2021 LoTRO Update

Posted in lotro with tags on October 8, 2021 by Corleth

Way back in 2014 I posted about a Return to LoTRO. That return didn’t stick, and after levelling my Lore Master to around 85, in Wildermore, I walked away again, leaving my LoTRO client largely unpatched and unopened for the next four years, give or take.

Then in 2018, partially sparked by my son discovering a renewed interest, I started playing again. It’s been a slow, casual, journey with sometimes weeks and, on occasion, a few months, elapsing between visits to Middle Earth, but no really prolonged gaps.

Back in 2018 my minstrel would have been my second highest toon, weighing in at around level 77, stuck somewhere in the middle of the Riders of Rohan expansion. So when I came back in 2018, I could have run with my level 85 lore master, but opted for my minstrel instead.

Level 77 Mini in Rohan – taken in November 2018

Long story short, cut to October 2021, and my minstrel is at cap (130), with maxed-out LIs & current end-game gear, and has completed all recent content up to and including the recent Blood of Azog update. Version 3 of the legendary item system is about to drop, and the new Fate of Gundabad expansion is also due in November. I’m enthused!

That update obviously papers over the long journey from eastern Rohan, through to western Rohan, Gondor, Minas Tirith, Mordor, Vales of Anduin, Morgul Vale, Wells of Langford, Elderslade and more.

Overall, it’s good to playing in 2021, with the game seemingly healthy and well supported by Standing Stones, their new(ish) owners.

I even intend to write a few more posts here!

Life is Strange

Posted in Diary, Guild Wars 2, lotro on August 17, 2016 by Corleth

The current extended summer break from school, brought my kids back to LoTRO for a few weeks, so I took the opportunity to join them. With our original home, the Gilrain server, now defunct, the first task we faced was moving our toons across to a new home – we chose Laurelin. The move went smoothly, and we sorted out our family kin, plus kinship house in this new location, in good order. The following few weeks saw me dust off my level 30 hobbit hunter and head to Evendim, where old memories came flooding back. We had some fun evenings, questing together and running plenty of skirmishes, but the rekindled interest inevitably waned and LoTRO is once again an unused link on our individual desktops. It was good to go back though.

With Turbine’s licence for LoTRO up for renewal next year, there may be precious few further occasions for revisiting this creaking game, where the character models and combat system both feel more clunky as each year passes; the scenery is still stunning, mind you, and the housing, music and cosmetic systems still hold our attention. As an aside, my top level toon is still my Loremaster at 85, but I have no inclination to bring her out of retirement. That would mean first buying, and then investing time in, the Helms Deep expansion. No thanks.

Away from LoTRO, I’ve also been back to Guild Wars 2 over the summer. The ‘Heart of Thorns’ expansion was released in October last year (2015), so it’s been a time to dust of my necromancer and elementalist. I might post some dedicated commentary on this, as it’s looking interesting, thus far.

Earlier in the year (well, from last Christmas though to around Easter) I found myself drawn back in to EVE, due to the ongoing ‘New Great War’ that saw the fall of the Imperium. I joined up with Pandemic Horde and headed out into nullsec for the first time. I had fun, lost a lot of ships, and made a bit of ISK, but the length and time of the ops proved too inconvenient for me to get fully drawn in, so when my subscription ran out, I left EVE once more.

Back to now, and I’m working my way through the excellent ‘Life is Strange’. Since completing Telltale’s ‘The Walking Dead’, I’ve definitely been drawn more into the episodic adventure game genre. The female protagonist in LiS, Max, is just excellent, and the game’s ambience and pace is just bang on. My available playtime is currently way more fractured than it was even a few years ago, so the ability to dip in and out of a story like ‘Life is Strange’ is a huge benefit.

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Max – Life is Strange

The said fractured nature of my available game-time is probably the main reason that iOS and Android gaming are now where the majority of my game hours are spent. When a gaming session can be counted in minutes rather than hours, this is inevitable. My Clash of Clans account is now at level 114, and counting, and our whole family takes part in weekly or bi-weekly clan war. Good fun for all. Boom Beach, another of Super Cell’s offerings, is another regular sink, but I hated Clash Royale which I found stressful and aggravating. Fallout Shelter had the same effect on me – too much micromanagement involved, although I appreciate it has a huge fan base. I’m currently trying out Blizzard’s Hearthstone on iOS – so far, it’s looking good.

A Return to LoTRO

Posted in Diary, lotro with tags , on September 1, 2014 by Corleth

A fair deluge of water has poured under the Last Bridge since I last played LoTRO with any anger. Level 85 was the level cap then; it is now 100. Updates 12, 13 and 14 have all been released, patched, re-patched and conquered – but not by me. Wildermore has been explored, Helms Deep has been saved by a good chunk of the remaining player-base, the Paths of the Dead have been trodden and my hobbit-house has had a ‘For Sale’ sign erected on its lawn.

Many things are certain. One of those is that the golden age of LoTRO has passed, its summer days have departed. I have very fond memories of those years from 2007 through to, perhaps, 2012. This period, for me, would cover the journey as far as Mirkwood and perhaps a little beyond. The certainty of seeing twenty-plus kinnies online most nights of the week, is now nothing but memory. The Watcher, Dar Narbugud and Barad Guldur raids are nothing but screenshots in an almost forgotten folder (together with a few housing trophies, of course!). LoTRO has now entered its autumn years. Acceptance of this now comes easily to me.

