Cease to inquire what the future has in store.

lotro, melmoth, mmo Comments Off

We have also added a few bonus Talismans that are store exclusives.

‘Store exclusives’ the new term for ‘going to cost you’.

Turbine have been good in this respect, however: as far as I recall from DDO, it’s only fluff and cosmetic items that have ever been store exclusives, everything else can be earned from playing the game (albeit often at a great cost of personal time, as is to be expected).

It was just the wording of it that made me chuckle, as if it were some special kindness that they were adding bonus items for which you have to pay. Such is the world of marketing, I guess.

The Talismans do seem a nice change for Lore-masters however; making the customisation of their pets independent of a jewellery slot means that they can concentrate on getting the most out of the stats for that slot without having to sacrifice the desired appearance for their pets.

One does have to wonder whether the store-based Talismans make the pets translucent and sparkly though…

Posted by Melmoth at 7:18 am

Hypothetical recruitment script.

melmoth, mmo 6 Comments »

“So he’s the tank and..”

“Wait, I thought he was the Warrior?”

“Yes, he’s the Warrior but in a group he has to tank. Okay?”

“Okay… where is it then?”

“Where is what?”

“His tank…”

“N… no, he is the tank. It’s the name of his role.”

“Ah okay. Because he has lots of armour…”

“Yes!”

“And he does huge amounts of damage with a massive gun…”

“Ye… no. Not… look, don’t worry about the tank part for the moment.”

“O… kay.”

“Look. This one here is the healer. She’s a Priest, but her role is the healer because she can heal the life of others, see?”

“Ah, I get it. Like the Shaman?”

“Ye… well, no, I mean, well… he can heal but in this instance he’s the damage dealer.”

“If you say so.”

“Right, now, look the Priest is buffing the Warrior.”

“Appearance is important.”

“What?”

“Warriors always have pristine shiny armour in these games.”

“No, not that sort of buffing. The other sort of buffing.”

“Eww, that’s disgusting. Is it just because the Priest is female? Seems a bit sexist…”

“No, not that sort of buffing. A buff is a beneficial spell that does… good stuff.”

“If you say so.”

“It is!”

“…”

“Now, see, the Warrior is charging the mob.”

“No.”

“No?”

“There’s only one of them.”

“Only one of what?”

“The Warrior is only charging one ogre, that hardly constitutes a mob.”

“No, you see, mob… it means the ogre.”

“Well why not just say ‘the ogre’.”

“Because ‘mob’ means many things, any red-con NPC AI that you can…”

“AAMTTUWT.”

“What?”

“Precisely.

“Eh?”

“Acronyms are meaningless to those unfamiliar with them.”

“Oh very clever.”

“IAWTC.”

Anyway that’s the basics of it, it’s really not that complicated once you know all the terms and how to play. It won’t take much time to explain all the other terms. What do you think?”

“I think that in Peggle I can get into an enjoyable game instantly; I also only use three keys and some mouse clicks, but I don’t having to write a bunch of macros to make it that way; it requires tactics and luck in almost equivalent measure to your game; it seems to involve just as much time staring at nothing more than flashing lights and big glowing numbers; I can play it online with my friends while only needing to dedicate a few minutes to each session of play; and I don’t have to pay £14.99 a month while I’m learning the ropes.”

“So you’re not going to play an MMO with me?”

“Not even if you aggrod me, kited me to your computer, and CCd me there until I agreed to.”

“Fair enough.”

Posted by Melmoth at 12:23 pm

Are you ready? Hey, are you ready for this?

champions online, melmoth, mmo 5 Comments »

Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
And another one gone.
And another one gone.
Another sub. bites the dust
Hey, will we get WoW too?
Another sub. bites the dust.

