Shamus Plays

Shamus Plays: LOTRO, Part 23

Shamus Young | 23 Jun 2010 09:00
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The fear abates and I come back to my senses. Now that Amdir has run off, I see that he had a cell-mate.

An old woman. Why would they kidnap and imprison an old woman?

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Sara Oakheart sees me through the open cell door and immediately brightens up. "Thank you so much for coming to rescue me!" she says in a creaky voice.

"Right. Rescue you. That's why I'm here. Because people on the outside totally know about you being in here. And care."

"I have been held captive here for such a long time!"

"I can see that. Are these... Is this your pile of skulls? What have they been feeding you?"

"I've seen many terrible things here."

"More terrible than a hundred skulls?"

"If you will help me escape, I'll be happy to tell you what I've seen."

"I'd be even happier if you didn't. At any rate, I did help you escape. The door's open."

She cocks her head to one side and gives me an innocent smile.

"Sooooo..." I continue. "Good luck on the way out. Let me know how it goes."

Her innocent and slightly creepy smile continues.

"You're expecting an escort, aren't you?" I ask with dread.

Her lips part into an even boarder smile, giving me a view of her gray sinking teeth.

This is going to hurt, but I see I don't have any choice, "Fine. Let's get this over with."

Looking around, I see that all of the guards are dead. Great. Looks like turning evil also transformed Amdir into a room-clearing badass.

No wait. They weren't dead, just sleeping.

And thus begins another horrible griefing escort quest, for which Turbine has become infamous. This is it. Sara Oakheart is the boss monster of NPC escorts.

Amdir knocked out all the bad guys on his way out, so they're all face-down on the floor. Sara walks very, very slowly. You have to follow her as she painstakingly creeps through the cavern. There's plenty of time for you to run ahead of Sara and finish off the guys while they're passed out, but the game won't let you. You can go and stand on top of their bodies while you wait for Sara to catch up, but you can't target or attack them until they wake up. And they don't wake up until Sara gets close so they can jump up and attack the old woman.

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So you must follow her from one ambush to the next. Usually crappy MMO ambush escort missions will just create the bad guys out of thin air. That sucks, but it's even worse to be able to see your attackers and not be allowed to fight them until they ambush you. In the former the game is just cheating, but in the latter the game is forcing you to behave like an idiot.

It's about a twenty second walk from her cage to the exit, but following her the trip takes, no kidding, six minutes. Six minutes of this:

Bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored PANIC KILL KILL KILL bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored PANIC KILL KILL KILL bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored PANIC KILL KILL KILL Etc.

The Sara Oakheart quests are the very lowest point of the game, fun-wise. Yes, quests. Plural. She appears multiple times in the game as part of a lame, unfair, and nonsensical escort quest. I think the quests are intended to be funny, but the joke wears out its welcome after the first ambush, much less on your 4th attempt to complete her 3rd escort quest.

I've just followed Sara across the room and down the tunnel, a process which took about eleven days. Suddenly she stops heading for the door and starts going for a side-tunnel.

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