Saturday night and time for Epic quest lines!
The four of us (Earl is still travelling) met up at the Prancing Pony to start on Book One, Chapter One of the Epic quest line that leads you through the story of, and gives you a role in, the war of the ring.
When last we left off the epic trail, Barliman Butterbur had sent us off to talk to the mysterious Strider, a ranger of the north. I suppose if you have never read the books or seen the movies, you might be less than impressed meeting up with some guy named “Strider,” dressed in buckskin, who stays in the back room (right by the fire exit) of a place called the Prancing Pony. You might think he was a little less Middle Earth and a little more Midnight Cowboy.
But get that thought out of your mind. He is a red blooded Anorian boy. Besides, half of what you hear about going on with rangers in the woods is a lie, and the other half is because it can get pretty darn cold out there at night. And he totally has a girlfriend and she is hot, even if she is a bit older than him. Well a lot older than him. Okay, she is 2600 years older than him, but she is an elf, so she looks really good for her age. Really. They had Liv Tyler play her in the movie, not Carol Channing.
Anyway, here he is:
A little more Sean Bean than Viggo Mortensen, and not quite as tall as I expected, but he’ll do.
Dengo, Bilba, Shooty, and myself (Nomu), got right on the job, spoke to him, then were whisked off to an instance. One of the nice things about the epic quest line is that it is almost all instanced, so you can really get involved with the drama without having to hear somebody else trying to master “Stairway to Heaven” on the lute.
The downside is that much of the time in these instances is spent following and/or protecting one NPC or another. I realize that they need somebody there to move the story along and that an NPC that says “Follow me!” or “This way!” is pretty effective. It isn’t too annoying, as the locations and the NPCs involve change up, but I do hope for a bit more variety at some point.
Of course, we were a bit over level starting off. The first stage was a level 11 quest while we weighed in at 15, 14, 13, and 15 in the group ordering listed above. So the challenge was pretty low, though it did let us warm up and get our group dynamic going.
The biggest drag was that at almost every stage we entered an instance which ended up dropping us somewhere outside of Bree but then required us to run back to the Prancing Pony to talk to Strider yet again. Hence the title of this post. We were running after him all evening.
Not all the NPCs were keen to run around with us. Lenglinn the Lazy here barely woke up long enough to send out to count crows for him.
Judging from the pattern on the soles, he probably picked those boots up at the Rockport outlet outside of Combe.
Still, we shared in a few fun adevntures, like Amdir, who features in some of the new player starter quests, going totally evil on us thanks to the Nazgul.
Here we are all cowering (except Bilba, who seems unfazed) while the Nazgul turn Amdir into something other than a ranger. Still, not much dread effect going on for us.
I do not recall why there are two Amdir’s in the picture at this point. No doubt part of his transition from ranger to undead scourge. And then there are the Nazgul. Check out those hit points. Level 50 fun.
Of course, we had to fight Amdir. Here we are going after him.
Dengo… he has a way of getting through to people there. Torthann, on the other hand, seems to still have a bit of the dread on him, since he seems to be fighting from behind me. Or I could just be short.
We got through to chapter 8, at which point we began to tire and ended up calling it a night. Next week we will pick up where we left off, which will bring us into the Old Forest.
I finished the same part last week. I am sick of all the escort quests though. Mainly because the guy runs around and we can barely keep up, and because I’m tanking, I’m charging ahead to grab the mobs the NCP just aggrod, so I barely have time to look or pay attention to what’s going on. This is sort of like healing a bad pug in WoW, I can’t look at the nice dungeon scenery I’m too busy doing my job because of some moron running around. :)
After turning in that quest the quest giver said something about ring-wraiths and I asked our fellowship “there were ringwraiths there? Where?” heh. Finally just this morning looking at my screenshot I saw “oh yeah there were some right there”. I hope it’s not like this the whole way.
My new computer makes lotro look awesome
Nomu, you’re so family-friendly! I see you cleverly avoided any discussion of Lenglinn the Lazy’s disturbing animation. That was certainly a memorable part of our adventure, although we could have lived without it.
Well I don’t mind if Strider looks like either Sean or Viggo – both very handsome young men :)
Sounds like you guys are having a bunch of fun and looks very pretty. If I get the bug and have to get this game it will be all your fault Wil :)
Family friendly? I figured after I opened up with “Midnight Cowboy” I had best move away sexual mores of the Dunedain.
Of course, I wasn’t the one who remained at Lenglinn’s campfire after the rest of the group was headed off to the next meeting with Strider.
As for fun, yes, these are good little group ventures. They have the advantage over our WoW instance adventures in that the episodes are pretty short, so our evenings do not drag on quite so far into the wee hours. Of course, we’re also only around level 15.
And, of course, Middle Earth is beautiful. Every time I get used to some area, I move on and get to “ooh” and “ahh” over some new scenic view.
I did have the opposite issue that Yunk pointed out at one point. In one instance you have to escort an old woman safely out of the zone. She was easily the slowest NPC I have ever encountered. I did get to see that whole instance in very slow detail.
As for Sean & Viggo being young men… well, I can agree to that, since they are older than me, which makes me young by definition.
As you’ll recall, Nomu, I only stayed by the fire because two other guys came along who looked exactly like you guys, and I was trying to be nice by waiting for you. I was training my eyes *away* from Mr. Lazy the whole time.
The Great Barrows instance is large and will take some time, though there are only three key fights in it. As far as escort missions… well, most of the epic instances are escort missions. Radagast is particularly annoying.
Best to think of them like the safari ride leaders in Disneyland. “And now, on the left, you see a raging Elephant! I once shot an Elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I’ll never know. I brought him to Alabama where the Tusksaloosa. Anyway…. and on the right, a horrifying Barrows Wight! Last year he was riding this ride right where YOU are, sir, and then he got out. Yessir, Justin Wong. Nothing we could do, but it just goes to show how every Mr. Wong is someone’s Mr. Wight.”
“Moving on, arms and legs INSIDE the boat, everyone. I hope we don’t come across any Bogsuckers. They say there’s a Bogsucker born every minute, and we’ve been here ten minutes already!”
Yup, epic Disneyland boat rides, that’s what they are.
Heh, I worked with a guy who used to do the Safari Boat Ride at Disneyland. He could recite the whole thing on demand. Granted, I think it damaged his brain in some deep and fundamental way. Eventually he had to be sent to product management with the rest of the people who had lost their grip on reality.