Ered Luin and Bree-land are what you might think of as typical starter zones. There's your major town/quest hub that's surrounded by enemies and ruins and all sorts of places to go off and do mighty things.
I think that, in comparison to the Shire, they're pretty bland.
To me, I need to start my LotRO journey in the Shire because it does such an excellent job laying out a huge prologue to the upcoming story that I'll be going through. I'm not just talking about the actual prologue book quest, but just how there's no sense of urgency to get through the zone. You're plopped down in it and gently encouraged to live in the Shire for a while, to explore it, to make it your home, and ultimately, to leave it.
I always get a bit choked up when Merry tells Pippin in Return of the King, "We shall see the Shire again!" They've gone so far away from it, they miss it so incredibly much, and all they have to sustain them are their memories. I need those memories too, and I think Turbine hoped that helping people fall in love with the Shire would give them more encouragement to fight on later in the game.
The Shire is perhaps the most iconic location for all of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and is what many people envision when you bring up LotR in conversation. To fans of the books and/or movies, LotRO's Shire is a veritable museum of epic locations to wander around and see first-hand.
From the Party Tree to Bag End, from the Mathom House to Buckleberry Ferry, there's no shortage of classic places, characters and landmarks to appease the soul of a LotR geek.
6. It's RP-tastic!
Finally, I feel that there's no better zone in the game that promotes roleplaying and "off duty" activities such as the Shire. It's not an infrequent sight to see a level 65 strolling through Hobbiton or Frogmorton as you'd think. Players seem to love to congregate in the Hobbit inns and enjoy the little folk's love of ale, food, dance and story.
Perhaps my list is incomplete, and if so, I'd love to hear about why you might be a fan of this zone!
Tavern Talk is the part of the column when we kick back with a pint of ale and highlight what's going on in the LotRO community this week:
- "Romoen" shares a build for The Ettenmoors Minstrel on the Lorebook
- Wolfshead speculates on how Turbine might capitalize on the upcoming Hobbit movies
- LOTRO Reporter dives into the complexities of the Warden class
- Through the Palantir has an excellent Beginner's Guide to Raiding (pt.1)
- Mordiceius looks at solving the problem of group quests
- Podcast Roundup: A Casual Stroll to Mordor #29, LOTRO Reporter #28, LOTROCast #22