LotRO Free First Impressions

I played LotRO wow, about a year ago, and since I dropped out of the scene I didn’t notice that LotRO went free to play recently. When I found that out I figured it would be a great way for me and my Mom to get a chance to have in game fun again without dealing with a monthly payment. I mean don’t get me wrong I’m not for or against subscription based services. Being the general slacker that I am, ok that and the fact that I just finished doing some more work and it’s 2am, that’ll tell you that I’m not planning on getting my money’s worth out of a subscription based MMO until I’m in a retirement home.

I wonder if anyone has included monthly gaming fees in their retirement plans?

Thing is though that a game for me and Mom has to have fishing because we’re in game anglers (hey I AM a slacker here, no better way to laze around than to find a nice fishing hole, in game or out). A free game is optimal. The big clincher though is whether the game would run on laptops and even over wireless connections. Since I’m not expecting to get into any raiding whatsoever, I don’t really care if my connection drops or bottlenecks a bit because my neighbors are hogging the line with illegal movie downloads.

Supposedly everyone does it, I just get netflix.

I was skeptical if LotRO could meet those requirements. When I’d last played the game a year ago it took forever to install and lets face it, if I didn’t have my pumped up gaming rig I probably would have had issues running the game. You see LotRO is a visually stunning game, there’s no two ways about it. When you can crank up the graphics, it’s beautiful to behold. Downside though is that it takes forever to get all those assets loaded on your system, it takes a lot of bandwidth just to transmit, and since I was running Vista at the time, it also meant that I needed a nice beefy video card to get the most out of the game.

Well these days my gaming needs have changed pretty radically. I still have my desktop, but I don’t want to be strapped to a desk just to play a game. I love laptops because they give me the freedom to take my computer anywhere I go, so long as signal and the battery hold out.

That kind of freedom comes with a price. Not all laptops are meant to handle resource heavy graphics found in the top MMO’s. You should have seen my Vaio trying not to choke while I was playing WoW on it.

LotRO though, at least the standard download, seems to be ok. At least for now. I pushed a hobbit to level 5 and my machine didn’t lag or croak so I think LotRO will work out for me and my Mom.

LotRO has changed a lot since I last played it. I’d like to say that I’d be digging into those but really I know I’m just going to end up slacking off on the Brandywine bridge telling jokes, using the /handstand emote, and of course, catching fish.

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My MMO Mom

Chances are if you’ve read a bit of my blog you’ll know that I played World of Warcraft with my Mom. In fact some of the first few entries on this blog talk about just that.

Since I don’t play anything anymore, I miss getting to play online with my Mom. We had some fun times and some frustrating times.

Mom never cared if I got us into hairy situations. Mom didn’t care if I needed a night of just fishing to relax after a stupid day at work. Mom didn’t even mind spending nights gathering materials for crafting.

As long as we got to hang out, it seemed like Mom always had fun. She always offered portals to where ever we needed to go, mailed me all kinds of buff foods, and she always celebrated the in game holidays with me even if it meant taking time away from questing and leveling.

When my Mom first started, World of Warcraft was one big candy store and she was a kid again. She spent hours roaming around a new and exciting world, leaving the mundane world behind for just a few hours at a time. It really was a lot of fun watching my Mom during her first few days in WoW. As time went on I was even more proud to see how many friends she had, how far she leveled, and how much she still enjoyed the game, savoring the whole of it, even at a snail’s pace.

Sadly the first few times I started working on this post, I had a hard time maintaining it’s focus on playing WoW with my Mom. I had originally fallen into a bitter tangent on how I felt about playing games and how obsessed I always managed to get in doing so.

I guess I somehow started playing games with something to prove. I wanted to prove to the world in this space just as I have in any other, that I can do whatever I put my mind to regardless of who I am, what I am, and whatever limitations I might have.

That was stupid. Because of that blind ambition I always for got to just have fun. I fell into goal mode. I always felt like I was getting judged even if it turned out it was only me judging myself. All that pressure pushed me into spending way too much time in game and ignoring so many things. Not to mention ignoring things in game that were so much more important both in game and out.

Instead of just relaxing and having fun with my Mom, I kept thinking about how I’d make sure we had enough gold for things. I’d be obsessing over how I played my class or whether I was using the correct talent trees. I’d think about how I needed some specific gear to level faster or to just kill things more efficiently. I never pushed these thoughts on my Mom, much to the lament and confusion of friends and guild mates.

