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Archive for the ‘Lotro’ Category

Hello old friend, been a while since I wrote anything here but this place has always been a good one to sort my thoughts so today I’m breaking the silence to write about that joyous mess that is my MMO life at the moment.

2015 has been a very insightful year for me as far as MMOs goes. First I learned that the old hardcore guild still existed out there and that it wasn’t for me anymore. Then I rediscovered thanks to the Greysky Armada crew that a great group of people makes any game a thousand times better. I was also reminded that I’m in a weird place when it comes to raiding. On one hand I love to raid with those people but on the other I can’t really commit a lot of time to it.

Lately, the Greysky gang is split up over a multitude of games since FFXIV is having trouble at keeping our interest and I find myself without really a game to latch onto. I tried going back to WoW for a whole 20 minutes before deciding that I’m truly done with the game, Swtor failed to hold my interest past Dromund Kas, I just can’t seem to latch onto Wildstar and now I find myself enjoying short sessions of The Secret World here and there and I’ve started anew in Lotro just to enjoy a good dose of Middle-Earth lore.

So to start off the New Year and stealing from Belghast style, here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

FFXIV

That game is currently on hold despite being pretty much my favorite MMO out there at the moment. The simple truth is that I’ve run out of content to do and right now I’m faced with either leveling classes, grinding dailies, grinding for the new anima weapon or finding a raid group to do savage content with. All time consuming tasks that frankly don’t motivate me to log in at the moment. So I’ve put the sub on hold until the flame is lit again and I feel like diving back in.

LOTRO

That one is a bit of a surprise but here I am. Every so often the urge to explore Middle-Earth strikes and I find myself back in Lotro, a game that’s incredibly slow paced, has clunky mechanics and overall has aged pretty terribly. Still, it does the two things I love the most incredibly well, exploration and lore. This time around though, I’m playing without any particular goal other than enjoying the lore and it’s been a pretty enjoyable experience.

I’m currently sitting at level 12 and finishing up quests around Combe, the first area outside the human starter zone. The Blackwold gang is still messing up things after all these years and yet again brave adventurers must put an end to them.

The secret world

Speaking of playing games for the lore, I’m back again in the secret world and I’ve been having a great time, so much so that I’m real hopeful to make it past the Blue mountains this time around. I’ve even been doing the Investigation quests without cheating! It may have taken me 2 hours to decipher a bit of morse code but the feeling of doing it was awesome! Speaking of morse code, I now have a profound respect for anyone who can do it live without having to listen to the same part over and over again.

I’m progressing fast in the zones because I’m spending all that time going after lore but I’m not in a hurry so it’s all good. I’m working on finishing up the haunted amusement park of the savage coast and should move to the school pretty soon.

And the rest…

Remember at the beginning of this post when I talked about loving to raid but not having time for it? That’s still the big unknown for me. With Lotro and TSW it’s pretty clear I’m not going to be raiding anytime soon and the bug might back to bite me anytime. The best case scenario would be Greysky starting up again in FFXIV but when is another topic entirely.

I also played quite a bit of single-player games over the holidays, one of which was Undertale, a game I’m reserving a post for tomorrow.

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Lotro: I need a plan

I love Lotro, I love the fidelity to the Tolkien lore, I love that it feels like what I imagine Middle-Earth would, I love that it’s one of the few MMOs that feels like a virtual world and I just love the well-rendered environments… I even love their F2P model.

But if you ask me whether I’m playing or not my answer is no.  Not because of anything on the game’s part but rather because I feel that to do the game justice I need to invest enough time in it, time I feel I don’t have between playing WoW, playing single player games, playing some world of tanks and all life’s normal requirements.

But lately the itch has been growing stronger and I’m trying to figure out a plan to tackle Lotro. I know what my goal is, to explore the game and do most if not all of the single player content to see the storyline but how to do it eludes me. I’ve thought about playing it like a single player game but the time commitment I fear would be too much. So that why I’m asking you guys today for ideas. How would you tackle a game like Lotro and if you already did, how did you do it?

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Missing the game

One comment you will often hear from player playing Lord of the rings online is how the game is their vacation spot, the one place they go to take a break from other MMOs, their home away from home. I know I made comments to that effect. None of us though would pretend it’s a perfect game. Lotro has a ton of flaws, both small and big but we like it just the way it is. In fact if you look a bit deeper you can hear the same kind of comments from long time players of many of the older and/or smaller games, they love their games just the way it is, with all their flaws and qualities.

