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Showing posts from 2007

Do MMOs make you stupid?

We all know that MMOs can be addictive but does playign an MMO actually dull the brain? I followed a link from Tipa's end of year review to a post in her West Karana blog that I missed while I was away during the summer. The post is a personal reflection on various topics following Tipa's tragic loss of her father (many condolences Tipa) but one phrase caught my attention: MMOs (I have said this) make me stupid. They also take valuable time. Is this true? Is WOW the soma of our time? Are our middle aged brains being numbed into insensiblilty with a diet of mindless clicking through virtual fantasies? I have no doubt that my own brain is not as sharp as it was when I was 20. Surely this is a natural part of life. I like to think that this is more than made up for by experience (real world kind) that I have accumulated since then so that on the whole I perform more effectively. I would not be happy to think that I am accelerating the decline into senility by playing games.

Jingle Bells

Its very late on Christmas eve (or very early on Christmas morning) and I am pretty sure I just heard bells jingling outside. I am off to bed to avoid bumping into Santa Claus so I wish everyone a very happy Christmas.

Tobold Versus Raph Koster on rmt

Tobold is having a bit of an online barney with Raph Koster about whether or not real money transactions (rmt) should be encouraged. The venerable Tobie proposes two hypothetical games and asks readers to choose between them . In one game the economy is constrained in order to minimise rmt (lots of bind on pick up items, blind auction house, ban on grossly asymmetric trades) and one in which rmt is "legalised" and encouraged (legal rmt exchange, bind on equip epics. To be honest I choose neither. In my humble opinion both models suck and here is why: I want a game with a vibrant and unconstrained in game economy. For me the economy and the emergent behaviour that develops is a vital part of enjoying an mmo. Let people sell epics, let people sell levelling services. Shucks I want a game where you can hire other adventurers to go out and do missions for you like the "runners" in Guild Wars. I want all of this just as long as it is for " in game currency ".

Lotro: The Refugees from Azeroth have all been deported

Some time back I made a tongue in cheek blog post about the many f ormer World of Warcraft players who had come to Middle Earth to play Lotro . Reading that post now I realise that despite my feeble attempt at humour I had hit on some slightly deeper truth. Many of these former WOW players felts as if they didn't belong in LOTRO. It was almost as if they were playing it as if it was WOW expansion and didn't get the point of the game. Here we are some months later and almost all of them appear to have left LOTRO and moved back to World of Warcraft. I noticed this phenomenon among my fellow bloggers but I have struggled to try and decide what it means. Is Lotro a failure? Is World of Warcraft just better? Am I silly to remain on in LOTRO? I haven't really been able to get my head around this so I am very grateful then to Khan (Battered Shield) for his excellent blog post where he talks about this phenomenon and very astutely looks at the people who have chosen to stay.

Christmas Gaming

Its Christmas. Everyone in my household is on holidays and its a good time to get in a spot of gaming. Having reached the level cap in LOTRO I don't feel quite the same need to play it to the exclusion of all other games. I finally got around to finishing the last level of Company of Heroes and I should be able to fit in at least one single player game over the festive period. Two obvious choices are "Crysis" and "Call of Duty 4". I played through the demos and both look good. As might be expected Far Cry is a bit more subtle with options for stealth play and sneaking through the jungle while Call of Duty is a no holds barred all shooting all exploding extravaganza. Unfortunately though Crysis brings my poor computer to its knees so I think I had better follow DM Osbons recommendation and try CoD4 at least until I can afford a better graphics card. I may even try the multiplayer - DM Osbon Before I invest in a new game I really should cast my eye over the co

Yahtzee You are a Superstar

Hollywood has long understood the value of having a superstar headlining a film but now it appears that gaming webzines may also benefit from the concept. This post from "The Escapist"'s forums indicates in an anecdotal way that their readership has grown dramatically since the arrival of Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's anarchic game review videos. Fair dues I say. "The Escapist" is a great read and Yahtzee is one of the best things on the web at the moment. Given the transitory nature of celebrity these days, particularly internet celebrity , it is inevitable that Yahtzee will decline in popularity when the next big thing come around. With any luck though a lot of the new readers will stick around - the magazine is good enough. Now I wonder which celebrity I can get to do a regular slot on my blog?

