Why the WAR clone tag is meaningless

A light bulb went on above my head while reading Syp’s post about the inevitable WoW/WAR comparison. I had just finished up my evening of testing WAR, enjoying every minute. Gary Gannon’s intial WAR impressions (my previous post) were still fresh in my mind. Somewhere in the middle of Syp’s post, I realized what Mark Jacobs, Paul Barnett, and Josh Dresher have likely known for quite a while now.

It doesn’t matter if people compare WAR to WoW. It doesn’t matter if fanboy rage fans flames faster than an Los Angeles wildfire. It doesn’t matter if the games look similar, if Blizzard ripped off Warhammer, if Mythic’s copying WoW. Mythic is smart to stay above that entire discussion, and do you know why?

Because their game is going to make money. Serious money. A lot of people are going to have a blast in WAR. More subscribers than WoW? No, but who cares? WAR is fun, and it’ll be very profitable. And, most importantly for the folks at Mythic, I suspect, is they’re making the game they wanted to make. Their vision of how WAR would play will be fully realized. They didn’t have to copy WoW to be successful. They had different ideas, a different vision, and they’re going to realize that vision. WAR is going to be kickass fun for a lot of people. And it is going to make money.

I think Mythic has known this for a long time. I think they knew exactly what it would take to bring the game to launch, and I think they knew what was required to make a successful MMO, a different MMO. They know it’s no clone. They know what’s unique about their game. They’re confident, they’re happy with what they’ve made, and man, I hope for their sake they have a percentage of the profit 🙂 It just doesn’t matter if people want to argue it’s a clone. It’s fun. It’s a winner. It’s a money maker. It’s Mythic’s game. And soon, for a lot of us, it’s going to be our game, too.

And for those who don’t enjoy WAR, or don’t enjoy it as much as WoW? Like Tobold, perhaps, who’s not a PvP fan, and enjoys the excellent WoW PvE content? Yep, they might try WAR. They might drop it in favor of WoW and the Lich King expansion, and to me, that makes total sense. Know why? Because WoW and WAR aren’t clones. Two games, both well-crafted, both with different goals, and it’s very likely that both will be very profitable. And who knows? If the WoW expansion fever wears off after a few months, maybe we’ll see players returning to WAR after leaving for WoW after trying out WAR. There’s a lot to like in WAR, and it’s different than WoW, and I think it’s going to be a great success for Mythic.


Don’t Panic

Phil left this comment on my post yesterday, responding to boatorious, who said “I still expect WAR to be more fun, since unlike WoW they will make the right game to begin with.” Phil responded with this:

Funny statement. Right game if you like PvP. Right game if you like RvR. But, to Tobold’s point, what if you don’t like either? So many people are jumping on the blanket statement of “Its going to be so much better than WoW” when in reality its going to be better in some ways but not all. And no I’m not on a “its gonna be a WoW clone” kick.

Two points in there that I’d like to explore a little more. First, indeed, what if you don’t like PvP or RvR?

Well, I spent a lot of time yesterday talking about why PvP in Dark Age of Camelot felt far different to me than PvP in any other MMO ( or MUD) I’ve played. If you didn’t get a chance to play a lot of DAoC at end game, or, if you didn’t happen to be on a server with good RvR opportunities (some of my friends on The Well seemed to have really lame RvR imbalance issues, which I rarely experienced on Percival), you might still labor under the impression that Mythic’s RvR ideas are similar to Everquest on the Zeks, or Eve Online’s low-sec and 0.0 space, or Age of Conan’s gank-a-rific kill-me-while-I-talk-to-this-quest-NPC mechanics. I dislike that kind of PvP. Generally, I avoid PvP.

However, I love Mythic’s RvR, and I think they’ve made improvements from the DAoC model into the WAR model. If you didn’t like DAoC RvR, you might be pleasantly surprised by the changes they’ve made to make WAR more accessible, balanced, social, and just plain fun. If you don’t like PvP, but you haven’t played DAoC, don’t be put off by Warhammer. It’s absolutely PvP for people who think they don’t like PvP. I can’t tell you how many PvE-ony guildmates I had in DAoC that gushed about the fun they had running the frontiers with us, once we finally convinced them to come out to a keep siege, or to defend a milewall. I think it’s going to be even easier to cross the border, from not liking PvP in other MMO’s, to getting Mythic’s concept and discovering it’s a lot of fun.

