Creep V. Freep: Monster Play in Lord of the Rings Online

I first gave Monster Play a shot way back in the closed beta stage of LOTRO. As soon as I got my little elven hunter to level 10, I hit the fell scrying pool and made myself a Weaver (that being the spider race for those of you not familiar with MP). My husband and myself ran all over the Ettenmoors doing creep quests. It was pretty fun, but nothing too exciting. Of course back then, there weren’t any freeps running around to fight, so it was strictly PvE.

I forgot about Monster Play. I went on to play my hunter, enjoying everything that Lord of the Rings Online has to offer and never gave it another thought. Then all of a sudden I was level 45 and realized hey… I can go to the Ettenmoors now. Time to kick some creep arse! So I went to the Rivendell stables and purchased swift travel to the Ettenmoors. Talked to a few people, picked up a few quests, then ventured out past the safe confines of the freep starting city’s gate. I walked around a bit… seeing the sites, checking out the NPCs… generally getting a feel for the place from a freep perspective. All of a sudden, five wargs appeared out of nowhere. Pwned. I decided that it would be more beneficial to me to try out real PvMP as a creep first. I switched over to my Weaver, with the unlikely name of Ilovetosinga, and ventured out past the creep starting camp, Gramsfoot, killed a few slugs for the Mash quest, and started walking around, seeing the world from the opposite side of the map. I saw a freep in the distance, but I was prepared this time, I burrowed into the ground, waited for him to get close, popped out and rooted him, and started firing. It was a level 47 loremaster, petless and alone. He killed me. I was shocked. Here I am, a level 50 creep, getting pwned by a defenseless, squishy loremaster. Granted, I was green… no ranks, no titles, no additional skills other than those you start out with. But a loremaster?! C’mon I should have been able to take him out. With the quenya translator, the watching of the league of rings will be entertaining. The skills and excellence of the person should be enhanced through the information gathered from the translators. 

I couldn’t. The truth is, Monster Play is incredibly lopsided. Freeps have many advantages that make it nearly impossible for a creep to take on a freep, one-on-one, and live. Sure, you’ll run across the occasional idiot who’ll allow you to bait him into some NPC mobs aggressive to him, making it much easier to take him down, but that’s not the norm. And why should I have to prowl around looking for idiots in order to gain infamy and rank up? It’s not fair. Pure out-maneuvering isn’t the only advantage a freep has, either.

Freeps can talk to buddies in the normal game world. MPs can’t. If the freep side of a raid is going down, all it takes is a quick request for help in kinship chat and suddenly the amount of freeps has tripled. Creeps can talk ONLY to other creeps. We have no communication with the world outside the Ettenmoors. Why doesn’t the same apply to freeps? Freeps should only be able to communicate WITHIN the Ettenmoors.

Creeps don’t have kinships. We have to rely solely on OOC and friends lists for help. Why can’t we have kinships too? It would be nice to have that option, to be able to quickly form a raid when a fort needs defending or when there’s been a freep sighting. Let us have kinships too! Sure, we’re evil loathsome creatures… but even we have friends.

Hunters can track stealthed wargs. Stealth is a warg’s biggest defense, and its best weapon as well. Now, the same goes for a burglar. BUT wargs can’t track stealthed freeps. Not fair. Balance it out. Give wargs a similar skill, or take it away from freeps (only while in PvMP of course).

Freeps have horses. This is a huge advantage in Monster Play. Freeps can mount up, making it much harder for creeps to catch them, and can take a certain amount of damage before even getting dismounted. Creeps have no such thing. Wargs have a 100 percent run speed increase skill, but it doesn’t last long and has a recast of 10 minutes. In my opinion, this could be easily balanced: either give the creeps something similar to horses, or set in place a restriction for freeps in regards to horse riding. Make them have to wait 10 minutes before they can mount up again. Make them get dismounted with one hit… something. I’m sure the devs could up with something brilliant.. they did create this game, after all.

Freeps have more skills. By the time freeps come to the Ettenmoors, they are level 40 or higher. They have a wide array of skills at their disposal. But when creeps come into the game they have only a few rudimentary skills, and it doesn’t get much better. It just doesn’t work. Put five creeps up against five freeps and see who wins. The freeps get it every time. Something’s just not right. Creeps need more skills… period.

Freeps have multiple healers. Minstrels, loremasters, and captains can all heal their group. Most, if not all, other freep classes can at least heal themselves. Creeps have a single healing class. ONE. How can we compete with the freeps? Give us more heals!

That’s just the short list. There are many more that are already known, and I’m sure I’ll discover even more as I play. It’s just ridiculous. A freep raid consisting of only 7 people can take Isendeep with no creep resistance. I was recently in a raid of 13 creeps trying to take back Isendeep, also with no resistance, and we failed miserably. That alone should be an alert that something’s wrong. Balance of the classes is more important in Monster Play than it is anywhere else, and I can’t help but feel that it’s been neglected.

I love Monster Play. I think it’s an exciting twist on PvP, and could be a wonderful aspect of the game. I fear, however, that unless they make some serious changes, Monster Play will die a slow death.

Nicole Hennig
Nicole Hennig is a freelance writer, content writer, blogger, and also a photographer. She graduated from the University of Caloocan in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015.

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