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Chryses's articles and reviews

A gamer for over 25 years. I play cards, boardgames, table top games, PC stand alone but more than anything I am a huge MMO fan. I go by the name Chryses, I have been Guild leader, trooper and crafter. I am an avid writer and I welcome you to my blog.

Author: chryses

I WILL NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN

Posted by chryses Tuesday March 31 2009 at 7:11AM
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Sitting comfortably in my mid 30’s I would like to think that I have grown into a mature adult that has a pretty good grip on, who I am, what I like and especially what I don’t like. So imagine the frustration when I find myself enjoying an MMO, which on closer inspection should be struck off my list of potential games. I am not even sure why I am writing this blog but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s a way for me to explore the reasons why I am enjoying a game that on paper shouldn’t even be allowed near my rig.

The game I am talking about is Lord of the Rings Online. Before all the fanbois begin battering down my door screaming for my heathen blood, just bear with me!

Over the past 25 years I have come to the realisation that I prefer Sci-Fi over Fantasy, love PvP and steer clear of PvE, I need a complex combat and crafting system, much prefer Sandbox over the traditional model, hate cartoon graphics and yes I admit, I attend pixel whores anonymous. If a game doesn’t have pixels to die for then I am ashamed to admit that I pretty much click ‘start menu’, ‘my computer’, ‘add / remove’ programs and kill the mother where it stands. I even run the antivirus to make sure the bastard is gone. Consider me a snob but I don’t spend thousands of pounds on a PC that can run 3 small countries just to play a crappy graphic engine fast. If I feel like retro then I can always fire up the Wii.

Looking at LotRO it’s a PvE centric game with virtually zero sandbox elements, has no PvP (yes I know there is monster combat… but seriously?), has very nice graphics but it is borderline cartoonish with bold coloured scenery. To top it all off the combat is clunky and I can play the whole game using one hand. So why would a game with the exact opposite of everything I want, grab my attention so much? I wish I had the answer…

What I do like about the game is the deed and trait engine with the epic storyline running in the background. I feel that most games suffer the long dry barren wasteland known as levelling and all of us have been there way too much. Codemasters has been clever with this game by adding in little wins along the way. For those that are not aware of the deed system, in short you can complete deeds throughout middle earth and once finished you are awarded a new title and trait, this can be equipped to give you bonus’s in different categories. The epic storyline idea is not unique as I have also seen it in Age of Conan. However in LotRO you can participate in the epic storyline a lot as opposed to AoC where you can only interact at certain levels. So I admit, there has been some clever programming going on and even though LotRO suffers from fatigue like all games, it does have enough routes that a gamer can follow to keep things lively. The next big win for me is the grouping. I would consider myself a hardcore gamer who plays casually…a demanding real life will do that to a guy, sadly gaming comes under the ‘non essential’ activities when organising a family and career. Unfortunately some great games have fallen victim to this (EVE Online I am looking at you) and I find myself measuring my gaming time in 30 minute slots. Shed a tear for a fallen gamer…

I am sure a lot of people can relate to my biggest issue with MMO’s, which is completing the group missions. Most firms develop group missions that need a freaking camp over and intravenous drip pumping coffee into your veins just so you can make it through. Not to mention the hours standing around screaming, “lvl 50 Cleric LFG, you know you want me!!” You then have to deal with players asking idiotic questions like, “do you have a healer? I’m a tank but don’t want to tank is that ok? Can I just do the first part? Is 30 min enough to do it? About to have dinner can you wait?” etc… you kidding?  Why don’t you just come here so I can stick my epic + 40 morale sword through your skull!

In almost every MMO I feel that I am missing out on the best parts since I don’t have a time pit that I can sink half a day into. It bugs me and I am not suggesting companies change their entire methodology to suit me but Codemasters has almost cracked it. When I first started LotRO I ignored group missions as I expected them to be epic with multiple levels. However over the past week or so I noticed that nearly all group missions can be done within 10-20 minutes, even the epic storyline ones. What this means is that players are more willing to quickly join up and even jump in for the ride.

To top it all off the game still has a very healthy population with crafting and trade being an integral part of the community. However a friend of mine did leave after his trial because he didn’t like the idea of trading for components to finish an item, I think he misunderstood the word ‘community’. *smacks forehead*

LotRO probably won’t live with me for years to come but it has certainly taught me a very valuable lesson. No matter how much you think you know the gamer within you, there are always exceptions. So I for one will now hesitate before saying I will never play a game purely based on its features. If you are reading this and are currently stuck in gaming limbo, maybe trial an older game or two and you might just find an unlikely MMO grabbing your attention. If you do let us know!

 

kasta writes:

 Just a FYI, Codemasters is the European distributor.  Turbine is the game developer and deserves the praise for systems you enjoy.

Tue Mar 31 2009 8:37AM Report
Wolflaynce writes:

Interesting, I thought this was a negative review of LOTRO. (Which is okay, people have opinions.) But much to my surprise it was a thought out review. I liked how you admited your bias can change if you give the subject a chance. Kudoes to you mate!

Tue Mar 31 2009 10:18AM Report
Mrbloodworth writes:

No sandbox elements? Lets see, Last names, Parent child system, Nameable crafted items, Music system, Housing system, More emotes than probably any other MMO, Kinship housing, barber shops, outfit system, fishing.....

