The Burden of Returning to Middle-earth

While I am still not planning to play on either of the Legendary servers that the LOTRO team launched last Wednesday, I did decided to log in to take a look and see if there were queues or a big crowd in the starter areas.

You have to go for a bit into the game to see much because the initial start tutorial is a single player instance.  But it was in that instance I was reminded again of how long I’ve been playing LOTRO and the baggage that comes with it.

One of the early interesting aspects of LOTRO was the fact that you got plenty of bag space right at the start.  That bags were fixed in size and number eventually became a burden on the game… no bag upgrades… and after free to play, unlocking those bags became something to sell to people… but at the start it seemed pretty neat, inventory space always being one of those aspects of MMORPGs that most players have had to deal with.

But, while all that early bag space seemed like a luxury back in 2007, here in 2021 it is almost a necessity.  I rolled up an new character on Shadowfax and, once in the game, I found my bags well on their way to being filled up already.

At least there are six bags

What you see here is the culmination of a 14 year relationship with Lord of the Rings Online.  In my bags is every bonus item, from the Glass of Aglaral (bag 1, second row, first slot), which was the in-game item that came with the LORTO Special Edition box back in 2007, to the 14th anniversary gift box we received back in April.

Anniversary related items take up a whole bag of their own, there being 14 boxes and a house item.  Some of them include fireworks, so there is the tie-in to US Independence day, which is today.

Then there are the expansion related items… I never opted for the super collector’s edition, but many of them had something special, and often an extra item for pre-orders… that I have collected over the years.  There are six cloaks with stats, another five cosmetic items, three mounts, two boxes with more cosmetic items, two pocket items, some tokens that can be redeemed for other things, a writ for a title (in addition to the dozen I got without an item to bestow them), and a stack of scented candles.

This is still a nice cloak

On the one hand, this is an long time veteran problem.  No new player is going to have to juggle this much stuff on entering the game.  On the other hand, I am going to guess that this is why other games I could mention…  a couple of Norrath MMOs come to mind… have a redemption interface that lets you go and claim things when you need them.  I am sure I have even more items I could pile onto a new character in EverQuest II… due to quirks of the early game old hands are a year ahead on anniversary items…  but I can go get it at need.

Anyway, there is enough bag space left that I can play through the tutorial and the starter area before getting to the bank and still have enough room… at least if I don’t try to open up all those boxes.  I haven’t tried, but I suspect that doing so would take up all my inventory and then some.

And I have to leave some room because the game keeps filling my bags with junk.  On my Treebeard character… I was checking to see if there was a queue on either server… there was not… I noticed that the intro quests were trying to and me gear that were downgrades from the stuff the game equipped me with for just logging in.

Why are you insulting me with this item?

Unlike my bag space issue, that seems like a problem that could mess up new players, or at least highlight that perhaps SSG hasn’t been as studious of a caretaker of the game as perhaps they should have been. Seriously, this should be an easy fix.

After years of focus on the new player experience by CCP in EVE Online I might be a little more sensitive to the dumb that companies do.

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