Thursday, February 4

So LOTRO huh?

Early January we all three figured out that we miss the times to hang out in a game together. Lani made a great rambling post about it, and we all rambled on some more in the comments and via email. We all tried out Allods for a day, and finally Lani and me decided to go to middle earth to play Lord of the Rings Online. Before we could lure Geekie in as well he rekindled his joys n his favourite MMO, Age of Conan.

So LOTRO. I started playing on January 19th. I created the hopelessly named rune keeper Thoayanor... Thoayaianor ... Thoay-something. The set up of the tutorial and training village is done very nice. I had fun playing through it the first two days, especially since Lani was there to chat to as well on the second day. Very few other players around. Which I though is ok since I was not playing to meet other players. I was there to meet Lani. And we managed to pull that off on day three. We had a spiffy crawl into a spider nest. Of course the time was rather short. I think we had at most 2 hours, pro bably more 1 hour and a bit.

Then I went off partying in Holland, on return din't see Lani online and went back to Fallen Earth, the game I still consider my favourite MMO. The next day I was busy, the day after Lani was busy, etc. etc. We emailed up and down a bit and said we should really get together because it was great fun.

Last Tuesday, nearly two weeks after I last logged in, I returned. I found Thoay-something standing where I left here in the middle on a hobbit village. So I moved around a bit, talk to a few quest givers. Got the fun quest about delivering mail and staying clear of nosey hobbits. I did another quest killing 10 bats. And then I started to wonder how things are in Fallen Earth. So shortly after that I logged off and switched to the game I love.

The problem with LOTRO is basically the same as I have with the 10 single player games I haven't started yet. I feel no connection to the game (yet). There is nothing compelling me to log in. On the other hand I am almost feeling guilty not logging in on Fallen Earth. Pilatus, my new pistoleer, needs me somehow. She is a real character that wants to survive. Thoay-something does not need me. She is not alive. She is pixels that are waiting for me to control so I can talk and fight with Lani.

The problem is not really that LOTRO is bad game. I think the problem is that it feels too much like a single player game, not an MMO. And that is mostly my own fault. If I wouldn't have the compulsion to play FE I might have logged in more and tried to seek out other players, get into the lore, become alive. Another hurdle is the fact we somehow don't have as much time to do tings anymore. When we were playing Vanguard we were online every day for a couple of hours, and we had often adventures together or with other people we knew. The last three weeks we have been online at the same time (and without other commitments) maybe 3 or 4 times.

I think our LOTRO experiment is doomed to fail. You won't be able to pull me away from FE. And the 1 or 2 hours a week we have is not enough to sustain a new MMO. Until that great new game comes along we both (or better, all three) want to play, really want to play, we will be wandering the Virtual separate. We can't really force this. Maybe what we could force ourselves is to keep this blog alive some more. There is still plenty to talk. We actually should have even more to talk about now.

Ok, done rambling. Does it make sense or do you see some clever solution to make any lasting teaming up work?


  1. a three post *cough*

    (too bad we don't get notifications on post creation. only comment creation.)

  2. Yeah, I'm kinda thinking it's doomed.
    I had some hope till I got the message Mass Effect II was underway. Since I have the opposite reaction to Single Player RPGs that you do, i.e. they will completely disrupt my MMO activities rather than gather dust on a shelf, the foreseeable future holds lots of space and little of Middle Earth.
    My main issue with LOTRO is that it's so Solo friendly. With the exception of the Epic Questline (the cool book-story releated stuff) it's all very soloable to the point that grouping is often detrimental. Now they're making the Epic Quest line scalable for soloing as well.

    Besides, as I said in our mails, "I want to share a great MMO experience with you, just playing one for the purpose of doing something together pales considerably by comparison."

    It seems my MMO fire is still mostly banked. I enjoyed running around in LOTRO, but it didn't quite have that bite for me either, and I didn't push you to get in it more because i felt I'd take you away from your current love, which is FE.

    Allods, I liked that a lot actually, but after I got of the rock the fugitives land on, things lost focus. A bit like Age of Conan post Tortage, except it didn't bother me there.

