Lost trails of LoTRO: Vol X

The lonely ride of Redwine Eardwrecca, exiled Rider of Rohan, concludes. Retrace his hoofbeats from Vol I through II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX!

It occured to me that it’s been nearly four months since I started this series, and that was just a while after I launched The Iron Dagger as well! I can’t help but feel a trace of wistfulness.

As such, while I know there’s plenty more ‘lost trails’ out there in Turbine’s Middle-earth to snap and show, I’ve opted to wrap on an especially nostalgic note by sharing my old screenshots of a place I’m sure many LoTRO veterans feel wistful about too – the Rift of Nûrz Ghâshu.

Lava keepI don’t recall much lore around the Eldgang in-game, so I have no idea who those statues represent, if indeed they represent anyone at all. But they do make for a pretty grand backdrop, and the lava helps further.

Drake-haunted townArguably my favorite view of the Rift’s interior. The forlorn, crumbled feel of the city streets, shadowed by that enormous coliseum and with drakes gliding eerily overhead, screams evil. Turbine will have quite the task, if they want Mordor to beat this for sheer sinister magnificence.

Unreachable buildingsSome of the Rift’s unreachable buildings. From this distance, they look almost ghostly – and occupied. First time I was here, I imagined the raid was being watched by dread eyes from way over there.

Colosseum exterior“Have you ever seen anything like that before? I didn’t know men could build such things.”

Colosseum interiorSadly, I think this is the only part of the Rift many post-Shadows of Angmar LoTRO players have seen – Norbar, where the Rescue in Nûrz Ghâshu Skirmish takes place. Oh well. At least Turbine repurposed it.

Fall of ThaurlachNeeds no introduction, eh? A dead Balrog is something you don’t want to miss screenshotting.

This was taken during the one and only time I found a raid that managed to slay Thaurlach. With all the water and the beautiful Elvish statues casting their light rays, this is really not that bad a place for eternal imprisonment.

Ferthu hál from Redwine

And with that, Redwine’s ride is at an end – on this blog at least.

(I wanted to snap him riding into the sunset, with Weathertop as a backdrop. Seemed appropriate, and doubly so given Imladris is going down soon. But you know what? That symbolism is far too cliched, so enjoy this pretty pink foredawn sky instead.)

What’s next for me in LoTRO? Honestly, I have no idea. Even though I have a surfeit of Turbine Points remaining – enough for an expansion and several quest packs at that – I no longer have a surfeit of time or interest. Returning full-time to play through the content is therefore as out of the question now as it ever was.

I could still log in now and then to look for roleplay, but on that front, I have no reason to expect anything different from the garden-variety stuff I’ve grown inured to over the years. Unless I join a guild, that is, and I don’t imagine most RP guilds want folks who only turn up sporadically. But who knows? Perhaps sometime in the future, when the mood strikes, I’ll get Redwine moved to Laurelin and look into fulfilling that age-old dream of finding him some dedicated Rohirrim RP. If you’re on that server and you spot him trotting around, give him a holler.

Ultimately, I can’t bring myself to uninstall the game and consign it to the trash can of memory, like all the friends who used to play with me have long since done. I remember talking about the good old days in Bree-land with one of them once, and mentioning how I missed running around on foot in cheap, vendor-bought hauberks and backpacks – and him answering that he thought I’d miss the teamwork (that you can get in any MMO) instead. They lack the predisposition for attachments to virtual worlds.

I don’t. And that’s why The Lord of the Rings Online is staying where it is on my desktop. Turbine’s Middle-earth is a part of me now as a gamer; not merely for the hundreds of hours I put into it, but for the enrichment all that playtime gave my gaming life.

The road goes ever on and on. Ferthu gamer hál!

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