Tag lotro

Late Night Post, Which Way To Rivendell Again?

I got a lot of good feedback after writing about some of my issues with leveling. Even though I have further thoughts on the subject, some of which is probably going to be published on another site in the near future, I decided to be a good boy and give Lord of the Rings Online another chance.

Mr Smirky

Redthir the Rune Keeper, or "Mr Smirky" as I prefer to call him. Such a lovely hat, Mr Smirky!

I can’t get over the fact that I used to be a huge Tolkien fan and I’ve hardly explored Turbine’s version of Middle Earth yet. It’s silly, but the small child in me is always filled with such fuzzy geeky feelings when I run through Bree, or see the rolling hills of the Shire. My biggest problems with LotRO are, and will probably always be, the character models. They don’t do Middle Earth justice in any way or form, so here’s hoping they have to launch the game in some part of the world where alternative models will be needed.

Or something, I don’t care, I just want an Elf female that doesn’t look like she’s kicking her own buttocks when she runs.

I keep nomading from game to game, World of Warcraft showed its true face pretty fast and the bright idea that I was going to try my hand at raiding again flamed for a brief second (or day) and then fizzled out completely. I will treat it like a dungeon parade, doing an instance or two when I feel like it. Until Cataclysm, there really isn’t much else to do – I will just have come to terms with the fact that I will never get to kill Arthas.

I am sad to say it, but sometimes I feel that Blizzard are losing a bit of their touch. They re-invented the MMO, they made end-game raiding the norm, they’ve shown over and over again that they are at the kings of the genre. They do sweeping changes to the core of their game, changing and mutating it over time. But what some of us raised our eyebrows at when Wrath of the Lich King changed the raiding game completely from the hardcore days during The Burning Crusade, keeps mutating. That…”thing” that I can’t put my finger on, keeps growing and twisting.

Not always in that good, innovative way. Over the next couple of months, we will see what the gating of ICC means for the raiding guilds and what the LFD-tool will mean for the larger community. Then Cataclysm will land on top of the situation (said in the most neutral way possible) that Blizzard have created. I’m a bit confused on how the game will develop from here, how open world content will be made interesting again. Exciting times!

But until then, I will once again try to find my way to Rivendell and Moria. It’s taken me quite a long time, and I’m not sure I’m going to make it this time either. But it would be a boyish dream coming true if I do!

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Pick a MMO for 2009, or should I just sit down, shut up & get out?

No hugs in Fallen Earth!

We don't hug in Fallen Earth!

I can be so weak when it comes to MMOs. I bounce back and forth and I still have a hard time finding a place to call home – the only place that even resembles one right now is Atys. I’m slowly settling in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is Fallen Earth‘s Grand Canyon, having teamed up with the Casualties. As I’m writing this, I’m AFK-mining in EVE using an Iteron V, hoping to at least make a few ISK without raising so much as a finger – even though my pride has taken a bit of a hit after I decided to go from PvP pilot to miner/industrial. I love all three games, but something in me feels restless already.

With the fall of 2009 here, the major MMO push is over for this year. As far as I can tell, unless I’ve been struck by a complete black out, there’s no other interesting MMO being released this year. I’ve already given up on Aion (as Wiqd said, “why play a WoW clone when you can play the real thing?“) and Champions Online never managed to grab my attention. Actually, it bored me to death, so I never saw a reason to keep playing it.

That kind of leaves me with the games mentioned above, with a few others circling around me, poking at my interest. I do miss Middle-Earth sometimes, I never did get to Moria after all, and I can’t help thinking that I don’t want to miss out on World of Warcraft’s patch 3.3. Star Wars: Galaxies still feels interesting, especially after the server mergers. And Vanguard will always be Vanguard, especially after Stargrace has started to blog about it again.

So, I’m trying to figure out what games to stick with for the rest of the year. At the same time I can’t help drawing parallels between my bouncing between MMOs and the way my head is wired in general. Right now I’m writing this, AFK-mining in EVE, poking around an EVE mining guide, trying to make the last few fixes to a review in OpenOffice, playing Brütal Legend, chatting on Skype and MSN, eating a banana (yum!), reading the Fallen Earth forums and considering doing a dive into various Star Wars: Galaxies-resources.

Brain...hurts...

That’s not very good at all. I am sure my friend Breki would chastise me for it. I need to learn how to focus on one thing at a time, instead of doing everything at once. I know my brain can handle it, but I’m not sure my mind can, especially since I’ve long since started to identify stress symptoms. Not being able to settle for one MMO is probably another sign that I have problems focusing on one thing, desperately seeking stimulation from multiple sources at one time.

