By blog on Jul. 29, 2009.
It occurred to me the other day, that the only game I want to play is LOTRO…
I got some unexpected cash, and thought why not splash out this time. My SO got something that she had been after for a while, and I figured I would do the same. I then immediately went to find which game it was that I wanted. I thought about it. I thought some more. Looked up recent releases on IGN and nothing really stood out. And then I realised, I have all the gaming I need with just the one game.
Between work and life, I don’t have as much game time as I would like, and I’m pretty darn happy with spending all that game time with my SO running around as our dwarf and hobbit combination. I still have other games on my computer, but I tend to be focused on one game at a time, and right now it’s LOTRO.
So instead of getting a new game, I decided to get a gadget. I love gadgets, in all their odd glory. So I decided to buy a Sun Jar. I’ve always thought these things very fun, and I’m looking forward to having mine turn up later this week. I also liked the look of Lego inspired USBs, but the site I found them at didn’t ship internationally. The other thing I liked at this site was a clock that would go nicely in my study, but as I said, no shipping to the UK. Overall, the Sun Jar seemed the best gadget to get with my free cash.
Now I’ve got to get back to playing more LOTRO. I’ve spent long enough writing up this post, and as much as I’m looking forward to getting my Sun Jar, I’m more looking forward to getting a level or two with my new character.
By blog on Jul. 27, 2009.
It’s just great when you land on something that works out perfectly, when you have a match made in heaven sort of thing going on.
I mentioned that we tried out some Hobbit Burgs and had then switched over to a Dwarf Champion and Hobbit Minstrel combination, and we are now a bit further into that. My Dwarf is level 21 at the moment, whilst my SO’s Hobbit is level 18. At first we missed that sense of solidarity because we couldn’t run together the whole time, her in the Shire, me in Ered Luin, but once we were up to that point where we could run around together, so Bree-Land, we have had a marvellous time!
The Dwarf Champion is such a fun class to play, your essentially a moving wall of blades, and that’s just a heck of a lot of fun. When you play as a Dwarf, you have a greater sense of your character, too, because you don’t just get a generic human character model, you get a sense of being a part of a mythos, being part of the story, you watch your Dwarf fighting through hordes of Orcs, and you feel like you really are a part of Middle Earth… It’s a much more accessible feeling when your playing as a mythological species, rather than a human. Of course, that only works with something that has always been a part of myth to you, if someone had never heard of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, or any of Tolkien’s work, then they might pick up the game and think playing as a Hobbit would be utterly rediculous, and what are these short fat people? But nearly anyone would still find a Dwarf accessible because recorded myths of Dwarves have existed back into the 12th Century, and probably before that too.
Because of Tolkien’s work being so well known today, Hobbits have become a part of today’s Western Mythos, so when my SO plays as a Hobbit, she too gets that feeling of being part of the mythology of the world of Middle Earth. It’s a great feeling, and it’s terribly fun to watch our two stunties running hell-for-leather across Middle Earth.
By blog on Jul. 23, 2009.
The Summer Festival is currently on in the LOTRO world, which means a whole lot of people running around betting on Hobbits eating and Dwarves drinking and any other Summer Festival activities.
The areas where you will see people partaking in these activities are The Party Tree in the Shire, all over Thorin’s Hall and the stairs of Frerin’s Court, the festival area of Duillond, and the festival area in the Horse Fields in Bree-land. You can get some curious, some fun, and some useful, some not-so-much rewards for competing in the events, or completing quests found in these areas during the festival, which has just been extended out through to August 31st.
Now, I’m not hugely interested in the festival goings on, I do like to get the racial dances of the character I am playing at least, maybe the other races if I’m particularly in the mood, but as for the rest of it… it doesn’t thrill me as it does some people. However, my SO gets really into it, and as she’s playing a Hobbit, she’s running around the Party Tree having a grand old time placing bets on the Hobbit Races, finding missing items, fishing, and of course, eating. It makes me happy to see her have such a good time, so I like the festivals for that.
