Daily Archives: July 23, 2010

Repeating History in Middle-earth

By which I mean we may be making the same mistake again.

The instance group summer hiatus from Azeroth looks like it will be going on for some time.

Bigbutt/Bungholio is getting ready to move, which means that over the life of the instance group, all of us will have moved to a new home.  That will keep him busy for a while.

And if that doesn’t, a new arrival, an addition to his family, certainly will.  Moving and a new baby in the same month will fill up your schedule.

So the rest of us started looking around for another game to play.  Other genres of games did not fit the group.  We don’t all like first person shooters or real-time strategy games, so we decided to stick with the MMORPG path.  (Where is Diablo III when we need it?)

And since we already have two Middle-earth partisans in the group (Potshot and myself), Lord of the Rings Online ended up being the choice.

Last Saturday we had the big character roll-up on the Firefoot server.  I already had a couple of characters there, which will give us some trade skill support at least.

Earl went for the tanking role, his usual chosen occupation, and created a dwarf guardian.

Enaldie, who favors the caster role, went with the rune keeper this time around, having played a minstrel and lore master in previous ventures into the lands of Tolkein.

Potshot took back the healing role and went with a minstrel.

And I picked one of the classes I have not touched in the past, the burglar.  I defied convention however and rolled a man rather than a hobbit.  That’s just me.

We spent the evening warming up with LOTRO, learning how it is different from WoW and getting through the starter instances.

Of course, we also had to form a guild… erm… a kinship.  Terminology is one of the ways LOTRO is different from WoW.

After tossing around a few ideas, we settled on Murder for Shire.

We had enough alts already, between Potshot and myself, to complete the kinship registration process.  It is nice that, unlike WoW, alts can sign the charter.  Two people can effectively form a kinship.  And so a kinship was born.

Roderigo of Murder for Shire

We also divided up some of the trade skills between us.  We’re just the type of people who feel they have to do trade skills in MMORPGs I guess.  Though in LOTRO, a lot of the player made gear is quite worthwhile.

And so we had a good first night in the game as a group.  But there is still the whole repeating history issue.

Way back when LOTRO first came out and Earl was involved with his new job and cross-country move, four of us attempted to go play in Middle-earth.  However, LOTRO is a game where a group is six people, so we attempted to muddle through with only two thirds of the resources that instances like the Great Barrow were designed for, which meant things went generally poor for us.

Now we’re back, three years later, again with only four players.  Will the game prove more viable for us?

A lot has changed in Middle-earth since we were last there as a group.

Certainly there is the skirmish system, which came along with the Siege of Mirkwood expansion.  Those encounters scale.  However, they seem to scale for 1, 3, 6, or 12 players, so I am not sure what you do with four.  And you cannot join a skirmish until level 30, so we have a ways to go for that.

And there is some promise for the future.  A recent LOTRO developer diary discussed bringing the scaling mechanism from skirmishes to some of the instances in the game.  But that is in the future.

Will we be able to find success and glory with a group of four?  Will we need to recruit to fill out those two empty group spots?  Should we just try and grab some available players when we get to the Great Barrow or Weathertop?

We will see as the story unfolds.

This coming week we plan to start with Book 1.  There is, it seems, an unwanted guest at the Prancing Pony in Bree.  One of those “rangers” from the north.  We’ll see what that is all about.