Help Needed…

29 09 2010

My name is Tom and I am a gameaholic…

Unfortunately there isn’t really a 12 step program out there for video game addicts and even if there was I don’t think that I would be admitting to myself that I have a problem so thats step one buggered before we even start!

I do think it is possible that I do spend a bit too much time playing games though which is a start I guess. I came to this startling realisation yesterday although those who know me well will be chortling to themselves saying some realisation that is.

I realised that I spent my lunch break yesterday animatedly talking with a colleague and fellow addict about my strategy for championship manager; for those of you not familiar with champ man it is a variety of online crack that lets you pretend that you are the manager of a football team (I refuse to ever call football soccer)

That’s right it’s a game that lets you pretend you are involved in a game, but I love it! I have since I first laid eyes on it back in the heady days of Championship Manager 2 which I struggled to get going on my mighty 486.

Since then I have owned every version of the game that has been released even though by my own admission they are more or less exactly the same, but thats not the point, I need the up to date information and the realistic transfer prices etc etc.

I love championship manager so much that I have been working on my current file for 147 hours. That is just a few hours shy of two whole premiership seasons!!! The kicker is it’s not my only file I have another file with 50 odd hours.

Where have I found the time to play nearly 200 hours of a football management simulator since the new season began??

It doesn’t stop there either, if I was addicted to just one game it would be bad enough but it’s every game, well except the shit ones obviously! During my 200 hour footballing marathon I have also completed Halo Wars, replayed my way through half of GTA IV and clocked up about 20 hours on Soul Calibre.

I could understand if I was unemployed, single or worked as a games reviewer but I am none of those things. I have a girlfriend and work a 40 hour+ week as some form of emarketing bitch (even I can’t really quantify what I do)

It’s not solely video games either, my girlfriend will readily atest to the fact that when I’m not playing video games I want to play other games; scrabble, backgammon, cribbage, monopoly, risk, warhammer or d&d. It quite literally does not matter what it happens to be I am addicted to playing games.

I still don’t think I have a problem though 😉





Lord of the rings online…for FREE?!?!?!

8 06 2010

Well it turns out that the rumours  that have been rumbling away for a while now were true, Lord of the rings online (LOTRO) is going free to play (F2P).

Turbine dropped this not so unexpected bombshell on Friday and it would seem on the face of things that this is going to work out pretty much the same way that things did with Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO).

So why has this happened, well the population in LOTRO has never really hit the heights that it might of and on my recent visits to Middle Earth I have even found that it has dropped off a bit.

If DDO is anything to go by and it probably is, we can expect to see a big spike in the number of “subscribers” when F2P goes live and then for things to settle down a bit but still be a lot higher than current population levels in LOTRO.

Whilst I can see the big plus sides to going F2P I do remain a little bit skeptical of how it is going to work out in the long run. I worry that with the game suddenly being free there will be a vast influx of new players and the chat channels etc will suddenly be full of the sort of idiocy that you see so regularly in WOW etc, the reasonably mature standard of players in LOTRO has always been one of the big attractions for me (other than the hobbits of course) and I know it is a big factor for a lot of other players as well.

The biggest worry for me is that the standard of content that is released for the game is going to suffer as a result. Already we have seen Siege of Mirkwood released even though it wasn’t a patch on the original game or Mines of Moria and I can envisage a time down the line when we will look back fondly on SoM and long for the good old days.

Whilst I can see that from a numbers point of view F2P makes sense I jsut can’t see how it makes sense in the life of the game, this isn’t some tired old MMO that has been kicking around for far too long and needs to be put out to stud, Turbine have only taken us into a very small part of Middle Earth so far and there is plenty of scope not only for future expansions but even to give the game a bit of a mid-life overhaul.

One things for sure at least I won’t have to worry about having too many subscriptions now!





The beginning of the end

25 04 2010

So I was reading through a selection of different blogs that I happened to come across and this particular one here peaked my interest.

The writer is discussing what happens when a long established guild dies or falls apart, this is a subject that is actually pretty close to my own heart at the moment.

The reason for this is that our LOTRO (Lord of the rings online) Kin is dying. Let me set the scene for you; our kinship was founded when the first expansion pack, Mines of Moria, was released. It was made up of a core of players who had all been around for a while and had all been in other kins and weren’t particularly happy.

In other kins most of the emphasis had been on completing as many end game runs as possible and other than people who were twinking their alts there hadn’t been much help coming down the ladder to newer players.

We decided to change that, we wanted everyone to have equal access to loot, the guild bank, help with quests and runs etc and it worked. Boy did it work, by the middle of summer last year we had over 1300 members and were the largest guild on our server, Nimrodel.

We had a good group of officers who made sure that everything ran according to plan, we actively enforced our policy regarding levels of activity (in active for more than 30 days and your gone) and it looked like the world was our mollusc! Because of the high levels of help offered by more experienced members we were able to level new players very quickly, we had 24 hour officer coverage to make sure that there was always at least two high level toons online to help settle disputes or assist with runs, in short it was what we had wanted when the guild was founded.

Then it all suddenly seemed to go wrong; squabbles and arguments started breaking out more and more frequently, the levels of booting activity started to rise exponentionally, large amounts of high end items started to vanish from the kin chests and they had to be locked down to just officers, runs and raids that we could finish easilly started to go awry. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong.

Jump forward a little bit to February this year; because of the problems that had existed over the past few months a fairly large number of officers had left, so too had a very substantial number of other kin members – we now had just over 600, sure new members still joined up but it wasn’t the same. The original spirit and drive that had existed had gone and no matter what we tried it just wasn’t coming back.

As it stands at the moment the kin is dying on it’s feet, we keep trying and trying but we are fighting a losing battle, we all know it is going to happen at some point the only question that remains is when.

Do we keep on fighting the good fight until things fall apart by themselves or do we call it quits of our own accord?

Personally I have always been a fan of picking my own fate as much as possible.








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