Guild Wars: Legendary Defender of Ascalon

I haven't played Guild Wars in a while but I often remember the game fondly. One of the things that always surprised me was how much time people spend in the PVE game gaining novelty titles and equipment that offer no game advantage. In other MMOs I have played such things are regarded as fluff and often looked down upon by serious players. Even people who do go for them (collecting rewards at festivals for example) quickly get bored and discard them once they are over but in Guild Wars the pursuit of novelty armour sets and novelty titles has become almost an obsession for many. Indeed in many ways these rewards are the "End Game" of PVE Guild Wars. Getting them is no trivial task either. Fancy armour sets (with no better stats than common armour) require many many runs of high level dungeons to acquire rare drops. The most coveted titles require many many hours of play to achieve. For example the explorer titles require a player to painstakingly walk their character ov

Lotro: Why are all the vendors useless?

Every decent sized settlement has a selection of vendors: Light, medium and heavy armour smiths, bowyers, weaponsmiths, healers and so on. Sadly most of them never ever make a single sale. Why? Because vendors in LOTRO only ever sell the lowest quality (grey) items. Once a player has passed the first few levels of the game they can easily get much better stuff from quest rewards, loot drops and crafter items. All vendors will buy things (bizarre considering they never seem to sell anything) and all vendors can repair damaged equipment (even more bizarre - what does a healer know about repairing damaged armour). The only vendors who make regular sales are the "suppliers" and "provisioners" who sell consumables for crafting or traveling rations . It is sad to think that someone went to all the trouble of designing these vendors and populating their their inventories only for them to never be used. I would love to see some changes which made them a more significant p

Carn Dum: Throg Joins the Assault on the Witch King's Fortress

On Saturday Throg spent three and a half hours in the 6 man instance of Carn Dum with a kinship group. It was a pretty successful run - Several of us knocked off a few quests and one of our hunters got the rare "slime" he needs for his class quests. We had an experienced tank and healer who directed events (plus had all the keys needed to access the fortress) so it went smoothly. Highlight of the run for me was a set piece fight against the giant octopus who drops the aforementioned slime. Carn Dum is not a raid instance but it is a major fellowship instance with many bosses. It is woven into the epic storyline and it is the only place to get some vital class drops (but not funnily enough for champions). As keys must be collected to open access to the stages and as each boss only drops one critical item kinships can be expected to visit CD many time in order to allow their members get all the stuff they need to progress. I am sure it gets boring after the 10th time but I real

All I want for Christmas is....

Christmas will soon be upon us and Santa Claus is expected to visit the Mindbending household with a well laden sack. In a curious footnote to my attempts to interest my daughters in computer games they have both requested Nintendo DS for Christmas. They are two angels so I am sure Santa will be generous but I have no idea what games he will bring. It is fairly certain that Ultimate Mortal Kombat won't be included but never the less I am sure the girls will give their old dad the odd go on their consoles. After all having only daughters I am deprived of the opportunity to muscle in on a son's train set so I feel sort of entitled. In another pleasant surprise Mrs mbp, suggested that she might get me a wide screen monitor for Christmas. Such generosity will accrue her many brownie points I can assure you. Of course the choice of such an important item in a gamer's life cannot be left to chance so I have been perusing websites for recommendations. It seems that the sweet s

The Noob Comic

I have meant to add Gianna Masetti's web comic " The Noob " to my links list for some time but never got around to it. Its pretty well known - I first came across it through a link from Blizzards website some time back. I'm a fan - I like the fact that it focuses on storyline rather than just a new gag every week. I find the weekly updates frustrating though - there just isn't enough in each weeks new script to satisfy. In fact I find it works better if you save it up for a few weeks and then read a whole bunch. On the off chance that you haven't seen this before then I strongly advise going back to the start and reading it all in a couple of sittings.

