Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Emotions – and a teaser about my LOTRO experiences

I’ll warn you right away; I’m in an emo mood as I start writing this Friday night musings post. I don’t know why. Or maybe I do, to be honest.

A clash with a reader
The other day I clashed into one of my readers in a discussion in the comment section, which somehow touched on the good old elitist-casual tension.

Normally I can handle criticism pretty well, (or at least I tell myself so). Like Gevlon I keep it at a healthy distance from me, thinking “they can’t hurt me. It’s just pixels, words.” But this discussion for some reason went out of my hands. Which actually was a good thing, as things turned out.

What happened was that we decided to take our little conversation away from the public eye. We sort of sat down at a table of our own where no one could hear us, talking through emails rather than through comments. And you know what? We connected in a way that I don’t think would have been possible without that initial clash. Everything is fine on both sides I’d dare say. But I still feel a bit shaken up after the episode. Emo.

A letter from Gevlon
And here’s another story from the week. The other night I created a little mage alt and had her join Gevlon’s latest experiment guild. I don’t know if I’ll ever run a raid with her, considering that my available time is so limited. However I thought it could be fun to at least have a look at the guild from the inside while levelling her. I’d like to see with my own eyes how the chat might look in this guild where normal social behaviour such as saying “hi”, “bye” and “gz” is frowned upon, a guild full of goblin minded people.

Today I got a concerned letter from Gevlon, asking me if it was the real Larísa and not an impersonator who had joined the guild. He just wanted to make sure, which I can fully understand since he’s been a victim of such pranks himself. I assured him that I was the “real” one indeed. And somehow his question touched me. It made it so obvious that he despite his image actually cares about other things in the world than just gold.

The state of the guild
A third part of my emo state of mind is caused by the condition of our guild. I think we’re still in the post-shock phase of our leaders stepping down. There are so few of us left – 26 active raiders as it is now – that we realistically only rarely will be able to put together a 25 man group. Yesterday we finally could make one for the first time in quite a while. We were a few players short, but still managed to oneshot 10 bosses in 2.5 hours, which isn’t bad, not even with the buff. It was just so sweet to be together again, almost all of us, and the fact that we don’t know how long it will be until next time this happens only added to the sweetness of it.

It’s a rough time for all raiding guilds, but I think everyone who is left with us has a strong wish that we’ll get through this, survive, and make a glorious return in Cataclysm. Thinking about it makes me a bit emo though.

My first dip into LOTRO
As some readers have noticed, I downloaded LOTRO a week ago and signed up for a 14 day free trial. The reactions to this have been fantastic, yet another reason to get a little bit emo. All those concerns! All those comments! I’ve even got several personal letters, encouraging me to try this, suggesting servers and offering help. Thank you all! It really touched me.

Some readers who also are LOTRO fans are a bit worried about what I’ll eventually write about my experiences. Barrista wrote:

“As for your lotro post, I hope it is truly fair, although I don't expect it to be. WoW was my first MMO, but I tend to evaluate things for what they are. I did a bit of "oh blizz does this better", but to do a true evaluation I realized I had to take it as it was. Plus, this is a WoW blog.”
Well, I suppose that my impressions inevitably will be coloured by my WoW glasses. It’s impossible to disregard of them. WoW is the only game I’ve played and see all the time how it partly helps me, partly plays me tricks. I don’t know for instance how many times I’ve tried to open my bags, pressing “B”, getting annoyed when nothing happens.

I don’t think I’m the right person to write a proper full size review of this game, even if I had played it for more than 14 days. I’m just not qualified. But I will write a post in the area of “What a WoW player first will notice when she tries out LOTRO”. I think it might have some sort of interest to all of you who consider to check it out once it goes free.

I’m not ready to do it quite yet though. I need to spend a few more hours in the Shire to make up my mind.

But I can tell you one thing already: It’s hard to wind down from the pace in WoW and I have to struggle a bit with myself to do it. It’s as if you’ve been running around for a long time with tense shoulders and now are trying to relax, letting them down. They’re like stuck. I have to assure myself that it’s OK to run around delivering hot pies and solving riddles, picking the eggs in the right order. I do enjoy this, if I only can allow myself to relax and smell the flowers, watch the clouds (which are incredibly well done and beautiful by the way.)

