RIft is going Free to Play

15 05 2013

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Well it is finally official. Rift is going free to play.

Trion Worlds have announced that as of June 12th 2013 anyone will be able to experience the fun of exploring Telara without having to stump up their hard earned cash.

The change in pricing model will go live at the same time as patch 2.3 – Empyreal Assault launches and will see a number of changes including a cash shop and a tiered model which will see subscribers rebranded as “Patrons”

Patrons will benefit from a number of different perks which will set them apart from their non paying brethren:

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On top of the above rewards people who purchased the original game or the Storm Legion expansion will receive access to additional character slots, starting bag slots and access to the expansion souls (Storm Legion purchasers only)

I guess it was inevitable that Trion would take this approach with Rift at some point but personally after the success of Storm Legion I didn’t think it would be quite this soon.

I am not typically a big fan of F2P as a model and I am especially wary of cash shops, probably as a result of way too many hours spent playing PWI when I was younger.

That said I like what Turbine have done with Lord Of The Rings Online and have to admit that going F2P was probably the best thing which could have happened to the game.

Likewise I am really enjoying the Beta of NeverWinter so maybe there is hope after all.

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Have LotRO will travel…

21 06 2011

American  performance artist Jordan Long plans to ship himself across the US in a crate with only  Lord of the Rings Online as company.

Avid Lord of the Rings Online player and performance artist; Jordan Long is taking his theories about in-game communities and their benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to new levels.

Long has shipped himself from his home in Bald Knob, Arkansas to a final destination in Oregon locked in a crate with nothing but his computer and his LOTRO companions along for the ride. 

According to Long, the purpose of his most recent “art” project is to study “trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and claims that he has found that many who are confined to their homes due to such trauma tend to find their escape in the form of online games such as LotRO where they can ‘enter and exit whenever they choose, be whoever they want to be and feel like functioning members of society again.'”

Good thing he isn’t playing WOW or people would want to know the gear score of his crate….





Martin Freeman to play Bilbo Baggins

1 11 2010

I am  a little behind the times on this as I have been up the walls recently and haven’t been looking at the entertainment news as much as I normally would so

But there it was in black and white Martin Freeman (no relation to Morgan) of The Office fame is to play Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming Hoobbit movie!!!.

Personally I think that he will be perfect for the role, not only is he English and I have always visualised Hobbits as being essentially fat little Englishmen, but he looks exactly like a Hobbit!

This is going to be a really big step in the right direction for Freeman, who has come a long, long way from his days as Tim in The Office or as John; the actor who is filming a sex scene with the oh so appealing Joanna Page of Gavin and Stacey fame in Love Actually.

I am now even more excited about these films then I was previously and that was fairly excited let me tell you! As much as I love the Lord of the Rings and have read it far more times then I should probably admit to the Hobbit has always held a special place in my heart.

I had always enjoyed reading, even as a small child but it was Tolkien’s story about a Hobbit that lived in a hole in the ground and the adventures that he had that really started my life long love of fantasy books.





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!





My WOW wishlist

17 05 2010

I love games, it doesn’t hugely matter what type of game, I have played or would play more or less any type of game what so ever.

However due to being a great big geek of a certain age and disposition I have always had a soft spot in my heart for D&D style RPG, be it table top, text based scroller, Baldur’s Gate style PC fun or more recently MMORPGs.

As a result it  was more or less inevitable that I would end up falling into the life consuming black hole that is World of Warcraft, I first played about 4 years ago  now and needless to say I was impressed, there was a sheer sense of scale that I hadn’t come across before in a video game.

Times change and things move on, I grew dissillusioned with WOW and set out n search of other MMOs to pit my skills against.

I settled on Lord of the rings online by Turbine, I was very pleased with LOTRO and have been an avid player ever since I first set foot in the Shire.

 For starters the game is stunning and I don’t just mean for an MMO it is stunning compared to more or less any game out there that you care to mention! The story is also very well done and the whole game does feel plot driven, no mean feat considering that the game runs parallel to the story of the fellowship and other than crossing paths with the members occasionally runs completely separately.