Melee Characters of the world unite. The time has come to end this injustice.

Syncaine's reply to my post about ranged characters has spurred me on to greater resolve. A campaign is needed to restore equity. Too long have hunters, mages, wizards and warlocks enjoyed the benefits of standing back from the action. The time has come to level the playing field! Please do not think I am pushing this agenda merely out of sour grapes. Please do not think me so small minded. Ignore the fact that Throg once had to suffer a run though Donnvail in fellowship with three hunters and FAILED TO LAND A SINGLE BLOW. Do not assume that the humiliation of running like a deranged lunatic after every mob only to discover it dead under a hail of arrows BEFORE I EVEN REACHED IT has made me embittered. No and again No! This is not about jealousy (although you could not begrudge me a little of that). This is about balance. This is about fairness. This is about ensuring that all player enjoy the same game experience. Ultimately this is about making the game better for all of us. Two

Melee Characters vs. Ranged Characters.

One of the main reasons I decided to make Throg a Champion is that prior to Lotro I had mainly played ranged characters and want to try something different. There is a lot of truth in the old saying that "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence". I used to envy melee characters the ability to duke it out with enemies toe to toe. My WOW hunter and my guild wars Mesmer were both easy pickings for any mob that got up close and personal. After a few month sof playing Melee only though I have changed my mind. Now I think that ranged characters have a much easier time of it. Consider the relative ease with which players of either type deal with mobs of either type. Ranged player versus ranged mob: Player are stronger than mobs - easy win for the player. Ranged player versus melee mob: If the mob gets within range it can inflict serious damage on the player but as long as the player is sensible enough to pull carefully a ranged player can ensure a melee mob

The Duellist (not!)

Invitations to spar / duel always send me into a panic. I am terrible at pvp and it is almost inevitable that I will lose but there is always the suspicion of cowardice (probably justified) if one declines a challenge. I generally ignore uninvited challenges from passing strangers (thankfully a rarer event in Lotro than I remember from WOW) but it is harder to decline a challenge from a kinsmate. Last night Throg received two such challenges one from a burglar kinsmate of much lower level and one from a slightly higher minstrel. Needless to say Throg beat the first and lost the second but my incompetent panic reaction was almost identical in both cases. First I generally struggle to target my opponent correctly, then I generally fail to position myself correctly (a fatal flaw for a melee character) finally I invariably fumble my skills struggling to employ even the few basic techniques that I know about. I don't know why I am so clueless in a pvp situation. In fact clueless is the

Level Cap Blues

Long time no blog post. I don't know if my writers block is related or not but it coincides with a period of some apprehension in my gaming life. Throg has made it to level 49 and is fast approaching the level cap of 50. I am uneasily aware that the nature of the game changes. Part of me is excited at the possibility of raiding but I have to be realistic - I simply cannot go raiding every night. I need fun things to do that can be completed in short spurts for most of my game playing. It's not that I am running out of things to do. There are lots of things to do but many of them take huge amounts of time in comparison to pre-end game advancement. For example most nights I log on someone in the kinship is organising a Carn Dum run. While I don't know all the details of Carm Dum I do know that it is an instance that must be done many times for most people to get their class quest items and that it takes over three hours for each run through. Most nights I cannot commit to a s

Should I sign up for raiding?

There is a new poll on the forums of Throg's kinship.It asks whether or not the kinship should organise a weekly "serious raid". The Kinship has already undertaken some "easy" raiding eg the slaying of Bogbereth but the poll refers to the more serious raid instances of Helegorod and the Rift of Nurz Ghashu. These instances will require serious commitment and organisation. The raid composition will have to be just right and everyone will have to learn their role through multiple wipes. Of course they will offer those involved the opportunity to participate in the game at the highest level and to equip themselves (through repeated raids) with the best gear in the game. At level 48 Throg is fast approaching the level cap (50). Part of me quite fancies the idea of raiding, honing my character's abilities and personal playing skills. But ... I don't know whether or not I will be able to commit to a raid schedule. Even if it is only once a week my family

a New Look and now with Labels.

