The Road to Mordor The reset scenario
At this juncture of my Lord of the Rings Online career, I have zero interest in starting over. I've attempted two fresh characters over the past six months, and while the "newness" was enough to sustain me for a while, I simply didn't have the time or energy to get them through the long, long, long journey of content to meet up with my Captain. So I've made peace with the thought that my main will be my only character through the completion of the game, barring Turbine releasing an incredibly compelling new class or severely streamlining the leveling process.

That's OK, really. I'm content. Yet I also like to engage in mental hypotheses in which I am forced to restart -- a reset scenario, as it were. If I woke up tomorrow and found that my account was completely blank, or if I were thrown back in time and had to start all over again, what would I do? Would I choose differently or the same?

So here we go: the reset scenario. Let's assume the game is more or less how it is now and I have all of my current knowledge. If I had to start from scratch, how would I forge a different path in the game?

The Road to Mordor The reset scenario
Class and racial choice

I've always loved Hobbits, but since my two favorite classes -- Lore-masters and Captains -- exclude the little dudes and dudettes, I've never spent much time playing one. So in the reset scenario, I'm going Hobbit, which means that I have to pick Burglar, Guardian, Hunter, Minstrel, or Warden as my class.

I'm passingly familiar with Burglars, Wardens, and Minstrels and completely disinterested in the other two. The Warden is a tempting choice, with strong survival, cool looks, and a much different style of combat. But it's also extremely complicated, and when I was playing one, I found that I wasn't in the mood to keep memorizing all sorts of combos.

A Minstrel would also boast high survivability, and the evolution of the class has certainly made it more appealing. But I'm going to pick a Burglar just because I like having stealth as an option, it's an underappreciated class, and it is what I mostly strongly associate with the race.

I'm also predicting an uptick of Hobbit Burglars in LotRO following this December's release of the new Peter Jackson film.

Crafting

If I'm starting over, I might as well pick a crafting focus. In the early days of LotRO's life, I was a die-hard gatherer because that's always a reliable way to make a lot of money. My philosophy is that I'd rather have money to buy stuff that others craft than lose money and time by crafting.

Now? Money's just not an issue in LotRO, even if you're back to square one. It's not important at all after a certain point in the game, so crafting for me would have to be for personal enjoyment and some other benefit.

Scholar would be a possibility because I love having potions on hand, and my Burglar could certainly use a few of those. However, I've already done Scholaring and am tired of it, plus plenty of the higher reputation vendors sell lots of potions for all those leftover tokens you've been earning.

So I think I'd go with Farming. It's pretty self-contained, the food buffs are always welcome, and you can make coffee. I don't know how hardcore I'd go into it, but I think you can level it up at your own pace independent from your own progress because you don't need as many mats from zones.

The Road to Mordor The reset scenario
Leveling focus

As I've pointed out before, there are a few different paths you can take in your leveling journey, and I'm not just talking about picking Eregion over Forochel. I guess the baseline is doing the epic story and enough zone quests to get you high enough for the next area (rinse and repeat). But there are other options, including:
  • Deed hunting
  • Skirmishes
  • Instances
  • Quest completionism
  • Tasks and grinding
  • PvMP
Honestly, I'd probably do the standard. I've tried both deed hunting and doing all the quests in a zone, and if this were to be the only MMO I played and I was trying to draw it out as long as possible, that's the way I'd go. But that's not the case. Plus, Turbine's obvious focus on the future development of the game is to keep adding on to the end of it, so there's no good reason to dither about in the middle of it.

So I'd make a beeline for Rohan, taking advantage of any areas that have been streamlined (Lonelands, Evendim, beginning of Moria).

Pimp my Hobbit

The last area of consideration is how I would increase my character's potential and account abilities. Virtues... sigh. If they didn't cost so much, I'd probably just break down and buy 20 ranks of all of them just so that I never had to see another slayer deed again in my life. But that money (or Turbine Points) are better spent elsewhere.

Cosmetics are important to me, so if this rebooted scenario included resetting my account to the basic level, I'd certainly purchase all of the out spots. The improved barter wallet, sixth inventory bag, and increased vault/wardrobe space would be important. And I wouldn't mind paying a few TP to get access to riding right out of the tutorial.

Final thoughts

Sometimes starting over is an appealing prospect in MMOs, as it's fun to have a fresh, unspoilt character to approach the world in a different way. I just don't know if there's enough "different" left in LotRO for me to justify another restart apart from a complete account wipe. Thinking about all this has brought up a few interesting topics that I'll be looking to address in upcoming weeks, but for now, I'll just ask you: What would you do if you had to start over from scratch?

When not enjoying second breakfast and a pint of ale, Justin "Syp" Olivetti jaws about hobbits in his Lord of the Rings Online column, The Road to Mordor. You can contact him via email at justin@massively.com or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.

This article was originally published on Massively.