LOTRO Legendary and the Quirks of Middle-earth

Of course, after getting my champion up past level 10 I immediately started an alt.  And not even an original alt.  I made a dwarf guardian named Nomu on Friday night and started out with him.  I am working on legendary breadth rather than depth I guess.  The usual story for me.

Look, I’m just going to keep using this graphic until I find something better

I won’t say that I rolled up another character because I wanted some overlap in trade skills… but I wouldn’t strictly deny that was a factor either.  One of the many quirks of LOTRO, quirks that tend to make the game endearing or repellent depending on your point of view, is how trade skills are handled.  You can’t pick them onsie, twosie.  You have to pick a vocation, which is a bundle of three trade skills together.

Your vocation choices

The tradition here is that you tend to have two that go together, like prospector and metalsmith, weaponsmith, or jeweller, and then the odd one out.  For Sigwerd I picked Armsman, because weaponsmith and prospector go together.  And, technically, woodworker fits in because you make wooden weapons.  But you need to be a forester to collect wood, and you don’t get that.

If I had remembered, I would have rolled up a hunter and picked the Explorer vocation, since it includes tailor, which makes leather and cloth armor which a hunter can use, because the source for leather is mobs, making leather one of the few harvestable trade items not in short supply.

But I didn’t, I made guardian instead and ran with him.  I rolled along with Nomu on Friday night and picked back up with him yesterday, running though the starting areas.

Another quirk of LOTRO is the dynamic layers mechanic, the little layers of glass icon in the bottom right corner, that lets you know that there are multiple versions of a given zone running.

Dynamic Layers tip

I could tell that the bulk of the initial player base was progressing through the game because by Saturday the early areas on the dwarf starting path were not spawning multiple versions.  But, like a capybara moving through the guts of a python, that mass of players was still visible.

Already groups for Weathertop… and Germans

Somehow I managed to fall off the prologue story path of the epic story line.  Well, not somehow, I know how.  The quest tracker on the right side of the screen only shows five quests, and drops old ones off as you add new ones, so the epic story line was pushed off as I chased quests and I didn’t notice it until I was past level ten, at which point I had to run back to get roll it up.

That meant some traveling back and forth between Gondomon, which was still full of players, and Thorin’s Hall, which had pretty much emptied out.  And I could spot the zone line between the crowed and the empty parts because every time you move across an invisible line into a dynamic layered area, the game stops and throws a loading screen at you.  It can be jarring at times to be riding along a road and then, suddenly, loading screen for no discernible reason!

But I was set to be diligent about rolling up as many of the quest lines in the dwarven area as I could.  I even managed to collect the five gears and finish that up, a quest line that traditionally gets pushed off the tracker and forgotten about until I am too far down the road to care.  I honestly think this might be the first time I finished that quest line.

I also worked on the deeds as well, making sure I had Enmity of the Goblins and Enmity of the Dourhands, the latter of which grants you the ability to add the headbutt skill.

When you score big on a deed

Eventually though, I had rolled up all the quests I could, save one that had gone gray and which involved shooting a dozen of a specie of birds that had been cleared from the lands by the thundering horde of players.  Dropping that only left me with quests that require I moved on to Bree.

When Bree is the only option

Bree was, of course, busy.  Bree and its vicinity form the hub of questing until you get stuck into the Lone Lands.

The introduction to Bree was… not how I remembered it.  There are a few distinct paths you go down initially from Bree and there used to be, if I recall correctly, a set of quests that sent you down each one in turn.  Now, however, there is one quest that just tells you to go talk to the three NPCs that head off each string and assumed you’ll do them in order.  I failed, going to the wrong NPC first and ending up in quests that were a few levels above me.  But the place was buzzing and people were moving around in informal groups to hit the mobs made scarce by over hunting.

Along the way the game threw this tidbit up on my screen.

Tapping will get you far

I think this is just straight up wrong now.  I believe they have changed it so that everybody who puts some damage on a mob gets credit and loot.  That is at least my observation as to how things work now.  But SSG has left this notice in the game just to make people rush to get mobs.  I wonder how many people think they are just the luckiest in the world because they somehow manage to be the first tap on every mob?

And speaking of getting loot, I cannot recall when the current looting method went into the game.  After slaying a mob loot just goes into a pending state that you can collect from a window at your leisure.

The loot just waits for you

It is handy, never having to click on a mob again, so I am not complaining about it.  And things change.  I have a post from eight years ago exploring how the quests around Bree had changed from launch.  It is just different enough from other games that it counts on the list of quirks now that make LOTRO what it is today.

I figured out I was on the wrong path and circled back up the north road to run down the quests up there before moving back along towards Buckland.  That involves killing a lot of wildlife, so my leather supplies runneth over.

I also went back and did the epic story line, taking my usual screen shot along the way.

Amdir, always Amdir

At some point I noticed that I somehow managed to grab a screen shot of that very moment with almost every character, so now it is pretty much tradition to grab another and post it.  The torments of Amdir are never ending.  That and Lalia saying that something looks familiar.

