Hard decision

It was an hard decision for me but I’ve decided to quit Lord of the Rings Online permanently. I know I leave behind some friends, I have their emails so I have at least that, but also my beloved deluxe house, my first ingame house ever. I leave behind as well my characters I had become attached to with which I had fun role-playing.

I think it is partly playing Warhammer Online in november 2008 that made me realise that. Warhammer Online is so similar to Guild Wars that it almost made me feel like playing it. Guild Wars has so many qualities with its anti-grind attitude, non-gear oriented game, reach level cap fast, casual gameplay, fun. Not once I felt compelled to play Guild Wars, or obsessed, I played a lot but always for fun.
It was not the case for Lord of the Rings Online. I was compelled to play all the time to try to advance a little my alts and I felt for years I was not getting ahead. How come I can play a dozen alts in Guild Wars, get them to max level really fast, get them nice armors, skills, etc. in a few months while almost two years later and my 5 alts are still low level? Ok, I managed to advance my main more then the others in Lord of the Rings Online but only after I fully abandoned the other alts. Leveling alts is no fun in Lord of the Rings Online.

Let’s not forget the lack of storage, the deeds, the crafting, the reputations, etc. all grind that was making me obsessed about the game quite late at night and the whole day about the whole organisation. I was trying to play as often as possible to satisfy to everything.

Then came the second reason, the expansion Mines of Moria that has turned Lord of the Rings Online into World or Warcraft. I’m quite aware of World of Warcraft, I’ve heard about it plenty and I’ve decided long ago to avoid the game for many good reasons, one of them being the raids that are a must, and a grind, to acquire items. Frankly, if I wanted to play World of Warcraft, I’d buy the game, but since I’m not interested I’ve played other MMOs instead. Before Mines of Moria raids were not needed, one could craft, get items through quests or buy them on the Auction Hall but not anymore. As strange as it might seem, it’s World of Warcraft that is becoming more casual while Lord of the Rings Online is becoming more hardcore and more raid oriented.

Another thing coming from Mines of Moria are the skills, the virtues and the deeds. While before one did not need to work too hard on his/her deeds, now having them at high level is almost required. Still, even on the old system, one of the main reasons not to level up other alts was indeed the deeds, now it’s worse. There are as well different trait paths for classes and some classes get punished for certain choices while others don’t which is not fair. Turbine also has changed the combat system with Mines of Moria and that is quite a bad move.
So yeah, these are pretty much the reasons why I’m leaving, Lord of the Rings Online is turning into something I don’t like, and I want to go back to an healthy gaming state of mind because Lord of the Rings Online is very very unhealthy for me.

I’m going back to City of Villains/Heroes, like Guild Wars it’s casual, non-gear oriented, no raid, a rich and fun PvE MMO, and I’ve never felt that unhealthy addiction towards it as well unlike Lord of the Rings Online. On top of that, my guild there is still fully present ingame and I’ve been taken back and they’re still as nice as before. So from now on you know where to find me, on Virtue the unofficial RP server.

This is a past blog entry from my gaming Multiply.

The Lord of the Rings Online – Review

4/5

The Lord of the Rings Online is a casual MMO set in the world of Middle-Earth created by Tolkien, and the MMO is set during the books The Lord of the Rings. The world is very well recreated, anyone could get all mushy just wandering in the Shire (I do). The graphics are superb except for the models alas who are not as good quality as the scenics around, but after a while they grow on you and you end up finding the Hobbits oh so cute and huggable. The music is also very beautiful and atmospheric, setting well with the world. The Lord of the Rings Online is probably the most immersive MMO out there, Turbine has managed to create a breathing living world where one can cook, eat, drink, play music, dance and smoke pipe. You can even get your own house. Landroval is the unofficial RP server on the North American side and you will see often players role-playing their characters and throw RP events, yo get to write, and read bios as well. The community in The Lord of the Rings Online is very mature and nice.

You have access to four races when you create your characters: Elves, Hobbits, Dwarves and Humans. Each have their own newbie area except that the Dwarves and the Elves share theirs. Even though Frodo and his friends are the heroes in the books, Turbine has managed very well to integrate a parallel storyline for our alts where we get to be heroes as well. We handle the bandits at Bree, investigate the Ors in North Downs, and in the meantime we get to meet the main characters from the books ingame for more immersion.