I can go on if you wish. Good blog...but i think you may have missed the sandbox features.

Tue Mar 31 2009 1:45PM Report
dcostello writes:

 @Mrbloodworth

     ...yeah, but compared to true sandboxes like SWG, Shadowbane, EVE, etc., Lotro is not a "true" sandbox.

Tue Mar 31 2009 6:06PM Report
chryses writes:

Hey Mrblood,

I don't personally consider them Sandbox elements, nice design yes but true sandbox no. 

BTW thanks Kasta for pointing out my error with codemasters and Turbine.

 

Tue Mar 31 2009 6:29PM Report
Papadam writes:

Very interesting article. But ofcourse LotrO is not a sandbox, but it still has some sandbox elements like MrBlood said (more than most theme parks)

Wed Apr 01 2009 7:03AM Report
Mrbloodworth writes:

 

Of course its not a sandbox in the pure sence. However, that does not mean it has no sandbox elements, the real definition of a sandbox is providing tools to players to create their own content and experiences with the in the context of the world. It does not mean nothing is ever guided or gamey, or missing all forms of developer made content.

 

LOTRO Does this.

 

Wed Apr 01 2009 9:43AM Report
Wharg0ul writes:

Yeah, LOTRO is a surprisingly good game. It does a lot of things that other games have already done, but does them is such a great way.

And personally I am in love with the use of blur shaders to impart emotions like dread and hope. And the first time a bear stands up and roars in your face you might want to check your pants afterwards.

LOTRO is not a "sandbox" by a long shot....but it does have very nicely designed aspects, such as the music system, and the crafting system. 

All in all, there's a reason that this game keeps winning awards. Sadly, after a year of play I got burned out and have moved on...but I really have nothing bad to say about LOTRO, and recommend everyone try it at some point. It would be a shame to miss out on what the game has to offer.

Fri Apr 03 2009 3:00PM Report
chryses writes:

Cant agree more but the unfortunate thing right now is that I get lock up and blue screen.  Don't really want to go into lots of detail but Codemasters has been really good so far with feedback. Looking back at forums it doesn't seem uncommon.  I figure 12 months would be a good period for me but as RL is so busy that may drag out to 18 months.  I am quite interested in completing mines of moria etc.  Thanks for the comments all.

Fri Apr 03 2009 3:23PM Report
Troneas writes:

i will follow your future blogs with great interest.

Mon Apr 06 2009 12:44AM Report
Troneas writes:

at the moment i am stuck on a gaming limbo and i too considered giving this game a try as you did, even if i relate to many of your gaming likes (even though i do enjoy pve as well).

what has kept me from trying this game is my experience with it in late open beta. i joined the beta to get a feel of the game because i was disapointed with Vanguard at the time and wanted to find a replacement. what i did not like about Lotro was precisely its linear quests.

i remember at one point starting out with a hobbit. i was told many times: "go here and kill 20 spiders, now head over there and slain 30 rabbits; go tell NPC Y that i send you and he will have more jobs for you..." and so  i was running around all over the place performing these daunting tasks. granted i did not level the character much but in contrast AoC has managed to captivate me for a year because their quests were, in my opinion, more captivating than the killing of 20 spiders in hobbit land.

now i havent followed the game since and i understand much have changed, so this review really surprised me at many levels.

Mon Apr 06 2009 12:57AM Report
wildgamer writes:

Very good read enjoyed it and i agree about the comments on LoTRO however i didnt have the willpower or even enough fun to stay. The semi-wanna-be pvp that isnt really pvp but it kinda is but then it isnt..

I couldnt get over that part. Monsters were super super weak when i played, no idea now.

Mon Apr 06 2009 2:11AM Report
BlackBeck writes:

Thumbs up, very nice blog Chryses.
Right now i feel like no game can keep my interest ...
Maybe i should really give older ones a second chance. :-)
 

Mon Apr 06 2009 1:38PM Report
chryses writes:

Can't say that other gamers will have the same experience as me but I can understand your points. 

Troneas the missions are still similar to that but the main storyline is actually quite good.  I got bored with my melee class pretty fast but the hunter class has been a lot of fun since I can shoot creatures at a distance and not have to run up to each one.  Wildgamer I agree, the creatures are a bit weak compared to other MMO's but in a way I am glad since some traits can demand 120 kills.   LotRO will not be my favourite game but I am having fun and enjoying the community a lot.

 

Tue Apr 07 2009 5:04PM Report
t0nyd writes:

Monster play attracted me to this game, then sent me packing. The first thing I look at, with an mmorpg, is end game PvP. Eventually, after spending countless hours farming moronic AI mobs, I want to PvP. This game has some of the worst PvP I have ever experienced.

Monster play pulled me in. The thought of simpy getting to lvl 10 then being able to PvP as a monster, excited me. I made my spider, I roamed around for a few hours than I realized, you have to do just as much PvE with your creep as the freeps do. The funny part, is the freeps get to PvE is safe zones, where as the greenie creep has to PvE in a PvP map. Now add on the fact that 5 green dots couldnt kill one lvl 60 freep and you have pure frustration.

 I just cant justify leveling to 60 just to end up with weak PvP as an end game...

Tue Apr 07 2009 6:20PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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