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Showing posts from October, 2008

Lotro Notes

Despite my commitment to limit my objectives in Lotro I have been playing quite a lot over the last few days. No raiding but a couple of kinship forays into Annuminas combined with a lot of questing in Forochel. I have grown to like Forochel. At first glance its snowy appearance is reminiscent of the Misty Mountains but whereas Misty is a dangerous barren wasteland Forochel teems with settlements and quests and even has a few instances to boot. In point of fact it comes pretty close to Bree land in terms of the amout of stuff that is going on. Most of the quests are solo friendly but there a reasonable number of group quests with decent rewards for someone of mid 40's level. At level 50 Throg has outgrown most of the rewards on offer but it is still a very enjoyable zone to quest in. A lot of my fellow bloggers have abandoned Lotro (although Khan and Thallian always put in a good word) so I was pleased to stumble across a good lotro blog I hadn't read before: MMeow . Aft

Lotro: Forochel Questing

Yesterday being a bank holiday here in Ireland I had plenty of time to do some questing around the Forochel area. All the quests seem to give reputation rewards with either Thorin's Hall or the Lossoth Eskimo's who live in this frozen land. Throg is a dwarf so my Thorin's hall rep is already pretty good but Lossoth rep is useful not least because it opens up a number of quick travel routes around the freezing waters. Sadly I probably won't get the friend status required until after I have completed most of the quests in the region. I got as far as book 13 Chapter 6 with the aid of some kinsmates and a couple of others. We had to retrieve a book from the dourhand controlled icereave mine. Ice-reave is very reminiscent of Sarnur the Thorin's hall rep dungeon in Ered Luin. The mobs also drop the dourhand tabards but seem a little easier than in Sarnur so I could imagine this being the preferred new zone for grinding Thorin's Hall rep. We did a few more quests in

Jumbled Thoughts On Re-subscribing to an MMO

My first session in Lotro after resubscribing reminded me of many of the things I don't like about mmos. I spend most of the time travelling to the far North of Forochel in order to continue the epic quest line with book 13. At the same time I was trying to refresh my memory of what all the skills in my bar do along with the significance of various trait and gear selections. It was all somewhat tedious and at the same time left me feeling a bit inadequate knowing that I have probably fallen far behind my kinship buddies who have been raiding regularly since I left. Things perked up a bit when I finally got stuck into a few quests. The server seems quite a bit quieter than it used to be but there were still a few calls for assistance in the "looking for a Fellowship" channel. I have always considered pick up groups to be one of the strong points of Lotro so I joined one to help a lower level player overcome a quest mob. Grouping is a bit of a dilemma for me. Without a doub

A book reccommendation

I seem to be carrying the flag for my home town today but coincidentally I have just finished "The Inferior" by Peadar O Guilin another Dubliner. I may have been somewhat biased in my recent recommendation of WAR but I need no such incentive to heartily reccommend "The Inferior". It is a great piece of Science Fiction. Thoroughly entertaining.

What I meant to say was : WAR is Brilliant Buy it Now.

I have just become aware that GOA the European publishers of Warhammer Online are establishing a major support centre in my home town (Dublin) with the promise of 400 jobs. I guess that customer support is at the bottom of the food chain (why is that?) but in these recessionary times a job is a job and those 400 new taxpayers will help share the burden. Therefore with extreme prejudice I would like to point out that Warhammer online is the best game since tiddly winks and I would like you all to go out and buy it. Just be sure to buy the Euro version, even if you live in the U.S. Think of the added educational benefit of being able to converse in all those different languages (English, French, Italian, German and Spanish according to this page ).

Lotro Once More

I reactivated my Lotro subscription with a view to completing my outstanding book quests in preparation for the forthcoming release of Mines of Moria. Going back to an MMO is a funny experience, a bit like moving back in with your parents after living on your own. On the one hand there is a warm comfortable feeling of home but there are also memories of the boredom that inspired you to move on. Lotro is pretty quiet these days. I wonder will many return for MoM. Here's a picture of Throg in snowy Forochel:

I'm Not Giving up Blogging

Thanks to the Ancient Gaming Noob for drawing my attention to a recent Wired article in which Paul Boutin claims that blogging is a thing of the past. Of course I don't agree but I do accept some of Paul's points. I agree that the time when you could "become famous" through blogging is probably over. If that is your motivation then you should probably pass over blogging and get with the next big thing be it twitter or face book or more likely something else that most of us haven't even heard of yet. On the other hand there are many other reasons to keep a blog. It can be a personal creative outlet. It can be your very own soap box. You can use it as a kind of online diary. It can add a new dimension to your hobbies. It can be a social thing. You may be even be lucky enough to find a community of like minded bloggers. Telling people to stop blogging because they have no chance of getting to the front page of Google is like telling amateur musicians not to bother

Is Warhammer Online History?

