Is LOTRO Worth Playing In 2020?

Is LOTRO Worth Playing In 2020?

In Articles, Reviews, RPG Games

LOTRO or The Lord of the Rings Online has recently made most of its content free for players and returning adventurers stuck at home during the pandemic until the end of August 2020. If you’re returning to the game after a long time away, here are some of the best new LOTRO features that have been implemented in recent years.

Crafting Carry-all Bag

The first major one being Carry-alls, a new inventory item that doubles up as a crafting material storage bag, and goodness knows, LOTRO has needed this for a very long time. Once in your inventory, simply open the bag, hit the gather button or set it to auto gather if you’re out questing in the landscape and watch the magic happen. Look at all those mats disappear! Currently there are three versions available, small which can hold 10 items, medium with 25 and large with 50, and all items within stacks to 2000-5000.

Besides just clearing up inventory and bank space, you can also do your crafting with mats in the bag, which is awesome. And since it’s account wide, you can toss it in shared storage and throw it around, just don’t send it via mail, I learned that the hard way as the mail fee counts every item in the carry-all.  So basically for comparison, it’s kinda like the crafting bag in the Elder Scrolls Online, except you don’t have to pay a subscription fee to access it, it’s a physical item and it does have limitations. It’s also not a free item obviously, and can be purchased with LOTRO points from the store, or you can get the large on for free from the 130 dollar version of the Minas Morgul expansion. And at present time if you missed the news, LOTRO is giving out a limited-time Carry-all selection pack to VIP subs that allows us to pick a new type as well. There’s one for task items, housing decorations, musical instruments and essences, which means we should expect to see more of these roll out in the LOTRO store soon.

Character Virtue Changes

Up next is the Virtue System.  Every virtue now has its own XP bar that must be filled to rank it up, and you no longer earn Virtue tiers from completing landscape Deeds. If you need a refresher, Virtues are equip-able passive stats and Deeds are zone,class or race-specific objectives that you need to complete in order to get rewards, which previously were Virtue ranks and LOTRO points alongside titles and what not. These days, completing Deeds will grant you Virtue XP instead of direct ranks, and on the panel you can now select which one you want to place in earning status, which is where the XP gets distributed to. Most of the stats on these Virtues have also been reworked, plus it’s now easier to identify which Virtues offer survivability or DPS stats at a glance, and there’s even a new one called Wit as well. What’s cool is that now, you even get small passive bonuses from the virtues you haven’t equipped, so it gives players and especially min-maxers at the end-game a reason to actually go out and farm the XP required to level everything up.

64-bit Client

This has been one of the most requested features for LOTRO in recent years, alongside calls for a graphical or engine upgrade. But the new 64-bit client absolutely rules! Like if you’ve been away for two years or more, you’ll really love the 64-bit client. You can select it from the launcher itself, and most of the annoying technical issues I used to have like crashing to desktop when changing zones or super slow-load ins to the town of Bree are now gone for me.

Stout-axe Dwarves Race

And then there’s the Stout-axe Dwarves, a new playable race of Dwarves that was introduced with the Minas Morgul expansion last year, and can now be purchased separately on the LOTRO store. So naturally I rolled one  to check it out, and I absolutely love the new introduction story this race gets, made more meaningful of course if you’ve completed  2017’s Mordor expansion and the subsequent stories that explores the these Dwarves of the region in-depth.

Without giving it all away, you start in Mordor at a period when a very important character to the story is there and it tells an important plot point too, and it’s an adventure to escape to the Blue Mountains, where the game’s original introduction begins. I had a lot of fun with it and it ties in nicely too for a starting narrative. As for the race itself, you can be male or female, and they do have more mellow but different battle cries.

Better Daily Hobbit Presents

Let’s also talk briefly about Daily Hobbit Presents, one of LOTRO’s most forgettable features before I stopped playing, because while you get daily freebies, some of the things you get will just make you cringe and its hog inventory space, unless its Mithril coins or Mathom’s armor. Well not anymore. The gifting system has been given a facelift and while its slot machine function remains, you can now clearly see the different tier rarities and what they offer, and most importantly of all, they give you free Virtue XP which is useful for reasons we’ve already covered, even if they are small in value, because if you play every day it all adds up.

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