It’s been a while since I last talked about The Lord of the Rings Online, one of my three gaming obsessions (the other two being shmups and now Animal Crossing), and I’ve been thinking about Ents. Reason being, back at tail end of June some new legendary servers were announced: Treebeard and Shadowfax. As the names might suggest, one was fast and the other was slow. I opted to build a new character on the slow server, mostly just for the sheer novelty and the enjoyment of getting in on something new at the ground level.
Leveling my High Elf Champion (Penfalas – Sinarin for “shoreless”) on the Treebeard server has been extremely fun, as it should be, but also therapeutic. You see, for most of my time playing MMOs (and RPGs en masse) I’ve had the bad habit of making and remaking characters over and over again. Though I’ve been playing LOTRO since the beginning, and have done just about everything there is to do…but those achievements are spread over at least 20 characters. Being on Treebeard, where your xp gain is slower and expansion releases are fewer and further between, I’ve been able to focus on just one character and getting as much done as possible on that one character.
My time on Treebeard was intermittent at first; I would just pop on from time to time to check things out and enjoy the old content. At that point I was still trying to maintain my army of alternate characters on the Landroval server. Since then I’ve come to the grim but freeing conclusion that I’m just not going to have the time for all those babies, even if I’ve just spent the money on a max level Brawler. No, it’s just one character on Landroval and one on Treebeard for me and once my time in the new Gundabad expansion is up, I predict I’ll be spending most of my time on Treebeard, knocking out as many quests and deeds as I can before Moria rears its ugly head in January.
I see it as an opportunity to play the game I love so much in the way that I think it should be played: by focusing on one character and experiencing as much as possible on that character, your “one” hero in Middle-earth, rather than a bunch of alts. Moreover, the relaxed schedule of releases means there will be more time to soak it all in. Thinking of doing the same, of even just getting through the epic story on my current main character (a crafter-turned-level-boosted Burglar) is intimidating because there is just so much content. The Treebeard server allows me to take my time in bit-sized intervals.