Playing Lord of the Rings Online – Part Two

Baggins…. Shire….

Read the first part here

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So I have found my adventurous hobbit in the Shire. After playing through the tutorial quests you are pushed through to the shire with all the other hobbits. I have to say I was expecting to arrive with less style but I’m now sporting a flowing red cape and an adventurer’s hat with a feather in it, bit flash for a hobbit but still, I’m off on an adventure!

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The shire is an amazing place in Lord of the Rings Online, and well worth your time even if you’ve got no interest in levelling up very far into the game. The other hobbits have interesting things to say, all the family names sound familiar from the books or films, and landmarks are there intact, you can even enter Bag End, and it’s full of little details that will make you inner geek squeal. Like the maps, or the picture of a dragon, or the dining room that featured in the recent Hobbit movie. It’s all present and accounted for, and just looks right.

I’ve found myself ignoring many of the quests completely and just enjoying being in the Shire, it’s rare in an MMO that I’m not keen to progress, but this place is just so nice. I’ve even had a quest that introduced me to crafting. In LOTRO you choose an entire profession that consists of three skills, so I’ve taken Yeoman which involves farming, cooking, and erm.. tailing? Whatever a tailor does anyway. In essence the crafting is much like any other MMO, you get recipes, you collect ingredients, you click to make things and they get made. You can also occasionally get lucky and get criticals that give you a new recipe or a better item. There’s more to it than all that, but there’s a lot ot be said for how simple and pointles some of it is. In World of Warcraft, everything is about progression, but in LOTRO you can farm pipe-weed which does nothing but change the animation for your character when you smoke. It’s brilliant, I’ve spent quite a while farming, because it seems fitting for a hobbit, and it’s relaxing. MMO worlds really shine when you’re not constantly trying to murder everything.

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Speaking of which, the quests. The quests in the Shire do include a little bit of animal murder, but for the most part they’re fetch and retrieve quests, farming, organising parties, delivering mail, taking part in social scandals, and playing games. Everything you’d expect of a hobbit. It would have been so easy to have fallen in with the ‘go kill lots of these’ quests because it is an MMORPG, but they’ve got a bit beyond that and tried to get you involved in the world. A friend is playing a dwarf and he does have to go kill loads of things, because dwarves like fighting. Hobbits don’t and it’s refreshing to see they don’t have to.

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One hilarious problem with the game, is that currently horses rented from stables don’t seem to appear for some players. Including me. I’m not sure if it is intentional that it looks like players are speed-Gangam-styling into the distance, but I don’t mind if this glitch stays around for a bit.

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This entry is short, because since I last posted I’ve only levelled up once or twice, it’s not that I haven’t played much, I’ve just enjoyed the scenery so much I haven’t really been progressing. As Bilbo said, adventures are nasty things. I might just stay here.

Read the first part here

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