I have a theory about why that is. These players simply play their game without a long list of expectations about what their game should be. When I pick up Lotro, I know fully well what I’m getting into. Since I’m not looking for something that isn’t there, I can appreciate better what is happening right now and the flaws even become endearing quirks. I’m not constantly frustrated by seeking something that isn’t there.

Opposite of this are players who are looking for something specific in their game. They might know what it is they’re looking for or not but until they find whatever they are looking for they won’t be satisfied. They will pick a MMO, play it until they confirm if the desired feature is there or not and if it’s not present, leave for another game.

What I find sad is that while they are looking they are missing most of what the game has the offer. In fact, the rest of the game becomes an obstacle. For example, if I’m looking for the perfect raiding experience, all the leveling game will seem like a chore to me. I’ll hate every minute of it and if the endgame does not live up to my expectations, I’ll be pissed at the game and probably write long angry post about how it was the worst thing to happen to humankind.

I might never even stop to think that maybe I’m the one responsible for my own terrible experience. In many ways, I find that incredibly sad.

Recapturing that first mmo feeling

One thing you’ll often hear veteran players talk about is how you’ll never experience that first mmo feeling again. I can tell you today that its false because I’m re experiencing it today with swtor and the only thing you  need to do is to play the game without any expectations of what it should be and play it for what it is. Suddenly, Taris that I hated the first time around is now great fun because I’m paying attention to what is happening and getting into the whole storyline instead of just being in a hurry to get out of there and level.

Of course you can still find the game horrible but at least you’ll hate it for what it is, not what you think it should have been.

So I’ll end today post by asking you to consider what kind of player you are. Are you currently seeking that elusive feature and missing the whole game? I know I was doing that quite recently, and just by being aware of it I was able to look at a game in a new light and rediscover it.

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Wednesday Lotro: Sidetracking in Combe

Hi there! I know I missed the last two weeks but I’ve been rather busy with a lot of things and I’ve simply had other priorities. But this is why I love Lotro F2p model, I can simply play less without feeling like I’m wasting money.

In the time I did play, I managed to nearly clear all of the Human starter area and quests. I still have one or two steps on the human epic quest left and about 40 flies to kill to complete my giant fly-killing deed but I’m confident I’ll be done in no time and then I’ll go on to finish the last part of Breeland, the barrows downs and northern area. Afterwards I’m thinking of heading back to the dwarf/elf starter areas to clean up all the easy deeds but we’ll see when I get there.

Skirmishes!

A side effect of getting to level 20(and getting my undying title! yay!), was that I was reintroduced to skirmishes, mini instances revolving around a particular event or battle designed for small either solo or groups of up to twelves with all sort of configuration in between. If that sounds vaguely familiar it might be because Blizzard is promoting a similar feature to come in MoP.

I have to admit I’m a bit torn as to what I think of skirmishes. They’re pretty great… in small doses. What I mean by that is that doing one of them once in a while keeps them fresh and interesting. However, farming them for all the titles and the ridiculous numbers of marks required for some options…. gets crazy boring fast. You can only liberate the Smials so many times before you know the placement of every mob by heart.

In the end though, I’d rather have them than not and they make a nice distraction from the usual questing rhythm.

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Didn’t get a lot of time to play this past week. My warden is now level 19, closing on 20 and I have started questing in the area around Bree-town. Now my big question is whether or not I’ll head over to the human starting area and backtrack through the early human quests for the deeds. I’m leaning on the yes side so far if only because I want to explore the nook and crannies as much as I can and leaving that whole area undone feels like I’d be missing something. In the same train of thought, I’m pondering about going back to Ered-Luin once I’m done with Breeland.

But what really got my attention was the massive class overhaul the latest update brought to the warden class. To say I was surprised is putting it mildly. Warden is the one class I enjoy the most in Lotro, it’s complicated, it’s convoluted but I love it. I simply cannot see myself play any other class in Lotro and it seems most wardens feel that way about their class, you love it or you hate it. So when I saw the massive changes to my favorite class I was worried.

Turns out I was worrying for nothing, at least as far as I can tell. A lot of abilities have changed which basically means that every warden has to relearn their skills and gambits but the core mechanics are intact. You still build your gambits with base abilities which in turn can unleash stronger abilities. So depending on your need, you have to build the right gambits. What changed is that they expanded on the stance system. Before, which stance you used depended on whether you needed more courage (health) or power (mana) but now, your stance affects what your different gambits does. So the same gambit will behave differently depending on which stance you are in.

All in all, lots of learning to do again but nothing too bad and my class still feels like the same class that I’m used to, so all is well.

