[LOTRO] A walk in Enedwaith, with farmyard animals

enedmap

So the long awaited F2P update arrived in LOTRO EU last week, and with it the new high level zone and epic book story associated with Enedwaith (a new zone to the south of Eregion).

Welcome to anyone who is trying the game for the first time. Have fun, it’s a beautifully wrought world.

This is the first new content that EU players have had in the game for over a year, so even aside from the new F2P crew, it’s not surprising that the servers have been buzzing.

One player on my kinship forum was quite dismissive of the whole affair. He said he had been playing the Cataclysm beta and doubted that Turbine would come anywhere near to Blizzard’s storytelling ability. But having played through some of the new book, I wonder if he’d actually tried it at all before coming to that conclusion.

The storyline is this: The Grey Company – all the remaining rangers of the north – are riding south to meet up with Aragorn, their leader, in Rohan. As brave adventurers who have worked with the rangers in the past, you have been invited to join their ride. And Arwen has also entrusted you with a special gift for her beloved. (Because let’s face it, by this time you are beloved with every single free people faction in Middle Earth … pretty much.)It’s a dangerous journey through the wilds. Go!

What I love about Turbine’s storytelling is that they do a much better job than Blizzard in giving you a nice variety of things to do, gameplay wise. I think the recent cultist plots and elemental invasions in WoW prove this quite nicely – they’re fun in themselves but very reminiscent of other quests or events.

Whereas in this new book, in short order I was playing through some scenes in Aragorn’s history through the eyes of several different rangers, exploring a mazelike dungeon — with extra achievement for finding lots of extra out of the way spots that weren’t required for the main plot (a fun little sop for the explorers, I thought), sneaking around another cave to snatch a key from a sleeping jailor without waking him up, and fighting off waves of wolves to keep an NPC alive.

They’ve done a particularly nice job on the solo quest instances – always a strength of the game – with good use of outdoors locations as well as indoors ones.

I do find LOTRO to be a much slower paced game than WoW, which is something to bear in mind when you are playing. If you are not in a hurry, it’s extremely chilled out.

And then there are the farmyard animals

I present to you, the wildlife of Enedwaith.

enedanimals

Yes, I am fighting an evil goat at night in that last picture.

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7 thoughts on “[LOTRO] A walk in Enedwaith, with farmyard animals

  1. LOTRO’s landscapes are just wonderful. A better travel system and removing the “crippled” status you already get after falling only a little might help. The good news is that F2P players apparently now get swift travel as well. But it really makes one miss Guild Wars map travel or WoW’s travel map overview and automatically queued stations.

    I had some very cool quests (the “Wild Hunt”) and a lot of kill 10x and collect 10x crap (crap is to be taken literally this time) quests, much more of them than before were repeatable but IMO fell back in quality behind the Lothlorien and Mirkwood quests of that type, as they are rather uninspired. What I really liked were the “find the rune marker and the treasure” quests.

    I wonder what is “next” after the November update. Will we progress to Mordor one area every X months? The formula can become a little tiring, +/-1 stat on every item, little true progression and every new area has 1-2 new factions with new barter tokens. The good thing is that the new factions are easily maxed through normal questing and gameplay, I am already ally of the Grey Company and almost the same with the savage men of the Enedwaith after a few days. The thing is, even without raiding Dol Guldur and not having done an instance besides skirmishes for ages the only thing I care for are the faction horses. Plus Mirkwood, Lothlorien and Eregion quests and zones are now dead, very much like Azeroth pre-Cataclysm. Some people are still running the school of Tham Mirdain, probably for the crafting relics.

    They also apparently revamped the old raids, upped the old gear looks with new level 65 stats – Helegrod/Thorog and the Annuminas dungeon instances are quite popular at the moment. It always takes me a while to find out in LOTRO where I can do what for what and where to exchange tokens for what and all that. I think they can improve that. I am always so lost at the Skirmish vendors, especially when one was away for a while.

    P.S. got the Inn League Steed, a horse carrying four beer kegs that automatically turns you drunk when riding it. What more can a man, elf, dwarf or hobbit wish for?

  2. P.S. I wonder if we will from now on get areas one at a time or Mirkwood sized chunks of content.

    I wondered if I would rather like Rohan or whatever is next zone by zone or wait longer and get a ton of new areas and quests at once.

  3. I’m boarding the F2P LOTRO train, which EU server are you on?

    Sidenote: I have tried creating an account, but I keep getting an error. I submitted a query, and hopefully they will have it sorted out in “3-5 business days”.

  4. Longasc, I’d almost prefer there be *no* progression except for story progression and player skill development. I’d like to see a big MMO try that angle, and it seems like LOTRO might be best suited.

    It’s not like Aragorn leveled from 1 to 70 (or whatever) and was exponentially more powerful when he finished the storyline. His story was more about how his character developed. I’d love to see a game try to illustrate that by developing character in storytelling and even asking players to develop their own character via tough moral choices.

    • I am afraid Turbine got scared with the fail of Asheron’s Call 2. It did a lot of things different. Who knows if it had been successful, maybe they would have been bold and created a level-less world not based on the DIKU stuff for LOTRO. I mean the virtue system is already what one usually calls an “alternate progression system” today and was pretty modern and advanced at this time.

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