Friday, July 6, 2007

As God Is My Witness, I Thought Gnomes Could Fly

Best. Hack. Ever.

Short version: Goldfarmers use a teleport hack to rain naked gnomes from the sky in Ironforge, spelling out the name of their website in the corpses. I shit you not.

I hate goldfarmers as much as the next guy, but man, this is funny.

I want my epics!

Info nicked from Random Battle:

Up to this point, the epic class-specific armor sets in LOTRO were only dropping in the Helegrod raid, and even then only boots and gloves. Devs swore up and down that the rest of the sets were dropping, we just hadn't figured out where yet.

Then this post comes out, and now the whole set will drop both inside Helegrod, and..."somewhere outside Helegrod". Hmm. That should make the non-raiders happy, but I'm a bit trepidous. Being an only-occasional raider myself, especially in a game where there's only one raid instance, I'm glad I can get my burglar set some other way, but does that mean it'll drop in Carn Dum? Or...just randomly around the world off high-level mobs? Off Ettenmoors Tyrants? Who knows? Also, didn't you say earlier that they were ALREADY dropping outside Helegrod? Was that true? Is it still true? Gah.

I'm trying really hard to be optomistic here, since I know it's a game in its infancy. The game has tons of potential and I'm sure it will grow into itself soon. I'm just an impatient bastard. And reading stuff about Warhammer Online isn't helping my LOTRO love grow. I want my squig-herder, dammit! :)

Super Chicken

The newest news from the LOTRO staff is that the next major content update, Book 10, will include among its myriad features something called Session Play, wherein you can take control of a non-persistent creature and control it to run around and do special quests, presumably for some rewards that will transfer to your actual character. At the time of Book 10's release, there will be three options for Session Play. In the Ettenmoors, the sort-of-PvP zone, you can take control of a Ranger or a Troll, which sounds pretty awesome, based on the experiences I've already had in the Ettenmoors. It may solve some monster play balance problems, or may exacerbate them, I'm not really sure. But it should be fun.

The third option is a chicken. A regular, run-of-the-mill, level 1 chicken. You can run around and talk to animals, do some...chicken quests, I guess. And eventually, after you do all of the instanced chicken quests, get to run around as your chicken whenever you want. I don't think you level it up or anything, and you can't attack anyone, or chat with them, or really do anything other than jump up and down and annoy them. But for some reason, a lot of people think this is a great idea. I just don't see the appeal.

Since I fall squarely in the Achiever category with a minor in Socializer, I'll probably check out the chicken play for a few minutes, and only really dive into it if I find out the end reward for my main is actually worth it. And since itemization in LOTRO is already fairly weak, I doubt it will be.

Then there's the main argument of the people who hate this idea: Why add something fluffy like this when there's SO MUCH that needs to be fixed right now? The dev response is that Session Play was done by one dev on his spare time, which is fine, but I really hope Book 10 addresses some of the concerns that are pretty much universal among LOTRO players at this point: the aforementioned weak itemization, a pretty much complete lack of character customization options, bugged pets, imbalanced PvP, etc etc.

Turbine's community managers, led by the aptly named Patience, really needed to spin this better. At the moment it's being recieved as "We know there's a bunch of stuff to be fixed, but here, have a house and a chicken!"

Official article on Session Play can be found here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Would YOU Pay to Solo?

So Cuppy has posed the following question: If a game were to come out that was identical in all ways to an MMO, in support, updates, persistent world, etc, but WASN'T multiplayer - ie, you play alone, or with NPC's, the whole game, would you still pay a monthly fee for it?

When I read that, I had almost already said "No" when I stopped to think. My answer still came out "No", but now I had to think about it. Why wouldn't I? It's the updates and support and neverending, ongoing gameplay that we're all paying for, right? We want a game that we can never beat, that keeps throwing more content at us. We still want the climactic encounters, the big boss battles that we remember from Final Fantasy games and the like, but then we want the game to keep going. That's what we're paying for, aren't we?

Well, maybe not. Maybe we're paying for the community aspect. We want to play with others, form grand adventuring companies, slay dragons, do things that one character alone could never accomplish. It wouldn't be the same to take part in a 40-man raid if 39 of them were bots. Or maybe we want to PvP, which you obviously can't do by yourself. We WANT to play with others, to know that there's hundreds or thousands of other people out there sharing our pain and listening when we brag about our accomplishments. We like other people. Right?

Well, maybe not. I mean, in general, the thing you complain about the most in an MMO is the other people. Whether it's goldfarmers or griefers or just plain idiots, let's assume that half of the people in any given game are people you don't want to play with. I don't have any stats to back that up, but it's just a number.

Am I really paying 15 dollars a month (well, 10 for LOTRO, but that's not the point) for the privelege of playing with HALF of the playerbase of the game? If not, what the hell AM I paying for?