Dungeons and Dragons Online is opening a new server!

Here is the original source

This is unheard of in the mmo world a game that is releasing a new server after being out for over 3 years. I hope that this success lets them move the F2P model to LoTRO, I would really enjoy that being free any time I wanted it. I think it would be a lot more work to convert but I think it would be worth it.

Repost: I DO NOT WANT TO DELIVER A DAMN LETTER TO A HOBBIT!

This is a repost of one of my earlier blog post. I did not have many readers at this time so most of you probably have not read it. I thought of it when I was writing my last post and I thought that the related post plugin would link to it but it did not so here it is!

I played Lord of the Rings Online a lot this weekend and I have decided to stay with WAR. While LOTRO has a lot of things that it did right and it is a superb game it is missing a few things that would make it stick for me and has one HUGE glaring problem.

As I have stated in a previous post I do not like quests that take a long time to complete and LOTRO is full of them. There are so many crappy quests to do that you can’t even count them. I DO NOT WANT TO DELIVER A DAMN LETTER TO A HOBBIT! Who thought it was a good idea to make people run all over the freaking country side (Beautiful as it may be) for a quest?  Who thinks it is fun to do this? WHO? I want exciting quest, I want to kill things.  I don’t want to be a damn post master. All of the exciting quest are group based and they are few and far between in the first 10 levels.  I spent 20 minutes trying to find a rabbit hole. Then after I found it I had to run 15 mins to the other side of the zone to show it to some dude who then sent me back to investigate further. This is an example of how to not make quests.  A few quests like this may be necessary to move people on to the proper locations, but don’t make this part of the main epic story line. Please show me where to go. I don’t want to figure it out. I don’t want to read why Betty is missing her little kitty.  I don’t want to wonder around for 20 minutes trying to find the stupid cat.

I am not saying that LOTRO is a bad game. There are people out there that want to stick their hands into bunny holes and deliver letters while avoiding nosey hobbits, they like to run around, hold hands, and sing kum bi ya. I am not one of those.

Return to Lord of the Rings Online promotion

I just recieved this in my email

This is very interesting. I think that Lotro is a really good game and this is a tempting offer considering I am between games and this game is always fun for a short time as long as  I don’t play a damn hobbit an have to deliver a letter.

Offering a free expansion if you purchase a certain subscription seems like a pretty good idea.  3 months of subscription is more than the expansion and it really cost them very little. I do not know if they are offering this to current customers, if they are not they should. I will probably be logging in during the free week and depending no how that goes I may subscribe.  So there you have it email marketing does work. Not only am I going to try it again I am going to post about it on my blog for all of my many readers (all 25 of you) to read.

Mission Based Questing

I am on a questing kick in my last few posts.  I believe that questing and how it is done is what is breaking the MMO experience for me.  If a company were to mix all of these elements together in some way, I believe that it would be the perfect MMO. Or I am just getting sick of the whole genre and I should go buy a Wii and play a bunch of shitty casual games.

Mission based questing is a quest system that uses personal or group instances a lot.  City of Heroes uses this in most of its quests as does Dungeons and Dragons online. Anarchy Online was the first to to do it and it was a big selling point for them and it would of worked had you been able to play AO in the first 3 months. The idea is simple go to a NPC and they give you this quest/mission to go here and find some thing or do some thing.  You then go somewhere on the map and zone into your own private questing area and complete the task.  The areas are usually full of mobs and a few bosses. When you are done you get a reward.

The benefits of this type of system is the ability to control the encounter. You can have scripted events and mobs that act a little smarter because they are in a controlled environment.  You can tell better stories and the experience is not hampered by other players.  You also do not run back and forth much for the quest, you get there and you spend 20 -30 minutes completing your task.  This is very good for casual players, it allows you to log on do a quest that you actually make some progress on your character on and log off.

A few recent games have dabbled in this and have had some success. Age of Conan does it pretty well in the first 20 levels after that it is back to the old fashioned run here and do this and run back type of questing.  DDO relies extensively on this and as a result does not have a very large world to explore.  LOTRO does this for its epic story line and a select few quest most of them are group based. WAR does not do this at all and it would be a very welcome addition.

I want this type of questing to be an option that you can do any time and do not need a quest to do.  I want to be able to grind these if I want. The questing zones must be very well done not random like a lot of the previous games have done. There needs to be mini missions inside that grant you extra experience or gear,  like killing all of the mobs, finding the rare chest, or finding the secret room.  The quest giver needs to be stationary so all quest to this particular mission area are given by one person. You could create story arcs.  Just the act of zoning in could start the quest.  They must be repeatable.

All of this must be mixed with other types of advancement to give the player the option to level how they want to.  This is all about choice, we play these games to have fun and we should be able to choose how we would like to play, and one person should not be penelized for doing something different.

Three things that are wrong with current MMOs

1.  Quest Based Advancement

All current major MMOs advancement is based on completing quest. This started with WoW and that trend has continued. In the beginning of MMOs this was not the case. UO did not have any real quests and while Everquest had that in its name questing was not the main way to earn experience. Everquest relied on the camping mechanic, stay in one spot and kill lots of things for hours. The quests were a way to get loot not advance your character. Every game after that point used this mechanic in some way. They all tried to stop the camping problem but none of them were very successful.

Then the “Next Generation” of MMOs were released, these were World of Warcraft and Everquest 2 both of these games brought quest based advancement as the main way to level. There was still some camping involved but most experience was gained through completing quests. Now every game that comes out tries to take this to the next level and does it wrong. The problem with quest based advancement is that you spend to much time getting to and from the quest objectives. They are really just running exercises. They are all the same, go here and kill this, go here and talk to him. Camping has pretty much disappeared entirely.

