Before taking a long blogging hiatus I was in quite an exciting spot. Riders of Rohan had just been released and Storm Legion was about to hit stores. Both games formed a large part of my MMO diet at the time and I was equally excited for both releases. Now that the dust has settled I feel confident enough putting my thoughts on each expansion on electronic paper. Before I proceed its important to note that I have not reached max level in either game so I am not going to comment much on end game (which is a facet of MMO games which I am not particularly enamored with). These thoughts and opinions reflect what I enjoy in an MMO ie. Story, exploration and the leveling process.
Update (26/8/12): Yesterday, before going to work, I managed to log into the game and play for a couple of minutes. Just enough to make me regret not taking the night shift off. However I did book a week leave off work so that I can enjoy the new MMO rush as best as I can. Will try and post my initial thoughts of the game as soon as I have formed an opinion. In the meantime see you in Tyria!
(Original Post): Early access for Guild Wars 2 started today and I still don’t feel extremely excited about it. Don’t get me wrong. I want the game to succeed and I am dying to fall in love with it. Its been a while since I enjoyed an MMO at launch and I long for that experience. So, why am I writing this blog post instead of enjoying the game right now? For the simple reason that the GW2 login server won’t let me log in. Wouldn’t it be funny if I got a dialogue box saying Error 37 after each failed login? No it wouldn’t. Thankfully Arena.net know about the issue and are working on it but I will have to play the waiting game. And here I was hoping for a smooth launch. So, while I wait for a chance to get into the game I will share my thoughts on some relatively recent MMO news.
You might have noticed that I now have an official header for the blog. All thanks go to Nicole Diacono for designing the Mighty Viking Hamster for me. She is a very talented artist and I urge anyone reading to go check out her work.
Spurred by the imminent release of the Riders of Rohan and the buzz that an expansion inevitably creates I am finding myself playing Lord of the Rings Online more than anything else right now. Rift has its own expansion coming, Guild Wars 2 is rearing its head at the end of the month and World of Warcraft will be also be implementing the pre expansion patch (on the same day GW2 gets released nonetheless). However by virtue of being free to play and available right now LotRO is king of the hill at the moment.
More so than any other genre MMOs become more exciting the more time you are willing (and able) to spend in their world. So this month I found myself becoming more involved in my guild, the Keepers of Silmarils, on the Laurelin server. I installed Mumble, got to hear the voices of my kinnies for the first time, they got to hear mine and I even joined a successful Watcher raid. Being relatively low level I got one shot by the aforementioned Watcher just as the encounter started and I got to follow the battle while kneeling in the muck but it was fun and exciting anyways. I also advanced a couple of levels this week, progressed through the epic storyline and am now exploring Mirkwood. As Ronald (or Justin) would have me say ‘I’m lovin’ it!’. Continue reading
Good old Peter (Moore, EA’s COO). He is making ripples on the internet by predicting that within 5-10 years the majority of games will be distributed for free and then supported with an in-game store. Try as I might I really cannot see Pete’s vision. Make no mistake, this model is working wonders in the MMO sphere. However there are specific reasons for this. The subscription model in MMOs can be likened to a dvd rental service such as Blockbuster. You rent a dvd and you pay for the privilege to watch the movie but the minute you stop paying the entirety of the movie is unavaliable to you, no matter how much money you previously invested in the service.
This is not the case with the free to play (F2P) model. You get the barebones version of the game for free and then you spend money to access the parts of the game you are interested in. This concept in and of itself sounds very consumer friendly but the idea of ‘owning’ what you buy is the biggest pull of the F2P model. Once you buy the content it’s yours to enjoy ad infinitum. The main reason I feel Peter Moore is off the mark is that with current non-subscription games this crucial advantage is lost. When purchasing games with no subscription attached consumers already have unlimited access to all the content after that initial investment. The game does not ask them to fork out 50€ again in a couple of months time so they can continue playing.
[10th June] Note: I edited this post a little bit. I wrote it late at night after a tiring day at work. I did not change any content, just the wording which I felt was off and not clearly expressing what I was trying to say. Apologies.
The expansion for Lord of the Rings Online, Riders of Rohan, was made avaliable for pre-purchase on their site meaning that both the pricing and the pre-purchase bonuses have been made public. Readers with a keen eye might have noticed that the url for the site ends with pre-order.html. There is actually no pre-ordering involved here. Once you agree to purchase you will instantly get billed for the full cost of the expansion although you’ll have to wait till September 5th 2012 to ride into Rohan. However you will be able to immediately access the bonuses associated with the bundle you decide to buy. Some bonuses are available only to those who agree to part with cash prematurely so, presumably, they will not be available after the expansion goes live. There is a distinct possibility that we will see these bonuses appear on the Turbine Store eventually as has become customary of late. Continue reading