Fifteen years from today I began my adventures in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO)
I was looking for a new MMORPG to replace Final Fantasy XI. I wanted to take a break from the game and perhaps move on to a different title. I went to GameStop looking for something. I noticed a single copy of a collector’s edition of The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar sitting on the shelf. I keep up to date on video game releases, but I have never heard of this title. I was also a fan of JRR Tolkien’s legendarium. Needless to say, I was surprised and pleased that I discovered the game. Little did I know that on that Wednesday on July 25, 2007 that I would begin a video game addiction that will last fifteen years. This would be longer than Final Fantasy XI, which I spent just under four years playing.
The first thing I did before I even installed the game on my computer was to look for a server to join. I always join a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) guild (called kinships in LOTRO) so I was trying to find if someone created one for LOTRO and which server they are on. I find a kinship called Knights of the White Lady on the Landroval server. I joined that server and created a human captain. I picked a captain because it appeared to be similar to the paladin that I have been playing on Final Fantasy XI. Yet, when I went to the introduction area I saw a lore-master with a bear companion. I had a herald companion as a captain, but it didn’t seem as cool as having an animal companion. I deleted the character and created a new one, a lore-master named Pinkfae Neilikka (you have to purchase a surname from a notary non-player character when you reach level fifteen). Once I got out of the introduction area I was able to join a kinship. I applied to become a member of Knights of the White Lady. I was accepted to join the kinship shortly after I applied. The kinship is still going strong with many active members. Perhaps not as many as when the game was younger, but there are always a couple of members logged on at any given time. Also if you are an ally and not part of the LGBT spectrum, you are still welcome to be a member.
I hit level cap, which was level 50 at the time, after about a month of playing the game. It was at this time that I bought a lifetime subscription to the game. I believe I paid $299 for it at the time. I think it was perhaps the best money I ever spent. You can’t purchase a lifetime subscription any longer. I think they discontinued it in 2009. Currently you can subscribe to LOTRO at $15 per month or $100 a year. You don’t have to subscribe to play the game. In fact you don’t have to spend a dime on the game at all. You can play until level 95 with all content being open for you with some of the newer content not being available. After level 95 you can grind out LOTRO point farming (the real life currency to purchase in game items and content) by doing the deeds in game. Yet, there are some perks for being a subscriber. If you are interested in knowing the difference between the different account types there is an article on lotro-wiki that explains it very well.
Like I said, I was at end game and wanted to do some end game content. I patiently waited for other members to get to end game with me. Eventually we were doing some raiding. Yet, it was very sparingly. Others in the kinship that were interested in end game content grew restless and left for other kinships. I was one of them. I moved by character to my current kinship The Palantiri. We were running raids on a weekly basis. I also started to get active in the player-versus-monster-player (PvMP) on the server as well. I’m not a very big alt-player at all. (Someone that plays multiple different characters). I did start a healer class character since Knights of the White Lady was in bad need of healers. I also created a handful just as mules (characters that you only use to store your in-game items). Yet, for the most part I like to just play one character and try to do everything that I am able to do on that one character. Trust me, there is a lot that you can do. Even after fifteen years I haven’t done everything that I can do and achieve.
About the time that Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor came out in July 2017, I took a break from the game. I haven taken a number of breaks lasting from a few weeks to a few months, but this time I spent nearly two years away from the game. There were perhaps three or four people from my kinship that regularly logged on the game to play. I also found the landscape mobs to be tougher to take down. I thought it was because I was starting to get worse at playing the game and chalked it up to old age. It wasn’t until I came back to the game that I realized I probably was due to a lack of Light of Eärendil to counteract the effects of the Shadow of Mordor.
I don’t recall the precisely when I eventually came back to playing the game. It might have been late 2019 or early 2020. Whatever the date, ever since then I have been logging on daily with perhaps a day or two missed here and there. I really have changed the goals for playing the game. Like I said, I liked the end game aspect of the game. Trying to form fellowships or raids (six or twelve man groups) to try to conquer/solve a dungeon (or instance as they all them in LOTRO) isn’t my main objective any longer. Instead, I’m just trying to get the best gear that I’m able to obtain without raiding (I still think the best gear you can obtain is through raiding) which usually entails doing daily repeatable quests or even finding a pick up group (PUG) to obtain some Embers of Enchantment that can be used to exchange for powerful items. I have always loved doing the epic quests (the main story line). It is like reading fan-fiction based on the books. Yet, I haven’t been doing that with side quests. In fact, I skip a lot of content that over level. I have been thinking of going back and trying to complete some of them. I have always found myself just exploring around and discovering graphic details that I missed speed running in the game.
Perhaps the person that really brought me back to playing LOTRO more regularly was TheeGreenEyedGamer on Twitch. I have been getting into Twitch very regularly since I lost my job and when COVID hit. I got into the live streaming service years ago, but I started watching it for hours on end just a number of years ago. I found her when I was looking for LOTRO streamers earlier last year. She does a weekly LOTRO point grinding session with her viewers. I decided to join in her adventures. I got to know her fairly well. Just a couple of months ago I decided to transfer one of the Valar Level Boost – level 120 that I obtained for free from Standing Stone Games for being a VIP during the 15th Anniversary celebration. I used it on my lore-master on the Arkenstone server that many Twitch streamers play on. I power leveled her to level 130 and got her stats up as best as I could. I don’t regularly play with that character. I usually hop on it to play with friends I made through Twitch.
I’m so excited to see what happens to the game in the next fifteen years. I’m sure that I will still be part of the game when the 30th anniversary is celebrated.
I want to leave you with a fan created video. About ten years ago when The Lord of the Rings Online was developed by Turbine they held a Biggest Fan Contest. People would make a short video saying why they love the game. Below is what I think should have won the contest. Enjoy! I’ll see you around Middle-earth.