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Choose My Adventure: Introducing Ehrdred the Warden

Shawn Schuster

Last week, you voted for me to begin my Lord of the Rings Online adventure with a brand-new character instead of using an existing one. Luckily for me, one of my favorite parts of LotRO is the new-player experience! Memories came flooding back from my first characters and their experiences traversing Middle-earth, but a lot has changed since then.

I created my Man Warden on the Landroval server according to last week's voting and quickly jumped into the Archet questline. After several hours and 16 levels later, I realized that I needed to slow down and let you decide my fate before I got any further. So let's get these votes going so I can play more!

One of my biggest fears with coming back to LotRO was hitting that pay wall I keep hearing about. I stopped playing a short time before the game hit free-to-play, and I'd always meant to come back to see how things changed. I was preparing myself for the constant attack of Turbine points and LotRO store specials in giant pop-up windows that hinder game play, but to be honest, it wasn't as bad as I was told it would be.

Choose my Adventure Introducing Ehrdred the Warden
I'm certainly no fan of cash shops and the way they're sometimes hastily tacked on to existing games, but I haven't minded what I've found in LotRO so far. It might get worse later, and I do feel as if the one quest to introduce the store was on the tacky side (you broke my immersion, Turbine!1!), but I could just as easily reject the quest and move on with my boar killing.

Speaking of boar killing, I want to note that hasn't changed. All the classic MMO staples are still there, although it seems the enemy creatures have been ramped up quite a bit. Yes, I'd love to collect 12 boar tusks for you, sir, but every swing of my sword is also hitting a wolf, a bear, and a badger as well!

One thing I really enjoyed about the new intro was the cinematics showing off what's to come. We get a look at Lothlorien while talking to Galadriel, as well as a glimpse at Angmar, Moria, and Rohan. Sure, we've all seen the movies, but this spyglass into the future really did wonders for my hero complex. I mean, my character's hero complex.

Choose my Adventure Introducing Ehrdred the Warden
There are still a few things I have yet to get used to, like getting a horse at level 8 and a helmet almost right away (in a Hobbit present), but that's just the old man in me talking. Why, when I was your age, we had to deliver horses all over creation before earning our riding skill in a race at level 20. And we liked it!

I'm also enjoying the changes to Bree. No, not my boss -- I mean the town. If you think about it, it only makes sense that a thriving city would change over the course of a few years. NPCs have moved, markets have sprung up on the busier roads, Lalia is a small business owner, and slums have even developed. I practically had those Bree quests memorized, but the changes were a welcome new challenge.

Overall, I'm really having fun back in the old 'hood. LotRO might not look like the newest MMO on the block anymore, but it has so many elements that keep it going as a solid game. I wasn't even expecting many players in the starter area of Archet, but I ran into five or six during my short time there. That's not bad for a game as large and (dare I say) classic as LotRO.

So here I am, pattering around in the Breeland area, waiting for you to decide my next move. I've finished the Prologue and I will go ahead and finish up Breeland side quests and start on Book 1 while I wait for the votes to come in. I'd like to get started with crafting this week (I hate passing up nodes!) and I'd also like to establish an overall goal for the next few weeks. How should I end my run in three weeks? I'm up for a challenge, so let me know how you'd like to see this series progress. Do you want me to shoot for the highest level I can get or enjoy the ride and smell the roses along the way? Get those votes in by Saturday at 9 p.m. EDT in time for next week's write-up.%Poll-83796%%Poll-83804%
It's Shawn's turn back in the driver's seat of Choose My Adventure with you as the co-pilot. It's going to be a rough ride, so put on your seat belt! If you want to read a full six weeks of farcical puns about cars and farming, be sure to tune in every Wednesday as the adventure continues to unfold.

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