The Lord of the Rings Online has been home for Tolkien and classic MMORPG fans for over 11 years now. Players have followed the story from humble origins all the way to Mordor and the destruction of the Ring. Now they have a chance to start that journey afresh with new characters on new Legendary servers. We’re there to share our experience with you.
Then and Now
One defining feature I really enjoyed about Shadows of Angmar, the vanilla release title for The Lord of the Rings Online, was how it required thoughtful gameplay. Different monsters could inflict different conditions and had different damage type strengths and weakness.
Just prior to the launch of the Legendary servers SSG (Standing Stone Games) have been tweaking combat and classes. Regardless whether these changes were implement for the Legendary servers, they have benefitted from it. Monsters are challenging and conditions can kill you. Players actually have to pay attention in combat. The response to these changes, from ingame chat, seems to be incredibly positive overall. Instead of complaints and calls for nerfs I see players working together and bantering.
Challenging mobs aren’t the only area where the Legendary server gets things right. The server has an experience debuff of 40% that slows down progression just enough to make the quest and crafting pace feel natural. The Legendary servers don’t forget all the progress we’ve made since Shadows of Angmar launched, but they do dial the intensity and challenge up a notch in a refreshing way. The combat and experience changes have made the gameplay a lot more challenging and interesting and that’s fun.
Jumping Back In For the First Time
Here are a few tips and ideas to get you started, if you’re new or returning to the game.
Kinships (guilds) - There are a ton of social activities in the game beyond instanced dungeons and kinships are a great way to experience them. Chances are there is a kinship of like-minded people looking to adventure in Middle-earth with you. If you enjoy playing ABC music in bands and performing, there are kinships for you. If you enjoy crafting or challenging group content, there are kinships for you.
Crafting - Professions and crafting a huge part of The Lord of the Rings Online. If you’re the type that enjoys crafting there are many opportunities for you. If you’re unsure what might be a good fit for you and your class ask yourself a couple questions. Would you prefer to make gear or consumables? Compare the gear and skills your class uses and select a vocation with professions that will support it.
Alternatively, any class can use and benefit from cooking or the consumables from the scholar profession. For those that don’t enjoy crafting I would recommend picking up the Explorer which lets you harvest a wide array of materials you can simply sell on the Auction House for gold.
A last crafting tip, if you have extra LP (game cash) pick up a Universal Toolkit. This is account bound and can be shared with any of your characters on the server. The tools take up a single slot and work for any profession. In early levels these are a big help. At later levels there are better tools for serious crafter. They are 150LP in the LotRO Store.
Veteran Players - If you’re a returning vet or lifetimer and have a lot of extra LP in your account you might want to spend it on the Journeyman riding trait for your entire account. This buffs your mounted run speed to the maximum base value. The Lord of the Rings Online is a huge game world and having a fast mount is one of my favorite perks. The other perk I recommend is the enhanced wallet, if you don’t have it.
The Monkey On Our Backs
The Legendary servers are VIP only. That means everyone has to have put in money at some time either through a lifetime VIP account purchase or a subscription. Even though this is a subscription only server there is still a cash shop.
I have conflicting feelings about this so I’ll lay them out. In a subscription game I don’t think there should be a cash shop at all. On the other hand, I see a small game studio trying to make money from an niche MMORPG, which I see as a niche sub-genre itself. So while I don’t like completely like the setup I’m willing to accept it, but I have mixed feelings and I think the revenue setup could be a lot better.
There are a couple of things SSG can do, right off the bat, to improve the cash shop and game experience. Most of my complaints stem around Mithril Coins and the daily Hobbit Gifts. Mithril coins are a tertiary currency purchased with LotRO Points (LP) the primary game cash. Daily Hobbit gifts are an RNG reward (loot crate) with a free daily/weekly spin.
Here’s the big problem. Mithril Coins have a wide variety of character specific uses. They are used to unlock additional trait tree slots, legendary item slots, and purchase fast travel to anywhere, among other things, including additional spins on the Hobbit Gift wheel. This lets players buy their way past others very fast while giving them a huge economic advantage. It detracts from the sense of adventure the game itself provides.
The slightly smaller problem is that if you did purchase Mithril Coins on another server you don’t have access to them on Legendary unless you buy more. They’re server bound and quite expensive.
The right thing to do here would be to disable Hobbit Gifts entirely and make Mithril Coin balance account wide like LP. The Hobbit Gifts are a gross imbalance. They should go purely out of principle. Making Mithril Coins account wide makes sense because it would encourage spending, especially buy lifetimers with big LP wallets.
The Legendary server launch has been popular and there are still queues at times on Anor. There have been some technical problems with queue time and a feedback counter that doesn’t work right which has frustrated players at times. There have been some disconnects, but overall the servers have been running smoothly.
The best part about the experience so far has been watching the energy of the community, the banter in world chat, and watching the server come alive with its own personality. There are players from other servers talking proudly, established guilds come to make their mark, and a ton of other people with their own goals.
Next time I’ll introduce you to my characters Meldinvos the lore-master, Norbert the hunter, and Iolo the
bard minstrel and share more of my experience.