28Jun '11
Filed under Gaming No comments

Building blocks and killing orcs

Why hello there! Long time no see. As I’m sure you all know by now, I have this wonderful habit of disappeared for oh, a month or two and then reappearing when I feel like it. As a matter of fact, plenty of things I do are because “I feel like it”.

Like for example how I’ve completely gravitated away from Wurm Online (our poor animals are starving by now) and have become occupied with Minecraft and Lord of the Rings Online.

Virtual Legos plus mobs that ‘splode

Minecraft fulfills my childhood need to build stuff, only this time I can do it virtually instead of springing for expensive (but awesomely fun) Legos. Rades and Vahkt’s friend Jorgath managed to sway me to promises of cute pet wolves with red bandanas, which I was pretty much helpless to. So that day I bought a pair of copies, one for me and one for Vahkt so we could play together. Initially Vahkt wasn’t quite as pumped about it as I was, probably because he wasn’t there for the pet wolves discussion. But once we started playing, he was hooked. We muddled through the learning process together, coming to conclusions like the very first thing you build after a set of tools is a well-lit cave to hide in at night because creepers are merciless SOBs.

That's a very nice everything you have there...it'd be a shame if something happened to it.

Creepers: 10% stealth, 25% green fur, 9001% EXPLOSIONS!!!111

I think it’s due to our hatred/fear of creepers that lead us to building our complex the way we did on Rades’s Minecraft server. The majority of it is underground including: a bedroom, a study, a kitchen, a dining room, a wheat/cactus/sugar cane farm, a tree farm, two mushroom farms, a storage room, a mob trap fed by a complex system of moats and underground waterways, and of course our huge mining complex. I swear our characters have the Drowning Victim White complex from spending so much time underground. Huh, rather like myself. Life does imitate art.

It’s only rather recently that we’ve begun building more above ground and most of that has been very tall spider-proof walls and towers that allow for sniping mobs. Pretty much the only thing above ground that is completely cosmetic so far is our giant domed library on a floating island. Man, that still sounds cool even now.

Library at nightYes, the entire dome portion is made of glowstone. I spent probably 8 hours in the Nether mining it all while dodging/shooting effing ghasts. World of Warcraft has trained me well on hours of mindless farming.

My preciousssssss

I admit it, I greatly enjoy killing internet dragons. Well really, I’d enjoy killing anything that wasn’t cute and fuzzy. As Vahkt likes to describe it, the definition of an adventurer is really a violent and well-armed hobo. Lord of the Rings Online is different though. There you can be a violent and well-armed homeowner.

Plus killing mobs with music makes you a total BAMF (not my character)

Plus killing mobs with music makes you a total BAMF (not my character)

I had downloaded LotRO a long time ago, before it had even went F2P. I putzed around on a trial account for a couple hours before wandering back to WoW at the time. Recently however I had heard that the European servers would be put in the same pool as the North American servers, including the RP server Laurelin. I’ve grown quite attached to the idea of roleplaying servers from my time in WoW so I updated the neglected client and gave the game another shot. I started with Daredeth, the Rohan guardian mostly because I’ve enjoyed tanking classes in the past and it said that the play style was “easy”. After roping Vahkt (the self-professed LotR geek) into the game with me, I created two more characters: Dalea the hobbit hunter and Anilith the elvish minstrel.

Frankly, I’m enjoying all of them so far for different reasons. Daredeth is able to leap into a pack of mobs, laugh as she mows them all down, and walk away with a full health pool. Dalea I’ve described as a “tiny goddess of death and destruction”. Hunters in LotRO have no pets, so more often than not, Dalea can drop a mob before it even gets to her. If it does manage to get close, I can still shoot point blank (HELL YES!) or finish it off with a series of melee attacks that makes a WoW hunter’s melee skills look like girly slaps. And finally, Anilith is a healer who can still dish out reasonable amounts of damage if she needs to…all by playing a musical instrument. The drum has an especially war-like tone and I can just imagine her shouting “Hear the drums of war, they speak of your death!”

It’s hard to say which is my main at this point. Daredeth is perfect for grinding groups of mobs and crafts armor for our toons to use. Dalea is fantastic for single mobs and is a blast to play (I do love my hunters) but doesn’t handle packs so well. Anilith is kinda squishy on her own but since healers seem to be in such need, she would be great for grouping. So many choices, so little time.

Only one of the things I’ve promised myself is that in this game, I’m going to enjoy the journey to the level cap and not rush there like I’ve grown used to in WoW. There just seems to be so many different things to do other than the end-game that it amazes me. Deeds (similar to achievements) and titles are handed out like candy, which I love because that way everyone is running around with different titles.

The cosmetic outfits system just blows my mind. Essentially you can take any piece of armor ever received on one character, put it in your shared wardrobe storage, dye it about 20 different colours, and then use it as a cosmetic item on any other character on that server. Never again will you have to stare at your clown suit of leveling armor or the fact that you look like every other character in your class and at the same level. Not only that, but once in your wardrobe, the items take up no other slots. Finally, I don’t have to carry around an entire bag of RP clothes!

The housing system is wonderfully addictive too. The only tangible benefits of having a house is some more storage and a separate place that you can portal to. But that hasn’t stopped Vahkt and I from spending who knows how much money and time decorating our houses to our tastes. We’ve even found out that we mostly like the same style (although Vahkt likes to steal a lot of my ideas ;) ). It’s another thing to occupy your time but for me, I feel more tied to the game and my characters because of it.

Questing is the one thing that threw me for a loop. We all know that WoW has some great quests (even if you don’t like them all) and there’s a lot of them. A lot of the other MMOs I’ve tried, both subscription-based and F2P, have had mediocre quest systems at best. Often there’s juuuust enough to get you to the right level for the next zone and/or they consist of “kill 200 tigers”. Honestly, in Silkroad Online, I had a quest to kill 200 black tigers. Anyways, in LotRO, there’s so many quests. I was getting lead-in quests to move onto two different zones while I still had about a dozen quests to complete in my current zone. There’s a reason why your quest log holds up to 40 quests in LotRO, which Vahkt has managed to hit already. And here’s a little teaser for all you folks who are feeling disenchanted with WoW’s current (solo) quest trend: there are a good number of small fellowship quests (3 people), fellowship quests (6 people), class quests, and signatures/rares/elites all over the place. Not to mention that the phasing mechanics make me weep with joy. The best way I can describe it as is that more often than not certain mobs and items are phased, but your character isn’t. It’s just wonderful.

Oh, and last but not least is the skirmish/instance system. I haven’t had any experience with instances but I can say this about skirmishes: you can set the level of it, the group size (for 1, 2, 3, and 6-player parties), and the tier, even for low-level skirmishes. Each character also gets an NPC “soldier” that they can customize to fill in whatever role is needed. In this way, Vahkt and I have run several skirmishes with just the two of us which is quite a lot of fun.

Ahem…so yes, having plenty of fun with LotRO at the moment. Vahkt is certainly into the games because he loves Tolkien’s work and I’m enjoying myself simply by exploring this new beautiful world. To make it all the better, we’ve managed to convince some friends (read: Vahkt’s friends) to join us as well. :)

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