May 15, 2013

A Break from LOTRO

There will be no Lore in this post.  This is purely a personal essay.

I have decided to take (actually, to continue) a break from LOTRO, and thus from this blog as well.

I've been playing for over 4 years now.  It is easy to get burned out on an MMO after that amount of time.  And until recently I was a defender of many of the odd things that have been done to the game lately. 

However, starting just before the Anniversary I lost all interest in logging in.  The three raids were weird and just not fun at all.  I didn't feel up to leveling yet another character at that point in time.  So I started playing other things.  When the Anniversary rolled around, I thought at least now I'll have a reason to log in every night and chat with kin.  Then I discovered there was NOTHING new added to the available items except the new warsteed appearance from the envelopes.  Because of my completionist tendencies, I got all there was to get from the Anniversary last year.  So all I literally had to do was log on for 5 minutes to do the envelope quest.  It did take me numerous tries and I even blew some Mithril Coins to repeat it as I have over 450 of the things for some reason.

So when they extended the Anniversary and added these "new" items, I already had enough Anniversary tokens to barter for the "new" things that were available (and you better believe I felt a level of disgust that the new items were essentially just different colored copies).  So still no reason to log on for other Anniversary activites.

When Update 11 came along I happened to be home that day, and after the relatively fast patch, went to log in.  And found I could not.  I was one of those players who experienced the issue with nothing happening after pressing the Play button.  I tried it several times, and then also got hung up on the Initializing screen once.  I saw others were having the same/similar problems with the new launcher, and numerous suggestions people were making.  I just thought to myself, "Why should I bother?  Why should I have to experiment with settings and folders and all of these other things that may or may not work just to get in to this game?"  Nothing on my computer had changed since the last time I played.  So I gave up.

I tried again tonight (Wednesday) because I saw there was to be a fix tomorrow and I wanted to experiment.  I again tried a few times to log in with no success.  I then changed my settings so that "No Proxy" was selected, and this time it worked.  After getting hung up on the Loading screen for 5 minutes I was in.  Only to find I was the only person on in my kin.  At 9:00 p.m. on a weeknight.

This was my first opportunity to experience the Hobbit Presents.  Let me be blunt:  I hate these things.  I think the whole concept is cheap and gimmicky, and also annoying if this is going to be popping up every day I log in.  I of course understand that I only need to accept my daily present, then the notice disappears.  But I don't even want that much.  I just want to not even see it, and am still trying to figure out if there is a setting so I don't get Hobbit Present notices.

I also realized that, although standing in the Snowbourn vault where I had logged out a couple weeks ago, my morale was about 1475 out of almost 12,000.  It remained this way for the almost 10 minutes I was logged on.  I had not been in any combat the last time I was on, there was no DoT bug on me, just a campfire buff from some hunter.  I moved outside and nothing changed.  I thought about logging out and back in to see if that fixed it, then decided - I just don't care enough to take the time to do that.  So I logged off for the night.

I'm not done with LOTRO.  I still enjoy being able to spend time in Middle Earth.  I may even be on later this same week to start the new area and epic line - hey, it is NEW content, right?  But the enthusiasm I once felt, that feeling of anticipation in looking forward to logging in after a long day at work, or spending a whole weekend afternoon, just isn't there.  This is not the same LOTRO I began playing four years ago.  And there's no way it could be.  Games evolve and change.  I just have not personally been fond of several things that have happened lately, and I think coupled with my generalized burnout, is making the game not terribly fun for me right now.

I'll still be around, I think.  I'm curious enough to want to see the new area, and to see what happens with Horn and Nona.  And soon the "Spring" festival will be here.  But my heart just isn't in it the way it used to be.  So continuing to step back and play much less than normal is probably exactly what I need to do right now.  I do hope some things turn around and the wisdom of many of these gimmicky, store-oriented things is reexamined.  I've been called a LOTRO/Turbine Fanboi (despite being a 42 year old woman), and I was always OK with that.  Until now.  If I'm not happy with aspects of the game, that permeates the whole game for me, and by extension this blog.

So this will be my last post, at least for the time being.  Who knows down the line, I might encounter something - maybe in this latest update even, or maybe with Helm's Deep this fall - that recaptures my enthusiasm.  Some great piece of Lore that I feel just HAS to be blogged about.  I really hope so.

Until then, I deeply appreciate all of you who have read this blog and left comments and emails with encouragement and suggestions.  You all made this a very fun ride!