A New Player’s Guide to LOTRO (Part Two)
Part Two: Introduction Instance
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” -Gandalf the Grey
Now that you’ve got a hero to stand fast against the rising tide of darkness, it’s time to enter the fray! But fear not, for the Free People of Middle-earth have many allies. The first character you create will enter into he game experiencing a very, very basic tutorial. This will include giving you guidance on the basics of the game. Moving, use of icons, how to speak with an ally, how to attack a foe, how to accept a quest, and the like. In addition, the game will also instruct you in the basics of what the different icons above a character’s head or displayed through out the game mean. Each of these instructions will be given to you in a pop-up window. Now, even as someone who had never played an MMO before, I was a bit insulted by the simplicity of their descriptions. However, in hindsight, I’m glad they had done it this way. It makes the game very approachable.
Each of these introductory adventures is known as an “Instance.” These are quests that stand independently of most things in the game and can be repeated later in the game if you so desire. Each of these Instances is different. Depending on what race you have chosen to play, the instance will be tailored to that background. Each of them features at least one iconic character from the Lord of the Rings and does a very good job of giving you a sense of both presence within the setting and a feeling of racial heritage. Also, some of these starting Instances in intertwined with one another. So if you play a Dwarf and then later play an Elf, you will see mention of events from the past each told from a different point of view.
Once you have completed this tutorial instance, you will be taken to a starter area. If you are a Dwarf or Elf, you will begin the game in earnest in the area surrounding Thorin’s Hall, with Elrohir and Eladan (the sons of Elrond Half-Elven) as your guides. Hobbits and Men will begin in the village of Archet, near Bree, with the ranger Strider as a touch-stone. While this may seem heavy-handed, the creators of LOTRO have done a fantastic job of not making these iconic characters overshadow the experience of the players in the game.
The plot and drama of LOTRO is evident from the very beginning and it would serve a new player well to pay close attention to what they are told by various Non-Player Characters (NPCs) during this Instance. Next time, we’ll explore these Introductory Quests that help you further explore the mechanics and setting of Middle-earth within the context of the game. Until then, keep your swords sharp and your heart strong, for the road to freedom is fraught with peril!