I’m continuing to make slow progress on seeing the rest of LotRO*. Since I was on a roll, I’m continuing with the Volume I Book 10 epic story over in Evendim (rather than returning to Moria).
I’m glad that I went and subscribed to the game, because I noticed that I was missing out on rest experience. Hopefully that will speed up the leveling curve a little bit. (But I still finished all of Book 10 without reaching level 54.)
Story-wise, most of Book 10 revolves around finding a palantir stolen by … um … you know, that evil woman whose name starts with an A that I can’t remember and don’t feel like looking up. For reasons I can’t remember, I was told to capture a henchman of hers who I will call Mortimer (because I don’t remember his actual name but I’m pretty sure it starts with "Mort"). It was suspiciously easy to capture him, but nobody else seemed concerned about that. Anyway he was held in a cell in a tower in the middle of Evendim which incidentally takes a loooong time to reach indoors on foot. I then spent quite a few quests gathering intelligence from him (which he was suspiciously willing to divulge) and running around the world stopping bad things from happening based on his advice. Not surprisingly, it turns out that Mortimer was playing everyone for fools, but regardless, in the end I managed to get the palantir away from the evil clutches of … that woman whose name starts with an A. Some other prominent NPC whose name I’ve also forgotten (he was at the top of the right-hand stairs, as opposed to the left-hand stairs) distracted her while I ran away with it. I don’t know what happened to him.
These quests in Book 10 illustrate perfectly one of the biggest flaws in LotRO. It goes something like this: Person A says, "You need to go see Person B." Person B then says, "Talk to Person C about that." Person C says, "Okay, now deliver this message to Person B." Person B says, "Oh I see, take this response back to Person C." Person C says, "I understand, but let’s ask Person A about this." Person A says, "I agree with C. Take this news back to Person B." Person B says, "I’m glad we all agree. While you were gone, Person C went off somewhere. Tell Person A about it." Person A says, "Oh my! This is terrible news! Go ask Person B for help." Person B says, "I will help you! Let’s go through this instance." And so on and so on. And of course, Persons A, B, and C are in entirely different, far-flung parts of the world. If it weren’t for the Mithril Coins letting you skip some of the travel time, it would be maddening. (Also being a Hunter helps a lot, too, due to the travel skills.)
Overall it was reasonably enjoyable, although it’s odd that so much of this level 50 quest chain takes place in this level 35-40ish zone. Most of the mobs in Evendim are gray and inactive for me. I thought that all of the Volume I story was part of the initial LotRO launch, but after a bit of research, I see that Evendim was not released until somewhat after the initial launch. I am guessing that Volume I, Book 9 and beyond was new content meant for all the people who had reached endgame the day after launch.
Oh my, the wikis are telling me that I have to get through Volume I Books 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 before I can resume Volume II in Moria. Yikes! Well, at least I’ll be well ahead of the leveling curve by the time I get back underground.
* I’ll stop saying "before it closes down" so my relentless pessimism won’t scare anyone.