Get Me Out Of Here!

June 10, 2010

Have you ever found yourself in a game zone you just can’t wait to leave behind? I’m aware that this post is going to reek of irony, especially given the way I extolled the benefits of “stopping to smell the roses” in my last post about Lord of the Rings Online. But you know what, at some point, we’ve all just gotta say, “Smelly roses be damned, I’m going to lose my mind if I don’t get the hell out of the North Downs NOW!!!!111”

You know, oftentimes I’ve come across blog posts that talk about “blah zones” in a game (like this one from Biobreak), and even though many others will consistently pipe up to offer consensus, I always think to myself, “Nah, that must be just a myth.” But after languishing here for what feels like forever, I’ve come to accept that maaaaaybe there really is something about the North Downs that makes it so detestable. I’ve even tried to mix things up a little by bouncing between this zone and the Lone-lands, but it hasn’t been all that effective at quelling my impatience. Probably because the Lone-lands is arguably just as blah.

What makes it worse is that I’ve already burned out once in the Lone-lands/North Downs level range on a previous character, but alas, I’m still a few levels short of progressing to the next zone. Trollshaws, which I have still yet to see, advertises itself from the edges of my Lone-lands map, mysterious and enticing. So close…and yet so far.

Earlier this week, I resolved that I’m going to force myself to play the crap out of LOTRO, and I’m not going to relent until I’m out of the North Downs. I really feel like if I don’t get past this stage of the game now, I never will.


  1. I’ve never gotten a character past that level. My characters in lotro get stuck in the 20’s never to be leveled again. Something about the game get really boring about that time.

    • You and me both. I really enjoy the game up until that part, but I just can’t make myself slog past it to find out if it gets any better. 😦

    • My first character made it to about 20-something and I got bored. And yep, it was around Lone-lands/North Downs for me too. I think she might actually still be in Trestlebridge.

      @Randomessa – I’ve heard the game really picks up after this point, which is why I’m going to push myself to get past this.

  2. I played one level through the North Downs and that was enough for me. There is just way too much random back-and-forthing. If questing hubs were more frequent and progression more streamlined, I’m sure it wouldn’t be so bad. As it is, blech.

    • It’s also quite a big zone without any conveniently located travel points. This makes the random back-and-forthing you mentioned that much more frustrating.

  3. I complain constantly about the running around quests rampant throughout all of LOTRO but ya know what? The Alliance quests in WoW were exactly the same and just as aggravating. I have to guess the Horde has them as well.

    I’ve always enjoyed the North Downs, though I also look back fondly at the original SoA days and doing Dol Dinen runs with my kinship. Open world group-only areas are a blast; shame most of the leveling process is solo-only these days and stuff like DD gets skipped.

    I’m in the process of leveling a Warden (just dinged 43 an hour ago!) and I had no issues with North Downs but during his 20’s and 30’s he was bouncing from North Downs to Lone Lands, and I think there was still some 20-ish stuff in Bree even such as Barrow Downs. Once you get around 28-ish there’s also the Oatbarton area of Evendim, which counts towards Shire deeds as well, then the rest of Evendim itself is mid-30’s to 40 content along with the Trollshaws. There’s always 2-4 zones to choose from during leveling; I have never felt like I was trapped in any particular zone if I wasn’t in the mood to be there.

    • I’ll say they certainly exist in WoW. The Barrens for the Horde was like this for me too; I just got out of there with my Tauren and I’m overjoyed about it.

      And like you, I was bouncing between ND and LL, but was still feeling trapped. I was well beyond the Bree stuff by then. I will, however, look into traveling to Evendim today, especially since so many people have suggested it. I think I’ve made enough progress for that choice to become a possibility.

  4. I’ve never played LOTRO so i have yet to play. What i usually like to do when I play any game is though i’m playing a game for fun and enjoyment focus on some aspect of the game I enjoy or something I’m actually doing and try to find the fun in it while i’m playing.

    I can’t ever say what that may be for anyone else or the game they are playing. But thats what I do. I find some fun aspect of the task i’m doing and work at it as a goal. I’m usually a goal driven and it keeps things in somewhat focus even when the task may not be so great to do. Just a perspective. However everyone is different as well.