Now, back to those dances. Each of the races, Dwarf, Hobbit, Elf, Man, all has two racial dances that can be obtained from doing a little dancing quest with a Dance Master at each of the festival locations I mentioned earlier. So far with these rather new characters, my SO has both the Hobbit dances and the second Dwarf dance, and I have the first Dwarf dance. Some of the dances are better than others. Both the Dwarf dances look good, a sort of Irish dance meets tap-dancing for those two, and the first Hobbit dance has this same feel. The second Hobbit dance, however, makes the dancer look like a drunken sailor. It’s hilarious and horrible all at the same time.
On to some of the rewards you can obtain, now. You can find the complete list here at the LOTRO Wiki, but a few of the stand outs for me are the cloak, it is actually a very nice looking cloak, the two rather strange drinks, and the Essence of Toad. Now, the two drinks, the Mug of Triple Strength Brandy, and the Mug of… Liquid, look pretty interesting, and if I remember correctly, they have have a chance of porting you anywhere in the world… but I’m not sure if that’s these ones. As I said, with me not being all that interested in the festival, I’m not 100% sure on what these things do because I haven’t gone and gotten them.
By blog on Jul. 21, 2009.
Well hasn’t everything been a mad house of late!? It has, I can attest to that, which is why my SO and I have had no time for LOTRO in the past few weeks, but this weekend that all changed, and we decided to kick back in with something new.
In this case, I finally dropped my ‘No Hobbits’ rule, and created a Hobbit Burglar. Cute little fellow, that I had a surprising amount of fun with. He played well, the Burg skills were fun to use, interesting, and just something a little bit different. I duoed this character with my SO’s Hobbit Burg, and we had a lot of fun stealthing around the place. Good times! The combination of the two Burgs meant we knew what the other was capable of, and that can make all the difference.
The going was pretty quick, surprisingly so, actually. In just a few days my SO and I had hit level 19. Alas it couldn’t last… I saw all those awesome Dwarves running past and I felt less than thrilled with my tiny little Hobbit. I have to say, though, that even though I am no longer playing that Burg, I do have a much greater appreciation for the Hobbit folk, not that I didn’t like them before, but I like them more now.
Like this fellow here, he has a blog, he is a Hobbit, his blog is The Hobbit Herald, and I think that’s funny. Whilst I am at it, another LOTRO blog I have found useful is The LotRO Follower – very handy for when the servers are down, as this site has that sort of info listed up to date on there. And just because I like some of the comics, and lots of the maps, here’s a link to The Brasse, another LOTRO inspired blog.
Anyway, so I’m not playing a Burg anymore. It is good, but not what I want, in the end. So I am playing a Dwarf Champ and my SO gets the Minstrel she always wants to play. Now we’re both content with our characters!
By blog on Jul. 9, 2009.
In the past few weeks, I have not been myself. I have been positively unpleasant, at times. It’s because of the huge amount of work due at the moment, and whilst I have been preparing for it for a while now, there’s no escaping those last minute hitches. So yes, I have been grumpy, I have been surly, I have been tired, and I have been exhausted. All in all, not very pleasant.
Things just bother me a heck of a lot more when I am in this stage of exhaustion. For instance, earlier, I went to make some toast. I just wanted some Vegemite toast (yeah, I like that stuff ) and a cup of orange juice. Fine, let’s go for it! But as I was cooking my toast, which I cook under a grill because it is a wide bread that doesn’t fit in a toaster, I smell burning. I whip the toast out, and it is barely cooked at all, not even slightly golden. I put the toast back in there and back to the burning smell. It was really horrible. I think something must have fallen on top of the grill plate, but all I know for certain is that is a very bad smell. And bad smells make me, the surly person, feel even more surly.
I think what it comes down to, is feeling like the smallest desires are being pushed against. You can’t sit down without remembering you have to grab something from the next room. Or you can’t go to bed because you just remembered some silly piece of last minute work you were stuck with that has to be done first thing in the morning. It seems like the simplest of things, even a nice snack, are constantly being thwarted.
For days I have been wanting to get onto LOTRO and go round all the Summer Festival activities, I always really enjoy those, but I haven’t had the chance because of this huge workload. But I have consoled myself with the knowledge that in a few days things will return to normal, and I can have some time to relax.
By blog on May. 29, 2009.
