Nightswimming at the Mines of Moria

Finally we get to the Mines of Moria, the wife and I.

Here is Giselher, waiting for the Watcher to makes his appearance, awed by the harvest moon.  (Maybe you dwarves can throw a few more rocks, you fools.)

Regarding the actual quest, they force us to do it solo.  (Then again, aren’t legends usually born solo?  There are no legendary armies.  There are legendary warriors.  And legendary weapons.)

Nightswimming, remembering that night.
September’s coming soon.
I’m pining for the moon.
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
That bright, tight forever drum
could not describe nightswimming.
-R.E.M.

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There and back again.

LotRO’s next expansion is announced: Rise of Isengard™.

I went Free-to-Play with LotRO months ago.  The wife has maintained her VIP account.

What caught my eye about the announcement was the pre-order perks (which were available immediately):

  • All three Rohirrim Style Mounts with a blanket & emblem in the colours of green, red and white
  • All three sets of matching cosmetic Rohirrim Style armour in the colours of green, red and white
The Mrs. was very much going to be riding in style.  (She pre-ordered.)  This is nice.  Real nice.  I buy sparkly star horses.  To get the matching get-up to go along with some nice barding?  Count me in.  This alone is not having me pre-order the Legendary Edition however.  (The Heroic Edition of the pre-order lets you pick one of the three colors.)

 

  • An in-game title - Guard of the Isen
This game has a lot of titles.  I’m giving up some cool titles to have this one.

  • Access to the Path of the Fellowship Quest Packs including Trollshaws, Eregion, Lothlórien and Moria plus the Mirkwood Quest Pack as a special bonus
  • 1,000 Turbine Points for use in the LOTRO Store
Okay, this is what got me. “Free-to-play” isn’t really.  Unless you can still consider it “playing” when in a quest-driven MMORPG you can’t do the quests.  Not if you don’t pay extra.  When I was a VIP member I blew a lot of my Turbine points getting horses (and a ram) for my four characters.  (Raising 4 gold cash seemed an insurmountable obstacle to horse riding.  Turbine points for the win on that front.)  So, when I went free-to-play I didn’t have a whole lot of Turbine points left for purchasing stuff like, oh, the darn quests.  The quests packs you get with this pre-order, and then the expansion, will last me to the end of the game.  Which is nice.  The Moria quest pack is 595 turbine points, for example.  Like I said, this quests packs included in the Legendary Edition are going to last me a long while.
Pre-Purchase Bonuses
  • A 25% XP Boost for all characters on your account that will last up to level 65
  • All three cosmetic cloaks that match the colour of your armour and mount
The cloak looks nice, does match the outfit and the barding.  But the 25% XP boost till level 65?  That’s real nice.

 

The wife has been soloing lately and managed to get to level 42 or so while I was stuck at 39.  With the xp bonus, and some renewed vigor in the game, I’m now at level 42 to her 44.  And we’re now questing up in overcast and foggy Forochel (a quest pack I’d purchased earlier).

 

So we’re back in LotRO again.  On the path to level 45, on the road to the Mines of Moria, and now Isengard.

 

So it wasn’t a cold day before I started playing again afterall.

 

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Interesting: Rift UI

I visited WoW UI every day.  I’d visit even if I wasn’t going to log on.  Just to make sure my addons were up to date, and see what might be new.

Apparently, as of yesterday, Trion has released the start of API documentation, and a couple sample addons.

Granted, addons didn’t help Warhammer.

But the wife and I have enjoyed Rift a lot more than we enjoyed Warhammer.  The addition of addons can only help a solid game.

And so we’ve got Rift UI.

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He said the sheriff’s near.

Rock Ridge is only the best looking Wild, Wild West game location I’ve ever seen.

It’s called the Scarlet Gorge for good reason.

Never mind all the undead mining for sourcestone under the whips of their Endless Court masters.

Scarlet Gorge is also the third location in our characters zone progression, and the first location which we’ve shared between Defiant and Guardian.  (And interestingly, the Defiant stuck to the southern part, and the Guardian to the northern part.   The factions converge in Rock Ridge with both sides involved in saving the town.)

Both our Defiant and Guardian characters are level 30, or just about 30, and ready to move on into Scarwood Reach.

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Asymmetrical.

