*ding* Welcome to the “endgame”!

My burglar hit the level cap this weekend, which is always an interesting milestone for me.  This time was particularly fun, as I had just joined a new kinship. While it’s always nice to see the “end” of the XP Bar (at least, for the time being), hearing hearty congratulations from others is always appreciated.

Having played quite a few MMOs, but having reached the level cap in only a few, I still find the differences in “endgame” content quite fascinating. World of Warcraft, for example, is oriented around PvP and raiding. Everquest 2 seems to be mostly raiding, though I don’t say this from personal experience. Others, like EVE, don’t have so much of an endgame, as there isn’t much of a path to follow, and how do you get to the “end” of a sandbox? But as you progress, corporate intrique and (as always) PvP are the main activities.

LotRO, at least for me, seems to take a slightly different approach to the endgame. Turbine seems to have chosen content as one of the primary activities for level-capped players. I noticed it in Moria, and I’ve noticed it now in Siege of Mirkwood; I hit the level cap long before I had worked through even a majority of the content. There is, of course, raiding to be done, and PvP is always an option. But my burglar hit 60 in the very early parts of Moria (I hadn’t yet run a single radiance instance), and 65 in Lothlorien. I haven’t even seen Mirkwood yet, nor have I run all of the Moria instances.

For a player like me, hitting the level cap is far down my list of priorities when playing the game. However, this strategy can be dangerous for Turbine – it is never possible to keep up with the truly “hardcore” in terms of content. The power players always seem to burn through the new content far quicker than it can be developed, and what do they do then?

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