After far too much running up and down the road between Bree and Buckland, which is mercifully much shorter than the 75 miles that the Lord of the Rings Atlas pegs the distance between the two place at, Strider finally set me on the path to meet up with Tom Bombadil, which means adventures in the Old Forest.  At that point I was just a bit into level 17 and already with a set of forgotten quests in my log.

And that is where it stands.  On arriving in Bree I also saw the real estate quest mobs and at level 15 got the pop up encouraging me to go buy a home in Middle-earth.

Housing ads

Housing is one thing I won’t be expending effort on this time around.  I’ll spend a couple hours playing with the music system, but LOTRO housing brings me no joy.  The housing in the game should stand as an warning to those who feel that every game should have such a feature that done badly housing is a waste of time and resources that could have been better spent elsewhere.  But, as with all things, I am sure that housing in LOTRO is somebody’s favorite feature.  To me though, it is pretty but completely useless.

Fortunately, since housing doesn’t play any role in the game, I won’t be missing anything by giving it a pass.  I’ll be in the Old Forest if you need me.

8 thoughts on “LOTRO Legendary and the Quirks of Middle-earth

  1. Shintar

    LOL @ Schnitzelnator. Very RP name, that.

    And I like this post because I can actually relate to some of the things in it – I did make it to about level 20 in LOTRO last year before mine and my pet tank’s combined interest went poof again. I do remember finding the loot system particularly weird, and kind of missing the joy of actively taking stuff from my fallen enemies.

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  2. Bhagpuss

    I’m in two minds about the loot system. It’s inarguably convenient and it has the bonus benefit of effectively expansding your storage enormously – if temporarily. On the other hand, as Shintar says it disconnects you from the process and it also prevents tasks from updating. You don’t get credit until you loot the item and having it in that bag doesn’t count, so I inevitably end up emptying the bag after every kill just to get the task counter to update, which largely defeats the object of having it in the first place.

    Bizarrely, EverQuest now has what I consider to be the best loot system in any MMO I’ve played. It has the advantages of LotRO’s in that you don’t have to click on the mob but it’s far more flexible, allowing you to pick what you want to take and leave as well as letting you set filters for things you never want to take. Every time I play EQ these days I wish I could take that loot system back with me to my other MMOs.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – My experience so far has been that quest drops get looted and counted automatically and that it is just the other items that appear in the window. So far I have not had to collect the items from the Pending Loot window in order to get a quest update. But perhaps I haven’t hit a quest that behaves as you describe.

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  4. Pasduil

    You can filter out loot that you don’t ever want to see in LOTRO, certainly on the normal servers. And you can also filter out quests you don’t want to be told about, and sounds you don’t want to hear.

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  5. Corelin

    You know, I love the results on the housing system, but MAN do I hate doing the work to get a house set up the way I like it. Compare it to FFXIV, the FF system feels like they played 100 hours of LotRO just in the houses and said “Ok how do we do this RIGHT” and went and did that thing. And yes I got Corelin as my character.

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  6. Bhagpuss

    @Wilhelm – It’s the Task items that don’t autoupdate. It’s so long since I was able to take quests I can’t remember how those work. As a F2P player with no access to quests, Tasks are my main way of leveling (no wonder its slow) so when I play I usually have a whole slew of Tasks running and I have to manually accept every ear and skin and piece of fur to get the updates.

    @Pasduil – Yes, I’d forgotten that. The EQ system is a lot more granular as I recall and certainly better presented but they are both at the upper end of loot systems, which remain primitive in most MMORPGs.

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  7. Nogamara

    This might make me seem (or be) picky, but god do I hate those fonts in LOTRO. The quest tracker font looks like it’s 10 years older than this game is (even at launch). And the purple on blue in the loot/selection window…

    I know I never played much, but I wonder to this day how they could blend in those awesome looking ingame graphics with that UI :P

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  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Tasks? Oh my. Yes, those don’t update until you have the loot in your bag. But if you’re doing quests, once you’ve killed the required dozen bears/boars/wolves/Blackwolds/orcs, your bag is usually so full of that sort of stuff that I just run over to the task board, look in my bag, then pick the tasks that match whatever I already have piles of. Wet skins. Broken hatchets. Damaged sheaths. Bird wings. Various bones. It is honestly best not to think to hard about what you’re turning in for tasks.

    I never pick up tasks until I’ve already done my murder spree over the countryside.

    @Nogamara – Fonts do have an odd impact on people. The LOTRO drop caps font always feels awkwardly archaic when, say, I turn on name plates in town and suddenly a couple dozen people’s names, all mingled together suddenly appear. But it seems to fit the game, which is often awkward or archaic in its own way.

    I know people who won’t give EVE Online a chance just based on the fonts, which are admittedly tiny. And one of my many marks against Vanguard was the fonts, including Brad going with the same nameplate font as he used in EverQuest. For no logical reason that annoyed me.

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