The Lord of the Rings Online’s interface is very intuitive and the game is easy to be handled even by those who have never played a MMO before. The stats increase all by themselves when you level up and your skills become more powerful as well without having to dabble with anything. Each class has a good number of different skills to choose from, I’m not fond of those MMOs with very limited skills where you just get the same skill but a tid bit more powerful than the previous one. The game is non gear oriented, very casual, and it’s easy to level up and solo most of the content. Crafting is fun and very useful, you really have the feeling it’s meaningful.

Nothing is perfect in this world, except for cats of course, so The Lord of the Rings Online has to have flaws. The whole solo thing can be a bad thing when players can level up to the max level without ever grouping with anyone, which means that for those who like grouping or want to do group quests, like the Books quests, they have a hard time finding people to do these quests. While the coming expansion will remedy a bit my next point, there is a lack of classes in The Lord of the Rings Online. Also, the game has a definite lack of fantasy, there is no magic and no caster/magician, especially no caster class (the Rune-Keeper “magic” effects were greatly reduced in the beta so he is not really a caster anymore), so there are times when the game feels more like a medieval MMO than a fantasy one. It should please those who enjoy melee classes but for those who love to play casters it will be very tough, especially that some on the official forums hate to death the players who love to play casters so expect to be told to get back to WoW a lot, among other insults.

The game is perfect for casual players who want to immerse themselves in a beautiful world that caters to the PvE players mainly with a good community and with good devs that constantly add more to the game.

The official website: http://www.lotro.com/

This is a past blog entry from my gaming blog on Multiply.

Warhammer Online

I’ve never planified to play Warhammer Online and yet here I am playing it. The reasons why I’ve stopped playing momentarily LOTRO are a bit long and complex but I’ll try. Excited by Mines of Moria, I rushed ahead to level up my alts to make them ready for Mines of Moria, LOTRO’s upcoming expansion, that tired me up a bit of the game. Then there was all this drama on the official forums about the trollish lore-nazis, constantly bashing players like me who love playing casters. Then there was the destruction of the rune-keeper by the lore nazi in the beta, the rune-keeper was fun but the animations are pretty much gone, I was really looking forward to it. The nail to the coffin is the upcoming nerf to my two favorite classes, lore-master and minstrel.

It really feels as if the few issues I’ve had with LOTRO have become bigger: lack of magic, absence of caster classes, lack of fantasy (the game feels more like a medieval MMO than a fantasy one actually).

I’ve spent the last two months not really playing but I payed my game card anyway, and I’m too poor and rational to waste money on a game I barely play. So I’ve decided to momentarily stop playing LOTRO and invest in another game for the next months, I cannot imagine myself not playing any MMO for a while. I’ve been through and through Guild Wars and I’ve burned the game so it has to be something else. I’ve heard good reviews about Warhammer Online and it had a good launch (unlike a few like Age of Conan per example), I can see there are many cool caster classes in their game, their PvP is fair, etc. Now that I’ve started it, it’s obvious they took a LOT from Guild Wars in a good way. The community is nice, the classes are fun, there is a decent PvE side along with their PvP, no death penalty, no item wear, anyone at any level can PvP. Some of the people in the guild I’m in in LOTRO are in Warhammer Online too and I’ve found a good guild there, I was in their guild at some point with them in LOTRO. The guild is Shadow Company.

I find the Destruction side wicked cool and their classes oh so wicked cool too, so I play on the Destruction side on the NA RP Ostermark server and the Order side on the NA RP Phoenix Throne server. My Destruction alts are Azaroth (Disciple of Khaine), Khainlin (Sorcerer), Minesha (Magus), Rahmiel (Zealot), Tamarah (Witch Elf), Waaka (Shaman) and Waaroth (Squig Herder). My Order alts are Flamelia (Bright Wizard), Kharzem (Engineer), Mazaroth (Shadow Warrior), Minesha (Archmage), Sapphir (White Lion) and Sulian (Witch Hunter). I like that it’s dark and gritty. Warhammer Online is not perfect of course, it’s interface is far from being intuitive and there are elements missing but it’s decent and the classes are fun to play. I’m very lost since I know nothing about the lore of the game but at the same time, discovering a new world is fun.