    Don’t force your self to play though you putting more time to the game. Set some form of meaning full goal thats easily attainable maybe in the session your playing and once its accomplish set another smaller accomplishable one. Bit size goals. At some point you be out of the area that you detest playing and into another area. It usually work for me, so thats all i can recommend though i don’t play the game.

    • My focus and goal for the last couple of days has just been to level. I think in this case I can feel less bad about forcing myself because I’ve heard this zone can cause problems for many and now I’m experiencing it myself. But those who have progressed beyond it has all said it gets better, so I trust it’ll pick up after this. Besides, the prospect of getting out of ND and exploring a new zone is a powerful source of motivation too 😀

  5. This is the exact point at which I always quit LotRO, and I’m a Founder and a Lifer. They redid the Lone Lands, which was also a big sticking spot. Maybe they are going to redo the North Downs as well?

    • Orion, the dev who did the Lone-lands revamp, had planned to start on North Downs as well but that got put on indefinite hold a while back. Who knows, with the F2P switch this might get picked up again. I could especially see this becoming a priority of the free and premium players avoid those zones in high percentages. Once areas become a-la-cart, there’s a bit more financial incentive to keep a consistent quality level.

    • Maybe they will redo ND, who knows? 😀 Blue Kae brings up a good point, now that LOTRO will be going F2P. If it’ll encourage more people to purchase quest packs, it’ll be in their best interest to make all zones equally enjoyable to play 😀

  6. The North Downs kicked my butt the first two times in LotRO. It took me 3 starts on LotRO to get into the game and, honestly, the third time was more because of the guild I got into from another game than LotRO itself. The game up until then is fun and snappy but you get to the North Downs and it just drags and the quests seem to send you to the same places 5-6 times only to culminate in one other location once.

    To be honest I didn’t get the North Downs blues until the back half of Moria. Even then it wasn’t so much because of the quests but because I was out-leveling everything due to free XP weekends, rested XP and daily skirmishes. I had to abandon the top 2 zones in SoA and did it again with MoM.

    • I think another factor is that the leveling starts to slow down at this point, making ND feel like it drags even more.

      Speaking of skirmishes, I haven’t done any of them yet because I’m still too busy experiencing all the LOTRO quests for the first time, but I guess that’s another alternative to gaining experience.

      • Skirmishes are fun. Nice little bite-sized instances that provide a fun and simple break when other things start to feel like a grind. I’m glad they put the Duo option in as my ideal MMO size when leveling is 2.

        A warning. If you pick them up and then stop you will need to lower the skirmish level until your soldier catches back up to you.

  7. The Lone Lands and the North Downs are some of the weakest areas in the game imo. How they expect to retain players by sending them to those zones after the Breelands (which between the Old Forest and the Barrow Downs is actually a pretty varied and interesting area) eludes me.

    You are on the verge of having your choice of several different leveling zones. My personal preference is:

    1. Southern Evindim (head north from the shire) for hobbit village quests.

    2. Angmar through the southern giant village to the next quest hub until you earn the armor with the set bonuses.

    3. Evindim (very pretty, but lots of swimming).

    4. Foreschell

    5. Eriador

    6. Moria

    You will notice this track doesn’t even mention the Trollshaws and the Misty Mountains, each of which have a ton of content. Goblintown, especially, is amazing. If you can get a party to go in there, do it. The game narrows where you are, but quickly broadens out again.

    • I think I will take your advice, and go to Southern Evindim. Yay for Hobbit villages, I was starting to miss them 🙂

      I would, however, like to hit up Trollshaws and Misty Mountains as I’ve heard that those areas are quite fun to quest in and just ridiculously beautiful. Wow, I’m feeling kinda good now, seeing how many options will be available to me once I pass this stage.

      • The Trollshaws… Ohhhh how that zone gave me more than a few “oh CRAP!” moments when it’s night time in game. 😉 I wish I had gotten to them sooner than I did.

  8. looks like I stopped playing only a few levels before the 20s and therefore north downs. lucky i guess.

    • Yeah a lot of people seem to burn out around that level range.