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Lotro: f2p overview

After my post on Lotro yesterday I got a question by Caligan and one by email about how much Lotro costs and if there was a trial version. First of all, I want to say that Lotro is a free-to-play game now and as such, you can try it anytime without any real commitment on your part. If you want to get technical though, Lotro operates on a freemium model meaning that at some point down the road you will have to spend real money to make progress through the game.

So today I’m making this post to help out anyone wanting to try this great game and also explain a bit the different options of the store because I found the official website was a bit of a mess to navigate through and find the right info.

Before though I want to start with a bit of a warning. Lotro is a mmo built on the older model of MMOs (think Vanilla WoW) and is heavily focused on exploration and immersion into Tolkien universe. This means that it is way slower paced than what we’re used to and it aims to be as faithful to Tolkien as possible, even when it’s not to the player advantage. For example, if it makes sense for the quest to make you run through the whole zone three times in a row only to talk to some NPCs, then it’s what will happen.

If like me, you have a strong explorer vibe in you then you won’t mind at all the extra running around and the slower pace as it’s only more time to enjoy the sights. But, I know this kind of game is not for everyone.

How free-to-play is it really?

From the start you get access to all the races, all three starting zones(Ered Luin, Bree and the Shire) and all the classes minus two (Warden, Rune-master) which were introduced in the Moria expansion. You also have access to all the normal game features like bags, banks, crafting, housing and so on. Some of these might be more limited like no shared storage, only three bags or a gold cap but you can pay to have all of these upgraded.

You also get LoneLands which is the third zone (second if you play human) that you will visit. The reason is that Bree is a gigantic zone which can really be broken down into two parts. The human starter area(east) and the west area which all races visit when they’re done with their starter zones. All in all, you get content up to nearly level 30 which can easily amount to a month or two of playing and more if your into alts or if you want to complete everything a zone has to offer. Zones in Lotro are huge.

So bottom line, everyone gets around a two month worth of solid play out of the base game without even spending a penny.

Planning your purchases

Whether Lotro will be an expensive game depends on a few factors, the first being how much time you spend in-game and the second being how smart you are about your purchases. Lotro uses Turbine points (TP) as a currency which can be acquired in-game in small amounts by completing deeds in different zones. You’ll never be able to acquire enough to buy everything you might ever need but they do stack up and they can save you a purchase here and there.

Turbine is also often offering discounts, coupons or gifts that can amount to quite a few purchases if your good at spotting them. Finally, there’s also the possibility to buy different bundles that can be quite advantageous. For example right now, Turbine is offering the Mithril edition through Gamestop/EBgames which is quite a good offer for a new player who’s serious about playing.

Finaly there’s the subscription(15$) option that unlocks a lot of content as well as giving you 500TP a month.  The downside is that a lot of the content is only unlocked as long as you pay for the sub but it’s agreed by most that if you’re a heavy player, this is the best option by far.

For those wondering I’m not subbed and have yet to spend a single dollar on the game after a month of playing. I did have quite a few things paid because of my long account history but still, not a cent spent so far.

So, I hope this has helped some shed some light on the different options for Lotro.

PS: I currently play on Arkenstone server, look for Henin, a hobbit warden if you want to get in contact with me.

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It’s been a busy last week with us starting raiding in Swtor and the preparation that goes with that, the release of both Mass Effect 3 and Game of Thrones dvds/blu-ray and I’ve got a full plate. Still, I managed to squeeze in enough play time to finish up the Shire quests and start making headway in Bree-Land. Right now, my little hobbit warden is up to level 18 and just finished the old forest quests.

Being in Bree-Land allowed me to revisit the Old Forest, a rather iconic locale of Middle-Earth but one that was sadly left out of the movies. In essence, the Old Forest is exactly that, an extremely old forest that dates back to the creation of Middle-Earth, full of wonders and weird creatures along with the famous Tom Bombadil, a rather enigmatic character who is said to be even more powerful that Gandalf and even Sauron!

Well, the exact power level of Tom is still a matter of debate but suffice to say he’s incredibly powerful. However, the real charm of the Old Forest is in showing us what the world used to be. A place full of wonder and magic where nature is in harmony with itself. It can be dangerous for those who seek to harm it or benevolent to those who respect it. Of course, in Lotro, Sauron influence can be felt here as he tries to corrupt the forest and you need to set things right.

All of this to say its one of my favorite zone in Lotro and I’m a bit sad to have already finished it. I’ll be back a few times for the main storyline quests but I’ll miss that eery forest.

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