Communication Barriers

I love Lord of the Rings Online. The pastoral quality of the game world makes me want to crawl inside my monitor and have a picnic.

Ok, maybe not in Angmar. But definitely in the Shire. They even have rainbows there.

Unfortunately, one of the game’s biggest assets – a rich and detailed game world that remains true to its source material – is also one of its biggest drawbacks. Transportation in LotRO is a giant pain in a blogmal’s behind. To their credit, Turbine has made improvements to the transportation and fast-travel mechanisms within the game since its launch. But LotRO remains a giant world that’s difficult to traverse. Which as a player lends a sense of isolation to the overall experience.

The game does provide personal mounts when your character reaches level 35. Having a mount certainly makes getting from point A(ngmar) to point B(reeland) a little easier, but there are some weird game mechanic quirks related to communication and transportation that, if not annoying, at least provide some unintentional humor.

One of these quirks is the inability to send more than one item through the mail at a time. I guess the entire mail system of Middle Earth is run by hobbits who have a low carrying capacity. This restriction is particularly expensive for crafters who want to move items around between their characters. Those postal hobbits have made a fortune off of me!

The second quirk worth mentioning is the inability to interact with NPCs – or do anything – while you’re on a mount. If you want to check your mail, turn in a quest, or sell that 20 pounds of sickle-fly filth that’s taking up room in your backpack for no apparent reason, you MUST dismount.

Why? Who knows. My guess is that someone forgot to tell them that the reins are supposed to go in the horse’s mouth – not yours.

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6 Responses to “Communication Barriers”

  1. Ross says:

    Talking to NPCs while mounted will be allowed with the Mirkwood expansion. Only ones you won’t be allowed to talk to are stablemasters, which, you know, kinda makes sense.

    As for the postal limitations…shrug…I also blame the hobbit postal racket. Capone has nothing on those little buggers.

  2. Chris says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Middle Earth feels huge and epic, which is both great and terrible. It feels as big as it should be, which is to say it’s a pain in the ass to get There and Back Again.

    I pretty much came to the same conclusion when I tried to review my LotRO experience: http://chrisglein.blogspot.com/2008/01/lord-of-rings-online-pc.html

    I’ve since returned to the game and am glad they’re sprucing up travel a bit with the Mirkwood expansion.

  3. Husband Unit says:

    Ah, ’tis true then about the Mirkwood expansion fixing mount interactions. Good news!

  4. Heron says:

    The stupidly broken travel mechanics (for low-level characters, anyway) is what made me decide against paying for LotRO. I loved the two-week trial, other than that, but being forced to travel between Bree and the Shire on foot was a dealbreaker.

    Even though both locations have stables, you can’t take a horse from one to the other. Does that make sense to anyone else?

  5. Ternin says:

    Also with the SOM expansion if you bought the right pack, you can get a shared bank now.

    Which may cause hobbit redundancies but give them more free time

  6. Mephane says:

    I know this comment comes late, but let me say, having to dismount for NPC interaction etc. actually might be a good idea. A lot better than 3 people on mammooths and dragons sitting basically on top of an important NPC, while you have to look for the single Vertex of the NPC’s hit box still not covered by their mounts towering over the crowd (all trying to target the NPC). Heh.

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