Tag: anniversary

Happy 9th anniversary, Lord of the Rings Online!

Today marks the 9th anniversary for Lord of the Rings Online. I’m not playing that game right now, but it’s always on my harddrive and always updated- and i’m always this close to launching it. I wasn’t there when it launched, i joined in january 2008, if my mail history is any indication. So the game existed for about 9 months before i joined- ha, can’t imagine waiting that long to join a game nowadays. It was also the second MMORPG i played and for years to come, it would be my backup game. In times when many returned to World of Warcraft from whatever new disappointment they tried to replace it with, my home base has always been Lord of the Rings Online.

Unique in many ways

There are two things that have enticed me to return many, many times- there’s the community, for one. It didn’t matter at what time, language or server type you looked. The community of Lord of the Rings Online has always been on the nicer side of things. In Codemaster’s and later when Turbine published it themselves in the EU, german or english servers, US or european, when it was pay-to-play and later when it became free-to-play. 8 years ago or now- the players in Lord of the Rings Online are of a friendly and relaxed type. Considering i mostly left World of Warcraft because Damage meters went from being a fun statistic to evaluation software and because the community became more rough in general, Lord of the Rings had me covered.

Then, there’s the world. When i began playing, the world Tolkien created wasn’t in my “top-list” of fantasy worlds, anymore. In books, i had tasted the gritty to grimdark worlds of George RR Martin and- i think- Joe Abercrombie and preferred their creations, knowing that as far as complexity goes, Tolkien topped both of them. But i still had a love for the Shire, especially, and i liked Middle Earth enough to appreciate the chance to walk around in a virtual version.

I’ve had all kinds of warm und fuzzy feelings when i saw the ring symbol as quest marker above NPCs heads, or venturing into the old forest in those early days when it had no map and was a dangerous place to adventure in. I can’t tell you how many times i got lost in that forest. The Shire, of course, beat everything. On my first character, an elf, i travelled to the Shire as soon as i got the quest to go to Bree. I didn’t know better, or maybe it wasn’t possible to use quick travel at that time, so i walked there- and it was epic. Seeing the Shire, of course, made it all worth to me, and soon i found myself listening to an audio play of Lord of the Rings again.

This was taken much later, though
This was taken much later, though

Whenever i return, hear the first ingame sounds, do the first few quests, i simply love being there. Lotro is one of the most open MMORPG themepark worlds out there and it is a joy to explore, and take your time to see everything and craft a bit. It was a bit more comfy when Bree was still the social hub, which i guess moved on with all these expansions released for Lotro.

It’s hard to put the finger on what makes Lotro so different compared to its contemporaries- it is quite easy to solo nowadays, it offers a skill tree selection very similar to what World of Warcraft had before Blizzard found that too complicated, it has a quest marker and it’s quite difficult to get a group running for lower level dungeons (it’s possible, though), but if i were to look somewhere, i’d look into the world design- it’s big, open and full of detail. If you love wandering virtual worlds, this game is a great way to spend your time.

We’re not done

I never “left” Lotro, i believe i never will. Instead, somehow i still maintain the hope of seeing all the zones one day. I bought a level 95 character, thinking i’d take her around the world, but it was confusing- as those bought maxlevel characters always are. I guess the difficult part is that now, in Elder Scrolls Online, i find many things quite similar to my experience in Lotro- the detail, the love for the lore, the world-design, but Lord of the Rings Online will always take a special place in my MMORPG heart. I do hope it will make another 9 years or more, because i know one thing: as long as i can, i’ll return and visit middle earth from time to time.

Ding, 100…and my kind of endgame

Post #100

This marks post number 100 that is going to be published on this blog, 59 of them this year. All in all, i think one can call this blog “active” and i have to say that so far, it’s been a great ride. I’ve had some ups and downs with the ups mainly being my experience with the larger blogging community- they’re great people that are very welcoming and help out, sometimes knowingly, sometimes just by clicking “like” here or there on one of the scribblings i tend to publish. The downs are just stretches of time when i don’t know what to write about or don’t have time.

