Anti-grind Grinding

D. Face goes here

Ever have one of those nights where your child just won’t sleep without you next to them, and then kicks you in the face/stomach/groin? Yeah, me too.

For some unknown reason, I was up this morning around 2:30, and as I often do when I find myself awake in the quiet hours of the day, I decided to get some time in with my favorite caffeine-substitute, LotRO. (Though I did brew up some tea, so maybe that’s what really got me going…)

After my minor revelation in RIFT‘s Open Beta, I figured I needed to re-evaluate my approach to LotRO if I was going to maintain my love for the game; I’ve put too much focus recently on finishing Deeds and Quests in the older areas. Almost as if I unconsciously decided I was going to “wrap up” Eriador and Moria before moving on. So I decided to finally go to Enedwaith.

Well, I didn’t get there.

But not without good reason. It’s all the “Echad This” and “Echad That” locations for horse travel from Rivendell – I can never remember where I’m supposed to go! And I can see the smirk on that dirty Elf Stable-Master’s face; he’s just dying for me to drop a few hundred silver on him and his friends as I ride from Echad to Echad trying to figure out why I’m not getting any closer to Enedwaith. I think they changed the names on me at one point, because I ended up in Gwingris twice (twice!). How about some “Location: Region” details in the Travel window, Turbine? Help a player out!

Nonetheless, I found myself in Echad Mirobel, staring across the river towards Enedwaith and pointedly ignoring the snickering coming from the direction of the stables behind me. I figured, “Mount up and ride over there! Adventure awaits!”, which I did, until I passed the first Half-Orc outside the outpost. “Hmmm”, I thought, “I think I still have a Deed for those guys in Eregion.”

And so it began. Again. It’s like a sickness…

What I actually found was a great way to grind without grinding. I just wandered the area, from mob to mob, with no particular goal in mind except to kill specific types of creatures. Half-Orcs, Dunlendings, Wolves and Wargs, Lizards and Crawlers, Crebain. I had a lot of Deeds left in Eregion, even some first-tier ones. But despite the fact that I was staring down the barrel of 2000+ kills, just wandering around with no particular destination did wonders for my attitude about the whole thing. I really didn’t mind. And to make it even more enjoyable, I found some really nice nooks and vistas I’d either missed or glossed over the first time. Such as this campsite out in the middle of nowhere.

Was this a quest objective? I hope not...

Or the western entryway into Pembar.

Stupid Half-Orc wandered into my shot

And I finally got my Ridge-Racer title for running the Hollin Ridge!

That's a lot of grey. Need to come back when it's sunny...

The big difference was my attitude going into the whole thing (either that, or sheer exhaustion clouding my brain). Usually I approach grinding Slayer deeds as a task to be tackled, like housework. I Google for the best location to quickly grind through Mob X in Region Y. Which makes it barely palatable. But by just wandering, following the trail of mobs I needed, I actually found a lot of fun in the whole process. It was very relaxing, almost meditative. And it made me feel like I was exploring again, even though I’d been in that area many times; without a set destination and a specific goal of “Kill 400 Crebain” I found I could just sit back and enjoy the scenery.

It almost makes me want to go back and do it again. Almost.

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