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.