LOTRO and CoV

I’ve never had interest into CoH, thought playing a superhero in a MMO would probably be lame but I thought I’d play the villain version though. Sounds like they listened to a lot of people’s prayers because the villain version came out and I ended up playing it.

CoX is a breeze of fresh air among all those fantasy MMO and being in that modern/scifi environment is fun. Sure you can create supernatural characters of course, from zombies, demons to werewolves, but the surroundings are modern. The character customization is amazing and I must have spent at least an hour creating each of my character. I was surprised to discover that the community was mature and all and I even got the opportunity to RP. CoV’s graphivs are better than CoH and the cities are dirty and the music is really rock. It looks really nice. You get all those weird powers. There is a lot of dark humor in it as well.

I managed to find a good SG and even good friends, one in particular I was RPing a lot with. We were making death threats to each other, it was funny. You get to write your characters’ bio and it’s great to bump into players who take the time to read your bio and act accordingly, and even make jokes about your character.

I’d say the downside is the repetiveness. All the maps are the same, in particular the inside of the buildings.

I was checking out Tabula Rasa too and at some point it looked like it was going to come out so I cancelled my subscription to CoV. I ended up not liking TR later. Anyway, it was a good thing because there were hard moments at that point and I really needed every cent I could save.

Since I get my fantasy fix with GW, I wanted something different as second game, like CoV, or TR. As I said, I was checking out Tabula Rasa, I wanted to be in the beta and so in order to get more experiences in beta I subscribed to other betas including LOTRO. I never checked out LOTRO before. As strange as it may seems, I’m never interested into MMOs based on an IP. I’ve loved Stargate very much but I do not plan to ever play the game, I’m just sick tired now personally of the show and I wish that instead of making a remake (Stargate Altantis), that the producers would come up with a genuine scifi show instead with a new story and background, etc. I do not plan to play either Stars Wars, or Star Trek Online, or Matrix Online, etc. While I do love the LOTR movies, love the book and read other Tolkien books as well (Bilbo, Silmalirion, etc.), I’ve never payed attention to LOTRO. I was chosen to be in its beta thought.

I got tons of problems trying to download the LOTRO client so I was a bit pissed off when I started playing the beta. Still, I’ve fallen slowly but surely in love with LOTRO. I’m not saying the game is without faults but it has so many good things in it. The graphics are beautiful, beside the characters who are a bit awkward I admit; the world is living; the quests are well done and engrossing; the storyline makes me feel as if suddenly I’m in GW, meaning that you’re part of the storyline, not player #23455; it really feels as if you live there and with the housing now it just makes the feeling true; RPing in it is great with a mature community, etc.

I have to admit that lately I’ve started to feel a CoV itch, a desire to go back in it and have fun RPing as a villain and rob banks. The thing though is that I can’t really afford more than one subscription game at once and I really do not want to leave LOTRO that I love dearly. What to do now?

This is a past blog entry from my gaming blog on Multiply.

Lord of the Rings Online – Shadows of Angmar

Sometimes, certain things surprise you, like finding a gem at strange places. This is what LOTRO is for me. I’ve been checking out scifi MMOs because I like scifi as much as I like fantasy so I’ve been checking out Tabula Rasa in particular. As a Tolkien fan, I obviously noticed the upcoming MMO happening in the same world, I was curious about it so I asked for a beta slot, which I got some time after, but I was not excited about it like the other fans, never followed the game really. Surprisingly, I’ve fallen in love little by little with the online version of Middle Earth. While I admit the characters look weird and the combat is cumbersome, the rest is pretty and the game is actually fun and the world is exciting to explore. I’m particularly happy to know that there will be time cards for this MMO so I’m going to buy it and grow some food in it officially on april 24th. You can already find me in the open beta on Landroval.

http://www.lotro.com/

This is a past blog entry from MySpace.