  9. Wonder whats wrong with this zone. There is a lot to do in it, many non-instanced open world dungeon areas, the first minor dragons, Fornost, a Troll Cave down south near the Elven outpost. Go and explore and mine some ore if you can. The North Downs are one of the most beautiful zones in LOTRO imo.

    But I know they are hated, and I also experienced this. I felt as if I was stuck in a mire. “Where to go, where to go? I hardly make progress!” Top that with a kill 500 or 1000 Wargs deed for humans. I only survived that because I had no other MMO to play at this time.

    Maybe it is first and foremost the missing feeling of progression and lack of quests that makes people hate the zone. The repetitive nature of getting sent over and over again on a lengthy trip to Dol Dinen is not good either. This was once the penultimate zone before the final zone Angmar. Maybe this is what bogs it down so much.

    Feel free to explore Evendim. Go to the Trollshaws. Go to the very eastern parts of the Lone Lands. Spread out! There is no point in LOTRO to do it on a zone by zone basis. A certain game called WoW made us used to this procedure.

    Or get some other lowbies together and make a run to Rivendell. It might be elvish, but it’s just wonderful! 😉

    • And yeah, as people already pointed out: Lone Lands and North Downs are roughly same level, but the LL’s got a quest revamp and the Garth Agarwen dungeon got redone as well.

      Try to take on Narudhel, the Red Maid. She is actually not that bad. Her 2nd in command, Ivar Bloodhand, is much more dangerous IMO.

    • I admit, there are a few pockets of beautiful landscapes in the North Downs, but generally it’s quite bland and barren. You do a lot of running around, which is part of the problem I think, and the fact that experience gain also starts to slow down.

      The feeling of lack of progression can also be due to the fact that the North Downs isn’t very familiar to most people. Now I’m no Tolkien buff, but I don’t remember mention of ND in the books at all, and if there was, it must have been in passing.

  10. Evendim! Now! Do eeeettttt!

  11. I’m with Scott and Longasc on this, North Downs was one of my favorite zones when I originally went through with my hunter. There was tons of exploring to do and a few out of the way quest hubs to find. I never did much in Fornost instances, but I did spend quite a bit of time in Dol Dinen. Of course this was before the Barrows downs was extended a bit, the Lone-lands revamp, or the addition of Evendim and Forochel.

    If you’re in the high end of the 20’s you can head over to Oatbarton on the south end of Evendim and help out the hobbits there. 😉

    • Heh heh, I’m actually almost to the mid 30s by now! And in and of itself, I can’t find anything that really is that horrible about North Downs. Maybe ultimately, it’s the fact that you spend soooooo much time there, due to out of the way quest hubs and all that travel. I feel like I’ve been there forever, and I’m ready to try something new now 🙂

      • You should head off and explore Evendim or the Trollshaws a bit then, will give you a little change of scenery.

      • If you are at mid 30’s then there really is no reason to be hanging out at North Downs. It is time to go to Evendim, not just Oatbarton, but Evendim Proper. Make your way to Tinnundir (easy to get to from North Downs by the way, just head through the road in the Fields of Fornost) and there are a ton of quests that can easily get you to level 40. Then, I suggest going to either Misty Mountains or Angmar. Angmar, especially, has a nice quest chain at around level 40 that gives you a lot of quick XP and some nice rewards along with a good story. Keep up with Angmar, Trollshaws, and Misty Mountains until around level 45 or 46 and then head to Eregion. Do volume 2 prologue near Echad Dunnan to open up Moria and get your first Legendary Item and then finish up leveling to about 52 in Eregion before going into Moria. Moria will take you easily to 60 and more if you want. Then on to Lothlorien and Mirkwood. Good luck and happy hunting!

  12. Yeah, there have been zones I hate and zones I love. Some it boils down to ease of access, number of quests etc and some just the feel or vibe of an area.

    I love the Draenei and Blood Elf newbie areas in WoW but hate some of the mid level zones cause they run out of quests so quickly.

    One of my all time favourite zones ever though was an open dungeon called Runneye in EQ2. I could live there.

    • Oooo, favorite zone? Dereth. Zones? What zones? 🙂

  13. […] me astray yet, I’ve also benefited much from taking other people’s suggestions (like getting over the North Downs hump). I’ve also found Syp’s nerdy progression map to be quite helpful, so hopefully he […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s