Phil’s second point: “So many people are jumping on the blanket statement of ‘Its going to be so much better than WoW’ when in reality its going to be better in some ways but not all.”

I can’t tell you how much I agree with this statement. I want to start a new campaign of MMO tolerance. I’m advancing the radical new thesis that it is indeed possible to greatly enjoy two different massively multiplayer online roleplaying games. Wait! Before you tell me I’m a crackpot, and the earth is actually flat and only 6,000 years old, and humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs, let me summarize my theory.

% of extremists who can only love WAR, and think WoW sucks in every way: 5%
% of extremists who can only love WoW, and think WAR will suck in every way: 5%
% of non-extremists who like WAR, but prefer WoW(*1) for certain reasons: 25%
% of non-extremists who like WoW , but prefer WAR(*2) for certain reasons: 25%
% of non-extremists who (gasp!) appreciate and enjoy both games: 40%

And, the kicker:

Percentage of posting by extremists on forums and blogs about WoW and WAR: 90%
Percentage of posting by non-extremists on forums and blogs about WoW and WAR: 10%

(*1): For sheer PvE content, endgame raiding opportunities, a marvelously meticulous gameworld, etc.
(*2): For better PvP opportunities, burned out on WoW, more accessible endgame, etc.

See where I’m going? I’m so sick of flamebait arguments about WoW and WAR. Phil’s exactly right to be tired of people proclaiming WAR will be better than WoW, or vice versa. Why the hell do we think our opinions need to be universal truths? Saying “I think…” doesn’t have to be synonymous with “I’m right, because…”

Just because you don’t like WoW, or you’re burned out on WoW, doesn’t mean WoW suddenly sucks. It means you don’t like it. Or, just because you love WoW and you have a blast playing every night doesn’t mean you have to feel threatened by WAR and need to run it down every chance you get.

It’s an interesting phenomenon. There’s a possibility that we’ll be looking at a choice between two quality triple-A MMO’s at the beginning of ’09, but instead of being happy about it, some people have to insist on rooting for and defending one game over another. This is why I got sick of professional sports. I can’t take one more argument about how “my team” is better than “your team”. Dude, you’re not on the team. No one on the team knows who you are, or cares that you root for them. PS – You look stupid in that team jersey. No one over the age of 25 should be wearing team jerseys.

I’m going to spend my time talking about what’s good about both games. I have a lot of respect for what both teams have accomplished, and I’d rather acknowledge their efforts than just sit back and bitch. I’ve got no time to be a hater.

WAR vs. WoW, and DAoC vs. EQ

Think I could jam any more acronyms into the title?

This turned into quite a rant. Stick with me.

I just exceeded my tolerance for the term “WoW killer” in relation to Warhammer Online. The offending comment was actually delivered indirectly, from a post on Book of Grudges last Monday (catching up on my RSS feed after returning from Las Vegas, I’m behind!), called “Taking a Step Back“. arbitrary was checking reactions to the Mythic announcements about cutting classes and capital cities, and found this quote on Kotaku:

The so called wow killer is releasing half a product and expecting to compete?

I can’t take it any more. Who’s calling it a WoW killer? Who’s expecting it to compete directly with WoW? Mythic has already stated that they believe their game has different gameplay elements, will not outsell WoW, and they’re not directly competing with them. Has anyone at Mythic also stated that Warhammer will be a WoW killer, or is this giving forum blathering from burned out ex-WoW subscribers way too much credence?

I think some of us who follow MMO’s suffer from Compare-itis. Since there are relatively few MMO’s in the Western market, they inevitably get compared to one another, and I don’t think that’s healthy.

The first time I saw Compare-itis in action was when I started playing DAoC, when it first launched. I still had friends playing EQ, still visited message boards with EQ players, and there was far too much time spent talking about what each game lacked compared to the other game. It was like they had to be the same game somehow, and differences were bad. I’d try to tell my EQ friends what I liked about DAoC, and they’d sharpen their virtual pencils and tell me in detail why DAoC wasn’t like EQ, and hence, why DAoC was Bad.

The reverse was also true. There were plenty of people who liked DAoC who’d slam EQ for not having features like DAoC. Neither stance made much sense to me, but clearly, Compareitis is still alive when WAR’s being touted by forum posters as a WoW killer.