Ages past there was a tribe of Elves who called themselves “Children of the Stars” in their native tongue.  Their feral traits, dusky skins, and dark hair gained them the name “Night Elves.”  The Night Elf young would start their lives and early careers in their tree island, and would be without the benefit of the civilized things like an auction house, or even the more mature members of their own society.  A lot like the domed city in Logan’s Run.  Nobody over the level of 21.  Late teens, early twenties, new to the land, they would make their way from Auberdine to Menethil Harbor, and then on a long run through the Wetlands, a mountainous gauntlet with Orcs, and then into the lands of the Dwarves, and with a run through the snow for the last stretch, they arrived at the capital of the world, Iron Forge.  They’d never have a reason to look back at their start in Shadowglen.

Humans just went to their main city and took the train to Iron Forge.  Gnome and Dwarves left their beginning area, passed through Kharanos, and into Iron Forge.

And there everyone passed the rest of their days, a short flight to Thorium Point and a year spent in the depths of Blackrock Mountain.

All that is to say, in the beginning days of World of Warcraft, if you played a Night Elf your experience was very much different than if you had started as one of the other three races.

(I think that difference was good.  Too much became equalized.)

In Rift I was surprised at how asymmetrical the starting experiences were.

As a Defiant, in Terminus, you are literally on one road, after leaving the rebirth lab, as it winds it’s way through the mountains to the time machine.  There are waypoints and gathering spots along that road, but if you stick to the road you will experience your story.

As a Guardian, it’s a little different.  You start in the church where they’ve brought you back, and make your way down into the town.  You do a few tasks in town, and then a few more outside of town, and then wind up in a war camp.  A few quests in the fields before the war camp, and then on a precariously perched temple of sorts above those fields and camp.  And finally through the fields to the final confrontation.

The Defiant had a road to follow.  The Guardians had, for my lack of a more apt term, a destiny to meet.  Playing through one in no way prepared you for the other.

And then the experience in the Defiant Freemarch and Guardian Silverwood are completely unique.  And then into Defiant Stonefield and Guardian Gloamwood.  It appears that through mid-level cap the Defiant and Guardians have their own unique zones to quest in.

It appears Defiant and Guardians converge at last in the Scarlet Gorge.

And then my level (26-27) means I have no knowledge of how further travels will separate or bring the sides together.  There are 2 full zones south of Freemarch only reachable through Freemarch.  There are three zones northwards, none of which require passing through Silverwood to reach.

Interesting.  With the great passion I see sometimes for Yin=Yang, I am curious to see how this apparently uneven world will play out.

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It’s time.

Once you get your hands on Rift, and just create a character, and see how well it plays DESPITE being so graphically rich and intense, you realize how OLD World of Warcraft looks.

Here’s a screenshot of my level 27 Warrior. He’s not wearing an armor set, but parts of two sets I believe.  At 27 he’s just a tad bit over the half-way point to the current level cap of 50.  But check out how good it looks:

Now six years ago, back in 2005, I had a Warrior in World of Warcraft.  I posted a little story about Oddity getting his Whirlwind Axe.  He was level 30 at the time, also half way to the level cap of 60 at the time.  Here is what he looked like in the character select screen:

You need to bear in mind I was wearing some nice gear for his level at the time.  My main was an “MC Raider” and had access to some decent things.

Sadly, this would be exactly how he’d look today, if he were level 30 again.  Oh, they’ve added some “sets” now.  Provided you do all the quests you’re supposed to do.  And don’t find the odd looking piece that’s actually better anyway.

Point is, it’s time for World of Warcraft 2.  Or the next thing Blizzard is going to bring out.  And the bar is set for what it ought to look like with regards to graphical quality.  Lightning bolts, raging ghostly shovelhorns, and demon wings are okay (amazingly wicked at the time) but it got to all feeling dated.

Another expansion of more of the same can’t possibly be greeted as a second coming.

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2nd Acts in Rift

So after spending some time as Defiant in Stonefield we’ve now changed scenes by taking our Guardians into Gloamwood.  Both are the level 20-25 areas.

Stonefield feels very “Scottish Highlands” to me, with the green yet stony hills and the rain.  Gloamwood is greener with more vegetation, and gothic spooky.

The screenshot my previous post was taken in Stonefield.

The screenshot above is taken in Gloamwoods as we approach our first town.

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