Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Knee Deep in Giant Spiders

So I've been playing Lord of the Rings online for a few weeks now. I'm finding it much more fun than Guild Wars, as evidenced by the fact that I actually play by myself and don't wait until Laura comes online. I'm still in the low levels, having just made level 20 as of yesterday, so playing solo can still be a dangerous enterprise. Too many things out there that can kill me pretty easily.
If you've ever played an MMORPG (Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game) then you know that you spend a lot of time on quests, usually given to you by NPCs (Non Player Characters). Works like this. NPC hobbit says, I need 15 mushrooms from the Farmer's Dale to stop a plague. If you go collect them I'll give you a shiny button and you'll get eleventy seven experience points. When you get to the dale, you find that the mushrooms are guarded by 14 level 30 orcs on a bender who reduce you to ground beef in short order. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.
There's one quest that I've been having a particular problem with. In this one, a hobbit who hangs out in the old forest lost his back pack and was forced to flee when a bunch of giant spiders attacked his camp. He asks me to go and retrieve his backpack. I first tried this when I was level 12. Little did I realize that the spiders were all level 15, so they made short work of me. The other problem was, I couldn't find the darn pack. The directions from the hobbit were fairly vague. Go south over the river, then south east. Well duh. That's kind of like telling me that I can get to your house by crossing highway 75 then heading south east.
Anyway, I went back at level 15 and made it much further. You can usually kill at least two enemies that are your same level if you have decent armor and weapons. Three can turn ugly and anything over that and you're probably toast, unless you can beat a hasty retreat. I ran into a trap of five spiders, so of course I got killed.
Now some of you are probably saying, "Gee, Charles. Couldn't you get another player to help you?"
Well sure. I belong to a kinship and there are any number of higher level players who would have been glad to help me out. Plus, you can usually find some other lone player who's willing to team up. I've had a lot of fun teaming with folks.
This particular quest though, had become a point of contention with me and I was determined to solo it. Giant spiders are the natural enemies of barbarians so I felt that my honor was at stake. (Yes, I know there's no barbarian class in LotR but much like Mr. T with his elf knight mohawk, I insist on at least pretending I'm a barbarian.) So at level 19 I decided to try it again. First time through I again ran into too many spiders at once and got slaughtered. Second time I blundered into an Elite Oak (like level 7012). I managed to run away from him but my energy level was so low that a passing rabid bear killed me. Plus, I still couldn't't find the @$##ing pack.
Demoralized and annoyed, I turned to the forums. I don't like to go to the LotR forums too much because I always learn something I don't want to know about coming adventures in the game. But I figured I'd never find the pack without help so off I went.
I felt better immediately. There was post after post with titles like, 'Can't Find bloody backpack' and 'I keep getting killed in Old Forest quest'. Apparently I wasn't the only one. About six pages in I found a post where someone had put up a link to a fairly nice map of the Old Forest which showed the location of the pack. I recognized some of the landmarks and knew I'd been close at least twice. It wasn't where I thought it would be though.
Armed with my map and a boatload of animosity, I went once more into the Old Forest. I took my time, patiently killing spiders, drawing them out one by one so I didn't get mobbed. I got to the point on the map where the backpack was supposed to be and saw why I'd missed it. The glade was just a tiny little spot in the maze like forest. And it was absolutely CRAWLING with giants spiders. I stuck to my plan, moving carefully so that I didn't pull too many spiders at once. (They attack automatically when you get within a certain distance.) Finally I reached the pack and picked it up.
Now the smart thing to do have done at that point would have been to use my map icon which allows me to basically teleport home once an hour. But that would have been admitting that the spiders were too tough, so I slowly fought my way back out of the glade and back along my original path. Somewhere during all of that I leveled up to 20. I missed it during the battles.
Anyway, I completed the quest and beat the spiders, so my barbarian honor has been avenged. Now I want the hides of the level 22 orcs who killed me up by Trestlebridge...

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