I’m still enjoying my time in Middle-earth. I’ve been making the rounds of Arda with my level fifty Hobbit Burglar. Most weeks will include a trip to Forochel the newest zone in the North; a raid, either Helegrod or the Rift; some exploration of old zones; and delving into one of the rep dungeons for fun (Goblin Town, the Great Barrows or Sarnur). Being a total Hobbit fan, I still love sneaking around on my burglar, stealing from orcs and then beating them up before I slip off into the shadows again.
Raiding in LotRO has remained low-key and enjoyable. My kinship only recently took down the Balrog in the Rift (not to be confused with The Balrog that Gandalf fought in Moria). Many of the kinship members have armor sets from the Rift and even lightweight raider me has a couple of pieces. The end bosses of both Helegrod and the Rift are tough but it’s neat that the rest of it is farmable. (The first two bosses are the key for the Rift – get them down and the rest is relatively simple right up to the guy before the Balrog.).
The dungeons of Goblin Town, Sarnur and the Great Barrows are a lot of fun to sneak around in as a Burglar. The map “fog of war” refreshes on a regular basis so it really does make it interesting to try to get around in them – you actually need to get a sense of where you want to go and how to get there. I’m glad to say that I can usually get to Gollum’s Cave without much fuss and that’s pretty far back into Goblin Town. All three zones feature mobs of different skills and toughness making it so most players can solo as well as group up for some of the harder content.
My interest in Forochel as a whole is waning though I’m enjoying the dwarf mines in the West of the zone. It’s like a smaller, more densely packed version of Goblin Town making it a challenge for my to get around in undetected. Plus-to-stealth items help a lot as well as the occasional HiPS (Hide in Plain Sight – vanish for Burglars).
I haven’t done much in the way of PvP at all. I’m not really much of a carebear, it’s just that MMO PvP is rather clunky (in both WoW and LotRO) so I dabbled in it a bit and haven’t really felt compelled to revisit it. At some point, I suppose I may hop back in. The real strength or interest of PvP in WoW and LotRO is group verses group. Get a Freep raid verses a Creep raid and it’s pandemonium. Problem is those kinds of raids don’t happen that often and it’s usually a large group on one side hunting down individuals of the other. There’s a lot of waiting around and “what do we do now that the one guy we were hunting is dead” stuff and I rapidly lose interest. It's Middle-earth and I'd like some epic battles!
And last but not least, I finally maxed my fishing skill to twohundred which got me the Lord of Streams title and the ability to go after the fifty pound salmon. I haven’t caught it yet, but I’m working on it. There’s one in the kinship hall and it’s HUGE! I’m not sure what I’d do with it if I caught it, probably give it away. I don’t need my smial collapsing under the weight!
While there’s still enough content at fifty to keep me going, many people in my kinship are working on their second or third level fifty. I decided to try some of the other races / classes and see if I had much interest in them from when I tried them in open beta. Right now the contenders are my Man Lore Master, Hobbit Minstrel or my Man Captain. There are lots of neat abilities on Lore Masters. He’s squishy as all get out, but his tanking bear and stuns can keep most mobs off him and several of his abilities hit really hard. My minstrel is a lot of fun also, if not a little strange concept-wise. He goes into combat and most of what he does is play a lute. I realize the bard character is a staple in Dungeons and Dragons adventures, it’s just a little odd to see it in practice. The Captain is an interesting class, but he’s only level nine at the moment so it’s hard to tell what I’ll end up thinking of him.
Overall, LotRO has still kept my interest. It’s easy enough to stay current with friends as the leveling set-up is fairly fluid at this point (I haven’t seen the thirties in a while though, so I’ll have to see what that’s like). At the level cap, there’s enough content available to keep going also: either solo, group or in raids.