One more thing: I love to kill mobs by music. It looks so silly that I crack up every single time. And it seems as if I can vary it; If I grow tired of my harp I can grab my flute! I don’t know if there’s any difference in how well they do their job. And I don’t care! Because I’m not planning to max out anything here except for my level of entertainment.

Who can be emo and melancholic when there’s a merry little hobbit is jumping around, playing a ballad? I can’t. So let’s cheer up a bit!

I hope you’ll all get a wonderful weekend, wherever you choose to spend it – in Azeroth, the Shire or maybe out in the real world.



Dwism said...

I'm planning to give Lotr another go. I played it when it first came out, and the game did not stick with me. Give me a pm with your server and name?
If you want :D

Remember if the experience you end up having is that you remember how much you love WoW, that cannot be a bad experience either, so no matter how your time in the shire turns out, you'll win!

Also remember that all Goblins need is a big hug and a /cheer and they are puddy in your hands ;)

Barrista said...

Just so you know, my saying I didn't expect your "review" to be fair wasn't really meant in a bad way. This is a WoW blog. Any good writer gears their articles to their audience. I would expect nothing less.

As for LotRO, if you get tired of questing you can always go to and download music to play on your own. So if you want to take a break from questing you can hang out in Hobbiton or Michael Delving and play some music for your fellow players.

River said...

Gevlon care about other things besides gold???

Gevlon is wondering how he can profit having another blogger in the guild. LOL!

Aeven said...

Larisa, if you haven't seen it already, you may enjoy the "Shamus Plays" series for LotRO over at The Escapist:

Daria said...

I'm looking forward to your LotRO post. I'm a WoW player who has also dabbed in LotRO. I just recently picked up LotRO again and this time I seem to have found a class I really get into. The classes all play very differently and each race's starting area also have a different feel. I noticed when doing Shire quests a lot of them were of a more silly and relaxed nature. The other races starting areas have you dealing with danger and the encroaching goblins, orcs, brigands, or what have you from the start.
I'm with you on hitting "B" and expecting bags to open, the first thing I did was remap that action to B.
The big difference I've found between LotRO and WoW though is that the LotRO story is deeper and the game is more serious and realistic because it has to stick to the Tolkien lore. Armor looks more realistic, high level stuff is elegant and ornamented but you won't see any flames coming off it. Mounts are horse or goat, nothing crazy. The pace of the game is slower as well. But grouping has been very enjoyable.

hound said...

I played for a couple of days about three years ago. Some people may say that is not enough time to formulate an opinion, but I don't listen to them.

The "realistic" nature of the art caught my attention in the character creation screen. I was not happy with how the characters looked.

Then I was not happy with how the character moved.

I also was not happy being thrust into a battle at the very beginning (I played an elf). I would rather have time to explore and get to know my environment better before anything serious occurs.

So, over all, I was simply unhappy. It sounds like hobbits might be more for me in LOTRO, but I don't think I care to make the time investment again.

Rhii said...

I'm interested in hearing what your experiences in Gevlon's PuG guild are like, even if you never wind up leveling much there. You're such a friendly sociable person and he's so practical, and yet you two always get along so well. I'd like to see if you can remember not to say hi, and if he would actually kick you if you did. Plus, the project sounds intriguing to me all on its own.

And you're playing a minstrel in LOTRO? :D I had a minstrel and I really liked her. I'm not playing her anymore because she didn't solo as nicely as my runekeeper does and my boyfriend and I don't level together as much as we'd hoped. But I did very much enjoy killing mobs with music.

Looking forward to both posts very much. Also, hang in there with your guild. You've been very fortunate to have found them, and I'm rooting for you to come back better than ever in Cataclysm. Are you running any 10s in the meantime while your numbers are low for 25s? Or are you guys just too progressed on the 25 path for 10s to be interesting? I don't do 25s so I have no idea what downscaling to 10s would be like after doing 25hms.

Larísa said...

@Dwism: I've sent it to you, we'll see if we'll meet. Tbh it's scary empty at the server. That's one of the things that bugs me. What's an MMO without players?

