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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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 😉





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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