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Another MMO, another cancellation, but I'm still hopeful

Going through the trials and tribulations of finding the perfect MMO to suit your needs can be a never ending battle. When I see one that somewhat interests me, whether it's the cool features or just the box art, I figure I'll give it a try.

Author: Stashride

A pleasant surprise that I like to call "Lord of the Rings Online"

Posted by Stashride Tuesday May 26 2009 at 9:29AM
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While strolling  through Best Buy last week, I noticed they had "Lord of the Rings Online Collectors Edition" on sale for $14.99.  I remember when it first came out I thought about trying it, but I was distracted by a few other games, so I passed.  I figure for $15 I might as well give it a try.  The MMO that I'm in Beta for at the moment is only opening the servers 2 days a week, so I wanted something else to occupy my time.  (That and it's been delayed since September, which is MUCH needed since the game, well, I can't go into that due to NDA reasons.)

So the usual MMO stuff follows.  Installing, patching, patching, patching.  But after a couple hours I'm ready to login.  First stop server select, I picked Vilya, next on to character creation.  Now character creation while at first glance seemed rather shallow, did allow for a bit of customization.  I'm sure I have many people who look like me out in game world, but I'm unique enough I think that I was satisfied with the options.  I created a Man Champion from Bree-Land and off I went.

Upon logging in, I started in a jail cell not knowing WTF was going on.  It has some nice tutorial steps and helpful hints that pop up to hold my hand along the way.  First thing I noticed was that the combat reminded me a lot of WoW initially.  Then again I think every MMO is this aspect will draw the usual WoW comparisons, but that thought quickly faded after I created my Alt, a Warden.

The overall look and feel of the game sucked me in.  I liked the art style and everything felt very fluid.  The combat was fast and fun to where I just wanted to keep killing things to get some Deeds.  Now Deeds is basically like an achievement that once you complete it, you can earn a title for your character.  Kill enough Spiders and be known as Hallauer Spider-Foe.  A simple concept, but a very cool way to keep people killing crap for hours in an effort to earn new titles.  It gave me something to do other than the "kill 10 things" quests because I knew I was completeing the quest and earning a new title to walk around showing off.  Look at me, I killed spiders, yea, that's right, fear the Spider Foe!!!

Upon hitting level 15, I was told I could get a player house!!!  I'm a big fan of player housing so it was a small excitement but a good one.  Like when you order waffle fries at Arby's and you're eating them and you notice a curly fry snuck it's way into the container.  You're like Jackpot I ordered waffle fries, but I got a curly one too!!  Come on, you know you've felt that way before too.

The one thing I'm not a big fan of is the walking.  There's stables to where you can fast travel to some locations, but my god the run speed seems so slow.  Nothing sucks more than getting a quest to visit an NPC 1,500m away only to run out there, talk to him, and he tells you to walk all the way back to finish the quest and that's it.  Wow, thanks for making me walk my ass all the way out here for nothing, you people have mailboxes, write him a damn letter.  Now obviously in MMO's you have to walk around and travel, but I hadn't been this bored walking since I played SWG when it was first released.  (Anyone who played SWG before vehicles knows exactly what I'm talking about)

I have a Champion who's level 17 and a Warden level 19.  Both classes are fun, but after getting my ass beat numerous times by thinking I'm a bigger bad ass than I am, I prefer the spear/shield combo of the Warden for pure survivability reasons.  That and the Gambit combos are cool and remind me a bit of Age of Conan combat which I loved.  With the Gambit's, you basically attack with moves in a certain order to open up a special move to use.  It's cool and engages the player in the combat a bit to plan your attacks rather than button mashing.

So to wrap things up, I'm really enjoying LOTRO.  I even talked some friends into buying the game also, and for $14.99 it's a steal.  I know I've barely touched the surface of the game, but so far it's been a lot fo fun.  I get to look forward to crafting, hobbies, player housing, raids, and everything else the game has to offer.  If you find it at your local Best Buy for $14.99 also, give it a shot.  Besides, you know you need something to do until Star Wars: The Old Republic comes out.

Age of Conan....revisited

Posted by Stashride Tuesday April 21 2009 at 10:04AM
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Last year I bought into the hype called Age of Conan and found myself heading to Best Buy and picking up a copy of the Collectors Edition. The box was the size of a small car, but that seems to be the standard for Collectors Edition PC Games. (Even my Diablo II box was massive from like 10 years ago, but that's beside the point, Im getting off track here)

And as I gazed into her eyes she told me I looked like a young Patrick Duffy, and I didn't care if she was my 2nd cousin and we were at a family reunion because.....CRAP, see, I'm way off track now, ok, focus, Age of Conan...

