearted tone of Hobbity whimsy and perspective that makes them so unique in this game setting, and I’m certainly not going to complain that we got more of it.
The only thing I couldn’t judge, taking a level 60 through it, is how efficient the zone is for leveling. I can see it as a nice substitute for level 20 zones — Lone-lands and North Downs in particular — but perhaps not faster than doing either of those.