LOTRO and nostalgia gaming in 2021

I think I’m immune to the pull of nostalgia in gaming, or have grown largely to be. I logged on to the Lord of the Rings Online Treebeard ‘slow’ progression server and created a new human Loremaster to play through the Archet starter zone. I’ve played a couple of sessions and find myself increasingly drawn to just go back to my stable of established characters on Laurelin.

The slower levelling gameplay and odd quest that has been restored is enjoyable to see, but there are many little things that remind me that I have well-played characters still waiting to be brought back to life. Specific quests that remind me of playing an older character, finding items that I have already on the same, and all the many things that I’ve already unlocked on Laurelin, things on this server and character that remain are suddenly unavailable.

The only nostalgia gaming trip that has lasted any length of time for me has been WoW Classic, not that I’m active presently, but we did play that for months. Emphasis on the ‘we’. The only reason why I played WoW Classic from 1 to 60 was the static group that I was playing with, and perhaps some nostalgia for old dungeons. Repeating the old quests may have brought back some long-buried memories from 2007, but it wasn’t so amazing that I’d be willing to repeat it again anytime soon and I’d have given up long before 60 if playing solo.

My experiments over the years with a previous LOTRO progression server and an Everquest 2 equivalent have been very brief and minimalistic – mainly to satisfy the curiosity of just how different it feels to play on whatever ruleset is in effect, something that usually doesn’t take more than 10 levels of play.

I suppose for me playing MMORPGs is mainly about persistence and progress of my characters. Starting over never feels good, I just end up missing all the good stuff my old characters have amassed or can craft themselves. Repeating content doesn’t appeal to me that much. When I’ve tried seriously getting back to levelling alts in LOTRO I find myself losing interest because I can remember the story too well. The only game that has avoided this trap for me, at least in more recent years has been SWTOR because in that game a big chunk of the content and draw for levelling is the class-specific storylines, and I’ve not repeated any of those past the first few planets.

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