The Lone Lands. God, I can hear the music playing even just writing those three words. The Lone Lands is, without a shadow of a doubt the zone I hate most in any MMORPG I've ever played.
The thing is, this connecting zone in The Lord of the Rings Online, which bridges the main hub of Bree-land and the forested Trollshaws, isn't inherently a bad zone. It has some iconic sites, from the Forsaken Inn to the great watchtower of Amon Sul on Weathertop. It's an important highway in Middle-earth and is seen in the books and movies as an important location.
Yet the Lone Lands brings with it for me desolation and tedium. It's the zone where my alts go to die and almost killed my love for the MMO, indeed even the genre as a whole.
Since I leveled my main character through The Lone Lands, I've found many zones across many MMOs I don't like. Most recently it was World of Warcraft's Bastion from Shadowlands. This zone often reminded me of The Lone Lands, with its glacially slow story and leveling and, altogether uninteresting scenery.
For me, though, what makes LotRO's Lone Lands so bad is the amount of time I spent in it as my main hunter, Eldalye. Around the time back in 2007 when I was starting up my Kinship (which still survives to this day!) I did much of my recruiting around the level 25-30 point. Many of the players I recruited were lower in level so I stuck around to help them catch up. Unfortunately for me, this meant I kept putting off my own questing in The Lone Lands proper. I would run back to The Shire to help a Hobbit through some of the quests there, or head to the Elvish havens of Ered Luin.
I would even spend a ton of time in the lush grasslands around Bree-town helping a few of our members catch up to the Lone Lands. However, by the time one person would catch up, we'd need to help a new recruit. At some point I dreaded having to leave these interesting and diverse locations behind to go back to the desolate wastes and plains of Eastern Eriador. I spent a month it felt slogging through content in The Lone Lands until a few of my kinmates who I had helped, now progressed past me, came back and saw me through.
Even today, the idea of questing in The Lone Lands gives me pause, and is one reason I don't really have any high level alts in LotRO. In fact, many of the alts I have created have gone to their MMO graves when I start the content in this zone. It's just not an area I enjoy, and unfortunately, to play through the main storyline, I can't exactly skip the zone for the North Downs. Hell, even going to Weatherstock is a chore some years as I really don't want to go back to the zone for any reason.
In the end, The Lone Lands, really through no fault of their own, have become the zone of I've come to loathe - Bradford's Bane I've named it as it saps my will to go on in the MMO at times. What about you? Is there a zone in any MMORPG you've played that you feel the same way? Why and what is it? Let us know in the comments.