A rather long time ago… late 2006 or early 2007, there was a beta release/playtest period for Lord of the Rings Online. I took advantage of it and played with some friends who loved the idea of a game in Tolkien’s world, but at the time I was very heavily invested in EQ2 still, and to be perfectly frank, I liked the story of LotR well enough when I read it back in high school, but I’d also never felt the desire to re-read the trilogy, so the world itself didn’t really have much in the way of a draw for me. I was single at the time and a raider in EQ2 with several characters capped out, so the thought of starting a new MMO didn’t have much appeal for me, so I played in the beta a few times, but didn’t end up buying the game or subbing to it, despite the entreaties of my friends who loved it and bought lifetime subscriptions.
After it went F2P I at least installed it, thinking I’d give it another look, but I was into other games at the time and what little I did try didn’t really “click” with me either. I vaguely recall “working hard” to get a Lore-Master to level 14 to unlock the bear tank pet, thinking it would be a nice change from the raven pet you started with then, but then was disappointed in the bear pet and ended up deleting that character to make room for a minstrel. I picked at the minstrel here and there over the years, but when I logged in and found it again, it was only level 12, so I obviously didn’t do too much with it.
Anyway, this all leads up to with this summer and Standing Stone Games doing that “free quests” giveaway due to all the craziness in the world this year and Syp’s posts about it over the summer, I decided to give it another go. Apparently in my prior attempt to get into the game I’d tossed some cash at it, as I had a decent stock of the cash currency in-place and I want to say I have a vague memory of having to pay to unlock the Warden and Rune-Keeper classes, so…. I logged in to the Brandywine server, as I recalled that name, and my old characters were there, but I didn’t really remember any of them, so I decided I’d just do a fresh start, so I moved over to the Landroval server instead.
My beef with the game before was that it introduced skills so slowly that no matter what class one picked, it still largely felt like “MMO #217” rather than anything unique, and since the world itself had no draw for me… This time I researched the classes a bit more and found that I could level to the mid-teens in just a few hours (I remember feeling like leveling was a slog before), at least. Still and all, the 1st little bit still played like “MMO #217” and didn’t impress me, so I decided to try each class and get it to level 23 (where the final Virtue slot unlocks and almost halfway to the original level cap of 50) figuring that should give me enough under the belt to get more of a feel for what’s unique about the different classes in this game.
I also subbed to the game as paying for 2 months gets you 3 and gets rid of a bunch of annoyances, 2 bonus character slots, and gives cash-shop currency equal to $20-ish in value, all for $30, so… seemed a good deal. I also feel more inclined to play a game I’m subbed to in order to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth from it, so it may encourage me to stick to the game a bit more than before.
I’ve almost reached my goal of everything to 23. I’ve actually got the Hunter to 33 (this was planned initially to be the “ez-mode main” before I got the idea of trying everything) and I was enjoying the questing enough on the Warden that I didn’t notice that I skipped past 23 to 26. Oddly, enough this happened despite my not really caring for the warden much.
I tend to favor ranged/mage classes in any game anymore, and that seems to be holding true here also, as my 2 favorites are the Hunter (blue line, to allow mobility despite this being said to be the “bad” specialization) and the Rune Keeper (yellow line, to allow mobility and also said to be better than the red line anyway). Lore-Master’s not bad and I note that the tanking bear is now granted at level 1 with the raven coming later. I enjoy all the CC the class has got, but when solo questing it’s more about mowing through mobs and other classes do that better. Minstrel’s fine too, but doesn’t seem to “do it” for me.