  3. I guess the best thing to do is to make sure we make a definite date when the next MMO release that we all want to try happens, we hold off starting until we can all be online and enjoy/debate the experience together :)

    Meanwhile we have this space to blog about whatever and stay in touch that way.

    Currently having a hoot in AoC (when my bad ISP and the trapped nerve in my neck allows). The post Tortage experience has improved substantially, don't forget you have 3 areas to choose from to get you through to 40+, Wild Lands being my favourite because of the scenery and a very coherent story line. Popped over to Connals to complete quests in the spider cave and over to Khopshef for Treasury of the Ancients (the statues that come to life) and the much improved Pyramid of the Ancients, I decided to forgo Black castle in favour of returning to the Wild Lands for Sanctum of the Burning Souls, had such a great PuG that we did it twice just because we could :) At level 41 I have yet to hit any bugs at all and the Veteran Rewards meant not worrying about getting the cash together for my horse.

    1.6 hit live yesterday, not without it's fair share of bugs, it will be a while before I see the benefits as I'm enjoying reliving the whole experience and already planning my next alt.

  4. You're absolutely right Geek.
    Get ready for a "Kids today" rant from me sometime this weekend :-)

    My 'problem' with AoC never was Levels 1 through 65. As long as there was enough to do, it was ok. Sometimes good even. It was that around the mid 70's you were being funneled into a snow or desert dessert(?) landscape with loads of grinding and very little story to go on unless you had the time, patience and gumption to do raiding. Grouping in AoC always felt confusing to me for some reason, which is why it's the last MMO I'd try my hand at raiding in.

    I am semi-tempted to give it a shot once my ME-II binge is over, there'd be poetic justice in that as my AoC ride of joy got interrupted by Mass Effect's release and I never got the joy back after. I would have to forgive Funcom for putting a virtual blade to the throats of my under-twenties and saying "Re-sub or the alt gets it". I wasn't pleased with that. if they'd said alts would loose their names (which is about the only thing I can imagine being at the root of it) that'd be more ok. As it is, I didn't like those strongarm tactics, however much in character of Hyborea they may have been.

  5. I think AOC is an awesome game. My biggest issue is that it is either solo play or big group / raid content. I would love to play through it all once more. AOC is absolutely on my list of games to play after I am bored with FE. So maybe in May or November or something like that. That is of course not meant to dissuade you from resubbing. Just babbling. And yes, Geek is absolutely right!

  6. Lani - Ymirs Pass makes a significant difference in progress, I highly recommend doing the Amphitheatre group dungeon, very nice instance and then Commons District (2 group dungeons- Crows Nest and Iron Tower, 1 repeatable solo Villa type instance and a tonne of quests) reduces the need to grind post 70 substantially. Hitting Kheshatta does mean the need to group to get the most out of the content - Raiders Camp, Scorpion cave and Onyx Chambers (all 6 people), then there are always the 3 scalable dungeons: Imarian Ravine, Oasis of Zaara and Frost Swamp. After that should you run out of things to do you still have Xibaluku (some very nice mechanics, often frustrating though) and the solo repeatable instances of the Villas and Slaughterhouse Cellar.

    Phe - there is plenty of 6 people group content, the biggest problem being it's too easy to solo past them and they don't scale. With my current character I'm taking my time and ensuring I get to do them in order, I'm finding some become redundant as you complete others, too high a level to complete Black Castle as I did Sanctum of the Burning Souls, admittedly twice but it was a great group and it's such a lovely looking instance, I'll be making sure I hit the new dungeon in Fields of the Dead at around lvl 45.

    Hitting 80 does mean that beyond repeating commons content, the villas, xibaluku, slaughterhouse, kheshatta and scalable instances end game is all about the raids. The expansion will provide a tonne more end game content beyond raiding as will House of Crom.

    As it currently stands the journey to end game is probably one of the best MMO experiences out there and still worth doing even if your not interested in raiding.

    When and if you return I would highly recommend you roll a new character so you can experience all the improvements the game has received.

  7. It is not a matter of 'if', but 'when'. And once I do I will definitely make a new character. Probably another ranger.