The only problem with LOTRO is that it doesn’t have that same sense of  scale that WOW has and I’m not talking about the size of the world map. WOW has always felt sort of limitless and like there is always something that you haven’t quite managed to do yet.

LOTRO has lost that for me a little bit, some of  the end game content has been a little bit weak and the new expansion, Siege of Mirkwood, didn’t really add to the game in the same way that Mines of Moria did.

So I went back to WOW after a 2.5 year hiatus. A LOT has changed for starters Wrath of the Lich King has been launched and we are very rapidly approaching the launch of Cataclysm, the third expansion pack.

Backstory over.

I was day dreaming on Saturday about ways in which I would try and improve WOW if I could and I actually hit upon a few ideas that I thought were actually quite feasible and would add just that little bit extra to the game, the glace cherry on top of the already delicious cake if you will.

LOTRO players might notice a theme here so I am going  to come out and say it these are ideas that are implemented in LOTRO, they aren’t unique to there but I do feel that Turbine have implemented them particularly well.

So here in no particular order is my WOW wishlist:

1. Player houses.

A simple idea and some might say a extraneous one but there is something about having your own piece of in game real estate that just adds to the overall sense of immersion.

Imagine having your tree house in Un Goro crater or a mud hut to call your own in the Barrens! Also It needn’t just be a status symbol for you to decorate and show off, you could have additional storage that you could purchase and your own little mailbox right at your front door (I’m blatantly stealing at this point!)

This is saying nothing of guild halls, imagine if you will a starter guild with some drafty two room hall in Brill, it’s humble but for you and the guys its home, contrast this with the mini-fortress on the outskirts of Orgrimmar owned by a mighty raiding guild, the walls are festooned with trophies from their countless victories and a sense of pride and strength eminates from the very building itself filling all who enter it with a sense of awe.

2. An outfit system.

If you are a player on an RPG server or just someone who likes to have a bit of a backstory and make themselves that bit different what would be better than a change of outfit.

Maybe you have some comfortable “town clothes” you want to wear after a hard days questing, perhaps you love the stats on your armour but hate how it looks?

Well what if you were to have separate tabs on your character viewer, your main tab would have the armour and equipment that you are actively using and gaining stats from, the other tabs could have items dropped onto them that would simply display; are you a mage that always wanted to run around in full plate looking like a warrior go for it, you will still be squishy and dead but you will certainly look badass!

I know this is purely for the sake of vanity but it isn’t as if this would be a first look at the whole collection of vanity pets out there that not only do people go nuts for but they pay RL money to get em. Blizzard could so much money off of this it would be nuts, we are talking fat stacks of paper just for giving people imaginary clothes.

3. Legendary Weapons.

In LOTRO there is a class of weapon that makes everything else look like a blunt fruit knife by comparison, Legendary Weapons.

Basically these are a better class of wepaon that becomes available to you late on in the game, they have a variety of different sockets – nothing new there, they can be enchanted – again no great shakes but they gain xp .

The more you use them and the more badass mothers you take down the more xp your weapon of choice gains and as we all know points make prizes, when you reach certain levels of xp you can add points to the various stats on your item.

There are even two types of NPC just to support legendary weapons; lets say you find a new legenday axe, you need to identify it before you can use it, so off you trot to an expert and find out that this particular axe has x,y,z stats, don’t like these stats? Well in that case pop next door to his buddy and melt the axe down, on melting it down you will end up various relics, gems and runes that made the axe what it was that you can either slot into other weapons or combine together to make even more powerful relics etc.

Personally I don’t like how frequently legenday weapons drop in LOTRO but I can see it working in WOW, imagine being able to have a completely customisable sword or axe or staff that would grow with you, we aren’t talking some all conquering death bringer but it would certainly be a damn damn fine weapon.

