Tuesday, April 26, 2022

LotRO: Generous To A Fault

See that up there? That's my brain on LotRO, that is. Or, if you want to be literal about it, it's a collage I made from the screenshots I took in Lord of the Rings Online earlier today. I was snapshotting new things as I found them and opened them, or I was until I gave up because there were just too damned many.

There's a phenomenon known as overgifting and Standing Stone have it down to a fine art. It might be simple overenthusiasm or maybe it's some kind of passive-aggressive atonement for previous meanness. I hope it's not a tricksy way of pushing cash shop sales on inventory upgrades. I have actually spent some of my very limited supply of LotRO Points doing just that in exactly this situation the past, so I have to wonder.

It very nearly happened again today. I got as far as opening the Store window and checking the price. I was already annoyed because last time I played I spent about an hour emptying a whole bag and yet this time, the moment I logged in it was bloody well full again. And that's before I'd even started opening any of the boxes!

Before I could even think about looking at what I'd been given, I had to spend fifteen minutes sorting through the rubbish I was carrying, finding the Forochel Task Board, taking all the quests, finding the hand-in NPC, giving him all the completed sets, retaking the quests and giving handing in some more, just to clear some of the slots taken up by task items.

After all that I still only had about half a dozen empty spaces, at which point I cracked and opened the Store. When I saw all I could afford was another five slots I just thought "Sod it", went to find a vendor willing to buy the leftovers. I hate selling stuff I could use but the alternative was to go and hunt mobs to get more items more to make up the difference. That way lies madness because no matter how careful you are, you never end up with an exact hand-in. There are always leftovers.

There is a bank in Forochel although you'd have to know it to find it. It's inside a tent that's a separate instance, which makes good sense from a lore perspective but is inconvenient in terms of gameplay, something that just about sums LotRO up, if you ask me. I went there to check but I didn't have much expectation of success. 

I wasn't disappointed, or I was, depending which way you look at it. I was right. My vaults were all but full. 

There were a few empty slots, just about enough for me to clear another row of bag space. It looked like it might be enough to make a start. Start where, though?  

My original idea on patching up had been to check out the Anniversary gifts but I hadn't bargained with all the cruft that seems to have come with the opening up of most of the expansion content to all-comers. I don't remember reading that we were getting the Collector's Editions but my bags were overflowing with "Collector's Edition - Bonus Items" boxes.

About the only plan I had was to try and guess which would explode into the smallest number of things or might have items that could be immediately consumed, like mounts or pets. The corgi, which I was quite keen to see, was already there in my packs as a separate item. I consumed that first.

You get a corgi for every character. Not just the ones you have now but any you might ever make in the future. I have never been much of a fan of corgis, so strongly associated with Queen Elizabeth II as they are, but I'm pleased to say that recent exposure to Ein in both the live and anime versions of Cowboy Bebop has added some nuance to the breed for me.  

It seems I have another dog as well, a German Shepherd. Well, actually a "Shepherd Dog" but same thing. I looked it up and apparently it comes from the Minus Morgul Collector's Edition. And then there's the Mysterious Celebration Pig. That one comes from the 13 Year Giftbox, which I got for having an account that's thirteen years old, surprise, surprise. I got it today, even though this is the fifteenth anniversary. I didn't start playing LotRO until a couple of years after it launched.

I kept on opening things until I got the message that there wasn't enough room to carry on, at which point I thought I'd better take a look at what I'd gotten so far. As well as the pets, which auto-populate onto your hotbars if they can find a spare slot, something that confused the heck out of me when I was searching through my skills to add them, there were the usual slew of fireworks and boosts, the former mostly useless, the latter very useful if I ever plan on actually playing the game.

As well as pets, there are free mounts to be had. I'm not exactly sure how it works but I ended up with four of them. At least, I think that's what happened. I found one new mount on my hot bar, the Steed of Starlight. It's a very impressive warhorse, caparisoned with astonomical or astrological emblems. It also runs at a very tasty 68% above standard. 

