Tuesday 6 January 2009

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.

So what with hitting the level cap in World of Warcraft with my shaman and not feeling the Love of the Lich King enough to want to do the whole thing over again with my level seventy druid or paladin, I was left somewhat hanging by my fingertips from a small shrub atop the cliff of MMO ambivalence, a glance down past my dangling feet showed the jagged rocks of end-level reputation grind, around which was wrapped the angry endless repetitive wash of the Sea of Raids.

Luckily for me there were many hands on, uh, hand, to reach down to my precarious position and lift me up and back onto the enduring yet precarious path of MMO enthusiasm that we brave adventurers wend our way carefully along as we negotiate said cliff of MMO ambivalence; sometimes we step from the path and the sharp drop into ennui awaits, but there are always stalwart folk who can be relied upon to reach out to us and pull us free from our gloom, to once more tread the endless enjoyable path of MMO experience.

Such a time was this, and this time to mbp and Khan who encouraged me some time ago before I even realised I was veering from the path, and more recently to blog commenter unwise, I offer thanks for the encouragement to try Lord of the Rings Online again, because I’ve been following the path for a week or so now, and I’m very much enjoying its winding and meandering ups and downs.

Also thanks to Van Hemlock, Jon, Shuttler, Teppo and the others of that collective whose constant tweets, blog posts and podcast musings were as a siren song guiding me away from treacherous MMO time-sinks and towards safer terrain.

And also thanks to anyone whom I may have forgotten. And sorry. And hello, how have you been?

So that was, in my usual rambling way, an introduction to the fact that I have returned to Turbine’s take on Tolkien’s lands of legend, and that I have been enjoying it a great deal. Having a level twenty six dwarf Guardian and a level twenty four dwarf Minstrel I did, naturally, roll an entirely new character for my return to the middle of the earth! Wait, wrong adventure; a new character for my return to Middle Earth! Having rolled a couple of support classes previously, and having nobody to support in my surreptitious return to Lord of the Rings Online, I decided to roll a DPS class, specifically one that could a) do a little bit of many things, and b) shock horror, be a dwarf. The obvious choice, and what I plumped for fairly quickly, was the Champion, a class which can dual wield; use a bow, albeit for nothing more than pulling duty, or perhaps finishing off a running, low health straggler; wield two-handed weapons; wear heavy armour and use heavy shields and thus, at a push, off-tank in groups. In short, they can do a little bit of everything, but one thing they do very well is damage. Lots and lots of damage.

Attentive readers of the blog will know from previous posts that I’m a healer at heart, I love undertaking that role of doing the job that many others don’t like, combined with the fact that I’m keeping people going, being a team player, and a shoulder for others to stand upon to attain greater heights. Listeners of the podcast will know that I sang a great deal when playing Guitar Hero World Tour with Zoso, Elf and our other mutual friend, not because I like singing particularly, and certainly not because I’m good at it, but because it’s something I can do well enough to allow others to take on the front line roles. It’s possibly altruism, a learned perversity as opposed to genuine generosity of character, but it makes me happy and allows others to be happy, and so I don’t fret over the fact too much.

However, when going solo, do as the soloers do. Roll a DPS machine.

My Champion is level seventeen at the moment; I’ve covered old ground, but it was fresh enough that although I knew where to go and what to do it was anything but dull. The class is new, and that keeps things interesting, and I’ve taken a more active interest in crafting, although it’s still not really my thing. Last but by no means least, I’m soaking up the formidable atmosphere whilst enjoying the many tweaks and titbits that Turbine have added since I was last here.

I’ll be sure to report on the ups and downs as I go, hopefully with some comparison to my recent levelling experience in Blizzard’s latest offering. As to what I’m doing in World of Warcraft – and to be sure I’m still poking and picking at the scab that has formed over the wound that is WoW’s idea of end-game content – I’ll save that for another time, and perhaps another format…

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