I don’t feel like having any LOTRO down-time right now, but I don’t have a choice. You see, servers are down for maintenance today, so I have to wait. I have to be patient. I have to find something else to do in my regular gaming time because the servers need to be rebooted. But… I don’t want to wait, and to tell the truth, I feel like being petty about it.
I know the servers needed to go down for a while, everything needs a break, an oil change, a fresh coat of paint, I do understand that. But whilst on some days I am perfectly mature and understanding about that, there are other days like today where two hours where I had scheduled to play and now I cannot play is more than a small bother, it is irritating, frustrating, and downright inconvenient. And we all know that I should never be inconvenienced, right?
Okay I think I have gotten my baby rant out of my system now. I knew that the servers needed a good reboot because, really, there are some ongoing issues at the moment that I heartily look forward to being resolved. For one, earlier today I am running around, doing my own thing, when I can’t move. I can look around and see others moving, but I am stuck. My SO tells me from her computer room that she too is stuck, and then she tries logging out and back in whilst I wait in-game. I then see a message in my chat box that I had lost connection to the chat server, I waited longer whilst my SO was unsuccessfully trying to log back in and eventually saw the message that the connection had been re-established. It’s hard to know with any certainty if that was LOTRO or my ISP crapping itself, as the latter is a substantial option.
The other issue that is positively irksome is mobs – that’s a gamer word for the AI controlled foes you kill – becoming confused when you are attacking them. This is shown by a stylized question mark symbol above the enemy’s head. You can’t hurt the enemy when they are like this, and they can’t hurt you. This leads you to get close to the creature in order to break the confusion, and they still don’t come out of it. So you start running off to do whatever it was you were doing in the first place, but oh no, now that Warg isn’t confused, and now he’s wailing on you! It is funny, if annoying, and I hope it was fixed. Now I’m going to go play LOTRO.
By blog on May. 20, 2009.
I was looking over the LOTRO forums today, and couldn’t help but notice the colossal amount of jerks on there. It seems that in each and every class forum, there are lengthy monologues about how each class has been nerfed and sucks now, and they are going to roll a Rune Keeper.
You read the threads and they just go on and on about how this has been done wrong, Turbine should have done this, Turbine shouldn’t have done that, and really, there is just a whole bunch of complaining going on. It isn’t even intelligent complaining, it is the bleatings of the belligerent and stupid.
Oh I know there are a fair few on those forums who are actually nice, thoughtful, intelligent people, but there is a disparate amount of the silly, facile, and immature.
Today I read a thread about those people who like to jump on the tables in the 21st Hall. This place is usually super packed, as it contains the auction house, crafting areas, and a few other things. There are people who find it enjoyable to jump around on the tables in this hall, or jump in between them. Some do it purely to alleviate boredom, or to just keep moving. Others, and this is a small minority, but they are there, do it purely to annoy others.
They get on the thread and rant about how some people get annoyed by them jumping around on tables, and yet state that they do it just to annoy people. I don’t know if they see the flaw in that logic, and I am not going to be the one to point it out to them. I don’t post on those forums, really, I am trying too hard to avoid the WoW-kids.
By blog on May. 16, 2009.
Now that I have clearly outlined what Gold Farming is, I will go into my own personal opinion on the matter.
Firstly, an anecdote. When I was new to the world of MMOs, I tried Everquest II. I got into it, for a while, and was a member of a guild. I saw advertisements for buying gold, and being new to the whole thing, had no idea that this was an illegal in-game practice. So I paid to have 10 gold sent to me in game. With my new pile of gold burning a hole in my pocket, I bought a rather awesome set of armor off the Auction House.
One evening, I sat with my Guild members at a meeting. We sat, laughing, chatting, exchanging jokes and humorous anecdotes, when suddenly, my awesome armour started disappearing, piece by piece. A person sitting near me uttered the words “Oh no! You’ve been hacked!” and before I could log off, all my armour was gone. That same person from the guild gave me some spare armour, but it wasn’t nearly as good as my previous set.
A few hours later I received a letter in the in-game post. It was from one of the game moderators, in it they told me that I had been caught in the illegal practice of gold buying, and that everything that I had purchased with the illegal gold had been removed from my account. I was warned that if I did it again, I would face further, more serious, action.
