I logged into Lotro last night for the first time since June. There was a hefty download before I could log in but it is all for the best because it included a free update - adding Chapter 10 to the game.
Throg's combat skills were a bit rusty after his summer holiday and it took a couple of close shaves before my dwarf champion got back into the swing of things. Throg's journal is full of group quests and I was concerned that the bulk of the server might have passed him by at this stage making it hard to find a group. Happily that does not seem to be the case. Almost immediately I spotted a call for one of Throg's quests in the Looking for Fellowship channel. Throg signed up and the impromptu PUG consisting of Throg and two minstrels quickly fought their way through the quest chain first finding some lost dwarves and then dealing with elite trolls in the aptly named TrollShaws.
I am not sure if I want to get back to playing MMORPGs seriously but that experience reminded me just how enjoyable adventuring can be when you are in a group that works.
This morning I experienced the less pleasant side of MMORPGing. First I wasted an hour waiting for a pick up group to get off the ground before it eventually dissolved without accomplishing anything. Then I spent another hour housekeeping - clearing out my bags, repairing armour, putting stuff up for sale on the AH.
I know that time sinks and and waiting around are major features of every MMORPG but at this point I don't think I am prepared to put up with that. If I go back to playing this type of game I want it to be on my terms. I want to be able to play whenever I like for as little or as long as I like. I want to be able to log on for an hour and achieve something.
Perhaps I need to go back to Guild Wars. It really is a game that is friendly to busy people with virtually no timesinks and short missions that can be accomplished in an hour of playing time. Sadly I got a little bored of the Guild Wars world. There is a new expansion out now but I haven't yet been able to work up the motivation to check it out.
By the way I noticed that there doesn't appear to be any more servers than there were in June. It seems that Lotro subscriber numbers have not increased significantly since the beginning of the summer.