Thankfully, this year so far hasn’t had any major breaks in posting. I’m just coming out of a time of lower activity due to some private stuff, generally not playing any one MMO with enough investment to warrant a post and other things. Right now, though, things are looking good since i started what i from now on will call “Project trinity”- selecting three MMOs to play each month and ignoring all the rest, even if they have updates or somesuch. I just hope i won’t be in a situation at some point where either an expansion (GW2) or a business model change (Wildstar, not confirmed of course) hits one of the other MMOs i’m interested in while i chose different ones.

Anyway, back to the round number of posts. I want to thank every one of you who made my blogging experience a pleasure- all those who linked to one of my posts, came here to comment, like, conversed in some way via Twitter and of course all who still read that.

My personal top highlight on this blog is the “Dual Wielding” series Ironweakness and i are doing in cooperation. The first edition has been great fun and i’m very, very positive that it will continue to be so in the future, as well. So i want to take that opportunity to thank Ironweakness for the suggestion and sharing this path with me!

Going forward, i’ll try and put some structure in place here on this blog, as well. Dual Wielding is one of these projects, the “Milestones” – series with its first post being published yesterday is another one- “Milestones” will simply be a project to share some ingame-progress i made, like another 5-level-span, for FFXIV it will be about the MSQ (Main Story Questline)…whenever i feel i have reached another interesting step in venturing through an MMO, it’s a Milestone, to me. Other things are on my mind, as well- guilds, roleplaying, community and ingame stuff not related to progress to name a few. We’ll see how it works out in the end, since i only have so much time to spend here and last time i shared my projects, it didn’t work out so well.

Again, thank you for being here, for making me feel welcome and maybe even liking what you read.

My endgame

Now why would a person that only reached max-level once in an MMO care about endgame? Why would a notoric game- and character hopper look for an MMO to settle nicely into? Well, we’ve been through the reasoning, i tried to make it work in one game or another and lately, i’ve been thinking about how to find “that game” in a different way. Even for someone like me, who doesn’t reach endgame quickly or ever, it is important to know what’s waiting at the end. The options on what to do- either delivered by developers or by making my own fun. And you’d be surprised (i was) how very few MMORPGs would really work as a home MMO for me when viewed through this perspective.

Credits. Gold. Pax. ISK. Call it what you want, but that’s where my endgame is. But if i can’t do anything with it (Pax), the currency given to us in an MMO doesn’t really matter. If your gold has but one purpose- for instance, to buy a sub for a month, it doesn’t work for me. So on the other side of the coin there have to be.

Gold sinks. Housing (Strongholds), Crafting, Unlocks, cosmetic outfits and so on- there should always be something i can spend my ingame gold on, to try and achieve some measurable goals in a way i like. See, Gold as endgame really is the only currency to allow us players to choose how we want to play by ourselves. If it’s dungeon gear, you have to do the dungeons. If it’s crafting, well, you have to craft. If it’s luck, you have to grind.

So gold it is. An MMORPG that i’d consider as a candidate for my personal “home MMO”, it needs to offer stuff in exchange for gold- and multiple ways to earn said gold. All those alternative currencies you gain by doing dungeons, pvp and whatnot might allow you to choose the way to play and get you rewarded- but it’s a tunnel system- you get rewarded for doing stuff you like with stuff that helps you perform better in said stuff. There’s a reason we use money as “universal currency” in the real world instead of giving tools to the handiman, computers to developers, frying pans to cooks and so on. Virtual worlds should follow suit.

When you think about that, there really aren’t that many MMORPGs that offer this- i could list a few. I know prompting for comments is a cheap move, but i’m really curious and might get some suggestions for games- so i ask you; which MMO lets you spend your earned gold/pax/credits/ISK in multiple (ingame) ways? On what can you spend this gold? How do you earn it?