Thursday, December 25, 2008

Played Lately: Lord of the Rings Online

  • If you've read this post, you might wonder how Lord of the Rings Online could end up in that title. I will forgive you for snickering at me. Two months after giving up a game that I called "boring", the ubiquitous Michael Zenke has lead me to reenlist. And it seems that I'm not the only one. If you're wondering why, there are sure to be several rambling paragraphs to follow that may accidentally swerve into an answer.
  • I've always had a soft spot for LotRO. There are so many things that is does right, this would likely be the game I played if I wasn't playing World of Warcraft. The first twenty levels of the game give a better impression than just about any other game I've seen. After twenty, I know the game becomes a grind because that's where my ship ran aground previously. But starting a new character is quite a joy.
  • When I restarted my subscription, the first thing I did was roll a Warden character. My previous character, a Champion, felt particularly vulnerable while soloing. The warden, while limited to medium armors, is designed to tank as well as provide hefty damage depending on how they are played. The best part of the class is the gambit skill mechanic. Instead of having thirty individual abilities to cast, the warden relies on four: a basic spear attack, a shield bash, a taunt, and a gambit trigger skill. By using chains of the basic skills, a gambit is opened that have different greater abilities. The shield-shield combo improves your chance to block while spear-taunt opens a double attack. At my current level, I have access to all of the two skill chains, though they can go up to five at the highest levels. I might have to draw up a diagram to keep it all straight.
  • I also came back because of the crafting system, still one of the best in an MMO. For my warden, I chose the Explorer vocation, which grants Tailoring, Prospecting, and Forestry. Although I previously complained about this bundling, having two characters with compatible vocations help a lot. So far I've been using the forestry to make leather for my tailoring to make armor. Any wood or ore I've been mining I've sent to my champion to be converted to weaponry. Since my champion's woodworking can make spears and javelins for the warden, there is a nice synergy. So I'm that much happier with crafting system now.
  • The entry level quests are as fun as I remember, though I'm playing an elf now instead of a human. I've been able to tackle some lower level group quests, but I'm still worried about whether I'll be able to tackle the epic quests to my satisfaction. I know this is a preemptive worry, along with the impending level 20 grind wall. So I'm trying to enjoy myself and not think about it.
  • And this isn't about LotRO, but today is the day to say it. I hope you all have a happy Wintersday, Feast of Winter Veil, Yule Festival, or whatever holiday you celebrate.

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