Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Outlevelling content in LotRO

I’ve finally managed to get back into Lord of the Rings Online somewhat and out of the zone I’d been stuck in for ages. I even used the item shop, though I didn’t spend any money yet but used the points I got for owning both expansions instead. Those points got me a new zone to level in (Evendim), a skirmish, and the riding skill. So I went to Evendim at level 32, since it was advertised as a 32-40 zone.  And man did I out-level my quests quickly. Do they test this content?

I’m a rather meticulous and efficient player when it comes to questing. I don’t usually leave quests or other experience opportunities out when they present themselves. Maybe that is my problem. After having finished about 1/3rd of the zone I was already completing quests four or five levels below me and it didn’t get better towards the end. Now I’m almost level 40 and still haven’t even touched 2 large areas of the map. What gives?

Experience gain in MMOs is somewhat hard to predict, since players will not only complete quests but also kill varying numbers of experience-providing monsters in the process and possibly engage in other activities (like doing dungeons) as well. Me, I did a couple of solo skirmishes (scripted instances that scale to party size) and I handed in the allowed maximum of tasks (collection quests that involve the collection of items that drop even when you don’t have the quest and can be repeated) each day. I didn’t go out of my way for doing the tasks but simply handed in the loot I found while questing when I could. Surely this is normal behaviour?

The skirmishes are outside of the questing curve, but shouldn’t it be normal for players to do some amount of instancing on the side, be it traditional dungeons or skirmishes? Even then, I didn’t do remotely enough skirmishes to account for the difference in my level and the level of quests I’m asked to perform in that zone. I also rather quickly maximized the reputation with the local faction without any grinding or other attempts of doing that and am now missing a lot of rewards from the quests still left to me since the reputation gain means nothing.

I can only conclude from that, that average players simply don’t do as many quests as I did but leave a lot of content behind. Is that so? Do you regularly abandon quests or don’t accept them in the first place in MMOs? (Post-cataclysm low-level World of Warcraft does not count for obvious reasons.)

I suppose I wouldn’t care about this much if the game wasn’t free-to-play (such a bad name for the model by the way) and I could just move on to the next zone. But I can’t, not without paying cash. Additionally, I would feel cheated out of part of the zone package I bought if I didn’t get meaningful access to all the 200+ quests promised. Sure, I could do them all, but trivial quests have neither gameplay nor experience value to me. I can’t even look forward to increasing my faction reputation since that is maxed-out already.

On a related, but separate note: Do any of you (former?) LotRO players have a suggestion as to what to get past 40? I own both expansions, but I believe the content from those starts at lvl 50.

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