Posted by Melmoth at 2:34 pm

Umbilicus Segmentata.

melmoth, mmo 5 Comments »

Long fingers of sunlight stretched through the canopy of leaves and gently stroked her face. She felt warmth then, the warmth of comfort, of a mother’s hug, a lover’s kiss, a father’s guiding hand. Father Sun, reaching down and caressing her softly. She grasped at the comfort, focussed on it, let it radiate through her. She felt no other warmth.

Eyes closed she followed Father Sun’s light touch down her cheek, drying the trail of stale tears that it crossed; she shivered as she felt warm fingers slide down the side of her neck, memories of cold nights naked in front of a warm fire with Djestin, the back of his half-cupped hand gently tracing the same path as he stared in wonder into her dark eyes, as though stars clustered brightly there. The blanket of memory drawn sharply from her mind as Djestin’s touch approached her breast and was halted by her armour. Why was she wearing armour with him? So cold. But armour wouldn’t stop the cold.

She coughed in her agitation, pain flaring out from the dark edges of her consciousness, flooding her mind and forcing its way forth through suddenly wide open eyes and dry gasping mouth. A glimpse of the forest roof, far above where she lay, tendrils of light in heavenly array. Eyes closed once more she searched for Father Sun’s touch, felt his hands join her own where they rested limply across her waist. She could barely feel him, his warmth diluted by the pooling blood between her fingers, her own traitorous warmth abandoning her as soon as the arrow had struck. It sat within her still, a perverse birth of agony, the same place that Pella had slept for nine months, some four years ago. New tears welled and drew wet lines down her cheeks while Father Sun struggled in vain to dry them away.

Sharp cries brought her back from memories of a small flower-laden child running, shouting and laughing across a meadow towards her, the smell of flowers and a babe’s hair as she gathered Pella up in her arms. Smell of happiness. She turned her head on its side and forced her eyes to focus out across the golden carpet of leaves. She could not find the source of the yell, instead her eyes rested on Vargus, the mage’s broken body stared lifelessly back. He stood little chance against the Kurvik once she had fallen to the arrow and could no longer protect him, their number was too great, and he wore no armour to deflect their savage blows.

Not that her armour had helped her.

And who would protect the others now, should any of them survive? How would they continue their task? Little Voric and Yoric, stout of heart, could not be expected to survive such an ordeal alone. Jastel was no warrior. And if they failed, the kingdom would surely falter and fall. Then who would protect Djestin, Pella… oh Pella!

A great cough wracked her body, she grasped weakly at the arrow that bit at her every move. The arrow that had pierced her defences and then her body. They had said she was the greatest warrior of her time; that her armour was a symbol… made her a symbol; that ten thousand sword strokes would never pass her stalwart shield and banshee blade. They were right.

But it only took one arrow.

Cold realisation: she no longer felt Father Sun’s touch. No warmth, no comfort any more. She saw his light dance behind the closed lids of her eyes; her mind showed her shadows of Pella dancing happily in the evening light. Now gone. Another light, brighter, growing. No warmth there either, but strangely… comfort.

She sighed once.

A sigh for release,
A sigh for sorrow.
A sigh for peace,
And for the loss of tomorrow.

Stupid plate mail bikinis.

Posted by Melmoth at 12:48 pm

Chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction.

guild wars, guild wars 2, melmoth, mmo 10 Comments »

Floating foetus-like as I am in my current MMO limbo, I decided to revisit an old game that I have never managed to get on with, an MMO that broke many of the tropes of the genre at a time when World of Warcraft was still defining them, and can probably be considered one of the grey-bearded forefathers of the free-to-play model that is becoming popular today.

I was going to start by saying that I don’t know why I never got on with Guild Wars, but that isn’t true, I do know as to why, it would probably be fairer to say that I just don’t like the reason why. The failing is actually with me, and even though the game has its foibles I’m long past caring about such inconveniences as not being able to jump; I’ve come to terms with the fact that my character, hero of the ages, slayer of dragons and gods, cannot hop over the edge of a small hillock and must instead walk all the way down and around. Very fragile knees these heroes of the ages, clearly they have weak bone structure brought on by a lack of calcium in their diet. I mean, were my hero to jump even a few inches off the ground they would probably drive their shins up through the rest of their legs and then, as they toppled over and hit the ground, they would explode like a bone fragmentation grenade, killing the rest of their party, who couldn’t dive out of the way for fear of hitting the ground too hard and detonating themselves. True story.

