Category Archives: LOTRO

Ding! 75 in LOTRO

You would think that with a week off I’d be posting more and not less, but I’ve had my eye on ‘finishing’ LOTRO, that is getting to max level.  This morning I finally got there! Now I can say (fortunately) that Wow is not the only game I’ve managed to get a max level character in.

Woohoo 75!!

I’ve had so much fun in LOTRO this week.  So … in spite of my normal butterfly behaviour I’m going to keep playing for a little while.  I have a huge list of things to do, traits to get, legendary weapons to now equip and get to max level, and maybe even some raids with the guild on a Saturday night.  I have no idea how to tank on a warden, or even how to be a good DPS party member, so I need to do some research on skills, traits etc.   I also want to try other classes. I have a mid level hunter and a burgular which I could continue with.  So although I’m ‘finished’ and free to move on I’ll be staying a while.  It’s such a wonderful immersive world and I’m eager to see more.

I have also pre-ordered the expansion, The Riders of Rohan, and I noticed that my in-game map now has a larger greyed out new area.  I’m looking forward to seeing how Turbine handle mounted combat.  The journey continues …





Filed under LOTRO, MMO

MMO’s and Death

I’m not writing about 38 Studios, or BioWare.  I  know how those employees feel though, it’s awful, many of us in games do unfortunately. No, instead I’m talking about the consequences of death in an MMO.

Not again!

Over the weekend I played a serious amount of LOTRO.  My teenage son has challenged me to get to 75 by the end of my week off (I won’t by the way, too hard, now I’m aiming for 70, am currently at 67).  I’d really like to be able to tick the ‘done’ box on more than just Wow soonish and LOTRO as I rediscovered, is my best chance of getting there 😀

Saturday was cruisy, I don’t think I even died once.  I had left my character those many moons ago in Fordirith, the first area of Enedwaith.  A couple of hours in I was advised by a guild member that if I wanted to level reasonably fast I should really go to Dunland, so off I went, again doing the starter quests for the area.  Sunday, out of the early quests, I tackled the harder ones, plus some skirmishes, and I died so many times that I went to bed a little sad.  In one Skirmish my gear went yellow, then orange, and then red (in my defense I was trying Tier II difficulty on a character that I’m rusty with).  Red means broken, so your skills using a red weapon don’t even work anymore.

There are two sides to MMO death; firstly ensuring that the gameplay is challenging enough that you will die if you don’t play well (Wow, I’m looking at you here *), and secondly adding consequences for when said death occurs.  How do you balance the consequences of death in an MMO enough to make us avoid death?  If you die 50 times and don’t feel the pinch, then it’s clearly not enough.  It’s a fine line between encouraging players to be their best, and putting them off playing altogether.

LOTRO isn’t too harsh on death but there are consequences and you (or should I say ‘I’ in my rusty state) die a lot.  In Skirmishes, each time you die the rewards handed out are decreased and this penalty is only removed once you complete a skirmish.  Out in the open questing, you are penalized with reduced abilities for 10 minutes (which stack if you die while you have those reduced penalties), all buffs from cooked and trail food gone and the money sink from constant repairs.   More than that though, it’s embarrassing.  ‘Wardens never die in skirmishes’ was one comment from a guild mate.

I like the LOTRO death consequences and I think Turbine have done a great job with their difficulty curve.  Although I went to bed annoyed, I was annoyed at my inability to play my little hobbit properly, annoyed at myself, but not so much that I don’t want to make an effort to improve.

Today I’m going to spend some time reading up on Wardens, making appropriate changes to my skill rotation and armour as well as making sure I have enough food and potions on board (this will mean leveling my cook at some point).  After all, my pride is at stake now.

* I’m talking about leveling, not raiding.


Filed under LOTRO, MMO

Lowering your ping

Watch the road!

Living in Australia is great, aside of course from having to dodge Kangaroos on the way to work (joke … kind of … I actually nearly hit one the other week, but not in town or on the way to work). Not everything about living Down Under is great however.  Ping for one thing.  The servers in the US are a whole lot of ocean away from here.  Rubber banding is just one of the artefacts that you learn to live with.  You move ahead 100m and the server decides, nope, you didn’t actually do that, and puts you back from whence you came.  Sometimes this can happen several times in a row.  Now I’m a carebear, so it’s a generally annoying thing, but not too critical, but what if I was into PvP?  Now the game becomes pretty much unplayable.  Some games are better than others, but Aion and LOTRO happen to be two games where the effects are felt the most.  So what to do about it?