A middle ground should be reached where camping is still an option. Camping was a good way to build community because you get to talk to your group mates instead of running around trying to find the last sick bear. I think they should mix up camping and make more instanced dungeons for groups. Maybe make them random with a token system so that you can pick what you want. This way they could make some generic story lines and make some really cool instances. DDO does this very well. You could also combine the questing and grinding by giving out xp rewards for killing 1000 spotted owls. They would need to bring back static spawn points to make this work. Players need a wide variety of play options and each one needs to be about equal to keep a play type from dominating the other.

2.  WoW

The Juggernaut World of Warcraft is going to destroy MMOs. Every game since WoW has followed them. Just like EQ before, it sets the bar and is the game that every new game is judged against. The problem with this is it is not a very good game. It is not revolutionary. It looks like crap. The classes are all generic. It is really a casual EQ. But it has become so big that any game that does not manage to get 1 million subscribers is considered a failure. Before WoW EQ was king with 400,000ish players. This is what every one strives to be and if you got half of what eq had you were considered a success. No one can ever dream of getting half of what WoW has. They would need 4 million players to reach half the numbers that WoW has, and I am not sure that it would even be considered a success then. WoW was a fluke and will not be duplicated for some time to come.

The industry is striving to reach an unreachable goal. They are coping WoW to try to reach that goal. Any new game that comes out should hope to get over 100k and budget every thing for that many people. Expecting to much really hurt WAR and forced it to do server merges not even 6 months after release. It did the same for Age of Conan.  A subscriber base of 100k will bring in $1.5 million a month. If you can’t claim success with that kind of revenue you are aiming too high. When publishers start aiming lower they will start to see more chances being taken and with those chances we will get the real innovations that are needed to take this genre to the next level.

3.  Casual Players

I happen to be a casual player I play maybe 10 hours a week. Casual players are what made WoW so successful. But what makes WoW push the boundaries of game design are the hardcore players. They are the ones that eat through the content and demand more. They are the ones that find the bugs and exploit them. They make the guides, websites, and plugins that really make the game. Because of them we get interesting instances and new content. They are the ones that complain on the message boards and test the new changes. They are the raid, guild, and group leaders that make a lot of instances and raids possible for most players.

They play to be the most uber player on the server. With out them the game would go stale and die. I do not think that you should have to be a hardcore player to get the items that you want. But the games MUST be made for these people. The raids must exist the new content must be put into the game to keep it fresh and growing.

I DO NOT WANT TO DELIVER A DAMN LETTER TO A HOBBIT!

I played Lord of the Rings Online a lot this weekend and I have decided to stay with WAR. While LOTRO has a lot of things that it did right and it is a superb game it is missing a few things that would make it stick for me and has one HUGE glaring problem.

As I have stated in a previous post I do not like quests that take a long time to complete and LOTRO is full of them. There are so many crappy quests to do that you can’t even count them. I DO NOT WANT TO DELIVER A DAMN LETTER TO A HOBBIT! Who thought it was a good idea to make people run all over the freaking country side (Beautiful as it may be) for a quest?  Who thinks it is fun to do this? WHO? I want exciting quest, I want to kill things.  I don’t want to be a damn post master. All of the exciting quest are group based and they are few and far between in the first 10 levels.  I spent 20 minutes trying to find a rabbit hole. Then after I found it I had to run 15 mins to the other side of the zone to show it to some dude who then sent me back to investigate further. This is an example of how to not make quests.  A few quests like this may be necessary to move people on to the proper locations, but don’t make this part of the main epic story line. Please show me where to go. I don’t want to figure it out. I don’t want to read why Betty is missing her little kitty.  I don’t want to wonder around for 20 minutes trying to find the stupid cat.

I am not saying that LOTRO is a bad game. There are people out there that want to stick their hands into bunny holes and deliver letters while avoiding nosey hobbits, they like to run around, hold hands, and sing kum bi ya. I am not one of those.

Welcome Back Weekend LOTRO

I played Lord of The Rings online when it was first released. I liked it but did not stick with it. So now with the welcome back weekend I decided to give it another go. I must say it has changed and the changes have been good.

There are a few things that I really like about this game. The environment is just spectacular.  It runs smooth and looks great. It is great to be able to see all of these places that you dreamed of as you read the books.  Turbine has done a tremendous job of bringing middle earth to life. I can spend hours just sight seeing, this is a welcome change for me after WAR, it is  really very boring.

The servers are full of people. This is probably my number one problem with WAR right now, there is no one to do the great PQs with.  The region chat is very active and the world just feels like it has a lot of people in it. It makes getting groups and questing a breeze.  I do not know if it is because of the welcome back promotion or if this game is really that active.

The story line, I like to have a story line to follow.  The epic quest line is a great story that lets you follow your heroes through the game.  I have not experienced this with WAR it would be a very nice touch. There is so much lore to build on it is a shame that WAR has not used it.

Now the things I did not like. PVP stinks! It is pretty much crap compared to WAR.  WAR’s pvp is far superior to it, and almost all other games I have played and is the sole reason that I will continue to play WAR. Nothing compares to to hunting other humans.

The quest system, it is fairly clunky and really does not show you where the quest objectives are. I do not like running around looking for the objective. I want it to point me to it.  I have a very limited amount of time to play and I do not want to spend that time trying to find a spotted bear in a forest that has a rotted toe nail.

I will play this game a bit more and see where it takes me.  I plan on continueing with WAR but some times you need a little change.