The minor scare I had recently when some of my blog seemed to disappear gave me the incentive to do a bit of blog housekeeping. First off, I enabled the label function to make it easier to find posts. I used to have labels but I made a mess of them so I had to go through all my old posts and relabel them. Of course the big news is that I have completely changed the layout. My own design skills are not up to the job of designing a blog layout so I used one of the standard blogger templates. It is called "Scribe" and was created by one Todd Dominey. I like it, I find it easier to read and I hope you do too. Thank you Todd. PS. Blame A.A. Milne again for my inappropriate use of capitals. Seriously though, if you have young kids and haven't read Milne's original Winnie the Pooh stories to them yet, do. You will enjoy it as much as the kids I'll bet.

Grumpy Old Mmorpgers

I am an MMORPG blow in. I came in with the millions who were seduced by World of Warcraft. Nevertheless I enjoy reading the thoughts and war stories of those who have lived in online virtual world far longer than my self. One theme that regularly crops up is the notion that mass popularity has led to the dumbing down of MMORPGS and that this is a bad thing. Recently Keen from Keen and Graev wrote eloquently about this in "Dumbing it Down, The Furture of MMOs" and these sentiments were echoed by Tipa from West Karana . In this rapidly changing world it would be easy enough to dismiss these comments as the rambling of old timers, addicted to their rose tinted glasses, who cannot accept the fact that the world has changed. Brad McQuaid's attempt to bring back old school MMOdom in Vanguard was something of a disaster. Ten million World of Warcraft players can't be wrong. However - the old timers do make some solid arguments. Keen points out that without challenge ther

Apologies for the disruption in service...

The Gremlins have eaten large chunks of my blog. The side bar has completely disappeared and posts below "My Favourite Firefox Extension" seem to be corrupted. I have no idea what is going on. I don't think it is something I did. My current Well Thought Out Plan is to do nothing and hope it just goes away. Apologies those on my vanished blogroll - it isn't personal I just don't know how to make it reappear. EDIT: It is fixed now. Just goes to show how sensible my Well Thought Out Plan was in the first place. PS: I am currently reading AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh to my kids at bedtime and erudite readers (aren't you all?) may spot the influence.

Lotro An Encounter with Gollum

While Throg was investigating rumours of a mysterious creature was was killing animals and stealing fish in the Tal Bruinen region he came across this little fellow: Throg gave chase but the creature got away by scampering up a rock face and into a deep cave. To encounter this fellow you need to do the quest chain which starts with "The White Hart" . There is a bit of tedious travel invollved but it is very worth it to get to the solo instance at the end which is very cool.

Lotro: Thoughts on the Chapter 11 patch and Quest Chains

I've been playing quite a bit of Lotro recently although I haven't been blogging about it. In addition to player housing the recent free update (Chapter 11) added a fair amount of new content as well. A new area called the High Pass has opened up East of the Misty Mountains which seems to be aimed at level 45 and up while the new Tal Bruinen region south in the South Eastern Troll Shaw's has plenty of quests for players in the low 40's. One very nice thing about the latest content update is that there are lots of references to Tolkien Lore. The High Pass region contains the Goblin Town from the Hobbit and in Tal Bruinen there is a lovely quest chain where you get to meet a nasty little creature who features very prominently in Tolkien's books. Throg has only spent a small amount of time in The High Pass but he has done almost every quest in the new Tal Bruinen region of the Trollshaws. Its a pretty region with some fun quests which are incredibly solo friendly.