The melee classes are all “fine” but none really do much for me either. I think I like the Beorning the best of them, though after a slow start the Champion really felt like it took off in the late teens. Captain’s ok, but doesn’t quite “click” with me. Guardian’s designed as a tank class, so even the red dps spec they gave it for solo leveling just doesn’t quite feel like it’s got the “oomph” I want, which is further compounded by the skills not being reliably available since so many rely on a defensive proc in order to be able to use them. Warden’s got so many skills to use in order to create the gambits that the learning curve feels steeper than I’d like for “optimum play.” It’s been fine mostly just using the base skills so far, but in reading up on it the rotation for use that goes from the various mastery skills to the basics and back seemed overly complex, so… meh. I’ve never been fond of stealth/rogue style gameplay in MMO’s so I held the Burglar for last. I’ve got it to level 18 now, so it’s got a little to go before I hit 23 on it, but shouldn’t be much more than another evening or 2. But as it is, I’m thinking I’ll just continue with the Hunter as my main once I have the level 23 baseline established, with a possibility of doing the “RK” from time to time for a little bit of variety.
Happy gaming out there!
Okay, since I haven’t been blogging much at all lately, here’s something a little different that’s going around —
Driven or been driven at 100 mph/160 kmh?
Yes. I personally haven’t gotten above about 90 mph, I don’t think (in an 80 zone, in central Nebraska) but as a kid Dad opened it up on a trip to Utah while going across Wyoming just to show us all what it felt like. He’d grown up in the era before speed limits existed on the interstates and loved to tell the story about going 110 in Nevada and having a cop blow by him like he was standing still.
Learned a possibly deadly skill?
Depends on how you define deadly, I suppose. I was a decent skeet shot with a shotgun in my teens, and I could hit the black part of the target with a .22 plinking rifle at summer camp. Did a bit of archery at summer camp and in gym class and could usually hit yellow or red on the target. Haven’t used any of those items in over 30 years though, so I dunno how skilled I’d be in any of their use anymore though.
Ridden in a helicopter?
Nope. Would love to learn to fly one, and maybe take a tourist ride over the Grand Canyon, so while I desire to do so — I haven’t made it happen yet.
Been Bungie Jumping?
Nope. Never had the desire. Been places that had it on offer, but never availed myself of the service.
Gone zip lining?
Yes. The Olympic Park in Park City has it as an option and I’ve done it there. I prefer the alpine slides, though. They aren’t over so quickly so there’s more time to enjoy the ride.
Been to an NFL game or Ice Hockey?
I’ve been to pro baseball games, basketball games, and soccer games, but never pro football or hockey. I have done high school and college football games, just never NFL. Never been to a hockey game at all, actually.
Watched Dr. Who?
I watched the “new series” starting with Eccleston. I really liked him and David Tennant, but then I lost interest during the 2nd season of Matt Smith’s tenure. Haven’t seen the “classic” at all, nor anything with Capaldi or Whittaker.
Been to Canada?
Several times as a kid — my dad did presentations at an annual convention that was held in Toronto. I really only recall going up the CN tower a time or 2, and not much else of those trips. I had a sister live in Montreal for a while and when her job ended there, we went up as a family to retrieve her and move her back to Chicago when I was 19. She showed us around her favorite places in Montreal and also up in Quebec City where she’d spent some time also.
In an odd quirk of fate, while in Montreal I met Larry H. Miller, but I had no idea who he was. Just looked like a nice older gentleman. Shook his hand and said hi since it was a social function we were both at. My dad asked me afterward if I knew who that was, and I didn’t so he told me the name. Still meant nothing to me. Dad shrugged and told me “He’s a big deal in Utah” but since I was from Chicago…. About 8 years later when I moved to Utah his name was all over everything around here, so then I finally understood why my dad had made a thing about me briefly meeting some guy in Canada.
I’ve seen/driven by Disney Land on business trips in southern California, but never attended. I have been to Disney World twice as a teen — once was a family trip, and once was a high school band trip. It was fine, but I didn’t think it was a better amusement park experience than the Great America park located north of Chicago.
Visited an actual castle?
I visited Warwick Castle and Windsor Castle on a band trip to London when I was 16.
I had a friend get married there, so my ex and I visited for the wedding. We went a 2nd time as we were returning from a trip to Phoenix, but it was really just an overnight stop, not really a “visit.” I also attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas in January of 2004.
Eaten alone at a restaurant?
All the time.
Played an instrument?
I played the trumpet from 5th grade through freshman year of college, then swapped over to the French horn. Haven’t played anything since college, though.
Ridden a motorcycle?
