Posted in Lord of the Rings Online

LOTRO’s now-bloated early game was a misstep of studio resources

I’ve been splitting my LOTRO time this past week between my lowbie Dwarf Captain and my Minstrel, getting a different flavor and approach with each. Right now — subject to change — I’m doing full zone and deed completions on my Cappy. It’s certainly not hard at this level, as mobs melt away after a sword hit or two.

While I view the two new beginner zones somewhat favorably for their streamlined questing, storytelling, and generally pleasing aesthetic, the veteran part of me is starting to get a bit irked at how stuffed SSG made Eriador over the past couple of years. I don’t think any of these additional zones or zone additions were needed at all — there was more than enough landscape content (not to mention missions and skirmishes) to get to Moria. But now there’s SO MUCH that either you ignore a bunch of it or end up spending nearly twice as long as before completing all the zones.

And it took a LONG time before all Yondershire, the Angle, Swanfleet, and the rest came to play.

I get wanting to make a favorable first impression and encourage alts, but in retrospect, this was a waste of time and resources that would’ve been much better spent adding on to the end of the game that’s been stagnating for a year and a half now. SSG seems to have realized that, too, but it’s not going to get that time back — and we’ve ended up with a bloated beginning region.

And now I’ll say something nice: These new tent designs are pretty neat and swooshy.

Over on my main Minstrel, she’s slogging through Taur Drúadan. Despite having many characters and a couple of high-level ones, I’m reaching content I’ve only done maybe two times before. So I don’t really have this memorized, which is nice from a discovery standpoint but frustrating from a “how do I get around in this annoying-to-navigate zone” perspective. And Taur Drúadan’s rocky landscape and thick forests don’t lend themselves to quick travel and questing. But plug away, I shall!

At least I got to take a break to help marry two of the local wild people. This involved tickling a goat, probably for no other reason than it amused the developers to make us do it. Tickle tickle!


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