I spent a lot of time playing LOTRO this weekend. For the first half I was playing my baby Rune Keeper (who hit 26) and having some fun but after a while I got the urge to see some new sights, so I switched back to my Champion “main” who, you’ll be amused to hear, is level 41. Yes, I’ve been playing since launch (though he wasn’t my first character), and yes, he is my highest level.
I’ve been avoiding playing him though. Every time I do, I feel like I’m treading water and not making any progress. I’d play for a few hours and it would seem like the exp bar hadn’t moved. I remembered my Champion being really fun, so what happened?
Finally tonight it dawned on me. I wasn’t playing LOTRO. LOTRO was playing me. When the Yule Festival hit I started hanging out around Bree to do daily quests to get tokens and my horse. After that I rode up to the North Downs and started chipping away at those quests. I have a ton of Fellowship Quests that were green or even gray, but I was trying to solo them. That meant they’d take a long time, and often I’d fail. Even if I didn’t, the experience I got for the quest wasn’t much, and the experience I got for killing baddies along the way was even less.
So why was I doing them? Because I have this freaky A-B-C personality. I don’t like jumping around in a sequence so I always find myself trying to complete my lowest level quests no matter what. Even though I was having no fun, I felt compelled to try to finish these quests. In effect, LOTRO was controlling me, rather than the other way around (OK really my own neuroses were controlling me, via the structure of LOTRO).
Tonight I finally shook myself loose from that mentality and headed to Evendim, an area that has lots of solo quests that are light blue. I immediately started finding the joy in LOTRO again, which is why I’m writing this post when I should be in bed.
I’m sharing this mostly for my future self. Maybe the next time I let a personality quirk start sucking the fun out of a game I’ll come back and re-read this post. These are games we’re playing. We should play them in such a way that they’re fun for us. Not the way someone says we’re “supposed” to play, nor should we approach them like they’re a chore to be dealt with. If you’re playing and not having fun, go find something else to do in your game. And if there isn’t anything else, then just take a break.
Now all that said, I’m really going to miss out on a lot of content if I skip all the Fellowship Quests (with the skirmish system we can all level to max without doing Fellowship Quests if we choose to). But I’m not a big fan of PUGs. So I’m thinking it might be time to find a Kinship on Landroval. But I’m not sure there’s a Kinship out there that I’d be comfortable in. Nor am I sure it’s the right time to be looking for a Kinship with Star Trek Online a few weeks out. I figure I’ll be playing that one pretty heavy when it launches, and LOTRO will go unplayed for a month or two (the beauty of a Lifetime Sub).
Side-tracking and late night blathering at this point so I’ll just stop. But future me (and dear readers), don’t make the mistake I made. Don’t do in-game things that you *should* do. Do in-game things that you *want* to do and that are fun!