So why is she in such a hurry to skip the levelling process, when that is probably the best part of the game? Well it's got a lot to do with my hunter's personality and how she doesn't like doing things the traditional MMO way.
|Robinya, my hunter that doesn't like to hunt|
Ever since she was a wee hobbit, Robinya always liked exploring ruins and looking for mathoms and old knick-knacks that might have been left behind. She always looked forward to the Harvest Festival and couldn't wait to go exploring the Haunted Barrow. Her parents were concerned about her, especially when she was exploring the Bindbole Wood and the Scary quarry. They even tried locking her in her room, but she dug a tunnel out. So they decided that if they couldn't stop her, then they'd try to protect her by teaching her how to protect herself. She was given the option of learning to be a hunter, a guardian or a lore-master - her parents were sure she would choose the lore-master - but she chose to become a hunter. Robinya explained that a pet would be a nuisance and so would a big shield. She didn't really want to fight anyone so she thought being a hunter would let her blend into the background and not be noticed, but if she did have to fight, she could hopefully keep some distance between her and her enemy so she could get away safe. Her parents were impressed with her logic and lessons began straight away.
Robinya learnt the basics of being a hunter but she hated practising. She'd rather be harvesting Shire Apples for one of her ma's delicious Spiced Apple Pies than trying to shoot them off the fence-post. She hated how she got herself trapped in her own trap when she went to check why it hadn't caught anything. And she burnt herself when she tried to set up an explosive decoy. Her instructor, Bolo Boffin, was exasperated with her. But it finally clicked for her when she had a fright one evening while she was out exploring near the Scrag-dells and was ambushed by several Wild Gramsfoot. She threw her torch down and the Light Oil disoriented the goblins so they couldn't hit her. She ran a short distance then quickly set a trip-wire to slow any pursuit and then finally, when it really counted, she got the decoy to work properly and she hid behind a tree and watched as they attacked her bundle of sticks with its lit fuse. When it went boom, it was almost as good as Gandalf's fireworks.
Her parents were so proud of her. They could see Robinya as one of the Bounders, protecting the Shire honourably and in her spare time she could hunt mathoms and grow flowers and vegetables if she wished. But Robinya had other plans. One morning at breakfast, she told her parents she wanted to go to Rivendell and become a scholar. She had had enough of learning to be a hunter and she wanted to know more about other culture's mathoms - or relics she had learnt they were often called. She wanted to learn more about making potions, not just light oils. She wanted to learn to read and write scrolls and maybe even books. Her parents sighed and tried to argue that she could learn all that with the Mathom Society, but they knew she had made up her mind. But how could she bear to leave the Shire?!?
|Last Homely House in Rivendell|
So off she went to become a scholar, and she really enjoyed it. She had a desk near the library in the Last Homely House and people would send relics to her and she would study them and file them away and write reports on what she learnt. Battle Lore reports were particularly popular, and so were Crafting Journals. Sometimes when she went exploring ruins she would find beautiful wild flowers or berries that she took home to Rivendell with her and the elves taught her to turn them into colourful dyes for clothing. She was very happy there, but eventually the Scholar Guild said she had mastered the skills of learning and they could not teach her anything she couldn't teach herself. So she went home to the Shire.
She caught up with Bolo Boffin, her old hunter trainer, and told him about her adventures in the Trollshaws. The next day, she got a letter from his relative Bingo Boffin, asking for help, although he wasn't quite specific about what he needed help with. Nevertheless, she was curious and decided to go find out. It turns out, he had ideas about going on an adventure and Robinya was just the companion he needed. She didn't mind. He was amusing company and they met a lot of interesting people along the way.
However, the journey started getting more difficult and she started to think maybe she should have spent more time learning to be a better hunter. And then she thought about how when this journey was all over, she wanted to go to a place called Galtrev and learn about growing Wild Flower fields from the Men of Dunland. Some flower extracts were just so hard to get in the quantities she wanted for her dye-making hobby. Then Bingo Boffin disappeared into a cavern and she had to go to Moria with a Dourhand dwarf called Skalvi. They finally found Bingo, but the experience had so traumatised him that he didn't remember her. She wanted to help him recover, but she felt like she just wasn't strong enough. She hated to admit it, but there were creatures in Moria even smaller than her that scared her.
When Robinya was studying in Rivendell, she remembered hearing about the Valar and their mighty powers. She might of misinterpreted it, but she thought she read something about a pilgrimage to Gondor and seeking the Blessing of the Valar and if they found her worthy, her abilities would be upgraded almost instantly and she would become stronger and more knowledgeable about the world around her. It sounded too good to be true, but she started hoping it was a real possibility. Then she could continue the journey with Bingo and not have to be afraid of creatures in Moria. Then she could visit Galtrev, and the famous golden woods of Lothlórien she had heard so much about from the elves. She could go see the sea and find the corsairs' secret treasure caches. She could have her own war-steed (the thought both excited and terrified her) and ride across the plains of Rohan faster than hobbits could imagine. She could go where she wanted when she wanted and she wouldn't have to stay in one place doing tiresome chores for townsfolk who couldn't be bothered talking to their neighbour themself or picking up dirty dishes or eliminating the rats in their food stores. She wouldn't have to follow orders from commanders of the militia and earn their favour by killing their enemies over disputed land or loyalties. She could go un-noticed and live her life in peace, even if the rest of Middle Earth was at war over a ring - a ring!
|The One Ring (credit to MirCore at DeviantArt)|
So, that was a lot more than I intended to write, but perhaps you can see why this character means a lot to me and why using the Blessing of the Valar to boost her to level 95 makes sense. She doesn't want to quest through the zones, she wants to be able to go anywhere without having to fight to get there. She wants access to crafting resources and recipes and factions with interesting cosmetic items to collect. She wants to get gear that is good enough so she doesn't have to worry about improving it constantly. She wants to live in Middle Earth, not be a hero.
She's very different from most of my characters who earnestly want to help save Middle Earth. She's selfish, but she does help others, sharing her scrolls, her potions, her dyes and even protecting them with her life when needed. She spends hours growing flowers and pipe-weed on the farm and then sells most of it to a vendor because she only wanted a few flower petals or seeds and the rest was not her concern. She doesn't care about money - she has a vault full of relics that are priceless to her. She loves to travel (and having hunter guides to get to many towns around the world quickly is a great boon for her) and rarely returns home to the Shire except for festivals. She collects pets and mounts but never shows them off. She is endlessly frustrating and endearing because she doesn't do what I expect her to. I'll try to get her to do some quests to level up and it's so tiresome I give up. I'm just about to log off and the next thing I know, she's travelled half-way across the known world and is busily crafting away in the Bree Crafting Hall and mailing her wares off to my other characters to help them on their adventures.
Next time, I'll provide more details about what the Blessing of the Valar package actually includes, instead of justifying why my character should be boosted.