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The Road to Mordor: Resolutions, Baggins and Took-style


Mmm... smell that? It's the smell of a fresh new year, that is! Rolled right off the factory floor with no dings, the warranty still intact, and a tank full of gas and dreams. Makes one want to abandon the routine and head out onto the open road, does it not?

I'm one of those old fuddy-duddys who actually does New Year's resolutions, whether or not I'm actually capable of keeping them. I think it's important to try to better oneself and keep reaching for higher goals and standards, and if a new year is a convenient excuse to get my butt in gear, then I'm not complaining.

So right now I'm staring at a field of endless potential for Lord of the Rings Online in 2012. I've actually been giving it a lot of thought -- what do I want out of this year? As LotRO heads toward its fifth anniversary, is there really anything new left that I haven't experienced? And what the heck am I going to write about for 52 more weeks?

Never fear because the more I pondered, the more I realized that there's plenty of content yet to plunder (plus, of course, whatever Turbine has up its sleeves for the year). So for today's column, I sat down and drew up a list of resolutions in two parts: "Bagginsish" resolutions that are all about fluff and creature comforts and "Tookish" resolutions that are more concerned with high adventure.

Battle scene
Bagginsish resolution #1: Redo my house... or even move.

As I've mentioned many, many times, while LotRO's housing is not ideal, it at least offers some level of customization and is kind of fun for aspiring interior decorators who want to work within an extremely limited range. Over the past couple of years I've gradually tweaked my house to the point that I hardly mess with it any more unless something interesting falls in my lap (ooh, a Hobbit property guard!).

But lately I've felt the itch to redecorate from the ground up, and that may even involve moving. I've always wanted a Dwarf house, and I'm aggravated that LotRO forces all of your characters on a server to share the same house even if they don't get along at reunions. (Don't even get me started on how annoying it is that Character A can't remove a housing item that Character B put there, and the item doesn't tell me who it belongs to, so I end up logging in and out a half-dozen times just to make one silly change.) (And certainly don't get me started on why I can't put bound housing items in my housing storage containers because of this shared house setup.)

So my first Baggins resolution is to scrap my house, get a bunch more decorations, and start all over again -- and document the process, of course.

Tookish resolution #2: Finish Rise of Isengard

Rise of Isengard came out in, what, September? And I haven't finished it yet? No, I haven't fallen into a convenient coma or decided that LotRO is "dying"; it's just that at no point was I in a rush to finish this content, so I got used to being pokey about it. Now with the latest patch's new chapter to the epic story, there's that much more that needs to be done, and I'm all about dragging my feet.

That needs to end. I'm going to wrap RoI's solo content up by the end of this month even if I have to draw a map for Pit of Iron by hand because nobody at Turbine could be bothered to help me out there (don't get me started).

Bagginsish resolution #3: Give farming another go

With the changes to crafting and farming this past year, I now have a better reason to try my hand at tilling the soil. Food buffs are wonderful for giving you an edge in your adventures, and the allure of making coffee is a strong one indeed...

Purdy scenery
Tookish resolution #4: Head back to the newbie lands with my Warden

One of the reasons I want to finish up RoI is that I've been itching to reconnect with my Hobbit Warden and continue on with my "completionist" project that's taking me through every solo quest in the game, zone by zone. That right there is a year's worth of activities -- I just want to make sure that I'm in the proper mindset to start over, as it were. It helps not to think about the virtues and grind involved.

Bagginsish resolution #5: Put on a player event

Yup, I actually, at some point, do want to run a player event in the game. I've always enjoyed jumping into player events that others have put together, and I know that they have to be quite a bit of work to pull off right.

I have a few ideas percolating upstairs, but really I'm just curious to see if I can do it and if anyone will show up. You will, won't you? Oh, don't be cruel!

Tookish resolution #6: Immerse myself in PvMP

I'll admit that up to this point in time, I've been completely divorced from the PvMP side of the game -- although, in fairness, LotRO makes it exceedingly easy to never even notice monster play and PvP in the Ettenmoors.

I'm not sure if I'll take my level 75 into it or start a creep from scratch, but I would like to spend a month doing nothing but monster play to see what the appeal is and whether there's more to this side of the game than most know.

Massing army
Bagginsish resolution #7: Re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

Did you know that they made novelizations of this game? How cool is that?

/ducks to avoid thrown shoe

I've been meaning to go back and re-read these four books for some time now, so why not in 2012? I think one would get a lot more out of the game by re-familiarizing oneself with the books (and vice-versa), and I'm interested to see whether any of the details I've picked up in my time with LotRO will pop out at me when I'm going through Tolkien's works.

Tookish resolution #8: Take full advantage of the instance finder

I'll be honest -- ever since the instance finder was added to the game, I've been meaning to really jump into more instances, but so far that's failed to materialize. I have no idea how used (or unused) this system is, and I've really never done PUGs in LotRO vs. other games. Will they be better? Am I too rusty with my solo-centric attitude to run instances with others?

Time to find out, I guess! Plus, I'm keen on seeing these new Isengard instances first-hand and perhaps dressing in something finer than shabby quest hand-me-downs.

So that's about it for my resolutions. What will yours be in LotRO in 2012?

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 or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.

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