Just because we play games doesn’t mean we’re technical, some of us are, but many of us aren’t.  There are a gazillion bits of advice that offer various registry setting changes.  There are programs to block all traffic except that associated with your game.  There are hints to do with hardware.  But honestly, I think these make a difference more if you’re geographically close to the game server.  Most of the problems we face here are simply due to the routing of traffic to a far away location, and no amount of registry changing is going to improve that too much (feel free to prove me wrong, I’m not in the technically competent category :P).

In Australia (and presumably other countries also affected), there are services that, for a fee, offer you a significantly lower ping.  You load up their program, choose a server from their list of many (some US based, some EU based) and then simply start your game and off you go.  I tried one out last night out of frustration and it made a huge difference, cutting my in-game ping in half!  In LOTRO it went from over 500ms to around 250ms and I saw pretty much the same change in Aion.  Now the difference this makes in-game is huge, no rubber banding, skills go off when you want them to, etc.  The service makes use of proxy servers and various network tweaks and basically channels your data in a more direct manner to the game server.  Setting it up was dead simple, and most companies I found offered a trial account, you can see the benefits before buying, but until you pay something you get kicked off after half an hour or so.  Enough time to see whether it works or not 🙂



Filed under Aion, General, LOTRO, MMO

It’s all about the people

I was going to write a post about manastones in Aion.  Those annoying, bag filling items that improve your weapon and armour stats, if, that is, you can manage to successfully socket them.  But the more I looked into them, the more boring and annoying they became, certainly not worth devoting a whole post to.

Instead, I fired up LOTRO, spent a while patching (it’s been at least 4 months since I played), and jumped on my warden.  I’d forgotten how far I’d actually travelled through the LOTRO world, certainly not max level (embarrassingly, I’ve only ever reached max level in Wow), but only 10 levels off.  I found myself as a level 65, out of Moria (phew), and close enough to the finish to actually see a light at the end of the levelling tunnel.  My /played enquiry told me that I’d been playing my little hobbit for 2 weeks, 1 day and a bit more. Despite the fact that I missed the beautiful colours and scenery of Aion, and that I nearly killed myself more than once by trying to glide off a cliff (I will miss that in every game from now on I think), I played for several hours.  Not being a Korean MMO, LOTRO didn’t even warn me about taking breaks 😀

So why did I stay playing? And why did I wake up this morning wanting to play more?  Simple, the people.   Despite the fact that I haven’t played in months, my kinship hadn’t kicked me out (they never do :D), and welcomed me back (for however short this stay will be) with open arms.  Food was offered, assistance and advice was forthcoming, and next thing I knew I had someone by my side chatting and running around with me.  This is what makes an MMO great.  I’m all for being able to solo to the end of an MMO, no matter how hard, but given the length of time you spend playing in your favourite online world, having a wonderful group of people around you makes the journey seem far less overwhelming.  This is also why I’m excited about Guild Wars 2, I know lots of people that will be playing (who doesn’t), and that in itself makes the game far more appealing.  Yes you still need good gameplay, and fluff and something ‘different’ to want to play, but with a good group of friends you can be a bit more forgiving also.

A big bear and a little hobbit

LOTRO holds a special place in my MMO list.  I bought it the day it came out and bought the lifetime sub on the second offering.  And … on my second start (new guild, new server about a year after release), I met my husband while playing LOTRO 😀  The game has great atmosphere so the fun wasn’t just in the questing.  As well as questing we’d pick somewhere to visit, like the Bilbo’s stone trolls, and sit and chat for a while talking about life, the universe and everything.  I also remember having a lot of fun running around his house rearranging every stick of furniture and fish on the wall.  Being the kind of guy he is, he’d spend many a minute putting everything back in it’s place when he found it in such a mess … some things are no different in real life :D.

I also spent a bit of time reading Spinksville this morning and added an RSS feed to my blog.  There’s a lot to learn to when you’re starting out!


Filed under Aion, LOTRO, MMO