How many Guild Wars characters does it take to change a light bulb? No idea, none of them are brave enough to climb up onto a chair because they wouldn’t be able to jump back down again.

It’s easy to pick fault with some of the more quirky decisions that have been made in the game, Guild Wars is quirky in so many respects. I use the term ‘quirky’ not with pejorative connotations in mind, however, but more in terms of innate individualistic idiosyncrasy; it’s clear that the creators set out to be different from the other offerings on the market at the time, and they achieved their goals so wholly that even today the game stands out distinctively among its peers. Let’s not forget that for a five year old game it features stunning graphical vistas and a slick responsive UI that you wouldn’t be ashamed to release in a current generation MMO.

So why do I struggle so much with Guild Wars? Simply put: pace. I would say that the combat in Guild Wars errs on the fast side, and as such it probably gives a closer approximation of the chaotic feeling of battle than most MMOs. We shouldn’t ignore the fact that Guild Wars was designed to be a PvP game, the clue possibly being in the title

“Well, we’ve formed a guild, now what?”

“I dunno. Invite the neighbours over, offer them a nice cup of tea?”

“Splendid idea! Ah look, here comes the Facestabbing Murderswine guild from number 42. Morning! We’ve just moved in, thought we might offer you a nihaaaarrgrgggggggghhhhuuurrrrrrrghhhhhh urk.”

“You killed Kenneth! Why? Why?! What? Guild Wars? Oh! Silly us, we thought it was Guild Make a Nice Home Settle Down Maybe Invite the Neighbours Over for a Cup of Tea. Tsk! Well, seeing as you’re here, can I offer you a nice cup ohhrrrrraaaaaaagrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhh gak.”

The traditional MMO form of standing around a loot piñata and whacking on it with sticks until it bursts, like a troupe of vigilante Morris dancers, except with even sillier outfits, was not going to work in a game that had a strong PvP element. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but, in the general case, people are quite reluctant to stand around and let you smack them about the head with a large stick: they tend to run around screaming at the very least, but just as often they’ll pull out a very big stick of their own, and then try to get behind you so that they can smack you around the back of the head in return. What’s required, then, is acute situational awareness matched with instantaneous decision making in reaction to the field of play. Situational awareness, as we all know, is that quality that prevents players from ‘standing in the fire’, and transforms an adequate tank just about able to hold aggro into a tiny tanking god. In many MMOs situational awareness for most players boils down to a game of musical chairs, while the music is playing you spam your damage rotation or throw out your heals, and when the music stops you run around and find a safe spot to stop in, then the music starts once more and you’re standing still and executing the rotation again. In Guild Wars, situational awareness is musical chairs where the music never stops, and at some random interval they release a hungry tiger into the room.

Essentially I don’t get on with Guild Wars because every time I come to play it it teaches me just how bad I am outside of the basic piñata model of play. Every combat is so fast-paced and frantic that I finish it exhausted while not entirely sure what actually happened, other than I seem to somehow still be alive, which is the joy of having a healer henchman I suppose. In fact I picture the AI henchmen in my party silently mocking me for being an utter noob, and secretly all trying to vote-kick me out of the group so that they can continue on in peace without having to carry me.