I thought that was it for mounts until I logged back in to check something for this post and found I'd somehow acquired another three - two horses and a pig. I wouldn't normally countenance riding around on a pig but I believe you can use them in Moria, where a horse can't go, so I might make an exception for that, if I ever get there.

A swine wasn't the most surprising thing I received. There were not one, not two but three Valar Level Boosts, one going to 50, another to 105 and a third to 120. It's possible I already had the Level Fifty boost from some previous event but the other two are new, I'm sure. 

They're account bound so theoretically I could use them on three different characters. I have four and another free slot to make a fifth. (Or I did. See later in the post...) It's tempting but it's going to bear some thinking about before I decide. 

I would like to see some of the later zones. I'm not sure how it works in terms of travel, though. If you boost to 105 do you also get a free pass through Moria to an appropriate area for your level or do you have to hack and slash your way through the mines like a demigod?

Another very welcome and totally unexpected gift were three "Carry-Alls". I didn't know these things existed but I'm most happy to discover they do. They're extra storage for specific types of items - crafting mats, task items, musical instruments, house items and so on - and they come in various sizes.

There were two Small and one Large Carry-Alls and a free choice of all the kinds. I picked a ten-slot crafting bag and both a ten and fifty slot task item bag. Back when I was playing LotRO as a main game, all those thirteen years ago, I took my crafting quite seriously but that seems very unlikely to happen ever again. My bags are always full of task items, though, as I mentioned earlier. It'll be great to have somewhere to stash them.

Another box I opened contained appearance armor. At first I thought that would be fine. I could stick it in the slots on the Cosmetic Outfits tab and clear a space in inventory. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work that way. I ended up with the item registered in the Appearance tab but still in my bag. 

I went to the vault again and cleared out ten spaces by moving some crafting mats into the new carry-all. I kind of wished I'd chosen two Small crafting carry-alls then. I have a lot of mats in the bank. 

Still, ten slots is ten slots. In went the level boosts and the appearance gear and a whole bunch of stuff related to Legendary weapons, something I'm pleased to say I don't have to worry about just yet. 

By then I'd been sorting inventory for well over an hour and I'd about had enough. I might love inventory management for its own sake in other games but in LotRO it's just a pain. The tiny icons, the overcomplicated mechanics, the very miserly allotment of space... I've played plenty of F2P games with more generous capacity and much better systems.

The more I think about it, the more I'm sure I'll have to start over from scratch if I'm ever going to play LotRO for more than the odd hour here and there. Even if I can get past the inevitable inventory issues, my dwarf Guardian is quite possibly the dullest race/class combo imagineable. I could bump him up with one of the boosts but I very much doubt it would make him any more interesting to play. 

My other choices are a 27 Man Lore Master, an 8 Dwarf Minstrel and a 7 Elf Hunter. I like the Lore Master but the other two have barely begun and I'm convinced there are better options. 

Also, I'm surprised, now I think about it, to see all four of them are male characters. It's very unlike me not to have at least a 50-50 gender split. Thinking back, I'm pretty sure it was because Mrs Bhagpuss was playing too and we were duoing a lot. 

I seem to remember it getting just too confusing at one point in EverQuest II, when we started on a new server and made a bunch of new friends in a short time, having to explain that yes, we were a couple but no, we were playing different genders, which also would have been fine if we hadn't both been playing several characters and not all of those the same gender as each other, let alone the person playing them. Maybe that ought to have been less of an issue on a dedicated RP server but as I've said before, I never found Laurelin to be a particularly accomodating environment, socially, so I probably wanted to keep things simple.

One final note before I go. I'm all but certain that when I logged in this afternoon I had four characters and one more free character slot under the Premium ruleset. After I logged out and logged back in again I have four characters and three free slots. What with that and the mounts, I'm starting to wonder what else might have changed.

Maybe I'll log in the other two accounts I have access to and see what else I can blag. I mean, free stuff, right? You can't have too much. Can you?


  1. Oh man, I haven't done much other than login on Fridays and listen to the band play in Bree on the Gladden server. I suppose I ought to login, just to see what's up with all that.

    1. Yeah, you wouldn't want to miss out on all this stuff you'l never use!


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