My family had a little moped when I was growing up. It had a top speed of 27 mph, though, so I don’t know if that really counts. My uncle had a cycle that he took me out on a couple of times, so I rode on it, but didn’t drive. I have driven 4-wheel ATV’s off-road, but never a dirt bike.
Ridden a horse?
Had another uncle who had a farm, and he sometimes had a horse when I was a kid, which he’d let us ride those summers. More recently I’ve done trail rides at tourist ranches in Colorado and Idaho.
I’ve been cross-country skiing as a kid in Illinois. Never done downhill stuff, in spite of living so close to so many ski places near Salt Lake City now.
Gone to a festival?
If you mean a music festival, then no. I’ve attended movies shown in SLC as part of the Sundance Film Festival, but that was really just going to a movie. The Salt Lake Comic Con/FanX could be argued to be a festival, but is more likely labeled a “convention,” so… eh. Whatever.
Driven a stick shift?
I learned how in my late teens, but the last time I drove one I was… 22 or 23 I think? So it’s been over 20 years since the last time I did.
Ridden in a police car?
I sat in a police car after a minor fender bender while the cop did his paperwork, but I’ve never been cuffed or actually ridden anywhere in one. I have ridden in a fire truck around O’Hare airport, though. It was a demonstration of what the truck could do, not on a fire call or anything, but was still a neat experience.
Driven a boat?
I’ve rowed and sailed boats, so arguably “drove” those, but never was at the wheel/controls of a motorboat, just ridden in and skied off the back of those.
Been on a cruise?
Been on TV?
I’ve been in the background of local news shots that friends saw and told me about. And in high school I was on a trivia team that had one of our events televised on local “public access” tv. I’m sure about 8 people saw that….
Been in a paper/book/magazine?
I was at the 1st night game at Wrigley Field. There was a long-shot photo of the crowd, and I knew where my dad and I were sitting, so I could pick out the white blotch of his shirt and the darker spot that was where I was sitting. Does that count?
Probably about once every 2-3 months or so. I like it, but I like a lot of things, so it’s not something I really work into my “eating rotation” all that often.
Seen a U.F.O.?
Rescued an animal?
I got my cat and last 2 dogs from the shelter. The cat was from an unwanted litter that got dumped at the shelter, and both dogs were found strays that the shelter had taken in and would have had to put down shortly if they weren’t adopted. I dunno that that’s truly rescuing them, but I’m glad to have had them.
Met someone rather famous?
Well, as I mentioned up above, I met Larry H. Miller when I was 19. I escorted 1991’s Miss Illinois back to her seat at Medieval Times after she’d been selected as the “Queen of Love and Beauty” when she attended there, but I don’t remember her name. I’ve attended several comic cons and they always have celebs, so I briefly met quite a few of them – short list from top of my head is Phoebe Tonkin, Brendan Routh, Walter Koenig, James Marsters, Nicholas Brendon, Clare Kramer, Julie Benz, and Nathan Fillion. There were more, but I honestly don’t remember them all. I’ve never really cared about celebrities. You may notice several of the names in that list were from the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the reason I met them is that my wife is a huge fan of that show, so she wanted to meet them all and I got dragged along. 😉 I got Phoebe Tonkin’s autograph for my daughter, as she liked the actress in that Australian mermaid show “H2O” from 15-ish? years ago. Brendan Routh’s booth was next to hers, so I went over and met Superman too as long as I was there. I enjoyed Walter Koenig in Star Trek and Babylon 5, so he was one I wanted to meet for myself. Nathan Fillion for his work on Firefly also fell into that group, even though he appeared on BtVS also.
And there’s the quiz. I hope it wasn’t too boring of a post…
Happy gaming out there!
At least until the next expansion, anyway… Yet another picture post —
Now that all of my “leveling chores” are out of the way, I guess it’s time for me to actually finish up the 5.2 MSQ and start doing the expert roulette for the new gear grind. Or maybe I’ll actually look in to Ishgard Restoration. Or trying to finish up my Blue Mage spellbook. Or… Or… Or… So many choices still!