Despite planning on playing some Guild Wars, I decided to enter Middle Earth again. I game for fun and I felt like playing LoTRO!
I started on the quests in Celondim with Daerellaen, my Rune-Keeper. I have a few other elves, my minstrel and warden, and had been through the elf lowbie area a few times, so I was interested in seeing the differences. They were immediate – Tham Gelair is now overrun with wolves and not goblins, the prologue has you searching for Avorthal in Nen Hilith where more quests are available, collecting wood in Nen Hilith leads you to Limael’s Vineyard where the prologue also leads, etc. Overall, quest organization is improved. Leveling appears faster, I left the starter area very close to level 7 and hit level 8 after just a few quests (I remember battling goblins in Dol Ringwest at level 6 and having a tough time). By the end of my session, Daerellaen was level 10!
There are changes other than quest flow, for example Daerellaen earned Tokens of Salutation and traded some in for a Novice Mark, good for +5% out-of-combat run speed, and on use +10% run speed (10s duration, 15m cooldown). I also had some Gifts of the Wanderer, items meant to help the lowbie character. On usage I got some nice items, such as Tomes of Resolve (temporary boost to power and morale) plus another Gift of the Wanderer.
Overall, the lowbie experience is streamlined, questing takes you from area to area better, itemization is improved and some nice items with bonuses are available to help out. Nice tweaks all around!
Later, while questing around Thrasi’s Lodge, I had to kill 6 hendrevail in order to coax a lynx cub outside a cave. There was a level 18 hunter in a area, Loranth, no doubt killing hendrevail for the determination trait, beneficial to hunters. Lornath stopped killing hendrovail while I was around, letting me finish my quest real quick, rather than being a jerk and killing them before I could (as a level 10 Rune-Keeper I would lose that race to a level 18 hunter!). I think this is an example of courteous play that too often goes unnoticed, and wanted to mention that here. I thanked Loranth for letting me finish my quest before I returned to the lodge.