Random post

I am currently toying with the idea of subscribing to WoW again – trying to explain below why it is such a difficult choice.

It all started when I realized while fishing in LotRO that I missed WoW fishing, with its variety of fish, and – very importantly – an audible splash upon biting, which allowed me to fish with a book or a tablet, only looking at the screen to cast and then to place mouse pointer on the bobber. In LotRO, you have to do it by the image only, and staring at the still picture trying to not miss the animation gets old fast, however nice the landscape. All right, thought naive little me, a non-subscription “starter edition” will not allow me to play any of my old high-level characters, but I can start a new one. Sure, it will be capped at level 20, but unlike crafting skills, fishing has no level requirements, and while I won’t be able to get to the Outland, effectively capping my fishing at 300 (although Darkmoon Faire may change that), I can sneak into most places even at level 20, and even if I have to pick up a fight, a level 20 tank pally in full heirlooms is a fairly durable thing, so… let’s see where it takes me, I thought. A fun set of restrictions to play with, I thought.

But then of course non-subscription accounts have fishing and cooking hard capped at 100, so there it goes. And I am not at all sure I want to commit to the game again, or even if I want to subscribe just to fish around for a while. The reason is, I dislike WoD so much that knowing that this is what awaits me as the endgame almost takes the fun out of playing at lower levels, which I mostly enjoy. I hate garrisons. If I wanted a game where I have to log in at a set time to collect resources, I’d play Farmville. I hate what they did to crafting, which became both hollow and obsolete. I hate reputation grinds and sitting around waiting for a rare boss to respawn (I didn’t like Timeless Isle either, but at the time it was relevant I was mostly doing other things). And so I voted with my feet (and with my wallet). Reversing this vote now would feel like endorsing something I don’t like at all.

Besides, my usual style of play seems too taxing at the moment, real life and all. I am an avid altoholic and crafter, always leveling a team of characters that is essentially self-reliant (i.e. all professions, one rogue to open locks, one dk to start off and farm for money while other characters are low level, so that everyone is able to buy riding skills asap, a druid herbalist because picking herbs, unlike mining, does not kick you out of the flying form, so gathering becomes a breeze, and so on). I have my initial team (horde) on one server (three characters at level 100 even), and another full team (alliance) on another one, and another very ambitious project elsewhere. Do I want to pick them up? I don’t have the time or determination, I am afraid. But if I start something else, won’t it end up being just another one of the same kind?

On the other hand, I need something to fiddle with (mostly out of frustration at a life situation, I am afraid). Recently I’ve been playing LotRO with a side of RuneScape (the latter for the situations when I also need to be doing something else, so I can’t concentrate on the game, but I am still restless enough to be unable to fully concentrate on that other thing either. I already wrote how RuneScape is unique in that it allows this type of play. Also, beats doodling). I however dumped RuneScape after the latest client update (their new client with huge claims for “improved performance” eats as much CPU and twice as much memory as the old one. Lags more, as well). And in LotRO, I hit a bit of a wall at my level 40, which mostly has to do with my playstyle. I am an altoholic, craftoholic (especially in LotRO where the market for crafted items hardly exists), and completionist, and my current setup is one “main” and three crafting alts. I gave up the idea of leveling four characters of different classes and professions, but even when actually only playing one “main”, I am drowning in various task items, reputation items, crafting materials of different tiers and so on. May as well slow down a bit.

And after all I have a vague feeling that if aforementioned life situation goes away, my gripes with current games and unexpected urges to play games I have gripes with will just fix themselves. This however, does not really help with the current “to buy or not to buy” question. Eh well. After all, I am lucky enough that I don’t have to choose between buying food and buying games, and while I have a self-imposed choice between buying beer and buying games, I don’t even have to feel bad about deciding either way.

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totally unrelated coolstory

I just stumbled upon Marc Jacobs and his Foundational Principles for Camelot Unchained, through this post by Bhagpuss.

Once upon a time when I was playing WoW, a guild advertisement popped up in the trade chat. The newly made guild would only accept “the coolest, most leet and hardcore players”. The ad also explicitly mentioned “balls of steel”, possibly in the guild name itself, I don’t quite remember. Or was it iron? Some metal alloy, for sure.

The lifespan of the advertisement campaign was one day, maybe two, they were laughed at so hard. So why did I suddenly remember this while reading CU’s foundational principles? No idea, must be a total coincidence.

