See that pimp right there? Oh, sorry. See that silly looking champion right there hanging out with a squirrel? That's me.
I know I can't fully describe an entire game experience with one picture of a noob character sitting next to a squirrel. But to me, that is my experience. To anyone who has ever played an MMORPG, I know you're familiar with the grind of low level quests. They are routine, predictable, tedious, and annoying. They're designed to get you familiar with the mechanics of a game and help you progress later on. But when you're this far into the life of online gaming, do you really need as much grind and annoyance as you do in LOTRO?
I must state this: I've only played a handful of MMORPGs in my life. The ones I can remember are Asheron's Call, Dark Age of Camelot, Guild Wars, WoW (during a free trial week), Dungeons & Dragons Online, and Lord of the Rings Online. There are a few more, but they obviously didn't make an impact on my memory.
I first played LOTRO during a free trial. I rather enjoyed it at first because it was new to me and, I'll admit, I was hyped about the fact I was going to be playing a Lord of the Rings game. Like the casual style online gamer than I am I started out as an elven hunter (yes, I know). I liked this style. Shooting enemies from afar with my pathetic little bow then poking and slashing them with my dagger when they got up in my business. I was okay with that. However after a few hours I noticed I was simply doing the same thing over and over and over again.
- Person A tells you to go talk to Person B.
- Done? Ok now go back to Person A who told you to run 1000 meters to Person B. Oh, and bring back this bag of food.
- Person A thanks you and gives you 89 copper pieces. While you're here, can you go search for person C?
While this type of quest is ok for beginners, which I was, it's not okay to repeat this formula over and over and over again. The same thing is applied several times to "searching" stationary items in the game world such as stacks of wood, dead bodies, plants, etc. I did this a LOT.
I ended up reaching level 15 with my first hunter. I logged off and uninstalled the game right after I was given a few tasks, all basically the same, of running things back and forth for miles to different people. I just couldn't take it anymore.
Fast forwards a few months to the present time when I find out LOTRO is now free to play. Being bored I downloaded the game and started again. Unfortunately I couldn't recover my level 15 hunter so I had to start all over. It's not that big of a deal when you think about it, especially if you know how games will basically be before you play them. But having to spend hour after hour doing the same exact thing over and over again - that's where I draw the line. I hate the feeling of logging into Middle Earth only to feel immediately brought down, like there is a chain attached to me and if I stray in some other direction that isn't a linear path I won't progress as I want to or really get a feel for the story line.
But I digress, this game was only intended to occasionally fight off boredom. Which is why every now and then I may log back in and complete a task and sit down with a squirrel (when it finally stands still). Which, may I add, is more unpredictable than the tasks I'll be given.