It gets worse, however. I’ve often bemoaned the fact that you only have eight skill slots, one of which is usually taken up with some form of resurrection spell (greatly needed in any group that I am part of) and therefore you only get to take seven skills into a mission with you. Seven. You have two classes, a primary and a secondary, each of which has approximately seventy kajillion skills that you can learn and then pick from. Many of those skills will have effects that form a nice synergy with other skills, and indeed the system seems to me like a slightly cut down version of Magic: The Gathering, where you build your ‘deck’ of skills in such a way as to get a greater whole from the sum of the constituent parts. Seven skills, though. You can’t pick skills in the usual candy store way, grabbing everything off the shelf that you like the look of, because before you know it you’ve got ten skills vying for each available slot. What you need to do is pick one skill or theme, and then build a layer of supporting skills around it. Even this is difficult, however, and I find myself sullenly trooping off into a mission mumbling under my breath that I can handle more then seven skills, that it’s ridiculous that I can’t be entrusted with more skills at once, and pointing out that I have forty skill bar slots packed to the brim in World of Warcraft. And then I enter into combat.

Seven skills. Not a lot really. Combat should be child’s play.

Have you ever seen a kitten play with a piece of string being dangled in the air in front of it? It starts slowly, bats away nonchalantly with one paw, feigning only mild interest because this is clearly a fight that is beneath it. Then, as the encounter progresses, it switches to the other paw on occasion, slowly picking up the pace, its eyes growing wide, paws alternating strikes more rapidly. Then all of a sudden the kitten realises that the string is actually quite a persistent foe and that they might be outmatched, and it goes mental. Both paws start flailing in all directions, not just at the piece of string but at anything that remotely comes near it, the sofa, your legs – the carpet usually takes a sound thrashing. The paws are moving so quickly now that they’re both in use at the same time, the kitten stands up on its haunches, its face a mask of half-terror half-frenzy. Slowly the kitten’s neck begins to disappear as it pulls its wild-eyed face back and down and away from the relentless string, until finally its face can retreat no further and it falls over backwards and claws itself half to death in the confusion, before claw-crawling its way along the base of the sofa, flipping upright and dashing behind the cover of a chair in order to collect itself and catch a breath, tail swishing in irritation all the while.

Do you know how frustrating it is to finish every fight in Guild Wars hiding behind my chair? Not to mention the looks I get from Mrs Melmoth.

Honestly, it’s a mere seven skills, but every time I run into combat it’s the same: I finish the fight as a sweaty frantic wreck, having spent the entire time running around screaming and mashing keys with both hands at random, to the constant tune of the ‘Not Enough Energy for this Skill’ alert. I’m getting better with practise, of course, and I’m learning to accept death as part of the experience, which again is something which shouldn’t surprise me in a PvP-centric game. However, it all makes me realise just how few of the skills I actually use on those four packed hot bars in WoW, with many of them being highly situational abilities that barely ever get used, and others being buffs that are cast once every thirty minutes; when you read the rotations or priority systems outlined on sites such as Elitist Jerks, they often only really include four or five abilities, with perhaps four or so ‘boost’ abilities that are to be used every time they come off of their several minute long cool-downs.

I think this is something in which World of Warcraft succeeded, but where it isn’t necessarily a Good Thing: it created the illusion of complexity. A game such as Guild Wars, however, will happily point out that seven or eight abilities are all you can really manage in a truly dynamic combat. To compensate for this, though, it allows you to switch these abilities around as much as you like between missions, and provides a huge pool of complex and interesting abilities to choose from, as well as a compelling miniature deck-building sub game based on the interactions of those abilities. The problem a game such as Guild Wars has is in overcoming the illusion of choice to which players have become accustomed. Guild Wars 2 continues with a minimalist hot bar setup and evolves it, the small set of skill buttons now morph from one ability to another as the player activates a skill chain, and I believe one bar is dedicated to class defining abilities where the other concentrates more on flavour abilities determined by the customisation path the player has taken for their character. As such the UI is kept simple, which I believe to be a Good Thing, but I do feel it means that ArenaNet needs to find another way to present the illusion of choice, especially if they wish to convince players of the current generation of MMOs that there is depth to their game. I think it’s fair to say that Guild Wars has far deeper game-play than World of Warcraft with respect to skills and their mechanics, but because it restricts the player to a (sensible) number of skills at any one time, new players may well come away with the impression that the game lacks depth instead.

