What More Can a Hobbit Want?

What more can a hobbit want?

That’s how I ended my last post. And the answer to that is obvious: a nice hobbit-lass. And an ale, I guess. And some hearty food. And pipe-weed. But let’s stay with the first for a second.

So I’m in love with hobbits in this game. I love the shire and the little tidbit quests that go with it. I even ignore the fact that the epic story line feels somewhat tacked onto the hobbit line (“Now you’re in Archet, now you’re not. Now you find an old skull, and now you’re off fighting somebody you haven’t much heard of before.”).

I also love the way music works in this game. Having instruments that you can actually play yourself? awesome. So, why not go with the music theme all the way? Thus Latakia was born. The character creator says “hobbit-women are named after flowers or jewels”. I guess Latakia is borderline, but I want a sturdy, tomboyish kind of female hobbit, the kind that just pops up in my head when I hear the word “lass”. So she’s a minstrel, a farmer and cook (or yeoman, in LOTRO’s choose-one-vocation-get-three-professions jargon), and she’s fond of pipe-weed. Being a (these days mostly ex-)pipe smoker myself, I love the smell of tar and ports of Latakia.


Latakia working in the field, though slightly overdressed for the occasion.

Presto, pipe-weed!

By now, I’ve finished the Shire quests and need to branch out to the Bree-lands. Naturally, starting in the shire meant the usual staples (apart from the ubiquitous (boar|wolf|spider|bear) slaying.

Mail had to be delivered...

...pies returned...

...and some fireworks nonconsensually set off.

The first two also rewarded traits that I could make good use of as a minstrel. The later just make my little pyromanic heart cackle. Finally, level 15 came around, and it was time to choose a surname.

Latakia Brandybanks, cook, brewmaster, and enjoyer of pipeweed.

Look, Hiltibrant has a little sister. Or, I guess with the size and scope of hobbit-clans, it could be just as well a third cousin twice removed. I wonder whether other people also tend to have their characters in a game have a common background story; it seems I often end up with 2-3 characters in a game that I consider related, or forming a close party of friends. I half expect to log in one day into a game and find all my characters sitting together over a game of cards.

Gameplay-wise, the minstrel plays a lot better than I expected. Or at least it is getting better and better. The beginning was very slow, but with War Speech at level 10 and Call of Oromë at 14, it got a lot better. I wonder how it will be for soloing at higher levels; it doesn’t feel like there is a lot of grouping happening on Laurelin in the lower levels.

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