This post isn't meant to sound as a complaint or whining. I am using it to help organize my thoughts on the whole leveling business in Lord of the Rings Online. I do realize that it could come off as sounding negative but again, that is not my intention. Maybe I'll be lucky and find the path that sounds the most fun.
As I mentioned in my post Appreciating the Game Developers DAW 2017, my husband and I began playing LOTRO back when Mines of Moria was released. At that time we started playing on the Brandywine server because we knew a couple of other people who played on it also. We played the game for a bit and got bored. This was a pattern that we followed several different times over the years. Only each time we came back we ended up on a different server to play with friends. This lead us to starting over every time we came back to Middle Earth and after a while it rather wears on you. Thus when I decided to get back into the game last August I decided I was going to play my hobbit hunter on Landroval and that is it. No more of this starting over business because I really wanted to see Rohan.
My journey with her picked back up at level 65, at the time the highest I had ever been, and slowly made my way through Enedwaith and then finally I ended up in Rohan. There I was able to acquire my war pony finally. I was happy and went about playing through the Rohan quests. Well, then a friend of mine got back into LOTRO but she wanted to check out the role-play side of it more and since Laurelin is the most happening place for those activities, that is where she decided to go. I fiddled and twiddled for a bit and finally decided to try out Laurelin too. Only this time I was going to try a class I had never played before, beorning. So once again I found myself back in lowbie-ville but at least it was a different class.
Months later my poor beorning is only in her low thirties level wise and most of those have come from festivals. I am so overwhelmed by all the leveling options and at how fast you fly through the lower level stuff, which means you out level the quests, it's actually easier to just not play.
Ways to Level
Over the years the LOTRO devs have slowly added more ways for a character to earn experience and level up. By now it's almost to the point of too many choices. In a couple of other MMO's I can easily find a pattern and hit a rhythm for leveling up and that works for me. Sadly I have had a hard time finding that in this particular game. Let's look at the options for leveling that I am aware of:
- Questing - this is the most obvious one and the one the most widely used in any RPG type of game.
- Skirmishes - you do need to be level 20 before you may take part in these but once there, they add another option to be able to level up.
- Instances - there are group instances that can be done for xp as well but you need a group and those seem hard to find at the lower levels.
- Crafting - they have added an xp component to the crafting professions now in game. I happen to have chosen Yeoman as my profession and netted a few levels just raising it to the journeyman rank.
- Maps - this some what goes along with the questing, however, because there are so many maps to choose from in the level 1 to 50ish range it's almost too much. Especially once you get to Moria and beyond where there are few choices.
- Epic Story - while this also goes along with questing, I view the epic story as separate because you can easily skip it if you so choose. It's still there though and yet another avenue to bank some experience.
- Gift/Blessing of the Valar - if you really want to skip most of the grind of level you can instantly boost your leveling to either 50 or 95. This of course costs a fee of LOTRO points to be able to use the option.
All right, so maybe that doesn't look like as many options as it feels. Still there are quite a few paths for making your way into the high levels and up to the current end game. So for someone who has been spotty in playing the game over the years and has gotten out of the mindset to rush to cap (even though I love playing my high level characters because they are awesome), this feels a little overwhelming because I want to do it all. I do have a preference to do stuff close to level but I don't overly mind being over leveled either.
What Is Important To Me
Given how much there is to do as you level up in LOTRO, it's difficult to want to leave any of it undone but yet the high levels are where the fun is at. Thus I need to take a few steps back and figure out what is important to me as I level up my character.
I like my characters to be strong because smashing things into oblivion is fun. I do not like struggling through quests because then it feels like I am not making progress. This means for me I want to complete my class deeds to earn trait points, which is difficult when you're going up against grey mobs, and grind virtues to boost the stats that are the most important for my character and how I play her. While it would be easy to just go from map to map to earn the virtues that I want, it's not easy when you are a completionist. When I said I want to do it all, I wasn't kidding. I seriously blame Guild Wars 2 for this mentality because of how they handle world map completions and running through the living story.
The other thing I like to do is earn kindred standing with the various peoples. This means more questing which can help me towards my goal of virtues if that is how they are earned. Unfortunately most of my virtues seem to be slayer deeds which gets boring rather quickly. I know, I could pay LOTRO points to rank up virtues but that isn't very appealing.
What I Would Like To Do
Sometimes what I would like doesn't go along with what is important. Yes, I can be a conundrum even unto myself which means I can spend time arguing with in and not making head way with anything. No, I do not get as animated about it as Gollum nor do I normally argue out loud with myself.
Something I've never completed all the way is the epic story. I have done a few books or parts of books (when it's required for something else) but I have never actually run all of them to see the side story that some times bumps into the Fellowship.
I also want to be higher level but I do not want to use one of the instant leveling Valar's because I do take enjoyment in the journey. I did leave behind an almost level 90 hunter on Landroval when I moved over to Laurelin, so I think it's more wanting to have a war steed again than wanting to really rush to end game. Yes, I do realize that most of what is important contributes to this. So what's the problem? Too many options (at least in my mind). Do I work on reputation? Crafting? Virtues? Thus I get paralyzed and just don't bother.
Over all I just want to have and enjoy but I feel like a kid in a candy store with so much too look at and choose from that I don't know what to do or how to go about it. Starting can be the most difficult thing to do at times. Maybe I should sit down and write out a list of things I want to work on and then just pick something to do when I have the time to log on and play.
I do appreciate the amount of content the game has but having run so much of it in the level 1 to 40 range multiple times...I am a bit tired of it and yet I still don't want to take short cuts. I really am good at getting in my own way.