WoWFail and LOTRO Trial…

Okay, not as a clever as Darkfail, but I wasn’t going for clever. I just noticed I haven’t logged in to play WoW since Saturday morning. Is that telling me something? I guess there just isn’t much more for me to achieve in that game that isn’t a shallow achievement (as much as doing something in a video game can be considered an achievement).

There is something to be said for taking a game and playing it at a leisurely pace.

There is probably something wrong with me because I did the unthinkable. I downloaded and tried out LOTRO last night. They have a 10 day free trial. I admit, I gave it the Eurogamer Review and only played for about 2.5 hours (please don’t check the server logs on me… I might not have gone the whole 2 hours).

I have to admit, there was a minimal amount of waiting for the game content to download. It gave me the basics, worked on the Tutorial in the background and then downloaded the whole game content (about 10gbs of it) over night.

I started it up, no crash (unlike DDO) and it noted my OS and card were DX10 capable and asked if I wanted to use it. I said, “sure,” then pressed the Yes button. Once it started up (in really low, non-fullscreen resolution) I was disappointed by what I saw in the character creation screen. Textures were bad, the models were okay, but the graphics weren’t what I was expecting for all the praise they were getting.

Yes, I know, it all comes back to having the minimal download… at least that’s what I’m hoping. In the graphics options I couldn’t really change anything – I could set it to Max, but the drop down would just flip to “Unavailable” which should mean I didn’t download the higher quality textures and what not. I’ll take a peek at it tonight at some point.

I created two characters; a Dwarf Champion (for me) and an Elf Hunter (because my son wanted a Hunter and thought the Elf looked cool).

I ended up playing the Elf Hunter for a bit. You seem to be handed the first few levels, which is fine I guess.

The UI was sort of simple yet ornate at the same time. There is just something about the way they do their UI that irks me. It’s unbalanced in its polish. You have this attempt at being intricate and detailed for the lower bars but then the tool tips and other dialogs that pop up look quite plain. I can remember that being the case with AC2, DDO and no LOTRO. It’s like they took the code and copy/pasted it in each of the game. There is something to be said about reusing code, but can they at least get some art assets to tweak it a little?

One other thing seemed a little off to me, the movement. It didn’t feel as smooth as in other games I played, but I’m wondering if that is due to the minimal graphic settings or something. If you’ve played Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and had ridden a mount, it almost felt that like to a lesser extent. Now that might have been my keyboard setup so I’ll have to take a look again.

Gameplay was about what you would expect for a MMO. I had three attacks to start; Quick Shot, Barbed Shot and some melee attack. Quick Shot seemed fast but if you used it after Barbed Shot, there was actually a casting bar to it? (I seem to remember a certain blogger ranting about casting times in WAR for things like throwing axes or knives – why is there a casting time for Quick Shot? :P)

I was happy to see the starting area was tailored towards being an Elf and not a central starting area like Turbine did in DDO. After working my way through it, I learned another ability, which I can’t remember the name of. It fired a bunch of shots in succession and did lots of damage (it also had a casting time, but that’s okay, because it’s not supposed to be “Quick Shot”). I did a few quests in the area and had to stop because my son was losing interest and wanted to go play Lego Indiana Jones.

It’s probably for the better, when I give it a look the next time, it should be in all its glory since the rest of the game downloaded over night.

I also did a quick search around this morning and noted Mass Effect for the PC was only 19.99$ on Steam. I think I’m going to have to buy that one finally and give it a go though maybe after fiddling with LOTRO for a bit.

NOTE: I started on Arkenstone or something like that… I believe Scott from Pumping Irony actually plays on that server but I could be wrong.

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A Picture of Weird…

Driving in today, I noticed something really odd.

There was a lady riding on a bike, a mountain bike. She  had long hair, big ass Terminator sunglasses and a green dress suit on. She then took a drag from her cigarette.

Dress suit.
Big sunglasses.
Mountain bike.
Smoking a cigarette.

The dress suit screams successful woman, the sunglasses screamed “I’ll be back”, the mountain bike made me question how successful she was but then I thought she might have chosen to ride a bike to be healthy… up until she put the cigarette to her mouth and gave it a good pull.

All sorts of weird.

D&D Insider?

It’s been awhile since I talked about the Wizards D&D Insider and all the awesome apps you get for making your 4e experience better and enabling you to play online with friends!

That’s because they haven’t delivered.

And it sounds like it’s no longer in development.

If you look around their site, you no longer see COMING SOON banners for the Character Visualizer (or what ever the virtual miniature creator thing was) or the virtual table they had plans for.

Do I feel duped for having bought a one year subscription to this?

Yes and no. I’m disappointed they won’t deliver on one of the tools I thought was going to be great, but looking at the price of what I paid (which amounts to 5$ a month) it’s not a bad deal for two (online) magazine subscriptions; Dragon magazine and Dungeon magazine. Unfortunately, I don’t play 4e and my group has decided against it so both this magazines aren’t going to be used in their given form.

Oh, I will likely nab some ideas or thoughts and read the articles, but I won’t be using them as is because they’re 4e.

The Character Builder is useless to me. It was put together really well and gets some fairly regular updates, but I’m not playing 4e so what good is it?

I should have known better with the failure of their previous attempts at creating (or outsourcing the creation) of software tools.

Ah well. I’ll likely put the 4e books right up next to my games from Turbine CDs.

Well, I Asked For It…

I was just talking with a friend about MMOs and he said:

What bums me most about “newer” games (WoW/EQ2/Etc) is that they are heavily “tiered” instead of seamless. Meaning that the quests you do or gear you get is totally replaced as soon as you hit the next tier making players realize that anything that comes before max level is useless, hence the problem.

One could argue that EQ1 was the same, but in fact, it wasn’t. Upgrades were much harder to get and you would upgrade different slots asynchronously, making it a non tiered game.

That got me thinking about the days when I was playing EQ as a Warrior and one of my biggest complaints was how little options there were. You get some Crafted (the name of the armor from quests) around 20-30 and they were just about the best you could get until they opened up raids like Plane of Fear and Plane of Hate. There used to be Rubicite but it was removed from the game.

My beef was there was little other gear to look forward too (pre-Kunark). I can remember asking for more gear options. I think I even suggested that every ten levels or so you’d have a set of gear to look forward too. I can remember being so bored of seeing that blue armor on my Warrior.

Am I taking credit for the tiered system? No, now that I have it, I don’t want it any more.

Is having 14 tiers of armor better than having only a couple?

Rhymes of the Innocent…

I was sitting downstairs on the computer for my Saturday morning WOW session with some friends. My oldest son was sitting behind me playing with some knights and orks. My wife comes downstairs, sees me on the computer and says, “I guess I’ll start doing my chores then.”

My son pipes up with,”chores whores!” It was a completely innocent rhyme with the word ‘chores’.

We looked at each other, smothered a smile and proceeding to explain to him that you don’t use that word until you understand what it means… which should be in a few more years.

By the way, it always cracks me up when the wife seems surprised that I’m playing on the computer Saturday morning. I’ve been doing that for years now. You’d think she’d clue in by now. Friday night, Saturday morning unless she has something important that needs to get done or something that can’t wait until Saturday afternoon or evening.

The downside of not having a gaming spouse, they tend to value sweeping the bottom of the driveway more than playing a MMO with some friends.