Well, first of all an apology for dropping off the scene completely like that. I decided to take a break from the game in August because I was a bit burned out in the pre-expansion lull, and wasn’t sure if it’d just be a short term or longer term thing. In between the expansion being delayed and a general lack of motivation with no new end game content, it turned into a longer break than I was expecting but eventually I ponied up and bought the expansion. This is just a short note to outline some of my initial impressions of the expansion and outline where I hope to take the column in the new year.

RoR – first impressions

After logging into the game for months and starting to explore the new landscape, I was once again struck by the thing I most like about the single player aspect of the game which is the beautiful landscape. The engine is very long in the tooth by now, but it still looks fantastic and they keep finding new ways to present the scenery so that it stays fresh. Admittedly, this is one of the few things I like about the single player aspect of the game, but at least it does seem that they’re trying to make you interract with the story a little bit more than you have in the past and the new method of bestowing and providing rewards for quests on the run is very, very much welcomed.

The big (only real?) change with the expansion, of course, is the war horse and I’m very much reserving judgment on this at the moment. I do appreciate the prospect of a whole new game system to learn, I’m just not yet at a point where I’ve explored it enough to pass judgment. My initial impression, as it is no doubt with many people, is that the controls are clunky and cumbersome to the point where I’m still using my old horse and fighting mobs on foot the majority of the time. But I’m sure that’s in part on purpose – it probably isn’t intended that your massive war horse for riding around town, and giving the horse poor fine motor control is a good way to achieve that. I’m sure the horse will find it’s place a bit more in the wide open plains of Rohan proper. one thing is for certain though and that is that I’m not at all looking forward to levelling up a whole new legendary item when it comes time for that… ugh :(.

I haven’t had much of a chance to play around with the lore-master’s new skills. I must say that I’m a little surprised that they made water lore the first of our new skills. It doesn’t seem particularly suited for soloing – why not give it closer to when we’ll be using it in end game content? Also from my limited testing it seems that pet damage STILL isn’t scaling with level, it looks to me like our pets (other than the bear) are still doing the same DPS as they were at level 65. Sigh.

Anyway, given that I’m so late to the party with the expansion, I don’t intend to cover a lot of the basic stuff that people have probably already figured out well before me, like basic combat techniques for the war horse, and RoR soloing strategies and the like. My plan is to get to max level and start working my way through the new end game content, when it’s eventually released, and work on guides through them. Until then, happy hunting and/or merry Christmas!