This stunned me, I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know that buying gold was illegal, I couldn’t believe that the website I had purchased the gold from didn’t mention anywhere that this was an illegal practice. I felt as if I had done something wrong, but I had had no idea.
As I said, I was new to MMOs then, and now know much better. Some say that the effect to the in-game economy is exaggerated by game developers to try to deter the general game populace from buying gold, but I don’t particularly care for that argument. I believe that if this practice has any ill effects on the game, then I don’t want it going on. I feel that you are missing something of the game when you are buy gold. What do you play for if not to build up your character? If you find this too boring, then maybe you should alter your play style? Maybe you should alter your mental approach to the game?
As for the Gold Farmers themselves, I feel a minor sense of irritation when bombarded with their spamming advertisements, but little more than that. It is so easy in LOTRO to report and ignore them, so they don’t bother me all that much. I don’t want them to be there, I don’t encourage their illegal practice, but they don’t aggravate me most of the time.
By blog on May. 16, 2009.
Anyone who has played an MMO for longer than ten minutes will be familiar with getting messages – either in the form of tells or across public channels – advertising the purchasing of gold. In any MMO, there are going to be a few ways to make your own gold, or whatever the in-game currency is, which you use to purchase any item. In LOTRO, for instance, your main expenses will be your horse, your house, and any armour or weaponry you might purchase off the Auction House.
Turbine, the makers of LOTRO, are strongly against this practice, as it can severely effect the in-game economy. Gold Farming is against the user agreement that all LOTRO players have to agree to, and as such, many accounts that have proven to be held by those just farming gold have been deleted.
Gold Spammers are those who try to sell you their gold in-game, they stand about advertising their website where you can make the transaction, but Turbine have included a function in-game where it is very easy to report the offending character as a Gold Spammer, at which point they end up on your ignore list and you never see another message from them again.
Gold Farming has become an actual industry, current estimates for employed Gold Farmer range between 400,000 to 1 million, in China alone, with the revenues generated coming out somewhere between US$1billion and US$10billion. These are huge figures for something that is illegal in nearly all MMOs. World of Warcraft is the largest MMO in the world, currently, with over 11million subscribers. They are against Gold Farming, having clearly stated in their rules of conduct that it can lead to accounts being banned and other actions. Yet they are accused by some of not really enforcing this rule, which is part of the reason that they Gold Farming economy has the chance to flourish.
I am somewhat astonished that this issue is being treated as an up and coming industry when it is based on an illegal premise. But more of my opinion later.
By blog on May. 13, 2009.
If you have followed my blog at all, you may have come to realise I am a pretty unsociable sort. I am antisocial. I don’t enjoy being around large groups of people, and even small groups wear me out in short order. I am a highly expressed introvert, that’s the psychological term for it. Ohhh, look at my learnings!
As a gamer, being antisocial really isn’t an issue. Being an MMO player and antisocial is another matter entirely. I love the ongoing nature of an MMO, the fact that the game is always being worked on and updated, and even with the monthly fee, I am saving money over buying a new game every couple of months.
As I duo all the time with my SO, I don’t really have to interact with other players all that often. Something I am greatly thankful for. Last night, my SO and I tried a Fellowship quest we have never before tried. It was quite fun all in all, but there was of course the issue that we needed more people for the group. Time for a PUG. A pick up group. This is a group that you don’t know, but you all need the same quest so you team up and try for it. PUGs have a bad reputation, because you can get stuck with any moron, and there is nearly always one of them in your group.
You will know them by their stupid names. I have such a vendetta against poorly named characters, I call them WoW-Kids, because the only other place I have seen such stupid, lore-inappropriate, crap names, is the five minutes I spent on the World of Warcraft free trial. Those five minutes were a trial and testament to my open-mindedness.
In spite of having one of these WoW-Kids in our Fellowship last night, and another who seemed to have real issues communicating, and yet another who tried to run the show when they really shouldn’t have, we got through. In the end my SO and I had a good time, we fought our first troll with these characters, ended up with troll boot-prints all over our faces, ears ringing from being hit in the head with giant rocks, and palpitations from the intensity, but we took the bastard down. Now back to not talking to anyone in-game for the next few play sessions.