I have played Lord of the Rings Online off and on since the end of February. I have gone through bursts of activity in the game followed by a week or two of playing something else.
Last weekend though, I think I hit a transition point. I went beyond abstract interest in a game whose world I know so well through the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
I started enjoying the game for the sake of the game itself.
I initially logged on to goof around with my champion for a bit. I am still figuring out what class suits me.
After a bit of running around I decided to roll up a hunter. An elf hunter. Yes, “Legolas Syndrome” strikes again.
I had already been through the elven starting zone as a minstrel, so I knew the basics of where to go and what to do. In a way, this second run through was somewhat liberating. I spent a lot more time seeing the sights.
Once through the trial with Dwalin, I was out into the world. Just running around solo I really found myself having a good time. I think it was a combination of the new class (the hunter works for me so far), the scenery (and the fact that there are out of the way places to see), and the fact that I am getting used to the slightly different UI that gave me the warm fuzzy.
So, with that happy elf buzz still going, I ran down to Fry’s today (it is Tuesday, right?) to pick up my live retail box of LOTRO.
And there, in the PC games aisle, I had to make a decision: Special Edition or Not?
Since my Civilization III collectors edition purchase (least favorite version of Civilization ever) I have been somewhat down on spending extra money for a version of the game that, in the end, does not really deliver much extra value.
On the other hand, the suggested retail price for the Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Special Edition (with Exclusive Special Edition Items!) is only $10 more than the standard edition. Plus, it does not come in a giant, difficult to conceal-from-my-wife box like The Burning Crusade Collectors Edition. (Which comes in a box big enough to contain Trivial Pursuit: Azeroth Edition. And, frankly, I am surprised there is no such thing as Trivial Pursuit: Azeroth Edition yet.)
Granted, the making of DVD is something I might watch once, the 10 day buddy key is of negligible value, and the idea of a full color manual did not exactly thrill me. Still, the sound track CD and the in-game item (The Glass of Aglaral, which appears to be a Quickie Mart Phial of Galadriel) sounded good. Plus, I can always use another map of Middle Earth.
So the Special Edition was my choice!
And what is my initial reaction now that I have opened the box, popped in the CD, and pawed through everything?
- Sound Track CD – It’s okay. I can let it play in the background, but the sound track isn’t as compelling as WoW’s.
- The Map of Middle Earth – While it is printed on parchment paper, it is a bit heavy on the browns overall, so it is not the easiest thing to read. Plus it is tiny. It is about the size of the map of Middle Earth you see in the front of any copy of “The Fellowship of the Ring.” Okay, it is a little bigger than that… maybe if you have an oversized trade paperback copy of the book, but it isn’t even close to a letter size piece of paper. I’ll use it as a bookmark for my Atlas of Middle Earth.
- Color Manual – This is actually surprisingly good. It doesn’t have an index at the back (you know, Word will do that for you automatically) but it does have a detailed table of contents that is almost a substitute. The color makes it easy to read and I was able to find out how to bring up my Deeds window (shift-L) pretty quickly.
- Buddy Key – Works for 10 days, then your buddy has to buy a full retail copy of the game to continue. What a buddy!
- Making of DVD – It is in there. I’ll let you know when I watch it.
- The Actual Game – On two DVDs. I do not think I need to install it again.
Probably worth the extra $10 I guess. Plus I would always be imagining that I missed out on a detailed, silk screened, flag-sized map of Middle Earth if I let the opportunity pass. Sometimes it is better to know.
Now I am left with one more big decision: Which founder’s path to take, $9.99 a month until I cancel or $199 and never have to uninstall LOTRO?