I think an important lessons for developers today is that it’s probably impossible to live up to all the expectations of players, and as such, developers need to find creative new ways to convince players that they’re getting the unrealistic expectations they demand, while actually delivering something that exists within the realms of technical and fiscal reality.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to explain these claw marks in the bottom of the sofa to Mrs Melmoth, especially difficult since we don’t have a kitten on whom I can place the blame.

Posted by Melmoth at 10:07 am

Thought for the day.

lotro, melmoth, tftd 4 Comments »

I’ve just finished reading The Hobbit to mini-Melmoth. If there’s one thing in the book that I would like to see in a future Lord of the Rings Online expansion, it would have to be Beorn. Not the beardy man-bear himself, but the race of Beorn, as is mentioned towards the end of the book.

I’m a sucker for shape-shifters, and the lore is all right there, ripe for inclusion. Come on Turbine, playable Beorns in your next major expansion.

You know you want to.

Or you know I want you to, at least.

Posted by Melmoth at 8:59 pm

Hoist up sail while gale doth last

uncharted seas, zoso 2 Comments »

The Commander was exultant. “We have him, sir. A slight turn to starboard and we’ll get the full broadside on him, we can’t miss at this range!”
The Admiral considered the smoke-billowing monstrosity. “Hard a port, number one.”
“But…”
“Hoist the mainsail. Ramming speed.”

It had been a mighty game of Uncharted Seas; the Imperial Battlefleet of Killed in a Smiling Armoured Beard against the dark magics and steam power of the Van Hemlockian Shroud Mages. Patches of rigging and oil marked the watery graves of frigates, tattered hulks of cruisers were slipping under the waves, the only combatants lefts afloat were the flagships of the two fleets and a single Imperial frigate, blasting away impotently on the off chance it got an incredibly lucky shot in.

The two battleships had suffered similar light structural damage, but earlier in the engagement the Shroud Mage ship had rammed an Imperial cruiser, belching steam into its innards to boil the crew alive before the dark dwarf boarding party slaughtered any survivors. The Imperial Marines had put up a terrific fight, though, rolling a few sixes and killing more of the boarders than could have been hoped, so their comrades on the Imperial Battleship now had a significant edge in numbers.

The prow of the Imperial ship crunched into the iron flank of the Shroud Mage vessel ripping out a few cannon, but nothing that would seriously hinder it. The human marines poured over, and dice were rolled; the dwarves fought hard, and despite the weight of numbers on the human side they weren’t finished off in a single turn. It was merely prolonging the inevitable, though, for at the start of the next turn they had a single crew point left against the seven of the humans.

Each crew point allows an attack dice to be rolled; a 4 or 5 results in one point of crew damage to the enemy, 6 results in two points of damage plus you get to roll another attack dice. All we had to do was roll a 4, 5 or 6 on any of seven dice, and the dwarves were done. With a rattle and thud, the fate of the Shroud Mages was sealed.

Still, though, with combat being simultaneous, they got their single dice to wreak what vengeance they could. It came up… 6. That gave them another roll, which came up… 6. Four points of crew damage plus another roll, nasty, but still not enough unless they rolled another 6. Which they did. Six points of crew damage, and a final roll, coming up…. 4. One last hit, taking the seventh and final point of crew from the Imperial battleship. We decided the last few surviving Shroud Mages had been beaten back to their engine room, and as the whole Imperial crew followed in a haze of bloodlust the dwarf captain hammered off the safety valve from the immense boiler, wiping out every living thing on the vessel.

If it had been a computer game against an AI opponent, that 1 in 432 chance would have resulted in an exclamation of “piss off!”, and either loading a saved game from before the event or quitting in disgust. With a human rolling the dice, it was a Crowning Moment of Awesome for the game.

