[LU] Found Them!

I got to putter around in Lego Universe some last night and I admit I did see some subtle changes and a few bigger ones.

The zones are mostly the same though there are a lot more quests and daily type quests available now. All pretty simple, but still more than I remember there being which is a good thing because I found it pretty sparse.

The faction tokens drop more frequently now and they’ve added a new choice per faction. The Sentinel group has Knight, Samurai and Space Ranger while Paradox has Marauder (?), Sorcerer and Assassin options. I didn’t look at the other two factions.

I know they added a couple of zones with one being sort of like a capital city and the other(s?) being adventure areas which I haven’t seen yet. I did venture into the Nexus Tower which hosts the advanced sets for the factions and headquarters for each of the faction and the bank! A much needed mechanism.

With the added quests the XP rewards are better and there is a smoother progression to the game since quests and achievements are the only ways to get XP.

I don’t remember the social system too much but I think the one they have in place is improved though it still lacks an easy method of getting to your friend (at least I haven’t found one) that games like Wizard 101 have.

Both kids seem much happier with it.

[LU] Lego Universe Changes

I’m hard pressed to find any significant changes to Lego Universe short of having to log into the patcher, patch, click play, then log in again…

Hai Lego Universe. One authentication please?

The few changes I have noticed seem to be around some of the puzzles – so far for taming pets. The LBO tamed a turtle which involved picking bricks to build a longcase clock and I think some of the other pets had different puzzles too. I do think they increased the drop rate of ‘class’ tokens, but I’m not sure since I haven’t actually played it – both the boys have been playing it quite a bit though so I’m mostly looking over their shoulder from time to time.

Oh, one difference is that they made subscribing a little easier. In fact, you’re almost better off creating a new account. Previously you had to create a parent account, tie yourself to the child accounts (after you create those too) then manage each account separately and buy game time for it. With a new account you just click one of the plentiful “Upgrade to Member!” buttons and you can create a Lego ID and skip creating a parent account (the option is still available if you’re so inclined). You can still pick between three subscriptions (one month, six months and a year) and you can turn on the recurring billing (which I didn’t). I admit this is much easier than it was previously

The LLO is having an easier time with it now but I don’t believe that’s due to any changes in the game. I think he was a little too inexperienced with PC gaming when I originally picked it up and since then he’s played numerous first person perspective games (Minecraft and Roblox mainly) on the computer so his manual dexterity is better. He’s also reading the quest text to determine what he needs to do which is nice. He’s already created a second character and is piddling around with that one too. He’s always had issues committing to one character, but that is pretty typical of young kids.

LBO is rolling through like a boss. Since it hasn’t changed all that much he’s rolling through the areas he has already done and seems to remember where everything was. As I said previously, it seems the class tokens drop more frequently so it’s not a huge farm fest and he’s working one his second level set for the Paradox dudes. He’s mostly focused on his one character, but will eventually create some more just to cover off each of the four classes available.

I did not create an account for myself or re-enable the previous one and I don’t really intend to though LBO is already asking if I’m going to swipe a character slot on LLO’s account so I can play with him. I might do that – though I might have to swipe one of the LBO’s slots so I can play with the LLO too.

You can find my previous comments about Lego Universe here.

[LU] Lego Universe Free to Upgrade to Member!

Not really. It’s ‘free to play’ but the amount of content given to play in is quite minor and you’re constantly bombarded with ‘upgrade to member!’ type prompts it’s more about getting you to try the easy part of the game then sign up for the other stuff. There have been so many blocks and limitations thrown in your face that the LBO is ready to SMASH!

He gets it from me.

Meanwhile, LLO has been piggybacking on LBO’s trial account – which is what it is. It’s not free to play, it’s a damn trial – that’s all. Free to play games generally make their money by online purchases or with the ability to purchase content (gameplay areas included). I’m not seeing a lot of that from Lego Universe –  granted I’m not really looking – but the kids appear to be locked into a small area and any attempt to leave the area pops up a note saying they need to upgrade to a full member.

Bleh.

They both still have another 3-4 months to go on their Roblox account so I’ve flat out said no and pointed that out. I do realize that I’ll be subscription free next month and I could easily sub the two of them for one game each since I won’t have any active subs (though I did pre-order Skyrim for PS3), but I don’t really want them to expect things for nothing.

So I’m going to cut cable and use that as an example of choosing one thing over the other. In the end it’s something I’ve been meaning to do and it’ll save me more than the cost of two monthly subs by a fair margin so that will be good.

I am tempted to just have one account and they share it, but I suspect they’ll want to play at the same time. I’m still considering it…

Lego Universe Thoughts

There was a little buzz about Lego Universe in the blog-o-sphere, namely that it was really lacking content. Despite that, I picked it up for the boys (2 copies, I figured I’ll piggyback on my youngest son’s account) and played it a couple times.

Target Audience

It’s mildy amusing, aimed at kids. I’m not really sure it translates well to adults/young adults, though I admit I had some fun in the area you own and can build stuff in. You can get preset type blocks and build stuff with them, or you can get the basic blocks and build some items out of those. You can also adjust block colors and even apply behaviours (like making something go up and down like an elevator).

Content

The areas I’ve seen don’t appear to be too big; Avant Gardens and … I can’t remember the name of the jungle area with the pirates and stuff.

In game UI is a little annoying, but that might just be that it’s somewhat different from what I’m used to. Left mouse click to attack, when using a ranged weapon the mouse cursor is the target point (which is weird when you’re used to shooting in the direction you’re facing).

As I mentioned above, there are blocks you can find and use to build things and create models for use for your ‘blockyard’ which is your own personal instance to build and decorate in. You actually do a little quest to get it.

Accounts

Account UI was simple enough, though setting up a Parent account could have been easier. You have to create an account for the parent (make sense) then log into the kid account, set the account management from there rather than do it from the Parent account. Having two kids, I had to log into each one and set my Parent account through each one. It would have been easier to log into the parent account, then from there connect the kid accounts. Minor annoyance.

Also annoying is adding ‘best friends’ in game requires parental consent and oddly enough if two accounts have the same parental account, said Best Friend thing isn’t automatic. Oh, and it’s by characters instead of account at that point. I mean, adding a Friend based on character, adding a Best Friend based on account makes sense.

I couldn’t really find any easy mechanism to get to your friend either, unlike in Wizard 101 where you could just teleport to their location. I guess it makes some sense to prevent that given some of the racing minigames, but still – you want a mechanism to transfer to the instance/server your Best Friend or Friend is in.

Subscription

I’m also not too keen on the 10$ a month subscription fee. No family rate. You do get 30 days free on buying the game. I’m REALLY surprised they didn’t go F2P, I could see people spending tons of cash on virtual packages of blocks and stuff like that.

Kids Reactions

My older son (7) seems to really like it. My youngest son (5) wasn’t too keen on it after the first sitting; he kept falling off things and getting ‘smashed’ by bad guys. He’s not as coordinated for computer games as my older son, but does okay with consoles.