Countdown to Mordor - Day 1
The White City
So here we are. It's been really fun going through my memories of Lord of the Rings Online. From my first days in the Shire to my adventures in Rohan, the journey through Middle-earth has been one I will never forget.
But we still haven't spoken about perhaps the largest most expansive content release in all of LoTRO's history. This also marks the absolute longest time in the game's release cycles. Let me show you why:
Strawberry LoTRO: April 2007 - November 2008
Mines of Moria: November 2008 - December 2009
Siege of Mirkwood: December 2009 - September 2011
Rise of Isengard: September 2011 - October 2012
Riders of Rohan: October 2012 - November 2013
Helm's Deep: November 2013 - July 2014
All Gondor-related Patches: July 2014 - July 2017
As you can see, we've been in Gondor for 3 years! This is by far the longest release cadence ever. But don't think it's just been a content drought. So much land-mass and quests have been released, it's nuts. Gondor is a cumulative effort of everything SSG has learned over the 10 years.
I remember the day I crossed over pelennor fields and came upon Minas Tirith. It truly felt like 10 years worth of journeying had led to this point. I used to tell myself that I hoped SSG would recognize the size of Minas Tirith and would not sacrifice that. My hopes were not lost because this place is huge and awe-inspiring.
SSG didn't disappoint, but it did lead me to really understand why game companies do what they do in regards to sacrificing elements for performance or use. This city is confusing and the only place I can regularly crash in upon fast traveling.
Finally being witness to Aragorn and Gandalf's efforts to give Frodo and Sam every chance to succeed even with blind hope was one of the most rewarding moments in this game for me. I knew my efforts were finally paying off in the grand scheme of things. Maybe, just maybe, there really had been a lone Man back in Eriador staving off evil while Frodo went on his quest.
I think one of the chief complaints about the last few updates has been the focus on flower picking for gear. Honestly, there is a lot that can be said about this. In my personal opinion, while boring for me as a raider, I can see how the casual player, which makes up a hefty large part of the player base, enjoys the idea of being able to gather endgame gear at a slower pace. I thought it to be a fantastic compromise and am not against it at all.
The last 10 years have been a blast. SSG is truly the most thoughtful and considerate gaming company. A lot of the flack they get is unwarranted. They are beholden to us as we are their customers, but a lot of us often forget that they are a company and revenue needs to be made, but it has never been unforgivable or unexplainable. I trust them and my trust is continued into Mordor. I look forward to what they have to offer as the last 10 years have been worthwhile, and I look forward to the next 10.
So, here I am where I started. All hope is lost. The battle is lost, and no sign of Frodo. My friends lay in ruin across the Dagorlad. Aragorn, my King, however will not despair, and instead is determined to stand to his last for the free folk of all Middle-earth. I will do the same. All my travels have taken me here and now to my end. What a journey it has been. All those who I have met and all those who I have come to love and protect. May they continue on without me for as long as they may.
Then the earth shook.
A great rumble spread across the Morannon. All fighting ceased, from both sides, as all eyes looked towards the source. A great light flashed in the distance. Mithrandir's eyes flashed with victory, and Aragorn raised his sword in Triumph as the tower of Barad-dur exploded in the distance.