“It’s gone awfully quiet over there, sir.”
The captain of the Imperial frigate lowered his telescope. “Yes. I don’t think anyone’s going to be coming out of there. Prepare the ropes to tow our prizes, it’s going to be a bumper pay day for the men!”

Posted by Zoso at 9:16 am

Into a Limbo large and broad.

melmoth, mmo Comments Off

I’m once again floating in MMO limbo, burning with a desperate desire to enter the gates of MMO heaven but finding myself relegated to a seemingly eternal wait for the next great harrowing of hype to come and misappropriate my time. World of Warcraft remains on the back burner until The Shattering begins proper, an event which has been greatly lessened in the minds of us here at KiaSA Towers once we came to realise that it wasn’t, in fact, going to be The Shatnering; our visions of upheaval caused by a hail of be-bathrobed William Shatners raining down with indiscriminate girdle-sundering destructive force on the cities of Azeroth have themselves been shattered. You can’t deny that Deathwing the Destroyer’s monologue in the latest Cataclysm cinematic would have had added gravitas if… it had BEEN… spoken in strangely… PUNCtuated… sentences. Beam… mE Up… Sindy.

Lord of the Rings Online in the EU continues with its ‘will we, won’t we’ teasing of players, like that one drunk uncle at Christmas who taunts his nieces and nephews with their presents for too long, to the point of driving them beyond caring any more. Of course, when they finally come to open their presents after all the build-up, they find themselves holding up the hastily wrapped contents of their Uncle’s underwear draw, much to the delight of their uncle and the eye-rolling looks of lassitude from the other adults present. Even if Codemasters do finally effect a change to LotRO over here in the EU, I have to say that I’m bracing myself for the big stained-underpants-reveal that they’ll be delivering the new Endewaith content and nothing more, this being due to their contractual commitments not being conducive to the free-to-play model.

I’m not technically allowed to play Vindictus yet because I live within the shadows of Europe, and apparently if the EU is not screwed-over and made to wait longer than the US for a game release then Zombie George Washington will rise up from the grave and destroy Seattle. Or something; I think it must be in an appendix of The Constitution somewhere. Apparently Vindictus is “Coming real soon” to the EU though, but Nexon definitely should speak with Codemasters on how to really string it out and get players not caring any more.

Honestly, there must be some sort of conference for EU MMO releases where staff go and sit in great halls and recite together the mantras of marketing “Coming real soon now”; “We’re sorry for the delay”; “You’re all valued customers” (they’re all trained to stifle their laughs behind their hands for this one); “We’re pleased to announce that we’ll be releasing to you a fraction of the content available to the US, and on a one-to-one exchange rate price!” (they’re taught not to rub their hands together and cackle with glee for this one).

In actual fact there really is such a conference, but it was delayed and has been ‘coming real soon now’ for the past five years.

The other games that I’m interested in at the moment are a year or more away from release, and I’m long past getting my hopes hyped up for a game that has nothing more than a few classes and races announced, along with more landscape flybys than a BBC nature documentary. What is it with landscapes? I think it’s fairly well accepted in the MMOsphere that, unless you’re a complete charlatan, you’re going to have some attractive scenery because there are now umpteen billion tools out there with a ‘click here to produce impressive mountains’ button next to a ‘click here to spawn a spoooooky forest’ along with the traditional ‘click here to generate a massive lake with histrionic levels of refractive lighting and no water physics whatsoever’. These scenery sneak-peeks slowly develop as the hype increases, progressing to ‘here’s a forest with some orcs standing around picking their bums!’ and ‘here’s a town that you’ll visit once in over five hundred hours of play time to hand in a pointless quest that sent you half way around the world for a reward of five copper and a pair of old socks!’. Maybe it’s just me, but I simply don’t find myself loading up a video flyby of the Forest of Dark Deathly Doom Darkly Death and thinking “Oh thank fudge – it’s a forest! I wasn’t sure. We weren’t sure, but this confirms it. And look, it has trees! With leaves. It’s okay everyone, it’s okay, the forest has trees! What? Yes, the trees have leaves too. What? Yes, there are indeed orcs standing around for no apparent reason. What? Picking their what? Oh, ahm, hard to tell because they seem to be buried in the middle of some sort of orgy of wolves suffering from tonic immobility. Yeah, looks really exciting, especially the leaves! Leaves on the trees, hoo, I was worried for a while there.”