Team Fortress 2

I have been playing shooters since Doom but I never indulged in online multiplayer fragging, until now. No Quake, no Unreal Tournament not even any Counterstrike for me. Apart from the fact that I am not particularly competitive I guess I have always been a bit intimidated by these games. I imagined that my middle aged noob ass would be an easy target for any frag happy teen. Well I bought Valve's Orange Box two weeks ago. Portal was played and finished the day I got it. Half Life Episode 2 was completed last weekend. That left Team Fortress 2 to taunt me. Although TF2 is unashamedly multi-player the reviews I have read indicate that is a somewhat noob friendly game. So I gave it a go. First impressions: For a game that is supposed to be new player friendly I was surprised at the lack of help to get started. There is no manual, no tutorial and not even a single player mode with bots to let new players hone their skills. I have been playing and reading about shooters for years

Portal Reconsidered

A few days ago I wrote about Portal and pointed out that I felt it was OK rather than great. Yet every other gamer seems ecstatic about it. Tipa from West Karana's reaction is fairly typical: "...the best single player gaming experience of the year". This got me thinking. How can I be so at odds with my fellow gamers? I have to admit the game is clever, novel and humorous. I enjoyed it enough to finish the whole game in a single day sitting. The ending is very good and worth finishing the game for. In fact I can't really find a reason to criticise the game and yet something about it bugged me. Something that pulled strings at the back of my head without ever registering fully with my conscious mind (and I am not talking about the headache I got from playing for too long). Do you know what I think got to me: the jumping. To be more precise the precision jumping that was required by so many of the levels. Back in the mid 1990's no self respecting first perso

Happy Halloween

Along with St. Paddy's day Halloween is one of the two festivals that we Irish (along with fellow Celtic races) can claim ownership of. It really is a very ancient Celtic festival marking the end of Summer and the night when the dead come back to visit. It long pre-dates Christianity and is still celebrated as vigorously here today as it was thousands of years ago. Indeed the early Christians realising that they couldn't stamp out the old pagan festival tried to sanitise it by making the following day "All Saints Day". Of course the nature of the celebration has changed a bit and having exported the festival to the USA we have re-imported some of the commercial American approach. Nevertheless it is a great night particularly for kids. Fireworks and bonfires light up the sky. Children dress up in costumes and visit their neighbour's collecting sweets and treats (the appellation "trick or treating" is an American import but the practice originated here).

LOTRO Housing: An island of my own

In the end Throg went with his heart rather than his head. He bought 3 Frothing Road in the Dwarf Quarter: It's not big. It's in the same place as my kin hall so I now have three ways to port to port to Thorin's hall but come on. I have my own island. How cool is that? In case you don't believe me here is a picture: Believe it or not the feisty dwarf has turned out to have a homely side and has bought some furniture for his new pad. The living room is still a bit bare: but his bedroom is very cosy: Over all I am pleased with the housing system. The hook system for placing furniture is a bit inflexible but at least there is plenty of availability. Other bloggers who have recently become LOTRO homeowners include Sean from Lost in the Grind , Khan from The Battered Shield , Tobold and Ethic from Kill Ten Rats . Humph, just about everybody has a cooler name for their gaming Blog than me!

More thoughts on LOTRO housing . A dwarf's dilemma.

I feel foolish now that it turns out I had several fundamental errors in my previous post about Lotro housing . My only excuse is that I was reading the official lotro material on housing and perhaps stacking discounts will be introduced at a later date. I had decided to opt for a small dwarf house - to be close to our kin hall and to avoid unnecessary expense. Now however, given that deluxe houses have a bigger discount and given that there doesn't seem to be a disadvantage to setting up home away from your kin hall I am not so sure. I think Throg will still opt for a small house. I'm not really a home maker and I don't think I will be getting a lot of furniture and stuff. I can always look for a deluxe house later if I feel like it and the loss of 1G that I pay for a small house won't be too painful. I am still a bit unsure about location. Although Throg is a dwarf I amn't too fond of the look of the dwarf houses. Plus I already have a free port to Thorin

A Sick Bunny

For various reasons I don't normally blog about personal stuff but I just want to mention our beautiful pet rabbit Loppy who is very sick. In fact we are pretty sure she has Myxomatosis and is dying. She has only been with us a short while but we have all fallen in love with her. I have been amazed at how friendly, curious and interactive a little rabbit can be. She is a real bundle of joy. She has been to see the vet twice in the last week and we are bringing her again today. This may be a one way journey. In the big scheme of things a sick rabbit may not seem all that big a deal but she is a member of our family and we are all devastated.