Saying WAR is like WoW, or DAoC was like EQ, is like saying Half-Life is like Quake, just because both games have weapons and multiplayer options. It’s like saying Company of Heroes is like Warcraft III because they’re both RTS games.

There are TONS of design decisions that go into making an MMO. You start with a massive world, either a level-based or skill-based system, put in PvE and maybe PvP combat, tradeskills, maybe housing…and it’s like those elements alone are suddenly enough to compare games like comparing apples to apples.

I think it’s time we start to look more at the differences between MMO’s, and the different design goals chosen by developers, instead of thinking that WAR and WoW are somehow wildly similar games. Or AoC and WoW, or LoTRO and WAR, or whatever you’re chosing to compare.

I played a ton of EQ, and a ton of DAoC. They had a common genre underpinning, but they were very different games. I’ve played a ton of WoW and quite a bit of the WAR beta. Mythic is shooting for a very different gaming experience with WAR than what I enjoyed in WoW.  Comparing them directly is bound to be inaccurate, because they have very different design goals. Yes, they share a common heritage, but I think the genre is maturing enough, especially with second and third generation MMO developers, to stop directly comparing games.

The paucity of choice in the MMO market contributes to the desire to compare games head-to-head. We probably have more triple-A MMO titles available right now than we’ve had at any point in MMO history, yet there are still only a handful of good choices for gamers. I guess it’s inevitable that the games are lumped together, but each developer puts their own spin on the genre, and comparing them directly just seems silly to me.

I don’t want to see any more WoW killer comments, or posts saying WAR ripped off WoW, or WoW ripped off the Warhammer IP before Mythic started developing the Warhammer IP, bla bla bla, yadda yadda. Mythic has their own design goals, and I think if you HAVE to directly compare it to any other MMO, it should be DAoC, and not WoW, or EQ2, or LoTRO. There’s a firm academic basis for comparison with DAoC; an evolution of development, ideas tried, evaluated, kept, or tossed aside. WoW, not so much.

It might be a little too early in the genre for an MMO cladogram, with each branch forking out different design choices, each game ending up as individual species with a particular evolutionary ancestry, but comparing MMO’s directly with each other is like bitching that a Stegosaurus isn’t just like an Ankylosaur, or that a 10 million Velociraptors must be superior to 1 million Allosaurs. It’s ok to be different. I learned that in high school. It’s ok to make different choices.

I’m not sure where this Highlander “There can be only one!” attitude regarding MMO’s comes from, but I do know that I’m tired of it. There are now quite a few companies making big profits from their first, second, or third MMO, and I’m glad that each game has its own personality, its own goals. We’ve got to get over the head-to-head, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots school of MMO fandom.

Listen to me. Suddenly I’m dipping into “Celebrate Diversity!” cheerleading. Well, hell, I like diversity. I like that Mythic decided to do things differently than Blizzard and Sony and Turbine. I’m glad that Turbine tried Monster Play and storyline quests. I like that EQ2 has housing and more developed crafting. I’m happy that WoW is so carefully crafted and detailed and refined. I like boobs in AoC. And elsewhere, for that matter.

I know it’s the nature of internet communication to square off in opinion-related cage matches, but I’m hoping for a little more nuanced appraisal of WAR when it’s released. It’s not WoW. It’s not trying to BE WoW. If you start your review of WAR with a comparison to WoW, you’re missing the point.

Do people dog R.A. Salvatore because his books are in the same section of the bookstore as the Dragonlance series? Do we have to sneer at Spiderman movies because there are already Batman movies, and they’re not the same movie? What is it about MMO’s that invites this type of comparison? Is it because the genre is still so young? Is it because it takes so long to make a triple-A title, and because we talk it to death while it’s being made and being tested? Is it because, unlike other computer games, you have to pay $15 a month for an MMO, and you want to believe that your $15 is going to the best game, and all the other games suck?

Maybe it’s a little of all of that. And I’m gettin’ tired of it 🙂

Diablo III in an MMO world

Is it just me? Everyone seems so excited about Diablo III, but I’m not really that wound up about it.

I played Diablo and Diablo 2, of course. It was fun the first time through, it was OK trying a new character, but for me, it got old really fast. I’ve reinstalled and played since, and it gets old even faster.

