Not a whole lot has been going on in blogging-land for me the past couple of weeks, mostly due to my near-death from the plague and subsequent recovery (now with 80% less contaminated grain!). For several days I wasn’t even functional enough to game, and when that happens, you know I’m about two steps away from being tucked into a coffin.
But I’m back, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and snowed-in! Whee!
Rift: I’ve been playing it off and on during Beta 5 this week. I’ve taken a bit of a step back from it as I don’t want to do any quests or make any real significant progress in it until launch, to preserve that Fresh New Game Feeling™. I’m still planning on playing it at launch, though I still have some reservations about the game. I’m not sure how much longevity and replayability it’ll have, or if it will really draw players into the game world. That said, it’s a solid game. The devs have poured a lot of thought and work into it and continue to do so, and it has a lot of potential, depending on how committed Trion is to the game and to additional content.
I find myself flip-flopping between the Guardians and the Defiant. Guardians have dwarves and the nicer zones, but the Defiant have a better story with the time-travel factor and a more sympathetic cause. The Rogue and Mage classes are looking the most appealing at the moment; I’m leaning towards Marksman/Ranger/Bard (or Assassin) for the Rogue and Pyromancer/Stormcaller/Dominator for the Mage.
Another factor that I’m still mulling over: PvE or PvP? Traditionally, PvE servers (and preferably RP-PvE) have been my servers of choice, but for Rift it seems like the war between Guardians and Defiant might be fun to participate in. In Warcraft you had characters and factions that called for peace between the two sides, but no such thing exists for Rift that I’ve seen. It’s open hostility all the way. The question is, could I deal with the ganking while leveling? Hm.
I find it odd that I typically play the “good” guys on RP-PvE servers, but for Rift I’m very tempted to go the exact opposite (and yes I know that the Defiant aren’t the “bad” guys, work with me here). Am I losing my mind? Is it the end of the world? Have the flaming squirrels invaded my house? Only time will tell.
LotRO: Miss Paislea the Hobbit Minstrel is growing up, she’s level 48.5 as of this writing. It’s been a slow journey for her, especially since I typically work on her in between breaks in other games, but she’s finally almost to Moria. The one advantage to leveling a character sporadically is that I’ve kept her in Rest XP for the past 20 levels easily, and that means that I’ve been able to skip Forochel in favor of Eregion.
At level 46, just when she ran out of on-level quests in Misty Mountains and Angmar, I ran over to Eregion to start Volume 2 and get my first Legendary Item, which pushed her up to 47 and opened more quests up in Angmar and Misty Mountains, which then got her to 48. It’s been surprising to see just how resilient and survivable War-speech Minstrels are, as she has been able to survive quite a few mobs and quests that my 49 Rune-keeper just could not get through solo.
I think it’s interesting that the more that I play LotRO, the more I find myself wanting to play it. It’s so different from your normal high-fantasy MMO, that at first it can seem almost boring… at least it did to me 3 years ago. But I’ve seen now that it’s amazingly complex. It challenges you to learn new incredibly detailed lore and ways of thinking about advancement in-game, while at the same time slowing you down and emphasizing the journey over the destination. That’s completely opposite to how many MMOs today are designed, and has served LotRO well over the years.