Some screenshots from Lord of the Rings Online

lorien

My burglar rides through Lothlorien, the Golden Wood. This is more of an achievement than it first appears because the elves won’t allow anyone in until they have earned enough reputation, which you do by running some regular and daily questlines.

Some people love this type of gating, others hate it. I was impressed that Turbine had tuned the amount of questing that you needed to do to a semi-reasonable amount. I had a handful of sessions of fairly relaxed questing, which involved some orc slaughter, some collections, some arrow delivery – in other words a reasonable spread of things to do. And I’m coming to the content long after most other people are off to Mirkwood.

So although I can see how people might have been frustrated when the Lorien patch first dropped at being herded through repetitive quests just outside the zone, I found it all quite relaxing. I enjoy the chilled out pace of LOTRO and this worked for me.

I was very glad that I had been advised to head out of Moria and start on the Lorien quests at level 58 though. I think that made the whole experience much smoother.

loriencity

You can tell that you are in Lothlorien from the graphical bloom. I rather liked the effect.

In this shot, my character is outside the gates of Caras Galadhon, the treetop city in the heart of the Golden Wood. And because this is LOTRO, you need even more reputation with the local elves before they will let you in. This was slightly more annoying because within that city were all the conveniences of auction house, vault, and so on.

Again, I was impressed with how the reputation grind was tuned. You get reputation from just about anything you do in Lothlorien, and I gained access to the city just before my character hit 60, which meant that I could bind there before heading off to Mirkwood.

Again, I know the Lorien quests weren’t universally popular. They are weighted towards exploring, gathering, collecting, and talking to NPCs rather than pure slaughter (although there are plenty of opportunities to kill orcs on the outskirts of the golden woods also.) I found it a breath of fresh air – maybe even literally compared with the claustrophobic orc-slaughterfest of Moria. Moving to one zone after the other was a delight, and certainly a change of pace.

So, I enjoyed my time in Lothlorien. It does feel strange to be questing in an almost empty zone. They do also go totally overboard with all the various different reputation items that end up in your bags. Bag space continues to be a huge and ongoing issue with this game.

In the end, I spent most of my tokens on Lorien-styled cosmetic clothing, because I knew I had no intention of hanging around long enough to grind out tokens for more useful gear. Especially since I imagine it gets replaced quickly in Mirkwood anyway. I peg this as one of the things you learn from having played a lot of MMOs, knowing which parts of the outdated endgame you can probably skip.

And in an oddly immersive way, it reminded me of how the fellowship in Lord of the Rings picked up elvish cloaks and clasps  to take on their way.

geode

And one last shot of Moria. In this screenshot I’m inspecting a giant geode.

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14 thoughts on “Some screenshots from Lord of the Rings Online

  1. Don’t forget to visit the Garden of Galadriel once you are inside of Caras Galadhon! It is quite easy to miss, as the city is very big. I am sure I still have not seen all corners of the city, mostly due to the maze nature how many treetops are connected with each other.

  2. Again, I was impressed with how the reputation grind was tuned.

    Looking forward to doing all that rep grind for your other characters? I’m not. :P But, I’ll feel like I have to if I get my characters up that high because they’re all high level crafters.

    The rep grind also leads to some funny situations in what are supposed to be times of war. ;)

    • What other characters? :) I’m proud to be a casual in LOTRO, no alts over level 20 (I think). I also decided not to bother levelling tailoring although my character is an explorer — it’s better if I leave that sort of grind for the lifetimers and just gather ore and sell it so that I can buy gear from them.

      If you feel that you want to have several alts who are high level crafters, then that means grind. But that’s your choice (in this game).

      Having said all that, I have jettisoned a LOT of cool stuff in this game in order to focus on my main goal (to see all the areas, and to actually get to max level sometime). I’ve skipped most of the book quests — I would have liked to have done them but it doesn’t seem fair to make people spend all that time in Moria now, plus I wanted to get back into daylight also. I haven’t seen any of the level 60 instances at all, nor the raids. I haven’t done much crafting or many of the rep grinds. I don’t have a house (although I could get one).