Can the simplicity of a Diablo game model hold up years later, given the growth in complexity we’ve seen in online worlds since 2000? Is furious clicking and endless monster bashing and continuous loot drops and upgrades going to hold gamer interest for more than once or twice through the game? How much fun will multiplay be now, since we’re used to so much more complexity in our MMO’s?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not expecting the game to suck. It’ll be polished and well-made and the cinematics should be awesome. I did enjoy playing Titan Quest, although I ended up at the same point there as I did with Diablo and Diablo II…bored before I finished the game, and I haven’t replayed it since.

It’s possible that there’s just not enough strategic depth in the Diablo series for my tastes. That simplicity might be exactly what people enjoy, though. I just wonder if gamers, especially Blizzard fans, have been conditioned to expect more depth following years of WoW in the MMO world, and if they’ll spend as much time in multiplayer Diablo III as they did in multiplayer Diablo II, when other online options weren’t as varied or in-depth, and MMO’s weren’t yet as mainstream as they are now.

Or maybe there’s not as much crossover between action RPG and MMO fans as I imagine. Maybe there are plenty of Diablo fans who couldn’t stand the time investment necessary in an MMO, and they’ll flock to a simpler game, like TF2 players.

Anyway, I know I’m not all that jazzed for it, but I’m sure Blizzard was asking these same types of questions when they decided to pursue Diablo III. It will be interesting to see what answers they came up with, at least!

How AoC and WAR might affect WoW: One player’s perspective

Lots of people are speculating how Age of Conan and Warhammer Online are going to affect World of Warcraft subscriber numbers. I could link to quite a few posts, but I’ll cheat and link to Tobold’s post, because he already did the linking for me.

I’m a tiny data point in a sea of MMO subscribers, but I suspect I represent some small percentage of WoW players (or former WoW players). Personally, regardless of the presence of Age of Conan or Warhammer in the MMO market, I’m done with WoW. I unsubscribed a couple months ago, and I don’t suspect I’ll be returning for the Lich King expansion. I don’t have any desire to level a Death Knight. I don’t participate in WoW PvP, and I have no interest in end-game raiding or dungeon crawling, even in smaller groups.

I may end up in Warhammer. If I end up enjoying Warhammer, that will likely be my MMO of choice for the forseeable future. But, even if I end up not enjoying Warhammer, I don’t see any reason for me to return to WoW. I’d rather catch up on single player games that I missed, or return to Eve Online, or try Vanguard, or return to LoTRO. I feel like I’ve exhausted everything I want to do in Azeroth. There’s no point in returning to WoW. There’s no housing, no meaningful economy, no PvP that affects the world around me. All I can do is consume their new content like a tourist, and I’m tired of that. Once I see it, once I level up, what’s left to do for someone who doesn’t raid? Not much, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be skipping the Lich King expansion because of it.

If I do succumb to Lich King curiousity and re-subscribe, it won’t be a long term experience. It would be virtual tourism, not a virtual home.

However, I realize that there are millions of players who do continue to enjoy what WoW has to offer, and will happily raid and PvP in the new expansion. I’m in no way predicting the failure of this expansion. In fact, I expect Blizzard to stay at the top of the MMO heap for quite a long time. I don’t see any possible successors to the throne in the upcoming generation of MMO’s. I’m just saying that I don’t think the chances of Blizzard regaining my subscription money is very high. I’m guessing there are other gamers who feel the same way I do, but I don’t think we’re going to make a very big dent in their overall numbers.

Anyone who wants to talk about AoC or Warhammer eating some of Blizzard’s Subscriber Pie has to also consider this fact: A major factor in Blizzard’s huge subscriber base is their worldwide appeal. Almost half (if not more than half) of their subscribers are outside the US and Europe, I believe. Please correct me if you have more current data! Assuming that’s close to correct, what are the chances of Warhammer or AoC drawing significant subscribers from beyond the US and European market? Do Chinese or Korean gamers care about WAR or AoC at all? If any MMO is going to seriously affect Blizzard’s stranglehold on subscriber numbers, it’s going to have to have worldwide appeal. You can’t compete with WoW unless you win over the Chinese subscriber market. Even if Warhammer won over all the current US and European WoW subscribers, I think think that would only be about 50% of WoW’s overall subscriber base. And what are the chances of everyone in Europe and the US choosing Warhammer?