Which is not to say that I’m not looking forward to Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic, but really it’s more of an eagerness to see whether they turn out to be great, rather than an expectation that they naturally will be great: it’s a shift in expectations that leaves one less disappointed when the majority of MMOs turn out not to be great. We’re long overdue some greatness in MMOs, however, so it’ll be good to finally get some hands-on with these games and see whether they can deliver it.

Several months after the US, of course.

Of course.

Posted by Melmoth at 12:17 pm

Thought for the day

tftd, zoso 1 Comment »

Apparently “Creative Assembly are looking to reassure Total War fans that the AI problems seen in recent entries in the series won’t be a part of Shogun 2, saying that the game won’t ship until the AI is perfect.

So either Shogun 2 never ships, or they’re going to create Skynet…

Posted by Zoso at 12:43 am

Everything all of the time

games, lotro, zoso 3 Comments »

Murphy’s Law of Unsubscription states that a payment will have left your account the day before you finally decide to actually quit the game.

(Zoso’s Corollary: The larger the subscription payment, the smaller the time between it having left your account and you unsubscribing.)

About a month ago (in fact precisely a month ago) I was having a bit of a glance through the information about Lord of the Rings Online going free-to-play, particularly the section detailing loyalty rewards in Turbine Points for long-term subscribers. The small print says the subscription has to be maintained from June 30th to the launch of free-to-play to qualify, but as I started the account back at launch (even if I’ve only actually played for a couple of months at most since then) I thought it might be worth a bit of a punt on having an active subscription during the transition to F2P, just in case it happened to qualify for a pile of points. At worst it would be quite fun to have a bit of a run around Middle Earth again.

There was already a bit of a delay at that point with the switch to free-to-play in Europe but Codemasters assured us they were working on it, and I figured whatever the problems were they couldn’t take more than a month to sort out. I mean even with just a short delay people were signing up for the free game in the US, they couldn’t possibly leave it too long could they, or their entire potential new player base would have buggered off, leaving only increasingly embittered European lifetime subscribers and players invested in long-term characters gazing longingly at the rejuvenated New World, of course that couldn’t happen, ha ha ha ha, certainly n…

… oh.

It was indeed fun roaming Middle Earth again, but after a couple of weeks the initial enthusiasm for reactivating old static groups or starting new parties had melted away into the void of lack of news (though a void would be cold; maybe the enthusiasm got frozen, but then it wouldn’t have melted into the void, unless it got to a strange supercooled state… anyway). After the drawn-out death of DDO EU (Eberron Unlimited) in the EU (European Union) (don’t get those two mixed up, the farming subsidies from Drow are rubbish) there was a suspicion that Codemasters were just stalling, had no intention of moving to the free-to-play model, and were grabbing what subscription money they could before shutdown and transfer to the US servers.

In a strange reversal of the law of unsubscription, the notice that my LotRO game time had expired (unusually Codemasters give an option to just pay for one month instead of requiring a recurring subscription) arrived at almost the same time as the announcement that free-to-play really is *definitely* on its way, honest. No really. Definitely coming. Really soon. For sure. They just can’t say exactly when. But it is on its way. Any minute now. That might be it there, in fact! Oh, no, it’s just next door’s car pulling into the drive.

So do I pay for another month? I mean they’re on the “home stretch”, that must mean within a month, musn’t it? Or must it? It couldn’t take longer than that. Could it? No, it couldn’t. Or could it? Maybe it could. Couldn’t it?

Posted by Zoso at 2:20 pm
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