Just about a month ago I picked up LotRO again. As I related then I wasn’t really into it the time previous and the wife was suggesting we simply cancel my account. But I wanted to see what she saw in it, and surely Middle Earth should be a fascinating place to visit and adventure in. I was simply going to focus on one character. Perhaps diluting things like I was, too many alts, no “main,” and otherwise still fully engaged with WoW, wasn’t helping.
So I created a Warden, Geirmund, and the wife a Rune Keeper, Culedhel. He’s level 25 now, she’s 24. He’s a pretty solid fighter. He’s got ranged attacks from day one, he can tank, aoe tank too, his class is a “tank” class, and he can DPS well enough that I can go farm mats with him.
Since the crafts are so interdependent, and I wanted one each of weaponsmith, armorsmith, tailor, and the ability to gather what I wanted at will, my Champion is back in play, level 20 now, and my Burglar is nearly there, level 19.
I’m still figuring out how the craft mastery works. You can do enough of a trade to advance it to the next level, and then start things on that new level. But you have to do the previous level once through again, in order to achieve mastery in it. That’s to say I can smelt enough bronze to advance it to the next level, where I can mine and smelt barrow iron. In prospecting, at the initial level, I’ve got a bronze anvil icon. If, however, I want to get “critical successes” while smelting bronze I need to have mastered it. I can’t do that with barrow iron, so I need to work with more bronze until I get the gold anvil icon. Then that level of things is truly done.
A new character, Skjoldr, a Dwarf Guardian, has been getting some recent play time. In addition to getting him to 15 so I can see what dwarven heavy armor looks like on a dwarf (not half bad) he took a lot of detours while running quest to quest to gather wood, copper and tin, and collect hides. He boils the hides and smelts the metal in order to advance his Forestry and Prospecting to the next level, and then master it as well. The boiled leathers, though low level, went to Geirmund, my main tailor, now, so he can achieve his mastery there in Tailoring. That’s happening slowly since he’s only crafting one leather component that he sends to Angthir, my metalsmith. Skjoldr sends Angthir the bronze, and he, with the leather components from Giermund, is mastering his metalsmithing. And the completionist in me is just loving it!
And, if you’re out collecting medium leathers off bears, it’s kind of a zen experience where you simply get in a zone and cycle through an area. It’s like a lottery because there’s chances at random purple items to drop in addition to the hides that you expect. Like they say, “Wasted time is not time wasted.”
So the month with LotRO has been really good. I’ve finally gotten into it enough that it’s found a place in my gaming interests right alongside WoW.
I will say, though, that if both games came out with expansions next month, I’d probably head to WoW and take it all in. Blizzard’s expansions are over the top NEW. TBC brought new races, new starter areas, and a new world with out-of-this-world looks. WotLK brought a new class, a new and improved starter area concept, and a new continent with looks that have matured from what we had earlier like a fine wine.
WoW’s next expansion I’m predicting will offer either the Emerald Dream and/or the Maelstrom. And I’m predicting it’ll be the Maelstrom, and then the Emerald Dream as the last and final expansion. The Maelstrom will bring in the last of the earthly bad guys (Azshara, and a reawakened Sargeras), new underwater zones, the islands and the southern continent. (See the Explorers tabard.) And then, for the grand finale, the last expansion, the Emerald Dream, in which the Druids, who were the first in battle against the Burning Legion, and those other classes, defeat the Nathrezim, whose works corrupted Sargeras in the first place. It’ll be Nature versus the Twisting Nether, and it’ll culminate with players reaching level 100. The new lands could be any number of planets as we march across the universe like Paul Maudib’s Freman setting things in line for a better future.
We’ll be ditching all of our Northrend somber rust, earth, and metal toned gear for the Maelstrom and I predict the gear palette will be bright, fishy, and tropical for the Maelstrom expansion. (Just look to the Naga for inspiration. Nevermind all the hand-me-downs they wore in Zangarmarsh.) The Emerald Dream will revert to something somber again, earthy and woody. Anyway, that’s what I think.
LotRO, you already know what’s coming. You know the land already, you’ll just have more and more access to it. So it doesn’t have that same level of improvement about it’s expansion like WoW’s will undoubtedly have.
LotRO is offering porterhouse steak versus WoW’s magic mushroom. Munchies anyone?