Saturday, March 27, 2010

Turbine makes me an offer I can't refuse

All the LOTRO expansions you don't already have, plus a month's play time, all for only $9.99? Now that's an offer too good to refuse. I jumped onto LOTRO's latest free weekend this morning, knocked over a couple more stages of the now-soloable epic questline (finally, Dori, you are free, after a year or so on my quest log!), and then found this deal being advertised.

I haven't actually applied the key to my account yet, since hey, I'm playing for free this weekend, might as well make the most of it! And I have to say, I'm not sure that the Mirkwood expansion offers a whole lot for my puny level 39 self. But $9.99 to lock in a month's playtime, and getting my account fully up to date with the latest expansion in the process - that, I had to say "yes" to.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

News of the fortnight

I never ended up posting a second post about Darkfall. This isn't because I fail at blogging (although I do!), it's because I hardly played any more after my first couple of sessions. I tried, I tried a couple of times, but it always ended up with the world spinning wildly as I tried to clicky-click-click on a tiny little goblin with a tiny little cursor, until I decided that if the FPS-style combat was entertaining me a lot less than FPS games I played more than twelve years ago - like Quake II - that this probably wasn't the game for me.

Having said that, I've posted on a few forum threads and blog comments that if you have any interest in MMORPGs as a genre, and you don't check out Darkfall, you're a fool. It stands boldly apart in doing many things in a very different manner to other MMOs, and while maybe those differences will suit you and maybe they won't, you owe it to yourself to spend a buck and some torrent time to find out.

In other news, it's somewhat old news by now that there has been a night of the long knives over at Alganon, with lead visionary David Allen repeating his achievements with Horizons by being fired and replaced. This time, by controversial industry figure Derek Smart. There have been a number of news articles about the affair, but if you read only one, it must be this piece at Gamasutra, where you can witness the unique spectacle of Derek Smart and a couple of former employees ripping into each other. And damn, this is no-holds-barred stuff, rich with allegations of incompetence, deception, insubordination and flat-out embezzlement and fraud - to the extent that I'm not going to be surprised if I look back later and find that Gamasutra have taken the whole lot down for fear of legal ramifications. I've saved a copy just in case!

In gaming news, I have continued to play Atlantica Online pretty heavily. Heavily enough, indeed, that I've not taken any time to blog about it because I've been playing so much. It's been about a month and half now since I first installed the game, and I actually think I have to say that there has been no MMO since World of Warcraft that has enthralled me to this extent over this initial span of time. I'm level 76 now, in a nice guild, and have spent some money in the item mall. I will definitely try to write more.

And finally, I got an email this morning with a key for the latest round of closed beta for upcoming fantasy sandbox Dawntide. It was a while ago I put my name down for this one, and I haven't been following development closely, but I'll be very interested to see the state of it! Additionally, one of the things that has distinguished Dawntide is their NDA-free beta process, so I'm free to post about it. Don't worry guys, I know this one is still a fair way from release, so I won't be reviewing it as I did Alganon, just posting thoughts and impressions.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fellowship of One

So, Lord of the Rings Online has just had it's first major content patch since the Mirkwood expansion came out: "Volume III, Book I: Oath of the Rangers". Although, as the name suggests, this moves the epic storyline forward into volume III, the patch also includes "massive changes to the first Volume of The Lord of the Rings Online Epic Story."

There's a developer diary about these changes, but basically, they acknowledge that the steps of the epic questline which require a group can be frustrating to do these days, since LOTRO is a mature game with a predominantly max-level player base, making it often difficult to find a group to do these quest steps with. So, they have reworked all of volume I, apparently, so that every step which previously required a group can now be done either in its original state, or in a solo version where you are heartily buffed to make it possible.

I've written before about being frustrated when looking for a group for the epic questline, and how I was looking forward to this change. This definitely makes me want to re-subscribe to LOTRO for a spell. Well done, Turbine! Now I just need more hours in the day to fit this in alongside Atlantica (still having lots of fun there), WoW (my guild is now up to the Lich King in 10-man, and only a few bosses short in 25-man) and everything else (like spending more time on my Darkfall trial).