My current "Favourite Firefox Extension"

According to Sitemeter 50% of visitors to my blog are using Firefox. Who am I fooling - I probably account for half the Firefox visits myself! Nevertheless I take pleasure in sharing with you my current favourite firefox extension: Split Browser . It allows you to display your Firefox tabs in tiled mode at the click of a mouse. Here is an example: If you are familiar with Lotro you will notice that I have three of the most popular Lotro help sites open side by side in tiles all giving me info about a quest. Not that I resort to such cheating myself of course ;)

The Orange Box: Portal...Meh

I bought Valve's Orange box on Saturday, downloaded off Steam. The Orange box contains: Half Life 2 Episode 2, Portal, Team Fortress 2, Half Life 2 and Half Life 2 Episode 1 and a version of Peggle. I already have HL2 and Episode 1 but apparently I can give the new copies away as gifts, which is a nice touch. I have only played Portal so far. I finished it on Saturday, probably about five hours of gaming all in. Portal has got rave reviews and it is certainly an interesting puzzle game but personally I wouldn't hail it as as the future of gaming. It seems to me that jumping over obstacle courses in generic indoor maps with muddy brown toxic waste down below is very old school 1990s type game play even with the added twist of hyper dimensional portals. Nevertheless I enjoyed the few hours and the game is humorous enough. Judging by the rave reviews that portal got I am probably the only person on the planet who preferred Prey even though Prey had some serious faults. It may

How serious are you about game immersion?

When I play games I like to leave reality behind and lose myself in the game world. Nice graphics and realistic sound effects help me to do that. I have even experimented with 3D goggles and while the technology is too fiddly for everyday use I can vouch for the increased immersion that real 3D provides. From Slashdot (I won't link to them for fear of overloading their server) I got a link to this gadget which actually lets players experience the blows and wallops as well as the sights and sounds of the game world. I quote: Utilizing air pouches--four on front, four in back--the vest nudges and jabs gamers at eight different contact points. Now I have to say I think this is hilarious but I can just imagine that this thing could catch on. It has a certain macho cachet: "My game hits back but I can take it"!!! Personally though I think I had better brush up on my head shots before I expose my poor body to this thing. Mind you - it could add a whole new dimension t

Thoughts about Lotro Housing

NB New Information Now that housing is out in the USA I realise that some of my thoughts below are based on wrong data. According to this thread on the US forums discounts do not stack so there is no game play advantage to having a house in the same location as your kin house. Also the deluxe house gives a higher discount(20%) than either kin house (15%) or small house (10%). At high levels the discount on hefty repair bills could go some way towards mitigating the higher rent of a deluxe house. Site meter tells me that this is one of my most read posts ever - And now I realise that it has fundamental errors in it. Typical! The Chapter 11 content patch is due out this week and it will introduce player housing into Lotro. Up to now I have ignored the hullabaloo about housing but seeing as it is so close I thought I had better look into it. Almost everything I know about housing comes from here [ (official) and here (unofficial). Some questions that spring to mind: Q1. Why do

I am learning to Type!!!

Despite the fact the fact that I have dealt with computers and their keyboards every day for at least 20 years I am ashamed to admit that I never got beyond two-fingered typing. Make no mistake. I am a very fast two finger typist. I can type out a big stremq of letters like this veryt quickly. See the problem? The problem is that when I try to type quickly I make errors. Then I have to go back and correct those errors. This is an incredible waste of time. I haven't done a survey but I reckon about 50% of my time typing is actually error correction. Its funny how I was prepared to put up with this at work for so many years but what really brought it home to me was gaming and blogging. When I indulge in game chat my carefully chosen phrases come out sounding like a BsatrDizde vEsrOIn of Leet . Its hard to get respect from mature gamers when you type like that. In blogging on the other and I generally try to clean up my worst typing howlers and that takes time. Lots of time. You

MMORPGs: Whatever happened to the Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades?

