I landed in the closed beta of Allods Online, a new free-to-play MMO coming out of Russia. That runs for two weeks. I've only played one session last night, not enough to put any real thoughts together, but it's a slick and polished looking game, with a pleasingly different feel to its setting - it starts you off on board a flying ship locked in a cannon battle with another from the opposite faction, a far cry from the usual small village in a lightly forested, lightly hilly piece of Olde Englishe countryside.
Mechanically, I didn't see anything particularly original in my brief play so far - probably the most novel thing is that the combat doesn't seem to have any auto-attacks, it's purely the usage of special attacks. My biggest criticism so far? I have to say, it takes a tediously long time to beat a lower level enemy to death. The actual pace of the cut and thrust of combat feels fine - it just takes a. lot. of. hits. to take down an enemy - even one that poses no particular threat to you.
And now Lord of the Rings Online has just kicked off another free week. I kind of feel like the last one ran out before I made a conscious decision about whether to resubscribe or not, so I'll give it another chance. Especially since I read over at Keen & Graev's blog that Turbine are looking at re-working the epic questline to make it much more solo-friendly, to combat the problem that in a mature game with most of the players sitting at the level cap, it's not so easy for new players to find people to group with while levelling. This was something that bummed me during my last free week, as my quest log filled up with fellowship quests and I didn't see a lot of people to try to do them with.
On top of that, things are working out nicely on Frostmourne, my new WoW server. I hadn't raided since mid-July, but my freshly reassembled guild has run Trial of the Crusader 10-man the last two weeks. It's a fun little raid, for sure. No trash, five fights which are all pretty fresh and fun. Not very hard (talking normal mode here of course, not hard mode). And it's great to be raiding with the guys again, with all the trash talk on Vent and so on. I'm also (finally!) levelling a death knight, just so I have an alt on the new server, and it is definitely a fun class. I should have tried it sooner! Halfway through level 74 at the moment.
So, the stuff I was up to last time? Obviously I got my Alganon thoughts posted when the NDA dropped - and some links sent my way by Tobold and Lum the Mad gave me some rather unexpected traffic. I doubt half a dozen people had ever read anything I posted prior to that, and suddenly there were thousands of hits. Not to mention that it was very nice to get linked up from two blogs that I've been reading and enjoying for quite a long time!
Fallen Earth, to be honest, I didn't get a whole lot of play in during their free trial. Some, and it certainly felt better than it did when I tried it during beta. Didn't quite grab me though, and I can't exactly put my finger on why not. I think the hybrid of regular MMO combat with more shooter-style action was a big part of it. I'm sure a lot of people like it, but it just doesn't hit the spot for me.
So, plenty to do! And so few hours in the week! Between WoW, LOTRO, more of the Allods beta, taking another look at Alganon as it gets closer to its next release date, and who knows what else (WAR's endless trial maybe?), I see myself glued to the screen for a while!