Score (Volume) One for Turbine!

Yes, Turbine! Yes!

In his latest Developer Diary for Lord of the Rings Online, Orion shed some light on some big changes arriving with the Oath of the Rangers update. It looks like plans are set. The entirety of Volume One will be soloable when this patch drops. This is probably the single most enticing update that’s come out in the last year for players under the level cap. I know it is for me.

Outside of its beautiful graphics, the epic story quests are the most unique and defining aspect of the game. From the get go, LotRO throws you into a story that runs alongside the original LoTR books. It’s filled with exciting, dramatic moments that do a great job of making you feel like a part of a heroic tale. And they do it actively. You’re not just reading quest bubbles. You’re running alongside other heroes and kicking some orc ass, flush with voiceovers and scripted events. The works.

Up until now, you could only do a very few of these quests on your own. You had Book One and that was pretty much it before they all began requiring a group. For those that don’t know, a book is a set of quests that tell a piece of a larger tale, they call a volume. A volume usually takes place over an entire expansion and features around a dozen books, give or take. The epic story is supposed to guide your LotRO experience.

So, you can imagine, needing a group to get at the core of the experience left a lot of people out to dry, myself included. You couldn’t just skip around within books. It had to go sequentially. And who would want to move on to the next book without finishing the one before it? Yeah, so long story short, I find myself level 37 and pretty much given up on doing book quests.

Until now. Let me tell you, I’m more excited for this patch than I’ve been for any other in months. Finally, I can get back into it. I’m not exaggerating when I say that these quests take the game to an entirely different level. The storyline experience gives it something no other MMO offers and that I wish all MMO players, LotR fans and not, could play through. Active storytelling. Other games need this.

Which is why I’m glad the haters aren’t out in full force over this change. It’s nice. You see, I understand why people would want group content to play a role in the game. But, that’s there in lots of other places. This is something that’s so pivotal to the full experience that it’s a shame to gate it. Without the epic storyline, LotRO loses a big part of itself and the players who missed out probably didn’t even realize it.

Bravo Turbine. Before this dev. diary, I didn’t see much of interest coming my way in Oath of the Rangers. Now though, it couldn’t drop soon enough. Keep it up, guys.

Are you guys as excited about this as I am? Maybe it’s that I haven’t had a huge reason to dig deep back into MMOs lately but, man, I have one now, and it’s coming from a game with a lot of fun to offer.

(Props to Syp for the tip)

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