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Casual Thoughts from a Semi-Retired Philosopher

I play MMOs as an alternative to TV. Sometimes it even turns into quality time with the wife and daughter. Most of the time it's a distraction from doing something productive or meaningful.

Author: Hluill

A New LotRO Expansion!?!

Posted by Hluill Friday January 27 2012 at 1:17PM
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My girlfriend told me about it and I haven't researched it all.  According to her, and she knows everything and is always right, LotRO is getting a new expansion in a few months.  It's going to feature Rohan and mounted fighting.  

Sounds cool.  I can't wait to visit Helm's Deep and Edoras.

But wait, what level is it?

Turbine is raising the level cap, again.

My main hasn't even levelled enough to explore the last (two) expansions.

Yeah, I am a loser newb, what some might go so far as to call a casual player.  It's not tlike it's that hard to level.  But I am trying hard not to outlevel the girlfriend, and she's still working on Lothlorien Reputation.  And I like playing with her, in and out of game.

Biologics aside, What the F*@#?

Why is this beautiful and fun game going down this road?

I winced when Turbine increased the stat-mods on gear.  I sighed when they raised the level-cap, the first time.  I shuddered when they introduced Rune-Keepers...

Granted, with every shake and jerk, there were also some cool things, like exploring Moria and Lothlorien.

But some of the cool, original content is now super trivial, like the Old Forest.  And with increased level cap, Angmar will be a joke now.

So, cool new expansion, but it won't change my play experience for a long while.


The Haves and Have Nots

Posted by Hluill Saturday January 21 2012 at 12:57PM
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Even in socialist states, there are people who live in glass palaces.  They have home-entertainment sytems, which rival theatres, made by laborers, who can't afford electricity.  Their pets eat better than the most of the world.

Disparity.  There has been a lot of focus on disparity lately.  We live in a world with different realities based on economic status.  It's the way things are.  Every now and then there is an upheaval, a revolution and the status quo is disrupted a bit, but, to quote the Who's Won't get Fooled Again: "Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss."

Why am I blogging about this Here?

This isn't a rant about WoW or the mega-corporations in the gaming industry, or about executives with seven-figure salaries

I just spent fifty plat on a new, fable, master-crafted sword for my berserker.  

This brings two points to mind:

First: it took me weeks to make fifty plat, yet the auction channel is continuously filled with items going for hundreds of plat.  The broker is filled items similarly priced items.  The inflation curve has left me behind.  I got a great deal on the sword purchase.

Which leads me to my second point: There's a whole section of the game that I can't play.  I can't afford the gear.  I don't have the time/money/motivation.  But, gosh, that fabeled, master-crafted sword is nice.  Killing heroics with one swing is so cool.  It's like playing a different game.  It's makes me wonder what it's like to be an elite gamer, decked out in the epic gear.  

Yeah, I admit to being resentful.  I admit to being dissapointed that there are huge aspects of these games which I will never experience.  And I get really irked when these elites start telling me how the game should be played, how my toons should be spec'ed and geared.  Wouldn't it be cool to have the ultra-rare, collectable lunch box so I can eat with the cool kids?  I am brown-bagging it on an unmaxxed toon in quested gear.

I am even tempted to think it is unfair.

But I grew up with an older brother, so I learned early on that life is anything but fair.

I remind myself that there will always be disparity.  It's just weird being on the lower end of it in a digital, fantasy world.  But I shouldn't resent other players just because they have more time/money/motivation to invest in the game.  

I will continue to resent, however, people living in glass palaces telling me not to throw stones.

Tripping over the Details

Posted by Hluill Friday January 13 2012 at 12:13PM
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Yep, been spending waaaay too much time in game.  Got into the EQ2-Frostfell frenzy over the holidays, leveling up crafters, training apprentices, restocking the guild bank, grinding reputation so we can pay the rent on the guild hall, and trying to grind Alternate Advancements.  I am spending all this time trying to keep my guild house in order, meanwhile my real house still needs the dishes washed and the floors vacuumed.


It's so easy to be overwhelmed by details.  I am detailed-oriented sort of guy -- a life-saving quality in my military mind.  So it's too easy for me to fret over having enough reactants, or rares, or critical mitigation, or speed.  These games are designed so that I will fret over this stuff, and thus play more.

So, I have to pay attention to that stuff but ignore that my toon is holding her sword wrong?  Or that crafting dislocates her shoulders? Or ignore that I am spending countless hours mining dirt, which is a key ingredient in her food, of all things?

I remember when EQ2 was in development.  I remember reading the marketing blurbs about how SOE did motion-capture to make the animations all cool and real and all.  Huh, I guess the motion capture wasn't done using people who knew how to hold a two-hander or stand at a workbench.

And why is my toon at a workbench?  To make better gear!  It's all about the gear.  Gotta have better gear!  This game becomes no fun if your toons' gear ain't up to date.  And if you want to hang out with the cool kids, it better be the uber gear, made out of ultra rares and the epic-boss raid-loot.  And gear ain't only about armor and weapons, your toon better have a complete set of jewelry and that rag-doll made out of ultra-rare rags.  And all that stuff better be adorned.   And now there is ultra-uber, raid-required food and drink!  Hence I am mining a lot of dirt, which my guild's provisioner informs me is a required ingredient in many foods.  Makes the mouth water, doesn't it?  Can I have extra dirt with that, please?

Reminds me when I used toilet paper to thicken my field ration, but that is another story.

"Your strength is only 1k and your Crit.-Mit. is only 120%?  Noob!"  Yeah, I haven't raided in a long time.  And I am certainly not dedicated enough to join the guilds that do.  I am still trying to grind my 86th-level berserker to her 200th AA.  Yeah, and my CM is more like 60%.  Feel my noobness and tremble.

So the dividing gulf between me and the uber crowd grows increasly wider, increased divisions in a game that is supposed to be played together.  My guild barely groups anymore.  Last time we played in the same Real-World room, we were in different zones, on different quests.  So sad.

Yep, been plugged in waaaay too much.  Time to take the dog for a run.