      I’m having fun on my own terms, but I know that I had to turn away from some cool content in order to do it. I don’t know that I’ll see level 65 instances or raids either. There are skirmishes I won’t see because their pre-req is to do book quests which I haven’t done.

      BUT, I think I prefer to have the option to skip content than to feel forced to do absolutely all of it. For me, that’s part of the appeal.

  3. Oh, that’s in fact not just a giant geode – it is a globe of Middle-Earth! Look at it from the other side, it’s all there, and the ocean is labelled “Belegaer” in rune-writing. Pretty awesome!

    Regarding the rep-grind, more annoying than to get inside was, for me, that once you were, all the animals would still aggro on you, but you were not allowed to kill about half of them, because they are “protected by the Lady”, and it would lose you rep. Therefore a “relaxing stroll” would sooner or later turn into being on the run. From aggro-critters. Because you’re not allowed to touch them.

    Well, that, and sitting there in full raid gear, realising that the pinnacle of end-game content in the highly anticipated Lothlorien-patch, which was supposed to finally lead us out of the grindy darkness of Moria, was somehow supposed to be picking flowers and /sing’ing to trees. Or, alternatively, grinding in the darkness of Moria … in solo-instances.

    Gah, I ranted again.

    • Oops. I really should have paid more attention, I think I was distracted by the shiny purple gems. That’s actually really cool. They put so much detail into the world in LOTRO, it is genuinely fun to explore.

      And I do find it interesting how different an experience I have when I’m so casual that I ignore endgame. I’m sure if I’d been raiding I’d have felt the same as you.

      • Don’t blame yourself, the map isn’t overly obvious. I just happened to be travelling with a friend who is knowledgeable in all sorts of runes, and there she stopped, pondered, got her listings out and deciphered the writing as “B E L E G A E R”. Oh wait, that’s the name of the Great Sea, exclaimed I, and then we looked closely and saw the outlines of the continent.

        And yes, I fully agree that satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a zone (or, for that matter, any element of a game) depends very, very much on the personal context and perspective!

  4. Sounds like you play it the way I do, and perhaps it is close to the aim of the designers as well. Slower pace, enjoying the scenery. I have one main character to take all the way. I have some alts but I have no interest in that now. When your pace is slow and you don’t feel the urge to rush, even the horse quest is not annoying. I found it pleasant.

    I feel no pressure to get to the level cap. I look forward to seeing places and things, but the knowledge that once I do it will be less exciting keeps me content. Kind of like waiting for Christmas. I don’t rush to Christmas because I don’t want it to end. I avoided Rivendell for a good while, just because I wanted to savor the anticipation for a while longer.

    • I think you’re right, and I quite liked the horse quest also. In fact, I distinctly remember thinking how cool it was that you had to do a long horse-related quest before you could get a horse.

      At the same time, I can see how that’s annoying for people who just want the horse already. But quite funny that I am tending to love the parts of the game that more hardcore players hate. Goes a long way to showing how different sides of a game can appeal to different goals.

    • Inarguably. It’s astoundingly beautiful and very immersive, and offers roleplayers a LOT of little goodies. I’ve not seen another PvE game of that quality yet. I only wish it were less grindy (especially the reputation and legendary items) and that they’d avoided gear-gating. Were it so I’d still be playing.

      • It is a gorgeous game. Although I agree that the character models aren’t the strong point.

        I find it’s similar in style (in some ways) to EQ2. I mean, the quests have that same sort of back-and-forth quality. But LOTRO breathes atmosphere in a way that EQ2 doesn’t, and the LOTRO developers don’t put as much work into things like housing and crafting after they’ve put them into the game.

  5. Those screenshots are lovely. I always found the LotRO landscapes to be goregous but the player character models to be horrendously ugly. They look all gangly and strangely proportioned. I know it’s petty but it’s always kinda put me off getting stuck into the game.

  6. I really REALLY enjoyed the landscape of LOTRO. It was absolutely breath taking, especially on high graphics. I really liked your take on the questing/rep. I do agree, many times it is refreshing to really take a break from the slaughter fest and take it “easy” so to speak.

    I think I may pick up LOTRO again. You have convinced me. :)

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