I played Age of Conan for a few months after release and got up to level 53 Dark Templar before I lost interest. I played about 99% of the game solo, only grouping to kill a Boss to complete a quest. I was an unsocial bastard, but I just enjoyed wandering around by myself rather than the quest instances the game has to offer. The combat was amazing and pulling off a Fatality made me feel like it was 1995 again and I'm Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat. The combat was the main part of the game that I enjoyed. It was fast, fun, and gory as all hell.

Now that we're all caught up on that, I had an old game card laying around for 60 days of gameplay, so I figured I might as well use it. I re-installed the 30 gig game and downloaded the roughly 4 hours of patches required to get me up and going in Hyboria again. Is it Hyboria? Hell, I don't know, it sounds good though so we'll stick with that.

I decided to play as a Tempest of Set. It sucked ass, I died a lot, and I'm pretty sure the NPC's all laughed at me behind my back. Go ahead, point and laugh you Tortage bastards, maybe I won't stop save your damn town!!! Needless to say, that class wasn't for me, so I tried out a Conquerer. It wasn't bad, but from playing my Dark Templar oh so many months ago, I wanted a bit of magic too. So lets try it again, I rolled a Herald of Xotli. Which I will hereby refer to as HOX because I don't even know if I spelled it right.

As of last night, I'm up to level 30. FINE ok, I'm only 29, but it's my blog so I'm rounding up if I want to. Maybe it's just me, but I really haven't noticed any changes in the game from a year ago. I'm sure spells have been nerfed and a lot has changed, just nothing that really stood out or caught my attention. That's not a bad thing though, since the fast and fun combat I loved was still there waiting for me to set some Red Hands on fire.

All in all, it's a fun game that I enjoy playing. I noticed a lot of people in the starters area, which could either be alts or people using the free trial to test it out. I might join some random group and try some of the dungeons that I never tried before just to keep going a bit more. The fun combat is there, but it just feels like there's something missing. (It's not the loading screens, there's plenty of them so I know that's not what's missing)

My final opinion, if you haven't tried Age of Conan, it's definitely worth trying out the free trial. Once you pull off your first Fatality you won't be disappointed with the combat. Or if one of your hobbies is staring at loading screens, they got that too! It's a fun game, but for me, it was nothing more than something to occupy my time for a few weeks rather than hooking me on to play long term. Oh well, at least I still have the Patrick Duffy thing going for me.


     <-----Patrick Duffy

Pirates of the Burning Sea, a few quick thoughts on the $20 I won't get back

Posted by Stashride Wednesday February 18 2009 at 8:13PM
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While walking through Best Buy I saw a couple of scurvy pirates staring me down from the box art of Pirates of the Burning Sea. I've heard of the game, read a few tidbits on it in the past, but never really gave it much thought.  It was on sale for $20 so I thought, "Might as well give it a try, it could be a surprise hit."
I get home, start my installation, and after 90 hours of patching (give or take 85 hours) I'm finally ready to set sail.

The character customization, while somewhat robust, seemed a bit underwhelming. There were a lot of faces to choose from, but all of them looked like characters from Goldeneye on N64, not something graphics wise that we'd see in a game nowdays.  I picked to be a pirate, gave myself a sweet pony tail, and started in on the tutorial.

The tutorial was broken up into a few different missions to kind of give me a taste of each.  Right from thre I noticed that the sea combat was pretty damn fun, and the melee (if that's what you want to call it) combat was craptasic.  It looked like an irish Folk dance the way every character on the screen attacked at the same time in unison with the exact same animations.  Possibly the worst combat in any MMO I've ever played, and yes, I have played The Matrix Online.

It's not all bad though.  Sailing around in your boat is the best part of the game, but unfortunately, you have to dock at a port and be exposed to the uglyness of being on land.  Having sea battles and plundering goods is a lot of fun, but got very boring and repetitive for me.

My advice, if you get a free trial give it a shot.  It was fun for a couple weeks, but just didn't hook me at all.  To each his/her own.  Ship battles, and well, anything in the water was fun.  But next time, instead of burning the sea, they should have burned the land, because the sea is the only decent part of the game.