Time for some combat, LoTRO style

Time for some combat, LoTRO style

But what of the other MMO dalliances of my recent past? DDO, Rift, Secret World, EVE, and Wildstar, have all been briefly tried. SWTOR, I went back to a second time, but never got past level 30-odd. GW2 was a standout, and I have two toons at the GW2 cap, but only because the world of Tyria is breath-taking to me, and the toon personalisation isn’t far behind. However, my interest in GW2 waned pretty much when I hit 100% world completion – it took just over six months. I now pretty much accept that I am unlikely to get drawn into another MMO, long term. I can’t imagine that I will ever play another game for 7 or more years, as I have done LoTRO. I no longer believe that the experience of playing, and then being consumed by, your first MMO can ever be repeated. I think I am one of many who have now come to realise this. There’s that acceptance thing again.

Now, the urge is with me to take continue my own personal journey in Middle Earth, to travel the roads of East Rohan to Helms Deep and whatever lies beyond; to catch up with those few old friends that I know still play. And so my LoTRO story is resuming…

Tablet Gaming Intro

Posted in Diary on August 26, 2014 by Corleth

My last post, so many months ago now, hinted at prolonged return to SWTOR or GW2. Neither happened.

Last Christmas my ten-year-old asked for a tablet PC. Being semi-indulgent parents, my wife and I obliged, but went for a very low-end ‘Energy Sistem’ (Spanish manufacturer) model. Big mistake. It proved to be slow and unreliable, requiring multiple rebuilds over a number of months. To cut a long story short, several months back, I inherited my son’s tablet and we bought him a Galaxy S7 as a replacement. This has made my son happy and gave me a somewhat temperamental entry into the Android tablet gaming sector.

Being able to play games on my coffee break at work, when lying in bed, or when sitting in an airport/aeroplane, has certainly added another dimension to my gaming outlook. My minimal gaming time over the summer months has been taken up with gaming on Android devices, in the form of Clash of Clans, Scrabble, Plague Inc, and Battleheart. In that quartet, there’s surely something for everyone?ClashOfClans

Somewhat unexpectedly, my tablet gaming came to a stop last week when the highly troublesome ‘Energy Sistem’ tablet died, once and for all (note – less than a year old; and no, I don’t want a like-for-like replacement!). Guess what sort of device is now on my birthday list??

In the meantime I’ve discovered some very handy Android emulation software which is now running happily on my Window 7 gaming rig – Bluestacks. So at least I can keep up with my kids on Clash of Clans.

New Year Stagnation

Posted in Diary, Guild Wars 2, lotro, SWTOR with tags , , , , on January 14, 2014 by Corleth

The Christmas and New Year period saw me ‘off work’ for the best part of two weeks. In previous years that sort of break would have seen me put in some serious gaming hours. Not so this year. Well, not as much as recent years, anyway.

At the start of the holiday season, my gaming tipple was still LoTRO; specifically, my ‘Minstrel project’ on Landroval. Progress up to mid-December had seen me complete all quests in the Misty Mountains zone in general and, more specifically, Goblin Town – including soling the Great Goblin instance ‘on-level’. As I mentioned in my previous post, I found the Goblin Town experience very enjoyable, probably because it was pretty much all new to me.

Epic Volume 1 in Angmar

Epic Volume 1 in Angmar

After finishing up in Goblin Town and the Misty Mountains and picking up my first legendary weapon via the ‘Gates of Moria’ epic volume 2 introduction, I was left with a choice of heading to Eregion or pushing on with Volume 1 of epic quest line. I went for the latter option which, for me, turned out to be a bad option. Despite some streamlining a couple of years back, Volume 1 still requires an almighty amount of running about the world for no particular reason. How dull! In the event, after hitting level 52 just before Christmas day, I got bored of all the epic volume 1 toing and froing and haven’t been back to LoTRO since.

Between Christmas and New Year, I was almost entirely immersed with my Smuggler in SWTOR. One bugged quest apart, my free-to-play experience has been excellent but, now at level 17, my two skill bars are filling up rapidly and I can see that I might have to shell out some cash in order to make the game more playable, in the not too distant future. All told though, I’m enjoying the story telling in SWTOR and am making a point of listening to all the dialogue at the start of each quest. “Why rush?”, I say.

The last week or so has also seen me dabbling with GW2 again for the first time in six months or so. On loading GW2 for the first time in months, it really hit me what a good looking world Tyria is. In my opinion, as an MMO setting it blows SWTOR and LoTRO out of the water. Back in game, I toyed with my mesmer, and even rolled a ranger, but the draw of my necromancer has seen me playing her most of the time; at the moment, I’m mainly trying to get my head around WvW again, and also just trying to complete my ‘daily’ on a more or less regular basis. GW2 still is a game that you can just dip and out of, in an ad hoc manner. In gourmet parlance – good food, fast.

Alpine Necro

Alpine Necro

All that said, overall, I find I’m playing MMOs less than I have done at any time since my pre-LoTRO days in 2008. Realistically, there are multiple reasons why – including increasing dislike of both the ‘levelling-grind’ and the ‘end-game-grind’, an increasingly ‘solo’ experience within all the MMOs that I play (nobody has to group in MMOs any more, more’s the pity),  and over-familiarity with the genre.

Plenty of other genres to be explored though!

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