Monthly Archives: July 2012

Audio mining. Node 01

I enjoy listening to a variety of podcasts while I’m working.  It helps keep me sane.  Most of these happen to be game related podcasts.  As I don’t know how many blog readers are also podcast listeners, I thought it might be of interest to some (perhaps not) if I shared various quotes from these podcasts.  I’ll try and post these periodically as I have the time. 

Here is the first batch:

“I’m looking forward to doing mounted combat.  However…what happens if it turns out we’re not very good at it, because we’re badly coordinated people, or the fact that we simply don’t like it?  And then it’s a question of what percentage of the expansion pack [will involve mounted combat]?  If there’s 100 quests in this expansion, [and] if 70 are revolving around mounted combat, then that player who does not like mounted combat has surely got a problem.”

— Roger from Contains Moderate Peril / Episode 68


“I don’t think I did any of the quests in the Water-works.  I think it’s the slimiest, nastiest mug hole full of glow worms and disgusting giant hypnotic frogs, and I do not like that zone.”

–Goldenstar from A Casual Stroll to Mordor / Episode 153


“The problem I have with some of these big MMO franchises that I love…whether it’s LotRO or DDO or even World of Warcraft [is that] as a guy who is playing a ton of different games, it almost makes me sad to see them putting out something as good as Riders of Rohan, because [even though] I can play this in beta, there’s no chance in freakin’ hell I’m going to get a max level character through LotRO anytime soon…  I’m just not going to get there.

I think this is a systemic problem with MMOs.  You get these teams that make this great content for end game to keep their diehard fans happy and it sits there fallow for the rest of us.” 

— Julian Murdoch from Gamers With Jobs Conference Call / Episode 302


Answering the siren’s call

Beau Hindman’s siren songs have been playing seductively in my ears for years now.  For the record, he’s been singing them a long time.  In fact, he now sings them from the shores of Massively.  In case you haven’t heard, here’s the gist of what he likes to sing about:

When it comes to your gaming, slow down.  Don’t worry about your level.  Explore more.  Rely less on maps and fast travel.  Get into the experience.  Role-play it up a bit. 

I can’t tell you how appealing this play style sounds to me, and yet, the way I play couldn’t be more opposite.  

Unfortunately, the speed of life that bleeds into every facet of my existence dictates my play style.  As there is very little down time in my daily routine, I’m constantly aware of the time, where I need to be in the next half hour, what needs to get done before I move on to the next task.  And that’s how I tend to play my MMOs.  Where do I need to go next? Bee-lining from quest hub to quest hub.  What quests can I knock out there?  Are the XP and the quest rewards worth it? 

I wish I could check my real world baggage in at the door before entering my gamer’s mindset.  However, that’s usually not the case.  When I do find the time to game, I’m always aware of the time (and what little there is of it).  I constantly feel the need to make the most of it and that there’s not a moment to waste.  Sadly, exploration, following the story of a particular quest chain, and simply enjoying the experience of being in an online world all take a hit during these sessions.

In other words,  my gaming has become less of an escape and more of an extension of my real life.  And that’s not really what I want.

I would be lying though if I said I didn’t enjoy what I’m doing in game.  This treadmill approach to gaming has served me well for many years, and it keeps me logging in, that’s for sure.  The sense of accomplishment is intoxicating and quite fulfilling.  But here’s the catch: this constant grind is exactly what burns me out on a given game.  I simply can’t sustain the level of drive needed to keep it all going.  And before I know it, the bottom drops out.  I’ve lost the momentum and simply stop logging in.

So where does that leave me now?

At the very least I plan to make a concerted effort to slow things down, to take more time with the whole questing experience.   If that means taking a slower form of travel from time to time or resisting the urge to constantly check my map and XP bar, well then, so bit it.  Speaking of which, I wish MMOs would come with the option to hide your XP bar (not necessarily turn it off).  That would be a feature I would definitely take advantage of.  At the moment I’m leveling—err, adventuring through Middle-earth with a captain.  He’s staying in Rivendell but has plans to move north up into the MistyMountains to see if he can lend a hand to Gloin and his dwarven crew.  Adventure is yet another siren’s call I find difficult to ignore.

For the time being though, I’ll remain chained to the mast of continued leveling, quest grinding and chasing the armor upgrade prize.  And even if in the end I’m not successful in slowing things down, it’s still nice to know that there are players out there who have.

Thanks Beau.  Please keep the songs coming.

O captain, my captain

My green behind the ears hobbit warden.

I managed to reach level cap with my warden last week.  Being level capped is a relatively new phenomenon for me.  I’ve only pulled this off a handful of times in the past, most recently in Rift.  So I wasn’t very sure what I wanted to do next.  Seeing how I’m not much of one for fine tuning my end game characters, and knowing that the release of the next expansion, Riders of Rohan, was almost two months away, I knew my time with this character was coming to a close for now.  Over the past several days I’ve done my best to outfit him and get him as ready as possible for the expansion.  Because he is a woodworker I was able to craft him two Second Age legendary weapons: one spear and one javelin.  After spending some time leveling these up, choosing legacies, and slotting relics, I felt he was ready for a much-needed rest.

I, on the other hand, was not.  I began thinking of who I wanted to play next.

My hunter exploring the excellent Morian Water-works (another favorite zone of mine).

I have a level 58 hunter I could play.  He was my first character who I forged ahead with, making it all the way to Angmar, Eregion and into the lovely, dark and deep Mines of Moria, but somewhere along the way I lost the desire to play him.  I’ve tried several times in the past to pick him back up, but I’ve never been able to reconnect and get the hunter vibe going again.  That he’s just on the cusp of Lothlorien (a zone I didn’t care for the first time through with my warden), doesn’t help his cause any.

I also have a level 50 minstrel.  He was part of a duo-ship with a guardian, played by a good friend of mine who sadly no longer plays MMOs.  I know the minstrel is fully capable of soloing these days, but the few times I’ve picked him up recently, haven’t been able to convince me of this fact.

My captain dreaming in Evendim.

When I logged back into my captain, a character I had almost forgotten, I found him at the entryway to Evendim.  Evendim…I’ll go on record as saying Evendim is my favorite zone in the game (something that does help his cause).  From a purely visual perspective, Lake Evendim is breathtaking, and the zone has been revamped making for an excellent and rewarding quest progression throughout the zone.   Even though I had no clue what any of his skills did, I had managed to lay out his skill bar in such a way that made relearning his tricks of the trade surprisingly painless.  He’s level 34 now, enjoying the big, beautiful Evendim sky, and diligently working on gaining the favor of the Wardens of Annuminas.