My Warden reached the new level cap in Lord of the Rings Online a week or so ago, and I finished levelling the character’s crafting skills a few days back. Everything else to do with advancement now, even crafting high tier legendary items, is locked behind raid content. For someone who doesn’t enjoy raiding, this means it’s farewell to LotRO for the time being. Perhaps I’ll drop in for the occasional skirmish if I’m really bored, or pay the kinship house fee so it doesn’t go into escrow, but I’m starting to realise that LotRO is slowly developing into a game that’s ‘not for people like you’.
On the consideration of being really bored, I have Skyrim waiting for me, so I’m fairly sure my fantasy gaming needs will be fulfilled for some time to come.
Outside of fantasy MMOs, there are still a few considerations. City of Heroes continues to be an enjoyable once-per-week romp with friends, and the “freemium” model will allow that to continue indefinitely. I still find myself utterly uninterested in Star Wars: The Old Republic, however; I’ll happily jump in if the general consensus after launch is that the game is a wonder, but I still get the impression that it’s more ‘WoW with a bit of Bioware story’, and I don’t think that’s enough to satisfy my basic gaming needs any more, let alone fan the fires of my enthusiasm. The concept of The Secret World had initially tweaked my interests, but the way they are teasing information about the game, rather than delivering solid outlines of concepts and mechanics, has slowly ground into fine fragments any good will I had towards it. I also qualified for TSW beta access by subscribing to Age of Conan a year or so back, an incentive which has now transformed into ‘You’ll get into beta at some point, we didn’t promise early beta access’. Considering that open beta is rumoured to be just around the corner, when presumably anyone will be allowed in, their ‘offer’ from a year ago begins to look more disingenuous all the time. However, it’s the dismissive nature of it that grates with me, as though we’re out of line for daring to suggest that their offer was bunkum. Combined with my less than stellar experiences in Age of Conan, I find myself generally uncaring for any of Funcom’s future offerings, TSW included.
Thus I find myself waiting for Guild Wars 2, and hoping that ArenaNet can deliver on its hype, something which I am, perhaps unfairly, becoming less confident of on a daily basis. The rest of the industry continues to over-hype and underperform, so will ArenaNet not simply follow form? I hope they’ll be the exception, but only time will tell. And time is a tight-lipped obstructive git, as a general rule.
My one secret hope is that there is something flying below the radar, which will suddenly and unexpectedly arrive as a giant MMO-shaped blip directly overhead, and proceed to deliver an atomic payload of excitement and entertainment into our gaming dead zones.
For now, I’m going to have a look at Skyrim. But first I must defeat my great nemesis, that bane of my RPG playing life, the cause of great joy and sharp anguish; first… FIRST I must escape from the labyrinthine depths of character creation.