: This music things really opens up opportunities. I should check that up. Although currently I struggle a lot in my questing. I'm not friend with the map and have huge problems finding my way to the questgivers as well as where to complete the quests. There are occasional rings and arrows but I just don't get it and I mostly run around without doing very much, apart from desperately looking for other players. It's a bit sad. But I haven't given up entirely yet.

@River: nah. He's OK. Really.

@Aeven: I hadn't seen it and thanks for the pointer! I haven't read all of it thoroughly -it's a LOT to read - but at a quick glance it looks just brilliant.

@Daria: I've only looked at the Shire so far and tbh I've got stuck. Lost. Confused. And a bit frustrated. But also very positive in other aspects! Don't worry. But you gave me a good push to check out some other starter area as well. Shire isn't all there is in this game, obviously!

@Hound: Yeah... the hobbits look a bit silly when they run. But tbh gnomes aren't the most beautiful either. The surroundings are stunningly beautiful sometimes. Well... I'll be back!

@Rhii: I deliberately don't say hi or farewell at all. I even hesitated to say anything as they said "welcome " when I joined the guild. You know... I try to adapt to the social environment I'm in as well as I can. And the rules are different here. Tbh I haven't seen much of Gevlon at all, but then I haven't spent many hours over there so far, and the little time I've been online, he hasn't been there. I stumbled into another EU blogger though, who also gives the impression to be not-so-goblin-like. I think that blogger approaches this project in the same manner as I do - as a curious observer.

About our guild: yeah, we're running 10-mans, actually that's what we can do most of the time now. We replace our 25 mans with one 10-man group when we can't get enough players (which is hard to get since we only have 26 raiders right now.) We don't have enough tanks to run two 10-mans unfortunately, so we have to rotate a lot. When we're doing 10-mans, we're doing hardmodes, so it's still interesting and challenging, not that much of downscaling. Although I think most of us rather would like to do 25 mans if we could. There's something in the big size that we like better.

Barrista said...

The yellow arrows point you to a quest designated as a priority on your quest tracker. This is likely posted underneath your map. If you right click on the ring next to the quest in the tracker it will give you the option to track it.

You really have to filter that map and turn off some options, otherwise, I have to say it can be a pain. Some icons will cover the very object you are trying to find.

The quests you have designated to track will also be shown when the map is open. If you scroll over these, the area that they can be found in will flash. If it is just to talk to one person, then a ring will flash.

To designate a quest to track, go into your log and make sure the ring is lit up (though you may have figured that out already).

I have honestly thought of making a blog of tips for people that go to LotRO from WoW. It would mainly be how to get people started, manipulate their UI, and other tips. I've been playing for a bit over a year now and there are still things I'm learning that make it so much easier. I find that many of the people who have been in the LotRO community the longest have come from EQ, EVE and other games which use many of the same systems/controls, but which may be foreign to those of us who have only played WoW.

Markus said...

I actually played LOTRO beta and I was quite happy that my WoW experience paid off as the UI was similar in a number of ways. I was disappointed that there no real magic user toons (read: mage) and the closest thing to it was a hunter-type toon that summoned various animals to fight for you.

I think I leveled up to 10 or something before calling it quits. I was hoping for a Gandalf/Saruman character with some wizarding skills, but I was disappointed. Come to think of it, Gandalf or Saruman don't really do a whole lot of wizarding LoTR (most fights show Gandalf wielding a sword or his staff...melee DPS indeed). I guess I really needed to be flinging spells like a mage.

I did like the scenery and the layout and there were some funny quests and there was a 100% drop on quest items (maybe just in beta?), so there were some good aspects to the game. I just wanted to be burning, freezing and arcaning my enemies. :)

Chris (Game by Night) said...

As far as LotRO goes, give your honest opinion, even if it's colored by your time in WoW. I don't know about anyone else but I care about your opinion as a gamer, even if that means letting objectivity slide from time to time. I'd even venture to say that it'd be a better idea to write from the "WoW Point-of-View" since readers here that give a try will probably share many of your feelings.

Either way, I'm looking forward to reading more as you get into it. It's a good game. Slower than WoW, and much meaner to wildlife, but good nonetheless.