My Mom never cared about any of those things. Mom just enjoyed playing the game and getting a chance to spend time with me. Really getting to spend time with someone who cares about you is so much more valuable than any epic item. Even if she embarrasses you by telling your guild via vent that you’re table dancing in Exodar *facepalms*. Some fun things are best left unshared with a guild intent on raiding, but that’s not really something Mom ever really cared about and honestly, I think she had the right idea all along.

Today I was chatting over instant messenger with my Mom. Despite all the things we were discussing, one thing stuck out in my mind. Mom missed playing games with me too. If  nothing else, I miss getting a chance to just hang out and chat while doing some fishing.

Though now I have two jobs, I’d love to find some time, maybe once a week, just to log into a game and go fishing with my Mom. Now that Lord of the Rings Online is free to play, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. Roll a Hobbit and just hang my big feet off a bridge and fish like an MMO hobo while hanging out with my Mom.

Sadly though is that pull enough to get to download and log in again? I really don’t know. It’s like saying I’ll only have one potato chip, or I’ll only watch the first 5 minutes of a movie. I don’t want to get into a game just to get mired in the grind, or obsessed with stats and progression. Only to end up ignoring the people I love while pouring all of my time and energy into a 3D vacuum.

Could I log into a game just for the fun of it? Could I learn to just enjoy games at the same level my Mom does? Maybe I should just tell Mom I’ll be on instant messenger. Yeah it’s not the same, but maybe it’s for the best. I doubt that Turbine would appreciate it if Mom and I used their game as a very pretty chat window.

Saying Goodby

So this past week I did finally say goodbye to my LotRO Guild Smaug’s Legacy. If you’re on Landroval and you’re looking for a guild, talk to Dragco.

I had a lot of fun in LotRO, the people on the Landroval server are absolutely amazing. In fact if it weren’t for the people on that server I doubt I’d have played LotRO for as long as I did.

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LotRO: Taking a Break

So yeah LotRO has slowed to a crawl. Sure I could spend all of my time in instances and level faster, but really I’m just frustrated with the game. I enjoyed the idea of making armour for my Kinship, but I don’t feel like waiting 6 weeks to complete a full set of armour and/or grind up and spend a stupid quantity of time/coin on materials for single use patterns. Especially when I need to be saving coin to spend on training for new skills.

I haven’t cancelled my subscription, and I’m still logging in once in a while, but yeah I just don’t have a whole lot of motivation to log into the game right now. I need to get in a little recruiting for my Kinship (hopefully to find someone to replace me).

LotRO: A Little Diffrent from the Norm


So the Kinship decided on a Hauberk to wear for Kin events and whatnot. It’s kind of scaly so it fits with the theme of our Kinship pretty well. (Smaug, the Kin’s namesake is a dragon). Before stoing the hauberk for the night Savvy and I rode thought Bree wearing the new colors and I figured I’d grab a snapshot for the Kin website.

I’d picked up the idea for a Kin Hauberk after seeing a mounted patrol event by the Kin “Sons of Numenor”. It’s a pretty impressive show seeing that group all on horseback all wearing the same colors. They usually have a pic posted of their event on their webby (link). I’m not saying that Smaug’s will get quite that organized any time soon. After recent events though we are in sore need of a little Esprit De Corp so to speak.

We’ve gained two promising new members recently, but we’ve also lost two of our core members. It was tough at first, but it really seems like we’re rallying again and we’re moving on. For the most part a lot of last night was spent on a trip to Rivendell
for one of our newer Kin members (something we seem to do on a regular
basis these days), and hunting ore for a Kinmate who’s leveling up to
be the Kinship Weaponsmith.

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LotRO: Riding with Style, Right into that Tree….


Woo Hooo! Finally hit 35 AND made enough to pay for the mount. I still had the festival tokens and ticket in the bank so I was able to pick up a lovely Summer Festival horse. This is actually pretty huge for my slack-tastic self. Usually I barely manage to scrape enough up for a standard mount, and typically that’s about 3 levels AFTER the minimum purchase level. Guess I’m getting the hang of this stuff. Ok MAYBE.

