Countdown to Mordor - Day 7
Today marks a week until the release of the Mordor expansion! In celebration of this, I will be counting down the release by submitting daily posts reflecting on the last 10 years! so let's jump straight into it!
I used to play on Brandywine server before I switched over to Landroval. The reason was one that I'm sure a lot of you could understand; it was the very first server on the list I recognized at the time (What's an Arkenstone? =P)
I remember the first few days like it was yesterday. I made the mistake that a lot of people made that I still think, in my humble opinion, SSG has not rectified; I made a hobbit.
I know, I know. Heresy. Just...hear me out.
The Lord of the Rings films had made a huge impression on me. In the four years between the release of the Return of the King and the release of LoTRO I became a huge Tolkien fan, reading every single piece of literature that the man wrote. I was enamored with Middle-earth from then on and hobbits, particularly the Shire, is a place I wanted to explore more than anything. Something else happened in between that time, though; World of Warcraft came out.
MMORPGs played a HUGE part in my life as I have shared with you all before. I played, and still play, World of Warcraft from the day it was released so when I heard the LoTR version of it was coming out, I was so excited. For better or for worse, WoW set the expectations of what I expected LoTRO to be.
The Beginning was fantastic. The exposure in the introduction to Frodo, his companions, and the Ringwraith was exciting and really set the stage for what the game was all about. The Archet instance itself began to expose me to the story that ran parallel to the main story of the One Ring and I was excited. But then I loaded into Little Delving.
I admit that as a 20 year old, I may not have been in the mindset to really appreciate what I was about to experience. Today I can say the Shire is one of the best, most engaging and beautiful spots in all of LoTRO but that's not how I felt then. From delivering mail, collecting spoiled pies, playing hide and seek, and bar hopping, the Shire offered everything but what I was expecting from an MMORPG. I had become expectant of great epic storylines and action and threats; all of which were lacking in the Shire.
I felt betrayed. I was so disappointed because I expected more. I was simply not having fun and I begun to wonder if all of LoTRO was like this. Luckily for me, I decided to reroll before I gave up on it. I made a Dwarf this time and was pleasantly surprised. Here I had an experience that was both action-packed and full of lore, comedy, and excitement. From that moment on, I fell in love with LoTRO and everything it had to offer.
Since then, my mind has changed. The Shire experience is a wholly unique one that represents exactly what the Shire is supposed to be; completely and utterly unaware of the dangers outside. Do I think it was beautifully done? Yes. Do I want it to change? No. Do I think it should have been the hobbit starter area? Maybe not.
I always felt that SSG should have made some kind of note about new character hobbits that their 1-20 experience would be one of little action and more about the busy-body doings of hobbit-folk. Perhaps a note that the Shire experience is more about experience rather than action. I feel a lot of people might have made hobbits and ultimately gotten the wrong impression of the game like I did. I gave the game a second chance, but I wonder how many else didn't.
And before it comes up, I recognize that people should know what hobbits are all about. My argument is that there's no indication that choosing a hobbit means you get an entirely different experience. :)
10 years later and I wish more zones were like the Shire. I have become war fatigued after all these years and long for simpler times and pie delivery. But here we are, on the precipice of the final volumes of the greatest story ever told. I hope SSG looks back on the Shire when they begin to write their new stories and gives us all more of what I took for granted so long ago.
Was your Shire experience similar? Did you enjoy it more than I did at first? Share with me your stories and I will feature them in Day 6 as a community look back at our history!