Gaming Diaries – A Return to Middle Earth

Why hello Hunter my old friend

Level 113, Hunter, Elf rocking the Ranger gears

Hey Sauron, guess who’s back! Just in time to come kick your ass! Oh, wait, Frodo has done that already… Well I guess I’ll just have to join the cause to tidy up the mess you left behind then!

Yes, I am back playing Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) after being away for a few years and it is good to be back! But damn, do I have a bit to catch up on! When I left, the level cap was 105 and I was mostly caught up with the story progression. Now that I am back, new level cap is 130 and there is 2 major expansions that have moved everything into the end game and another major content area added as well. So yeah, I have a bit of grinding to do! I will be sharing bits and pieces from the game in-between my travel and events posts so keep an eye out for more Lotro content!

Middle Earth in all its glory and fully realised

The game itself is set in the Lord of the Rings universe set in Middle Earth and follows the journey of the One Ring as the fellowship attempts to destroy it. You as a character in game are basically helping the fellowship on its quest sometimes in the shadows and sometimes directly involved. The game really explores a lot more of the lore surrounding the original books and expands a lot more on the stuff going on around Middle Earth while the books are happening.

Grabbing a quick drink outside of the Green Dragon!

The main story line follows the quest of the ring up till it is destroyed and then deals with the fallout following Sauron’s destruction which is really interesting to explore. Even though he might have been destroyed, a legacy like that can’t be removed overnight and is something that a lot of games and especially hero based media often neglects.

Having a quick laugh at the party tree

The game was released in April 2007, so while it is not quite as old as WoW which was released November 2004 or Eve Online May 2003, it is still among the oldest ongoing MMO games today and usually gains acclaim for being one of the most underrated MMO’s out there. The game of course is not without its bugs especially being such an old game. The biggest gripe being the lag that often hits during certain areas of the game. Watching your health go down while you are waiting for the game to actually spawn in the enemy that is killing you can be annoying at times.

Hey Lobelia, don’t make this awkward, Bag End will never be yours

But problems aside, this game is really impressive, you have a fully fledged world of Middle Earth that you can go around and explore while also seeing all the key features that are mentioned during the books, a lot of love and passion has gone into this game to make it as close as possible to a full recreation of Middle Earth and it shows. It also really helps put into perspective some of the beats from the original books and a much clearer idea of just where things are in relation to others. The maps in Tolkien’s books while detailed, at times were difficult to figure out without having them side by side but now you can not only see each area but also explore them on the ground.

Ok Barliman Butterbur, what’s the commotion? The riders have gone already

The game is free to play and is probably coming towards the end of its life with most of the map completed and little room left for more expansions and updates. Luckily the game is still very popular so it won’t be going away anytime soon but like most things, it won’t be around forever so now would be a great time to give it a go!

Enough drinking, time to track down the fellowship, I hope they survived, Weathertop is a nasty place

Marcus Powell has been living and working in South Korea since 2010. He has now returned back to NZ and works for Digital Natives Academy as the lead education program designer. Aside from writing his own blog, he is also a popular Club DJ, Gamer, Community manager, esports fan and anime enthusiast.

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