There and back again: Combe

So this Lord of the Rings Online project i thought about? It’s kind of in motion. This week, our son isn’t an easy sleeper; i think it has something to do with his going to the kindergarten now. Although it’s just 2 hours a day right now, at night he’s busy digesting everything he took in there. So i couldn’t play pretty much at all this week. Yesterday he slept at 10 pm and i found myself wanting to relax a bit before going to bed. But what can you do with a session of 45-60 minutes? Final Fantasy XIV was out, as was Everquest 2 and The Elder Scrolls. Guild Wars 2 would have worked, maybe, but it’s been quite some time for me and i’d need a longer session to get reaquainted to the game. So i went, loaded Lotro up, logged in with my Beorning-Beorning and continued my travels in Middle Earth.

Combe

Middle Earth is beautiful. You can say what you like about those avatars and their animation, but the world is beautifully crafted. I didn’t do a lot- what really happened was that i gathered all the quests in Combe, went to get a crafting profession, worked with the materials i got and quested right up to Filbert’s uncle, who’s standing in the Chetwood, missing his handkerchief.

Combe - the Inn and training hall
Combe – the Inn and training hall

I did all of that before, to be sure. And sometimes i would roll an alt with the intention of reading all quest text “this time”. But i have to confess that i’m so used to skipping quest text and seeing questing basically a grind that there always came a time when i fell into the old habit of just accepting all the quests, follow the marker and deliver. If you do it this way, you’re playing Lord of the Rings Online wrong, of course. But i also have to say that it doesn’t help if you go into a village and have 8 open quest rings floating around. The Secret World does a better job of giving story-related weight to its quests and i think it has a lot to do with the fact that you can’t just pick up a billion of them at once.

Combe - the crafting hall
Combe – the crafting hall

At least yesterday, it worked. I read every quest text i gathered up, knowing for the first time what i was doing there.¬†Woodworkers need to get rid of wolves to go and lumber in safety, to get Archet rebuilt. A mother is looking for her son who wanted to find his fortune in Combe and found the Blackwolds instead. Then there’s a man whose father was a robber and got hanged, looking for treasure. An old man, his farm stolen by the Blackwolds, wants the chain of his seemingly dead dog. A lumberjack is missing his notebook- you’ll need that to find the tree the robber was hanged on- he lost it when fleeing the Chetwood to get away from some Blackwolds.

Lumberjacks near Combe
Lumberjacks near Combe

And then, of course, there is a hobbit who’s uncle went into the wood to give the Blackwolds a piece of his mind, only to have his handkerchief stolen. And probably others i forgot. All in all, you could say that Combe’s in a bad situation right now, with the Blackwolds so close, making the Chetwood unsave. Of course, this will all seem harmless the further you get into the game, but to be honest, i like these “small problems”- helping a village rebuild is so much more satisfying than saving the world. I really don’t know why that is, maybe because it seems so normal.

Combe lake
Combe lake

I happen to enjoy the first zones into the worlds we visit more than the later zones- you’ll have villages, small towns, townspeople with their “small problems”. You have a beautiful scenery, an inn to visit and all that. Later on, there’ll be Lava. Or in Lotro’s case, the next two zones will feature an Inn, a burning town and an old ruin as capitals of the zones. And don’t even get me started on the zones after that. Of course, they’ll have their own beauty, and their own storyline, but i always miss these green zones with signs of humanity sprinkled across in later zones- and funny enough, most games have this “problem”. I don’t know if it gets better when you leave Moria in Lotro, though. I heard Rohan has a nice scenery.

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3 thoughts on “There and back again: Combe

  1. Oh Combe and Staddle…I too used to love these simple homely quests…

    They do become a bit tedious after the 20th time you have done them… but I will always be on the look out for some new angle of perspective that opens up while doing the old familiar!

    I agree the emptier later zones are far less alive…

    Most NPC’s turn into nothing more than quest posts…

    1. Ha, Staddle is great, as well. I always remember that quest that makes you walk from one NPC to another, a lot of times. I did it several times and was quite annoyed at it before i read the text and found out that it is, essentially, a love story. Since then, i’ll always do this quest, even when nowadays, you outlevel these areas very quickly.

      Also, the Shire. It’s really great and as beautiful as one would imagine it to be.

      1. I love the shire to…except a certain set of pie quests…I don’t think I have EVER completed them…I sometimes do the post delivery though!

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