I think Mark Jacobs is well aware of this, which is why he has stated that he doesn’t expect Warhammer to compete with WoW subscriber totals. He does, however, expect WAR to be second to WoW. Given this chart, that means WAR will need over 1 million subscribers (surpassing Lineage and Lineage II, and not counting Runescape). If Warhammer hits those numbers, I think it’ll be a huge success. But it still won’t affect Blizzard all that much. Even if all 1 million eventual WAR subscribers cancelled a WoW account to play, Blizzard would just go from Really Incredibly Freaking Profitable to Incredibly Freaking Profitable. I suspect they’ll continue their market dominance for some time to come.

Packed like lemmings into instanced little boxes

Apologies to Sting (who should actually be apologizing to us for the majority of post-Police pop crap foisted upon the world) and the Police, but when I look at MMO’s these days, I’m seeing compartments of gameplay, and I’m not liking it. I want a virtual world, not a holodeck. I want a place to live in, a place that changes because I’ve been there.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to divide an MMO timeline into “Star Wars:Galaxies and earlier” versus “World of Warcraft and later”. There were gameplay issues in Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot and SW:G that World of Warcraft addressed in a way that has changed or limited the way virtual worlds are being created since WoW.

First, the EQ problems. Static spawns, camp checks, kill-stealing, non-instanced dungeons. WoW addressed a lot of this with instances. It definitely eliminated some of those issues, but not without consequences. On a recent episode of The Online Gamer’s Anthology, Jonathan talked to an ex-DAoC player named Sean about life before instanced dungeons. Sean commented that life before instances did have some drawbacks, but that players did develop relationships as they formed groups and waited for spots to open within the dungeon. That was definitely true in the PvE dungeons, but it was crucially true in Darkness Falls, the shared PvP dungeon that was accessible to the realm that held the most frontier RvR keeps. When Darkness Falls access changed hands, and you knew a horde of enemy players was about the flood their entrance area, everyone got friendly real quick!

I don’t miss camp checks in Lower Guk, but I do miss the social aspects of open dungeons. I don’t miss trains out of Crushbone Castle, or the basement of Unrest, or Mistmoore (god, I could go on and on about EQ trains), but I do miss that sense of shared adventure when pulls went Really Frickin’ Bad. You definitely got to know your neighbors when you forgot to snare a runner in Sol A and wiped out everyone in the place. What you did in those dungeons mattered.

Let’s look at what might be considered a DAoC problem that Blizzard addressed through instancing. When you entered the RvR frontier areas in DAoC, you were never guaranteed a fair fight. In fact, you weren’t guaranteed a fight at all. There were a lot of nights where I’d go out solo, and I’d only find groups of enemy players, or  vice versa.  While I enjoyed the unpredictability of the frontier, and found that my fights were often more memorable for their lack of organization, I know that some players were frustrated with the process. I passed the time looking for fights, or waiting for fights, by getting to know my realm mates who were also on the frontier around me. Those friendships increased my enjoyment of the game quite a bit, much more than Blizzard BG’s increase my enjoyment of WoW.

It’s clear that Blizzard devs played DAoC, and they “solved” that lack of an instant-on fair fight with Battlegrounds. Like instanced dungeons, however, that solution had consequences.

First, you never get a sense of rivalry like DAoC had. Despite the fact I couldn’t talk to my opponents in DAoC, I still felt like I knew them after fighting them night after night. I knew the guild names, the players to be feared, and the buff botters (hated you! 🙂 ). There was talking back and forth on the forums, and an in-game respect grew from those out-of-game conversations. Your reputation mattered, not only to your realm mates, but to your enemies as well.

Second, there’s never any unpredictability in a Battleground. Blizzard has definitely made it possible to instantly find a fair fight, but that feels stale, sanitized, and impersonal to me. What you do in a WoW BG has no affect on the world around you (other than personal gain), and I’ve never enjoyed that. It doesn’t build a sense of community, banding together to protect realm property, or working together to get your realm access to dungeons, or experience/ability/loot drop bonuses.