Two well known bloggers Tobold and Melmoth announced their departure from Warhammer Online this week. Is this the beginning of the games decline or is it just natural turnover? I don't know. Other bloggers such as Syncaine , Keen and Saylah are still waxing lyrical about WAR, pointing out that this game seems to have really innovated in terms of making group play both fun and rewarding. Not only do I not know but I must admit to being completely unqualified to express an opinion. I have never played WAR and I am currently going through an "anti-mmo" phase as indicated in my series of posts with the tag line " mmos are history ". However, being unqualified to give an opinion doesn't sop me from having one, so, for what it is worth, here it is: I think that the time of explosive market growth for WOW / Everquest style mmo's is pretty much over (in the developed world at any rate). Future subscription growth rate will be low or even negative. I think t

MBP's instant book reviews get their own blog.

My instant book review sidebar was threatening to grow off the page so I have shifted the whole lot sideways to a new blog called . There should be a feed in the sidebar which will take you there. I like the idea of using multiple blogs to organise stuff. If this works out I may well spawn a new "instant game reviews" daughter blog.

Crysis Warhead and XIII, a tale of two shooters.

Played and finished Crysis Warhead last weekend and am currently playing XIII, a game I have had for years but never got around to playing. Warhead is a pretty decent follow up to Crysis. The action runs concurrently with the first game and the two episodes mesh together pretty well. As has been noted by many commentators the graphics been optimised and the game is far less of a system hog than its precursor. While the game has much to recommend it I have to admit I found myself getting a little bored. I think that an unfortunate combination of factors combine to remove much of the challenge. You are equipped with an uber suit that unbalances the game. While some enemies are equipped with similar gear they all neglect to wear headgear leaving them vulnerable to a single headshot. Headshots are very easy to get because the suit offers invisibility mode giving you plenty of time to line up the crosshairs. Virtually every encounter in the game can be easily overcome using invisibility to

Upgrading a Motherboard on Windows XP

Although my wife is not a gamer she is into video and photography both of which put strains on her desktop PC. The machine has a plethora of hardware hanging off it (scanners, video capture, additional hard disks etc) and has literally dozens of specialised pieces of software installed. It is amazing that the 2002 vintage machine was able to function as well as it did but for some time now I have had the guilty realisation that it is long overdue an upgrade. With hardware prices at an all time low (in euro-zone anyway) the sensible course of action might have been to just replace the whole lot with a brand new machine. Quite apart from the cost however there was the unpleasant prospect of having to reinstall all that additional harware and software. Instead I opted for a motherboard upgrade. Out of pocket cost was minimal - a remaindered socket 939 motherboard (€15) and 2GB DDR ram (€55). I already had a spare Power supply, 7600gt graphics and Athlon 64 processor, relics of a previous

An MMO based on Sacrifice???

In his blog today Tobold proposes an mmo where each player has a unique individual epic quest line. You could still group up and recruit friends to share your adventures but you wouldn't all be striving to kill the same ten rats over and over again. As Tobold says this "will allow grander stories, being more interesting to the player because they involve him much more." In other words we can finally have a proper "heroes journey" in an mmo. I think this is a great proposal. Consider Tobold's proposal and read my recent comment about Sacrifice: There are five main paths to the end goal one offered by each of five Gods. Each God offers a sequence of nine missions leading to a common tenth "final mission". Each God has their own style and rewards the player with unique powers and creatures for taking their missions. The really clever bit is that you can mix and match missions for different Gods leading to a wide range of different paths through the


I finished Sacrifice again last night. What a terrific game. It is the first time I did a full run through supporting the evil god Charnel. Charnel has some great spells ( I think his wailing wall is the best barrier spell in the game) but his creatures are a bit weak. A lot of them do damage over time which is not as useful as direct damage in the fast and furious combat that characterises much of the game. Sacrifice is one of my favourite games ever but I will admit that the single player gameplay is not perfect. Npc opponents have poor artifical intelligence and employ the same strategy throughout the game. The game seems impossibly difficult at first but once you figure out a winning strategy you can keep using it.The game can still be challenging though because of the large resource imbalance between you and your opponents at the start of each level. The gameplay may be flawed it doesn't matter. It is still great fun and the game oozes creativity and originality. Even by toda