In his seminal 1996 paper on the motivation of players in mmo type games ( "Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit Muds" ) Richard Bartle deduced that interaction between different player types meant that only certain types of game would result in a stable configuration. His four "stable" game configurations are: 1. Achiever / Killer dominated game, 2. Socialiser dominated game, 3. A carefully balanced game where all four player types have similar influence and 4. The degenerate case of a game with no players left. In the few mmo's that I have played each of Bartle's stereotypes are well catered for in the early game. Achievers get the challenge of levelling up, Explorers have new content to discover, Socialisers have the fun of setting up new guilds and the games have always had some pvp element to provide entertainment for the killers. As the games have progressed however and in particular as players have matured into end game certain Bartle

Lotro: Throg's New Trousers

What is it with trousers in Lotro? They seem to be the quite rarest form of apparel. At level 41 most of Throg's armour was still shiny and new but his aging pants were getting decidedly shabby and even the auction house could not offer suitable replacements. Consulting his notebook of petitioners asking for a champion's assistance Throg spotted that Callenthon in Nan Tornaeth was looking for someone to slay the undead horror Gurdring . Most interesting to Throg's eye were the fine pair of Explorers legging on offer to whomsoever completed this feat. Forming an impromptu fellowship with a passing Guardian Throg accomplished the deed with ease and claimed his trousers. No more will folk laugh at Throg's red spotted undershorts as they peek through holes in the seat of his pants. After dispatching Gurdring our mighty dwarf looked to see if any further loose ends needed tying up in the locality. Thanks in no small part to Thog's previous efforts the Trollshaws are far

Lotro: Spawn Camping 101

I never played the original Everquest but I have read that mobs were in short supply and spawn camping developed into an art form. Tobold has a nice description of the technique here . Now Lotro has a fair amount of "kill Ten Foozles" quests but MMORPGs and MMORPGers have moved on. For the most part mobs are in ready supply and it is better to move around hunting out your prey than to sit in one spot waiting for a re-spawn. However a couple of nights ago Throg had the opportunity to participate in a good old fashioned everquestesque spawn camp while soloing in the Misty Mountains. It happened like this: Larus Sharpshard asked for Throg's assistance in recovering 24 gold ingots lost from a dwarf strongbox ( Every Last Ingot ). At first Throg thought that grubbing around in the snow for someone else's gold was beneath him but when the feisty dwarf realised that retrieving the gold involved knocking goblins on the head he set to it with glee. A couple of ambushes later i

/gquit - Leaving Pog Mo Thoin

Is there any nice way to leave a kinship (guild)? I have realised for a few weeks that Throg would need a new kinship but I have been putting off the dreaded moment. My reasons for changing kinship are solid if selfish. Throg's original kinship is a very small group of casual players. Most of the other members are real life friends and due to differing time schedules and differing levels Throg never gets to meet any of his kinfolk, never mind go questing with them. With such a small group there isn't even much guild banter to while away the time. It not as if I don't like the other kinship members. They are actually a lovely bunch it is just that the kinship is too small. I need more if I am to continue enjoying the game. I want a Kinship with enough members to be able to find people close to my own level. I also want a kinship with an active web forum so I can chat with other members off-line. These are selfish reasons and I do feel guilty about quitting. I am the very p

Ave Pulvis

Farewell to the Arena. I have decided its time to hang up my Galea and finish with Gladiatus. The problem with online role playing games games is that they have no obvious end. There is no clear exit point at which you can leave the game with your head held high. Gladiatus is a fun diversion but it is also pretty shallow. I knew from the start that I wouldn't still be playing this time next year so I set my own personal goal that I would try to achieve before leaving. I decided to pitch for the top spot of the beginners league (Circus Fighters, level 1 to 10) or as close to it as I could get. As I worked my way up the ladder I noticed the same few players jostling for the top spot. They were all level 9 with astronomical skill levels. To take on these players and win was my personal goal. At one point the reigning champion even challenged me. I didn't know why - I was several levels lower and he utterly annihilated me. Never mind. Things would be different when I reached

