Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Allarond finally completed LOTRO's Volume I, wrapping up the launch game's epic plot. Part of the reward package features a "grey steed". This horse is not only functionally identical to the rep reward horse I previously obtained in Lothlorien, it also looks nigh identical, other than different saddle blankets.
The Lothlorien rep version of the horse, both are "fast" mounts with 150 morale/hp
An Epic Fed Ex Run
The grand finale of the quest line was genuinely impressive, but it was unfortunately marred by the most idiotic Fed Ex-fest I've ever had the displeasure of playing. There's a large chunk of Volume 1, Book 15 in which players have to make no fewer than five round trips out to a questgiver located in the middle of nowhere in the Trollshaws, a swift travel route and then five minutes on a player mount away from town. In the most egregious stretch, the player leaves Rivendell only to have the quest giver ask them to return to Rivendell to ask the stable dude to send over their horse and then journey back to the wilderness to report on this one-line conversation.
All told, these five trips in and out of the Trollshaws, representing a solid hour of travel time for a player with all the relevant swift travel and recall skills (map, personal and kinship housing, racial teleport, reputation-gated swift travel routes), require the player to kill one mob and participate in one session play story flashback that isn't designed to be difficult. There is absolutely no reason why the player needs to do personally make the other three trips, other than to pad out the questline with an extra 30-40 minutes of travel time.
LOTRO has always been a high quality game, and the final instance dungeon at the end of all this travel time delivers. It also wraps up the storylines that players have been working on since level one, in a way that solo players have rarely been included in an MMORPG. Unfortunately, LOTRO's weakness - lack of quantity - spills over into diluting the quality of the questline as well. "Added one group dungeon" does not sound as impressive on the patch notes as "added a twelve stage epic book quest, including soloable content". As a result, everyone has to slog through a questline that feels like a waste of time.