Friday, September 21, 2012

Middle Earth frenzy

It is that time again when I am once more struck by a serious addiction to all things Middle Earth. Short of playing the Games Workshop miniatures game again (I refuse to give them money) I have been spending time inside Lord of the Rings Online as I duo that game with my Guild Wars 2 time. I never had a huge grudge against LOTRO (as it is known among cool geeks) I just never really had the time to give it a serious chance. I was always either in there between a major MMO release or just to waste time. Kind of the way I treat Star Trek Online.

I like STO and LOTRO about the same but I find LOTRO is a good escape for someone wanting to play an MMO and actually feel like they are involved in the world. While Guild Wars 2 is awesome it is VERY action oriented. Sometimes I need to sit back and relax in game and just take in the "digital life" so to speak. Only 2 MMO's evoke that kind of response from me and those are Everquest 2 and Lord of the Rings Online. Since I love LOTR more of course I am back in there.

The fact that it is free to play helps, but I also find the LOTRO store easier to use and the game more fulfilling than EQ2 at this point. I had a good stint of LOTRO back in the day. I was in a good guild, I had good companions and things were fun. But slowly and surely other games siphoned off what was left of our great Kinship and we all faded out. I don't even have that account anymore, forgetting the email and the login and not knowing how to retrieve it I simply opened my second old account and upgraded it a few months ago.

 When you use the 5 year gifts like I have (even my second unplayed account was this old) you can level quite fast. I was greeted with 5 year presents and gift boxes and a nice free horse. So I have been spending a lot of time online in MMO's and I haven't even purchased Torchlight 2 OR Borderlands 2 yet. This is seriously demolishing my want to play any boardgames since all these games are top notch products I figure I will be busy until Christmas at least. Then of course the Hobbit will be out and well...I will probably be 100% in Lord of the Rings Online. Although Guild Wars 2 is full of action and casual play sometimes I miss tanks, healers and dps'ers. I refuse to go back to World of Warcraft since I feel I have simply out grown it. I hate the new talent trees and the latest expansion coming out does nothing for me really at this point. That is not to say sometime I may be there again since I have a year long sub until February but right now it is not my pace or style.

I want to explore all LOTRO offers and finally get a character up there to see if some of the faults of the game can be ignored.

I still find the same things wrong with LOTRO that I always have since the game launched:

- rubberbanding
- poor mob AI
- horrible interface
- classes that still are a little...bland

By the way speaking of add ons and the like check out this neat LOTRO Stat Checker site if you are a player:

http://ttahvo.webatu.com/

I can get around that for the most part with plugins. I just hope that as I progress and want to run dungeons and the like that those same old clunky interface quirks do not ultimately do in my love of the game. For now I am having fun on the Brandywine server and just relaxing as I level a Captain of Gondor and a Warden. This is a tough call as I also find The Secret World a very good MMO as well. There are only so many hours a day however and right now the fee associated with Secret World stacked on top of my WoW year long lock in just will not allow me to spend that much a month.

I went from hating almost every MMO to really finding that GW2 and The Secret World have given me hope that some titles will not always be hideous. So that is my update. A lot of Tolkien lately and some GW2 mixed in with a boardgame when I have the chance. I will be joining a casual family Kinship on Brandywine I will update people on the status of this later.

I am also pretty pumped about the Riders of Rohan expansion. While Lord of the Rings Online has potential it has for the past 5 years stayed in a rather small focus compared to the sweeping drama of the books. I wanted to immediately visit Minas Tirith and all those places but for the years the online game has plodded along about as fast as a sloth when it comes to opening new content. Not anymore. With the upcoming Rohan expansion I am actually pretty excited. The Rohan trailer shows a nice dedication by Turbine to stay true to the lore and pump up the fans: