Thorin’s Hall

I only recently started playing a Dwarf in The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. I just logged out after spending time in Thorin’s Hall. Simply amazing. I can’t say enough about how beautiful this place is. I grabbed some screenshots to share, even though my graphics settings were not as high as they could be. I still think it looks fantastic.

Outside Thorin's Hall
Up first is the view from the courtyard outside. You can see Thorin’s Hall up the stairs to the right.

Continue reading Thorin’s Hall

Lord of the Rings Online – Special Edition

The Lord of the Rings Online Special Edition will be available in limited quantities and contains a number of benefits & bonuses priced at just $59.99 MSRP. The Special Edition includes:

* Full Game on 2 DVD’s
* 30-days of free online play
* Free 10-day Buddy Key
* The “Beyond the Shadows. . .The Making of The Lord of the Rings Online” DVD – A collection of videos that show how Turbine brought the Books of J.R.R. Tolkien to life. Hear from the game’s designers and see their work from concept to completion.
* The Lord of the Rings Online Soundtrack – In-game soundtrack of the Shire, Rivendell, Bree, Thorin’s Hall and Angmar.
* Exclusive In-Game Item – “The Glass of Aglarel” – Carrying this in-game jewel will increase your Hope to aid you against the effects of Dread brought on by the Witch-king and his minions.
* A Full Color Special Edition Manual
* Exclusive map of Middle-earth

Note: This is NOT a Collector’s Edition and there does not appear to be plans to have one (in North America anyway – Europe is getting one). This is just the same box with some extra stuff.

– Ethic

Sorry Frodo

lotro [The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™] Barring unexpected change, I will not be pre-ordering, which in this case means that I am never subscribing.

Discussion about LOTRO seems to revolve around three points.

  1. How much is LOTRO like WoW? To me, similar enough that if I want to play YAFMMORPG, I can play the better polished one.
  2. How true is LOTRO to Tolkien? I care more about the quality of the game, since I have never dreamt of playing a side quest while Frodo goes to Mordor.
  3. Wow, lifetime subscription rate! This is perhaps the biggest topic of chatter I have seen, and that is a bad sign. You want people to be talking about fun or revolutionary gameplay or breathtaking visuals, not pricing plans.

Another extended discussion follows the break, without major revision to my previous post. If you like EQ or WoW but want a new one, pre-order at take the $10/month until you go to the next new thing.

Continue reading Sorry Frodo

Wife’s First Impressions

lotro [The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™] My wife gave the game a try. Some comments:

  • She likes being an elf.
  • The world is pretty, but her character is not. Also, she cannot change how it looks much, like giving her a nice skirt or making her outfit blue. Meanwhile, she is right now repeating how pretty her Second Life avatar looks in her new dress while wondering if she has some knee-high socks to go with it.
  • Killing goblins is one thing, but why does she need to beat up all these poor animals? She is going to be so traumatized when she takes out her first bear.
  • “Can I go any faster?”
  • Needing to face your target is a huge bother.
  • She wants more location help on quests. Yes, the quest text says explicitly where to go, but she likes the City of Heroes arrow pointing to the spot. She does not like following maps.
  • “I just played for an hour and a half. I know that’s not a lot in gamer time, but it is for the rest of us.”

She liked it but was not exuberant.

: Zubon

Beta Characters Go Live

lotro [The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™] Since we have been talking about The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ lately, there have been questions about keeping beta characters when the game goes live and how that works. Answers from players have been contradictory, but Turbine has ruled, so I am posting their statement here for reference.

The short version: keep all characters, 5 characters per server, open beta level cap of 15. Nothing except xp is capped.

Continue reading Beta Characters Go Live

Fun.

Disneyworld is fun. However, I think if you went every weekend, you would lose a lot of the magic. Many MMOs are the same for me. Fun, but if you play a lot, you can lose the magic. Sometimes, bringing someone new along awakens the magic once again. I have been experiencing this in World of Warcraft lately, with my wife playing an MMO for the very first time. I can see the fun and magic all over again. I also experienced it in The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.

Last weekend was a whole bundle of fun events and I’d like to share some them.

Continue reading Fun.

Balancing Day One Load

lotro [The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™] Turbine announced that if you pre-order, you get to keep your open beta character(s?) once the game goes live. Everyone simultaneously said, “Huh?” What kind of game lets you keep beta characters?

On Day One, however, the population will already be somewhat spread out. Not everyone will be level 1. The newbie areas will not be (as) ridiculously full of people competing for those wolves and pigs. Lag spikes will be smaller because the population is not all in the same town. The choking frustration of new players will be lighter. I have this image of Turbine representatives in their dark tower, cackling, “They called me MAD at the academy! Well who’s laughing now?!”

Sure, those pre-orders will hit the level cap sooner and run out of things to do, but who cares? Half of them are on lifetime subscriptions, so you already have their money, and the others lose their discount rate if they get bored and leave for a month. The race-to-50 players will be concentrated on the open beta servers, while the newly opened ones offer less competition from ubers (although more competition for those low-level pigs).

: Zubon

I Was a Halfling Fashion Victim

lotro [The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™] Or, “A Weekend in The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™. Yes, it is my turn for a “first impressions” post. You already know that Ethic has pre-ordered it, so we have at least one rat-hunter there.

Short version: it’s WoW. Long ruminations follow.

Continue reading I Was a Halfling Fashion Victim

The Power of IP

lotro [The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar] I was listening to Brent’s 53rd podcast from VirginWorlds last night and he brought up an interesting point about The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. While I did not agree with some of his impressions, his comment about the Intellectual Property (IP) being powerful is very true.

He questioned the fun of the game, if you removed the IP. I have to admit, the setting has been a huge appeal for me and I think he is right – if you remove The Lord of the Rings from The Lord of the Rings Online, the game does not stand up all that well. Personally, I have been enjoying the setting a heck of a lot more than the actual game. I did not really understand that before. I have decided to spend more time playing the game and not being so into the setting and see if I can find some other reasons to play the game.

Continue reading The Power of IP

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar pre-order dilemma

lotro [The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar] I am still stuck on the pre-order deal for The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. It’s a great deal, so either I take it and have access to the game forever, or I never play because I would feel like a sap over-paying if I play in the long term. I generally try to avoid pre-ordering games, because it creates perverse incentives for developers to ship unfinished products, and I have not yet seen The Sign that convinces me that this is The Game. So the pre-order deal means that either Turbine convinces me in the next month that I will want to play $250 worth of The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, or I never play the game. That’s a tough sell based on beta content.

Also, am I the only one frightened by that good of an offer for pre-orders? If something is so great that everyone wants it, you do not need a big sale to move product. I understand other reasons why you would want lifetime subscribers, but that is a huge discount to offer conditioned on your inability to try before you buy.

Also also, I am never abbreviating The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.

: Zubon