So, perhaps I should just stick with one. Or three. Or maybe a fourth one…hmmmm. Ok, I might need help.

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Music at the Prancing Pony

My captain. Fear my purple, high-fantasy moon boots!

My captain. Fear my purple, high-fantasy moon boots!

As my main in World of Warcraft has been a gnome rogue for the last three years, I decided to ditch my halfling burglar in Lord of the Rings Online, instead settling on a warden, one of the new classes from Mines of Moria. On paper the class mechanics of using combos (called “gambits”) seemed like a lot of fun, but in truth it wasn’t really as exiting as I had hoped. In Age of Conan the real-time combat allows for the combos to actually be fun to execute, in a more traditional MMO-system it felt more cumbersome and slow than entertaining.

I was also getting tired of The Shire. The zone looks marvelous, and very Shire-ish, but the constant running around got the better of me in the end. So I ditched my warden in the middle of a field and decided to go against my instincts and re-roll a human, finally settling on a captain. The class mechanics for the captain sounded interesting and it was a  kind of class I’ve never really played in a MMO before – I usually go for the high DPS-classes, loving to theorycraft my own rotations to max out my damage (if I’m successful or not is a different story, better left to my old raid leaders to decide).

I’m glad that I did, because the captain is proving a lot of fun to play. I burned through the introduction in Archet, which went a lot faster and was more fun than I remembered (perhaps something Funcom should take a closer look at), and by now I’ve reached level 12 and is happily helping the dear hobbits of Staddle. My dear standard bearer, Patsy, is tagging along wherever I go, giving me a boost of morale and a helping hand when slaying the enemies of the free people of Middle Earth.

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Back in the Ring

Somewhere along playing World of Warcraft since Wrath of the Lich King was released I started, as I always do, to dream about other games to play and virtual worlds to explore. Then I realised, looking at some reviews of Mines of Moria, that hey, I used to be a big Tolkien-nut back in the day – to the point that I dressed up as a hobbit and went out in the woods smacking people that dressed like orcs with rubber swords. And since waiting for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Jumpgate Evolution and Copernicus (whatever that might be), is getting really old and doing daily cooking quests even older I decided to resub to Lord of the Rings Online. After all, I want to see Moria in a MMO.

Fortic, just another hobbit burglar.

Fortic, just another hobbit burglar.

I was able to take my first steps in the Shire today, which I still remember from the weeks after launch (which is when I played last time), despite starting the patcher early last night. I haven’t picked up Mines of Moria yet, so I couldn’t try out the rune-master, but then again hobbits can’t be rune-masters and I am not sure I would be able to play any other race anyway.

But wow, Lord of the Rings Online is pretty. I had forgotten exactly how beautiful it looks, but seeing it today on my new machine, in all it’s shiny DX10-glory, I was completely blown away. Sadly, just like Age of Conan, the character design does leave a lot to wish for and is not up to par with how the actual world looks. But when it comes to ambiance and feel, Turbine’s vision of Middle-Earth is so far stunning. I love The Shire, I love running around delivering mails and playing hide-and-seek. It’s just silly fun.

Now what remains is to see if it stays fun or if it just turns into nice. Because it really is nice while being fun. I’m on EU-Laurelin, a RP-server, a decision I am not sure I’ll regret or not. Just please don’t tell my raiding guild in World of Warcraft that I’m sleeping with elves and halflings on the side, they’d never forgive me. Now if you excuse me, I got some mail to deliver and some nosey hobbits to punch in the face. If I could, I would.

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Patch day blues (updated)

We’ve all had them – a new patch is released, servers go ballistic, firewalls you didn’t even knew you had become issues, red lights flashing, 0.5kb/s for a 350mb file, patch mirrors suddenly want cash or strings you along a never ending variety of pop up banners…dreams of updated abilities and new content turns into a nightmare where the only way out becomes smashing your face through your monitor.

Or you buy a new MMO, bounce all the way home with dreams about that new character that you are going to roll, dreams about phat new loot in a whole new world to explore only to be slapped in the face with a 36h patch time. Or you decide to resub to a game you used to play, like I just did, and end up with a patcher window that looks something like…this:

Lord of the Rings Online patcher - at 121%

Lord of the Rings Online patcher - at 121%

Right. 121%. My patcher is now at 183%. Can I hit 200% before this is over? Probably.

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Virtual worlds, massive multiplayer games and assorted ramblings

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