Lotro: Throgs continuing Progress

I am getting back into Lotro. Throg has dinged 39 and has completed Chapter 4 book 5 of the Epic quest line. Searching for the hiding place of a vile Nazghul wounded at the waters of Bruinen, Throg and a handful of stalwart companions probed the deepest caverns of the 'Shaws troll caves. Those trolls are tough characters (lvl 40 Elite) and none too hospitable towards uninvited guests. Nevertheless Throg and his fellows taught them some manners: Five brave adventurers tackled Eluil, the first Troll Lair but then two declared they must return home for tea (Hobbits!). Undeterred Throg and his remaining two companions pressed on. A Guardian, a Champion (Throg) and a Minstrel. One to take the blows, one to deal the blows and one to heal the blows. Throg fondly remembered his Uncle Halcin's lessons . Three monstrous trolls a time could not defeat this perfect fighting trio. Sadly they found no trace of the wretched Nazghul. No matter. To Throg's mind it was worth it just to sav

If you have a laser mouse then you need one of these

Its called a Fellowes Optical Mouse Mat and it is made by a company called Brite Mat. It is quite simply the best mouse mat I have every used. You may know I have been playing Freespace 1/2 for the last few weeks. I spurned a joystick in favour of mouse control but I soon realised that my normal Logitech MX600 wireless laser mouse was not as precise as it should be. It is not a high spec gaming mouse but it is supposed to deliver a smooth 800dpi yet it was jumpy and imprecise - making accurate flying very difficult. I got suspicious when I swapped over to a seven year old Microsoft Optical mouse and found that it was much more precise. A bit of experimentation convinced me that the problem wasn't the mouse but the surface I was using the mouse on. The problem seemed to be twin fold. First off it seems to me that the laser mouse is quite fussy about the surface texture - and it hates shiny surfaces. Secondly - My wireless mouse is quite heavy with batteries inside and stiction is a

Lotro: Orc Killing and Frustration

Now level 38, with many tasks accomplished in the Trollshaws Throg finds that the remaining tasks there are somewhat beyond his level. The Misty Mountains beckon. The bold dwarf made a sortie there to slay some snow beasts but realises that he needs at least a couple of levels of intensive training before he can really make a useful contribution in those treacherous peaks. With that thought in mind Throg headed back to that orc infested corner of the North Downs called Dol Dinen. Many Orcs and Trolls have gathered there. No doubt they intend to sneak through the mountains to re-enforce the hordes that wreaked such devastation on the once pretty Hamlet of Trestlebridge. Throg and his fellows made those Orcs pay a dear price for the suffering they caused and he has no intention of letting this new bunch take up where there their fellows failed. In truth judging by the massive war machines they have dragged out of Angmar it is likely that their destructive ambition does not stop at Tres

Sour Grapes

I won't be playing Halo 3 this week, or next week, or any time in the near future. Unless you are blind, deaf, dumb and living in one of the few parts ofthe word not yet connected to the internet you will know that Halo 3 was released with tremendous hype this week. Hype that may apparently be somewhat justified if the normally trustworthy Eurogamer is anything to go by. I absolutely loved Halo 1 even though I waited to play it on the PC several years after every else. Sadly as a dyed in the wool PC gamer I will have to wait a long time to sample Halo3 - probably until it comes out as a sweetener with Windux2020 tm (I always knew Linus would sell out in the end). It is an almost universally acknowledged fact (among PC gamers anyway)that the PC with mouse and keyboard control is a superior platform for first person shooters but for quite a while now economic reality has meant that big name titles will come out on console first. Economic reality and the fact that the few old co