LotRO: Why run the content?
I was listening to a LotRO inspired podcast where they were talking about the newly revamped Fornost raid when the question of why you should run the dungeon came up. He wanted to know if there were any special marks or other currency type bartering tokens gained from doing so. That makes sense in a lot of ways on the one hand. We’re playing a game where leveling up your character is important and gear and weapons matter. Why not look for more opportunities to earn better gear? In terms of Fornost, that’s not why I’d want to run it, however.
Let me back up and be very clear on how I’ve always felt about Fornost. I. Freaking. Hated. It!! I can’t count the number of times I’ve run Fornost only to be lost for an inordinate amount of time trying to find that one silly tower (I forget which one. Think I lost two of them on one run.) The layout of the towers, to me, was ridiculous. My son had it down pat after running the dungeon once. I do not have that skill, the one that instantly cements dungeon maps and strategies to memory with a glue so strong, two years of not playing will do nothing to tarnish that mental map. I get lost. A lot. I was once running a couple of friends through the Trollshaws part of the Epic book quests when one of the guys asked,
“Ranni, are you lost?” to which I replied, “No. Why would you think that?”.
When he informed me that we’d passed the same exact tree at least three times I had to admit defeat. I was so lost it wasn’t funny. So although I’ve run Fornost a buttload of times, it’s never been one of my favorite places. More like the one that made me grit my teeth hard and check to see if smoke was steaming from my ears just because I knew they’d want me to lead and we’d spend far too much time trying to find that dang tower. Nothing is worse than leading a group when you’ve no idea where you’re going even though you’ve run the instance a crazy amount of times.
That said, I’ve always liked the look of Fornost. I think it’s very fitting to the story and I love fighting the different bosses as they each have their own special strategies. Even running between the towers (as long as someone else was leading) was fun. Well, the trolls weren’t my cup of tea. I was merrily questing along somewhere in Middle Earth one day when I received a tell from a buddy. He had organized a Fornost run and had taken one of my kin mates along with him. This guy, my kin mate, was a nice fellow but for some reason, he’d decided it was his chance to teach his pug a lesson. Or five. My buddy was asking me if I’d come with them to help calm this guy down because he’d already run one of the fellowship members off. Since I was his kin leader, I felt a sense of responsibility and went. This dude was a Hunter and was aggro-ing every single mob he could. If the group decided to skip this or that mob, he’d pull it. When we’d finished the longest and most complete Fornost run ever, I asked my buddy why he hadn’t just kicked my kin mate from the fellow. He’d kept him in only because he was friendly with my kin and thought it would upset us if he didn’t. That dude pulled so many trolls on us, for absolutely no reason (other than “teaching them lessons”), if I’d been lead, I’d have kicked him. Kin mate or not. So yeah, I don’t have fond memories of the trolls.
Still, on level, the fights were challenging, required different strats for different bosses, the inner quests were fun to do … it was a good experience to say the least. It was also a very long experience, but once you finished you felt you’d accomplished something. You’d fought the evil forces and won. I feel the same about Carn Dum. I *love* that place. I can’t count how many times I’ve run Carn Dum, and I’d run it even more if I wasn’t stuck in eternal solo-play (no kin other than my alt kin). I’ve never once thought about either of them as ways to earn bartered gear because they’re just fun. I think when it becomes a matter of grinding for tokens or whatnot, it kills the fun. Moria anyone?
Take Grand Stairs. There’s another dungeon I really enjoyed but after we decided to gear up our kin with the awesome Moria set and I spent almost every night in there, running the same thing over and over and sometimes several times in one night, it grew old. There were, to be honest, other Moria instances we could have run for the tokens. The problem was we had people who weren’t so quick on their feet or lagged badly and the Grand Stairs, though challenging in a couple of spots, was easy enough for those of us who’d run it a gazillion times to take up the slack for those who were, well, not so hot at dungeons. Ranni the Hunter STILL doesn’t have her lvl 58 legendary trait yet because I honestly don’t know if I want to run Grand Stairs to get it.
I ramble a lot, no? I’m trying to say, in short, that I think dungeons shouldn’t always be about the grind for better gear. Sometimes they should just be for the sake of fellowship and fun with a hopeful cherry on top in the form of a sweet loot drop. Otherwise they take the chance of becoming a grindy pit of seething frustration and take away from the lovely escape gaming often gives. If I wanted everything to be a long and frustrating grind I could just try and make my teenager wash dishes.
Oh, and if you do run Fornost and you’re a tactical based class, stay out of the water around the ghostly mobs (forget their names). The water will silence you so stay on the grassy spots when fighting!