[LOTRO] Trying It Out Again
A rather long time ago… late 2006 or early 2007, there was a beta release/playtest period for Lord of the Rings Online. I took advantage of it and played with some friends who loved the idea of a game in Tolkien’s world, but at the time I was very heavily invested in EQ2 still, and to be perfectly frank, I liked the story of LotR well enough when I read it back in high school, but I’d also never felt the desire to re-read the trilogy, so the world itself didn’t really have much in the way of a draw for me. I was single at the time and a raider in EQ2 with several characters capped out, so the thought of starting a new MMO didn’t have much appeal for me, so I played in the beta a few times, but didn’t end up buying the game or subbing to it, despite the entreaties of my friends who loved it and bought lifetime subscriptions.
After it went F2P I at least installed it, thinking I’d give it another look, but I was into other games at the time and what little I did try didn’t really “click” with me either. I vaguely recall “working hard” to get a Lore-Master to level 14 to unlock the bear tank pet, thinking it would be a nice change from the raven pet you started with then, but then was disappointed in the bear pet and ended up deleting that character to make room for a minstrel. I picked at the minstrel here and there over the years, but when I logged in and found it again, it was only level 12, so I obviously didn’t do too much with it.
Anyway, this all leads up to with this summer and Standing Stone Games doing that “free quests” giveaway due to all the craziness in the world this year and Syp’s posts about it over the summer, I decided to give it another go. Apparently in my prior attempt to get into the game I’d tossed some cash at it, as I had a decent stock of the cash currency in-place and I want to say I have a vague memory of having to pay to unlock the Warden and Rune-Keeper classes, so…. I logged in to the Brandywine server, as I recalled that name, and my old characters were there, but I didn’t really remember any of them, so I decided I’d just do a fresh start, so I moved over to the Landroval server instead.
My beef with the game before was that it introduced skills so slowly that no matter what class one picked, it still largely felt like “MMO #217” rather than anything unique, and since the world itself had no draw for me… This time I researched the classes a bit more and found that I could level to the mid-teens in just a few hours (I remember feeling like leveling was a slog before), at least. Still and all, the 1st little bit still played like “MMO #217” and didn’t impress me, so I decided to try each class and get it to level 23 (where the final Virtue slot unlocks and almost halfway to the original level cap of 50) figuring that should give me enough under the belt to get more of a feel for what’s unique about the different classes in this game.
I also subbed to the game as paying for 2 months gets you 3 and gets rid of a bunch of annoyances, 2 bonus character slots, and gives cash-shop currency equal to $20-ish in value, all for $30, so… seemed a good deal. I also feel more inclined to play a game I’m subbed to in order to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth from it, so it may encourage me to stick to the game a bit more than before.
I’ve almost reached my goal of everything to 23. I’ve actually got the Hunter to 33 (this was planned initially to be the “ez-mode main” before I got the idea of trying everything) and I was enjoying the questing enough on the Warden that I didn’t notice that I skipped past 23 to 26. Oddly, enough this happened despite my not really caring for the warden much.
I tend to favor ranged/mage classes in any game anymore, and that seems to be holding true here also, as my 2 favorites are the Hunter (blue line, to allow mobility despite this being said to be the “bad” specialization) and the Rune Keeper (yellow line, to allow mobility and also said to be better than the red line anyway). Lore-Master’s not bad and I note that the tanking bear is now granted at level 1 with the raven coming later. I enjoy all the CC the class has got, but when solo questing it’s more about mowing through mobs and other classes do that better. Minstrel’s fine too, but doesn’t seem to “do it” for me.
The melee classes are all “fine” but none really do much for me either. I think I like the Beorning the best of them, though after a slow start the Champion really felt like it took off in the late teens. Captain’s ok, but doesn’t quite “click” with me. Guardian’s designed as a tank class, so even the red dps spec they gave it for solo leveling just doesn’t quite feel like it’s got the “oomph” I want, which is further compounded by the skills not being reliably available since so many rely on a defensive proc in order to be able to use them. Warden’s got so many skills to use in order to create the gambits that the learning curve feels steeper than I’d like for “optimum play.” It’s been fine mostly just using the base skills so far, but in reading up on it the rotation for use that goes from the various mastery skills to the basics and back seemed overly complex, so… meh. I’ve never been fond of stealth/rogue style gameplay in MMO’s so I held the Burglar for last. I’ve got it to level 18 now, so it’s got a little to go before I hit 23 on it, but shouldn’t be much more than another evening or 2. But as it is, I’m thinking I’ll just continue with the Hunter as my main once I have the level 23 baseline established, with a possibility of doing the “RK” from time to time for a little bit of variety.
Happy gaming out there!