Remember RPGDot: Thought's about Internet Permanence

RPGDot's massive archive of news, reviews, guides and forums was "the place" to go for computer rpg information back in the days of Morrowind and Gothic. I was dismayed therefore to discover that the site and its daughter sites closed down completely earlier this year. Like many others I have more or less abandoned any effort to keep private copies of information, trusting instead that I can get the information I need when I need it from the internet. My precious book collection was a long time hold-out but even that has become disposable . The closure of a well loved site is a jarring reminder of how impermanent the internet really is. Is it time to panic? Should I go looking for my books back? Of course I am not the only one who worries about the loss of digital information. The following article by Susan K. Soy of Univertisty of Texas asks "Will Permanence Exist in the Digital Age" . Susan's article led me to the Internet Archive , a project which at

Eve exit survey

I have just completed my EVE online exit survey (I didn't bother to renew my subscription when it ran out). I can't remember most of the questions, it was pretty standard stuff. Who you are , how long your have been playing, what you mainly did in game and what aer you reasons for leaving. I was a bit worried that the "reasons for leaving" questions were a bit unbalanced. For example it offered the choice of "too hardcore" but didn't offer the balancing choice of "too softcore" I amn't a statistician but it looks to me that that will distort your stats right away. Anyway that isn't what I am writing about. I am writing about a revelation that struck me while I was filling in the "any other comments" box at the end of the survey. I realised that the reason I quit EVE was because after six months I was getting bored and wanted to play other games. My revelation was that this is perfectly normal, acceptable behaviour but that mm

Mount and Blade a Second Opinion

An anonymous commenter just posted a very positive review of Mount and Blade in the comments to my earlier post. They point out that once you struggle through the unhelpful starting phase Mount and Blade really is a terrific game. In order to balance my somewhat negative review I am bumping that comment up to the front page by copying it here in full: Review of Mount & Blade v.1.003: Overall, I really enjoy this game. In fact, I've shelved Guild Wars and Titan Quest since I began playing this game again. Let's get the negative aspect taken care of first. This game really needed a better Tutorial. Although there is one which teaches you different techniques such as blocking, archery, melee [single, 2-handed] combat, the tutorial lacks giving the player guidance as to where to start. After plodding through various villages and garrisons [towns] and castles, I was able to figure out my options. Once I understood gameplay dynamics such as the various components affecting '

Defining Moments in Video Gaming

Inspired by Tom Chick 's list of 10 defining moments in video gaming DM Osbon gives us an isight into his own gaming past. While Tom's piece is a generic list of great video game moments DM gives a more personal view and it is in this spirit that I will offer my own contribution. For me a watershed gaming moment came during the point and click era of the late 1980's. The first point and click I came across was the mildly risque " Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards ". I was used to mindlessly repetitive button pressing games so the the depth and complexity of this game was a revelation to me. Not having my own PC I stayed late in work one Friday to play Larry on an office computer. When the first rays of dawn sunshine peeped through the window I was still sitting there finishing the game. It was my first gaming all-nighter. Until that moment I hadn't realised how compelling this new medium could be. It was as if I had had a vision of the fu

Revisiting one of my all time favourite games.

A bout of nostalgia hit me last night and I reinstalled Sacrifice. I love this game and have played through the single player campaign (through various routes) many times. I am happy to report that it installed without a hitch on Windows XP. This is such a beautiful game. It is so obviously both a work of art and a labour of love. The graphics and sound effects stand up even today and the sheer cleverness and imagination of the game is breathtaking. I realise that the game failed to achieve commercial success and I know why. The game play falls between two stools being too fast and furious for hard core RTS players at the same time too difficult for the mass market. It is particularly intimidating when starting off and the new player is immediately overwhelmed by the AI oppostion. Nevertheless the game can suck you in if you only struggle through those first few levels. If you have never tried this awesome piece of gaming history then I strongly recommend you to check it out. It has

Now Masochists can Play Games too

Thank you Massively for drawing our attention to the 3D Space FPS vest which actually INFLICTS PAIN ON YOU when you get hit. Check out the video of the guy getting shot in-game. Hilarious. A future candidate for a Darwin award if I am not mistaken. Of course this version only simulates physical damage. The mmo version would really need to mimic magical damage too. A decent electric shock should do the job I would think.

I am Teh Uber

A fine example of the stand beside a health regeneration shrine school of Two Worlds fighting. That's me fighting a small army of Groms. They lost.