27 February, 2010

More Postcards From Middle-earth (Lord of the Rings Online)

written by Blain Newport on Wednesday, February 24, 2010


At level 30 skirmishes open up. They're like custom instances. You get a quick (30 minutes or so) epic battle to fight.

Here's a dwarven hero and my personal soldier fighting a troll wound taker. Everything's washed out because we're holding the courtyard of a dwarven fortress during a blizzard. The troll's not as tough as he looks. One on one he wouldn't stand a chance against me, which is slightly ludicrous.

But neither would this dragon, so it's a sliding scale. Still, it's pretty intimidating the first time you see it flap in, provided your graphics settings are up high enough. Otherwise it looks kind of choppy and strange.

Speaking of places that look nice with the graphics turned up, I finally made it to Rivendell. It's a pretty place, but elven settlements are never laid out well. I guess if you live forever you don't care how long it takes to walk places.

The elves are a proud and ancient people, so naturally I had to play the obnoxious tourist. Here's me with Elrond. He didn't want to pose for this, but he had a quest he needed done (as shown by the ring over his head), so I had the upper hand.

I think this is the terrace the fellowship was formed on. Technically, I'm not at the point in the game where the fellowship exists yet, I don't think.


I'm on a quest to put Aragorn's sword back together, but I don't remember when that happens in the overall plot.

After turning the graphics up to ultra high, the fields of the Shire looked much nicer.

And as shallow as it may sound, discovering stuff like these lake side ruins feels more rewarding with the graphics turned up.

But here's the lady who pretty much killed the game for me. For one thing her quest chain is the definition of tedium. For another it ends with an instance. Remember how I used to love instances because you could solo them if necessary? That stops. And with only two other players in the entire zone, I couldn't have formed a party if I'd wanted to.

This game needed to start consolidating servers months ago, but they probably fear they won't get new customers because the press will cover it as "LotRO shutting down". But if they lose any new customers they do get because there aren't enough players around to actually do the quests, are they gaining anything? I was looking forward to paying a subscription fee for the month or three it would have taken me to see the rest of the game. The feeling of being on an epic adventure in the granddaddy of all fantasy settings, fighting in famous sieges, questing alongside legendary wizards, and unraveling the schemes of the Witch-king, was worth it. It's too bad.

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