Never say ‘Nevah!’ again?!


Just recently, I’ve been contemplating something that even three or four months ago, I never would have countenanced. Loading up LoTRO. The human mind is a strange thing, and absence nearly always makes the heart grow fonder, no? To some of my kin-mates, I may even had uttered the dreaded phrase  ‘Never again!’ in relation to LoTRO. But hey…never say ‘Nevah!’, right?

That’s not to say I’ve taken the plunge yet. My LoTRO client maybe fully patched up, but that’s ‘cos by kids still play occasionally. Me, I haven’t set foot in Turbine’s Middle Earth for, well, six months or more. So, if I do go back, what’s my motivation? Why would I do it?

Pre-dawn in the Lonelands

Pre-dawn in the Lonelands

In truth, I still love the start-to-mid part of the game. Leveling from 1 through to 60 is a fun experience in LoTRO. For me, once you hit the far side of Lothlorien, it all starts to go pear shaped, but before that, there’s a huge amount to admire and enjoy. But let’s do a quick recap of where LoTRO is and how we got there…

Originally, the level cap was 50. Many players that hit that mark then spent countless hours grinding out end-game gear in ‘The Rift’ and other salubrious locations in Angmar. I never ran the Rift in anger because, by the time I got there, the level cap was already at 60; but It was a fun time, apparently, and I believe it.

Then came Moria and the level cap got bumped to 60. All that level 50 gear got binned (at least metaphorically speaking) but this was acceptable as everything was new; legendary items had arrived! ‘Radiance’ became the goal for all would be raiders so that they could take on ‘The Watcher’ – and in the process hope to complete their Moria armour set. Shinnies all round!

Next came ‘Lothlorien’ and the raid of Dar Narbugud, which required yet more radiance. So another set of armour went  in the bin and another was ground out, by those that cared. DN was a tough nut though, and those that survived in there could honestly say that they knew their class(es) well. Elitist? Maybe. Tough, challenging and rewarding? For sure.

Lake Evendim

Lake Evendim

Mirkwood was released, raising the level cap again, this time to 65. New dungeons and yet more requirement for radiance in the Barad Guldur raid. The gear grind started all over again, and folk began to get a little tired of dumping their hard earned sets. Oh yes, and don’t forget to ditch all of those level 60 legendary weapons, folks, ‘cos you need level 65 ones now!

Then what? Ah yes, scrap radiance. A good thing in isolation, no doubt. However, for those who had been grinding it out through the previous expansions, it was a little hard to take. Suck it up and move on, you oldsters.

So on we go. The level cap was moved to 75 with the advent of Enedwaith. Again, ditch all that level 65 gear – and start yet again with your legendary items while you’re at it.

Rinse and repeat for Rohan at level 85, but this time throw in an additional legendary item in the war horse bridle. Oh joy of joys!

So, here we are, 35 levels on from when we first picked up a legendary item at the entrance to Moria. Still were stuck with the dreadful legendary item system that means that nothing legendary is really legendary at all, because the damn things drop like confetti at a wedding, and have to be replaced more regularly than a baby’s nappy (diaper for any US reader)! Am I bitter?!

Looking forward, the recent whisperings on the development progress of Helms Deep, do not fill me with any enthusiasm for the level 95 end-game, either. The introduction of ‘skill-trees’ sounds like it might well result in the further dumbing down of the once unique LoTRO classes. I say ‘further’ because the said dumbing down process has been ongoing for some time now. The likes of my once-loved guardian class, was once a tank and only a tank, can now be turned into pretty okay DPSers. Captains, originally buffing machines, can now both tank and DPS. The list goes on.  Turbine have, under the eye of WB, ceased the production of complex-but-interesting mechanics that we saw in the original versions of Dar Narbugud, Skumfil, Dark Delvings and Samath Gul (to name but a few), and, with the advent of Helms Deep, look to be introducing what sounds like a zerg-centric battle system. Maybe they’ve been looking at how GW2 does end-game?

Misty Mountains

Misty Mountains

I very much doubt I’ll pre-order Helm Deep. I’ll bide my time and read the reviews. Maybe I’ll buy post-release, maybe not. But, in the meantime, I have an itch to see the likes of the Lonelands, Evendim, Eregion and Forochel again. And if I do decide to pay them a visit, I may just play on a new server too – it might be even more fun to start from the very beginning, with no 200 gold in the bank, and no ready-made crafters in support.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

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4 Responses to “Never say ‘Nevah!’ again?!”

  1. In anticipation for your return, welcome back in advance =) Looking forward to reading some of your starting-from-scratch posts(if you decide to do it). Cheers

  2. I am approaching Moria for the first time and have already bypassed most of Angmar… tis a shame …all the old prooving grounds lying dormant…Trying to find a willing but casual group to explore these ‘remnants’ is too difficult and I have just moved on…

    A shame as I have heard that they can be great fun 🙂

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