LotRO: Working Towards 35 and Getting a House

So in LotRO you're eligible for picking up your mount at level 35 (well level 35 and plopping down 4 gold and 220 silver or thereabouts). I'm pretty excited about getting my mount really. I participated in the Summer Festival fishing quests and ended up with enough festival coins to pick up a festival horse. I still have to plunk down coin for the horse, but for the first time in playing an MMO I've actually worked on getting a special mount. Granted this wasn't the hardest one in LotRO to pick up by any means, but I actually did it.

LotRO: Rune-Keeper Update Ding 29 & Artisan Metalsmith

I’m very excited. I’m almost halfway to the level cap! I can already start working on Return to Rivendell by killing 150 Orc. Sad part is that shouldn’t be too terribly tough since they’re friggin everywhere.

Now Artisan Metalsmith… *sheesh*! Metalsmith is a pain to level. I’ve been mostly making tools for the Auction House. They don’t sell super well but they also don’t cost an arm, a leg, or half a lifetime to produce. There’s a whole set of armour at the Expert level that I just haven’t bothered producing because not only would I need to get the tailoring elements (because I haven’t bothered leveling my Tailoring at all), but I’d also need to get polished rubies from a Jeweler AND scour the wilderness for mobs that drop Ruby Shards. While I’d prefer to make some nice heavy armour for the Kinsmen that can wear it, I’m pretty much stuck to making tools. I have purchased decently prices Saphire Shards at the Auction House to produce Forge-Crafted gear. The sad part is that a good portion of folks in the Kin already have better gear than the Forge-Crafted gear and I’m not skilled enough to make the super gear at that level yet. That and getting special components and hoping to get a critical super product when you’re making an item from a one time use recipe and using rare drop components is probably a lot like praying for rain in the desert.

At least though I am up to making Steel crafting tools and I’ve purchased or picked up a few recipes. Last night I produced and distributed some of the tools to Kin members. There still some Kin members I didn’t get tools out to, but hopefully I’ll be able to collect a little ore tonight and plug away at the list. Why am I doing this you ask? Because I can! The folks in my Kin have been very helpful to me and I’d like to be able to return the favor in any way I can. Since I can’t really afford to craft uber armour right now, that’s sort of out, but I can make tools. Steel tools in particular increase the chances of producing +stat items (or crit crafted items) when crafting. With my Steel Smithing Hammer, I’ve got a 65% crit chance on Tier 1 items. That’s not to say that I’ve actually produced anything that’s crit as of yet (aside from the random Bronze Ingot), but I’m ever hopeful.

The Book 8 Crafting changes also made Crit Crafting a LOT easier. Instead of getting a drop that says “this item can be used for crafting” and just vendoring it because it’s taking up space in my bags, I can now mine the Crit Crafting ingredients as I’m mining for ore and it says right on the item which profession can use it. Now I just have to remember to start sending the Crit Crafting ingredients I can’t use to Kin members instead of vendoring them like an idiot.

As for my Rune-Keeper side I’m also running around fully Traited for healing. *giggles* Typically when leveling healers, I NEVER want to set myself up for healing until further along in the game. Healers usually can heal really well, but can’t kill anything and tend to be squished pretty quickly. So really unless I know I’m going to be running in groups for the most part, I set up my healy types as hybrid DPS/healers or as full DPS and then switch over closer to end game. The downside is that I do play later than most folks and I don’t always get a chance to quest with others. I could just answer every “looking for fellowship” call I see and gain experience that way, but there’s sometimes that I just want to run around on my own, collecting goodies and killing anything that moves. 😀

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Well LotRO Book 8 was released today for the US servers so now my system is doing the download thing. Chances are I won't be able to login tonight. Then again a nice night relaxing at home and watching some movies doesn't sound too bad.

On a positive note, I couldn't sleep last night so I completed a few quests getting Geistig to 25. So hopefully when I log in I'll be able to start working on 26. I feel like I'm falling behind the other Kin members a bit.

LotRO: House of the Crazy Cat Lady


So last night after taking Weathertop for a second time and getting halfway to 25, it was time to return to Bree and get in some serious crafting. Ok so AFTER getting into some serious crafting I decided to do some running around Bree. I'd seen a hunter running around on the roof tops and I really wanted to get up there. If nothing else it'd make for some great screenshots. Unfortunately I couldn't figure out how to get up there (though I tried lemme tell you) but I did find a door that I hadn't noticed before.

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