LotRO progress and tidbits

Did I mention I was an avid altoholic? My highest character is level 25, and I already have 5 of ’em. Dream team of 4 on Crickhollow (four races, different classes, and all crafting professions covered between them), plus one on Gladden. That last one I just created yesterday for three reasons. First, house. My elf visited the Duillond housing area and I realized I want an elf-house. The problem is, my original team of four is getting a hobbit-hole, and it is not for discussion; I even got money set aside for a deluxe hole with bells and whistles (processed crafting materials, even – or especially? – at tiers 1 and 2, sell for ridiculous lumps of money). So, since there can only be one home per account per server, if I want to see the inside of an elven residence, I need a character somewhere else. Second, I wanted to try playing a minstrel. Third, I wanted a character that wasn’t part of the exchange network that is going on between the main four, so that, for example, I shouldn’t be thinking “is this useful for another alt, should I mail it” when sorting my inventory, or “I should go and get some leather so that another alt can level tailoring to make armor for yet another alt”. A character for cranky solitary times; escapism within escapism. So I went and made that elven minstrel on Gladden (and, tbh, marathon leveled her to 20 within the 24 hours that a rental horse is active. Now that she’s got four hooves of her own, I can let go for a while, likely parking her next to a task spot to log in once a day and unload them broken hatchets). And I want to say,

Minstrel is OP.

At least at low levels. I play Warrior-Skald (red tree), always in the Dissonance stance, and the burst damage is insane. I think she is doing better than my (blue) hunter, plus no energy resource that needs constant recharging (hunter play: as soon as you are out of combat, Focus. Got nothing better to do? Focus. You have this creeping feeling that you forgot something when you left home this morning? Check your Focus), plus self heals. Granted, she has no armor and no lifepoints to speak of, but maybe it is just my lousy gear (skirmish camp, here I come). Plus, the sound effect of the burst skills is annoying (basically, you scream at your opponent really loud), but this can be helped by turning the combat sound volume down, or just takes getting used to.

Today, I was yelling at trees in the Southern Barrow-downs, and paired up with a guardian who was doing the same. I took aggro off him every single tree, whenever I used anything except Minor Ballad! I don’t know how people tank in this game. Granted, if we were in an instance, I would have been in a Resonance stance, and wouldn’t have attacked unless the tank was dead (I am a big fan of a “healer heals, and if at times healing isn’t needed, healer sits back and enjoys moments of respite” approach – by the way, I don’t plan to heal with this character, or go to instances at all). But wouldn’t the same happen with any other DPS? Or is minstrel that much OP?

Meanwhile, for some reason the elven minstrel story line tipped it for me in terms of small things (not) adding up.

What do some obscure Englishman’s writings have to do with our awesome game?

I understand that making separate quest zones for different races is too taxing, but… Bree, of all places, crawling with elves? A human minstrel telling an elven colleague to prove her worth by getting on the table and singing for entertainment of the tavern guests, then praising her condescendingly and referring to her as “young blood”? Young? Look who’s talking.

Then, all these big heroic types like Boromir talking to my hunter like she is a one hobbit elite commando squad. “We got a problem that we don’t know how to deal with, and we think you are just the right person for the job”. Boromir, who hasn’t seen a hobbit in his entire life, and who doesn’t trust anything that isn’t Gondor military power?

These seem small though after reading that forum thread on PvMP (I was researching the thing to try and find out whether it is worth getting into) where someone argued that using monster alts to spy for the freep side was backed up by the lore. Indeed, what do some obscure Englishman’s writings have to do with our awesome game?

LotRO why

The connection loss is real. It happens several times a day, in two situations: either when the character is crossing the border between two zones (areas? instances? not  the “zone” zones that represent different regions, but rather passing through a door, or crossing that invisible boundary while on the surface. “Now entering: The Delving Fields”. Boom! Frozen, then disconnect), or when trying to enter world after character select (loading never happens, then error message). I am frankly thinking this is sliding towards unplayable, especially since one of my four alts is completely unaccessible right now (just never loads). The other three are just fine, so I am pretty sure it isn’t a problem with my connection – though I am also pretty sure that tech support is going to tell me just that. Check your firewall, contact your ISP, something on your computer is preventing lotro client from reaching the server, blah blah. Sure, “something on my computer” just doesn’t like this one alt. So looks like soon it will be back to GW2 for me. Sigh.

Pursuing it with eager feet

I’ve got an urge lately to try a new game, and in my case it doesn’t really mean “that cool new title” but rather “that time-proven classic that I’ve hopelessly missed”. So, I was choosing between LotRO and Dragon Age (yeah, I know), and ended up trying LotRO. Well now I am torn (totally unexpectedly, of course) between buying a subscription, buying a starter pack, and staying F2P for a while longer. I will eventually buy one of the two (I fully appreciate the try before you buy model, and it is exactly because of that I think that if you liked it, putting some money in is the right thing to do), just can’t decide which one. Samwise Gamgee starter pack (and the Premium status that comes with it) has essentially everything I need (riding, access to the auction house, more inventory slots, mailing money between alts, currency cap removal), except quests past level 20 (nevertheless there are so many quests in the starting zones it’ll take me weeks to finish them all, and you can go into the higher zones anyway, just no one will tell you which rats to kill). A sub means all the quests and some points that’ll help buy an expansion in some distant future, but it also brings a sense of commitment with it. I only have so much time to play, so picking up LotRO effectively means abandoning GW2.

P.S. While this post was hanging as a draft (actually a longer version of it, with more rambling about pros and cons of different options), I finally decided to get a subscription. Find me somewhere in the fields around Waymeet or the woods around Overhill (current goal: explore all of the Shire on foot. Home sweet home!).