Maybe it would be a class of weapon that would only be available at end game and would add yet another face to what is available to do whilst waiting for the next expansion to come out, maybe they would be PvP only and you would get the relics etc by looting the corpses of your HKs, to my mind there are a whole range of possibilities.

Well that is it, I’m spent, I’m all wished out.

Feel free to suggest your own ideas or tear mine into shreds, healthy discussion makes the world go round after all 😉





Going Solo

10 05 2010

I ditched my guild.

Yesterday I finally decided that enough was enough and that I was going solo.

I have been considering this course of action for a while, it’s not that I am a solitary gamer or that I don’t like the social aspect of being in a guild (just ask my kinmates in LOTRO) but I do have certain standards of what I deem to be acceptable behaviour.

I’m not saying that I’m a saint or that I expect anyone else to be one but there are limits to what I think is tolerable or acceptable.

I first realised I might have issues with my new guild when I first partied up with some of them; usually when you run with a party made up of guild members things are pretty polished because they know how to work together, not so in this case, they bickered all the time.

I don’t just mean a little bit of light hearted banter as you would get between friends I mean a childish full on argument, this person was a noob, your gears shit blah blah blah blah it was never ending.

I could have over looked this if they were actually any good at playing the game, alas this was also beyond their meagre capabilities.

There were two paladins in the group me and one other who on the face of things was a healadin, it would be fair to assume that there would be two different auras up and that all party members would get two buffs, one from each. I had buffed myself with BoM (blessing of might)  and asked the healerdin for BoK (blessing of kings).

The answer I got back in chat was a question mark, so I thought ok maybe he doesnt use silly little terms like bok and bom and so I asked for blessing of kings in full instead, again all I got back was ?

Turns out not only did he not know what I was on about but he didnt have a blessing, a seal or an aura up at all?!?!?! These are the tools of a paladins trade, how on Azeroth can you reach level 23 without knowing what these are and using them accordingly?

The same level of immaturity and general noobness when it comes to WOW was also displayed regularly in guild chat so for most of the time I just ignored the worst culprits and didn’t really pay attention to what was being said at all.

Now to my mind thats not fun, I don’t join a guild in order to have to ignore everyone in the chat list other than my alts, I want to group up, help one another, boost people through tough areas of the game etc etc, not trudge around by myself looking for pugs because my guildees are noob douche bags.

So I tried again, I threw myself into guild life with a renewed vigour, I managed to trick myself into thinking that maybe I am just a stick in the mud and should lighten up and that maybe if I just cut loose it would all turn out to be fun in the end.

Fuck me was I wrong.

Yesterday evening I was farming pages in Stranglethorn waiting to get a slot for Zul Farrak and due to the mind numbing drudgery of any farming or grinding I had half an eye on guild chat.

I suddenly noticed that the chat had steered away from who wanted what end game gear when they hit 80 to a far more lewd chat about their various sexual conquests, or judging by how they act lack of.

After reading the usual drivel from a 22 stone myopic gamer who lives in his parents basement about how he lost his virginity to twins when he was 12 and they “totally lezzed off together as well” I was already slightly nauseous and had endured just about as much stupid bravado and bull shit as I can take…things got worse and I’m not talking about just a little bit blue or stupid or whatever.

They started asking people who weren’t actively lying about their made up sexual experiences why they weren’t joining in and generally barracking them about being virgins or gay and all sorts of other childish crap.

Well one guildee that they asked replied by saying that yes she was a virgin and certainly wasn’t ashamed of it as she is a 17 year old girl. The response to this was that they didn’t believe she was a girl (common complaint in wow). She assured them that she was to which she was asked to prove it, they weren’t happy with the idea that she speak to them on vent and that they could all hear that she was girl no this wasn’t proof enough.

They asked her to add them on msn and to strip on cam to prove she was a girl, when she said no they called her a lesbian and started barracking her further.

What sort of dumbass sick fucks think this sort of thing is acceptable or funny. I know for a fact that a lot of people in the guild are a lot younger than me but even so this is just out and out offensive. Needless to say I filed a complaint and left straight away.





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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