Star Wars:Galaxies doesn’t have a clear-cut gameplay issue that Blizzard attempted to solve through instancing. However, Blizzard definitely decided to limit what world elements would be included in WoW, and they stripped out a lot of SW:G elements that created a vibrant world, a thriving community. I don’t think I’ve ever played an MMO that had the sense of player-created space that SW:G had. From player cities, to owning your own house, a fine crafting system, and method of marketing your goods, there was an interdependency that I sorely miss in most MMO’s since. Eve’s a bit of an exception, as I really enjoy their “players make everything” economy.

WoW has no housing, little complexity in their tradeskills (OK, no complexity), and an alt-itis “I can make that with my other character” situation. While I occassionally chafed at the one character per server restriction in SW:G, it did make the tradeskills much more vibrant and social.

I don’t want to make this sound like I’m saying Blizzard was wrong in their design decisions. They’ve made a brilliant game. It just doesn’t draw me into a community the way EQ, DAoC, and SW:G did. It doesn’t feel as worldly. Blizzard’s one saving grace for me was the excellent NPC world that surrounds you in WoW. While I never felt compelled to interact with other players like I did in the earlier games, I did enjoy experiencing the static world of Azeroth.

Looking forward to Age of Conan and WAR, I’m wondering how much influence Blizzard’s instanced design will affect those games, and how much Funcom and Mythic might try to incorporate gameplay elements that Blizzard took a pass on.

Tobold has already commented that Hyboria lacks that worldly feeling. I sensed the same thing during my open beta experience. Dividing the PvE areas into instances, instead of an interconnected world, isn’t a direction I wanted to see Funcom take. I do think that Funcom is cognizant of WoW’s stale BG problem, and they want to make PvP more meaningful. I don’t know how truly open-world the PvP will be. I’ll have to look more closely at the process for attacking guild cities, but I hope it’s a more open than closed model. There are choices that every MMO developer has to make about what features to include, and at what depth. Time will tell if Funcom tilted too far toward the WoW model for my tastes, or if they tilted even further in some areas, like instanced zones and teleport travel between them.

I’ve been playing the WAR beta (was in for quite a few hours last night), but I can’t talk too much about their direction. First, I’m under the NDA. Second, since they chop their testing up into fairly small parts, I don’t yet have a sense of the overall world. I’m not grouping with people who will fight alongside me at release. So, even if I wasn’t under NDA, I couldn’t talk about answers to some of my questions.

It seems like the smart path for both Funcom and Mythic is to provide both instant-on balanced gameplay for players who like Battleground-style combat, but also create a DAoC-style open world combat system for players who prefer a more dynamic and unpredictable PvP experience. Easy to say, damn tough to accomplish. It remains to be seen if a balance can be struck between instances and open-world interaction. Neither game seems to be taking up the SW:G housing/player city/crafting/economy complexity benchmark, and that’s a shame. Marry a good PvE and PvP game to the social and economic aspects of SW:G, and you’ve got a heavyweight MMO. I don’t think either Mythic or Funcom are reaching that far this generation.

I just hope that, in the future, good MMO design doesn’t slant too severely toward instances. I certainly understand the value of an arena, but those become just games to me, not virtual worlds. It’s like logging in to a Battlefield server, or going to play Counterstrike. I know as soon as the round is over, nothing has changed. There’s no player-created narrative, no effect on the world around you, no virtual home. I want more world in my MMO, not more mini-games.

I wonder if I hope for too much. When games take years to develop, and modern MMO’s have only existed for 9 years (using fully 3D EQ as that benchmark), it’s easy to sit here and wish for features and some sort of convergence. It has to be a truly daunting task to design a WoW Pve +DAoC/Eve PvP + SW:G crafting/economy game. Maybe it’s a pipe dream, but I can keep hoping 🙂

Shocking game announcements

Wow. No pun intended. Blizzard makes a ton of game announcements, and Turbine makes one as well. Why today, I wonder? Hmm.

First, a new hero class for the WoW Lich King expansion. The bard, with full Guitar Hero capability. Awesome.

Next up, Cows In Space. Introducing the Tauren Space Marine. Yes, there is a cow level!

And for the old school gaming crowd, you’ve got to check out the new Molten Core for consoles trailers. Epic win. Who says 40 man raids are PC-only? Has sound!

Not to be outdone by cow levels, Turbine announces the Battle of Amon Hen. I’ve done the chicken quests in LOTRO, but I can’t wait to actually level one up.

Well played.