Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Many Worlds Theory

My recent foray into Lord of the Rings Online lasted precisely one session. Standing Stone generously opened up questing to free players during April so, once I'd finally gotten the game patched, I logged in my Guardian. He was snoozing in a lodge in some lakeside fishing village in Forochel when I woke him up and sent him, grumbling all the way, to pick up whatever quests he could find.

He couldn't find many. Probably just as well, as things turned out. The ones he did find seemed kind of slow. And unrewarding. And basically not fun.

According to the wiki's list of zones by level he's a couple of levels too low to be there, which is par for the course for me. Almost all my characters in every MMORPG I have ever played spend most of their careers in zones that are a couple of levels above where most guides say they should be.

This time we spent what felt like a couple of weeks (actually more like half an hour) killing twenty bears. They had funny Middle Earth names but they were obviously bears. All the bears were either level 47 or level 48. My Guardian had to stop and get his breath back after each kill and every time he pulled a 48 we played "whoever gets the last hit wins" to see who would die. (Spoiler - it was the bear).

Eventually the torment ended. He jogged back through the snow to hand in his bear paws (or skins or whatever they were) and the questgiver promptly asked him to go and get twenty more bear skins (or paws or whatever it was he didn't ask for the first time). I began to think Paul Barnett might have had a point.

After an hour or so of that I was beginning to remember exactly why I never liked questing in LotRO to begin with. It wouldn't have been so bad if I'd been making good xp but it was terrible. What with being constrained to hunt specific creatures and having to run back to find the right NPC for the hand in (inevitably, I could never remember exactly where the lazy so-and-so was) we didn't seem to be making significantly faster progress than if we'd just killed everything and turned in body parts at the task board, which a free player can do any time.

If I have another go at it, which I probably will, I'll have to move to a lower level area. The xp will be even more paltry but the time-to-kill should make up for it and maybe it won't feel so teeth-grindingly tedious.

The choice of where to hunt isn't great at that level, though. According to the list, my Guardian's too high for Evendim and The Trollshaws. I might give Evendim a go anyway since it's nearby. I did a lot of tasks there a couple of years ago, though. I'm not sure I can stand looking at it again.

I certainly can't stand looking at Angmar. It's depressing as hell. The Misty Mountains might be interesting. I can't recall ever going there although I suppose I must have. I only ended up in Forochel because I'd tried everywhere else, as I recall.

It's not only Standing Stone who have promotions and specials running during les évènements d'April. Everyone's doing it. I noticed Gamigo were offering double xp in Rift, another MMORPG I used to play and haven't quite realized I don't any more. I thought I might as well take a look.

I was a bit late, as it happens. By the time I got around to logging in there were about five hours to go. Possibly a few more, depending which time zone Gamigo uses. One session, whichever way you look at it.

On the plus side, patching took no time at all. Okay, it did take some time. About ninety seconds. A major improvement on LotRO's most of an afternoon and some of an evening. On the other hand, that's not entirely down to the comparative excellence of Rift's patcher. It's also because absolutely nothing has happened in Rift since I last played, just over a year ago, so it didn't require any patching in the first place.

I do have to wonder if, as people seem to believe, the game has been in limbo ever since Trion turned up its toes, why all my frickin' soul points have been set to zero yet again. I swear this happens every time I come back to this game. I know the vast number of possible builds is one of Rift's major features but that's no reason to make me choose a new one every time I log in.

Actually, if I'm going to be completely honest here, not really my plan but let's go with it, I didn't even notice I had no Soul until I'd been playing for about three-quarters of an hour and even then it was only because I dinged.

I was playing my level eighteen Mage and for once she was in a zone a few levels below her. The mobs were all about level fourteen or fifteen and the kills were coming fast and easy. I was a bit puzzled as to why she had almost no skills on her hot bars but I was a lot more surprised to find she had ample bag space so I wasn't really paying attention.

I just slotted the few skills she did have - it was about four - summoned a skeleton pet and started ticking off the quests she already had running. There were a bunch of them in the fae groves right next to Sanctum, which was handy.

Someone was doing a rift just outside the gates so I joined in with that for about half a minute. That was the only player I saw outside the city gates although chat seemed lively enough. The rift closed and the other player ran off. After a while I found an unopened rift and used a Planar Lure on it. I was quite impressed I remembered how to do it.

I soloed that one until I failed a timer and the rift closed. Then I knocked off some more quests until I dinged nineteen. It all went at a pretty decent pace and I was having fun. If the double xp was carrying on I'd say I'd get her to twenty at least.

Then again, levelling in Rift is hardly slow at the worst of times. Just grab an Instant Adventure, whizz around like a sock in a drier until you're too dizzy to carry on and presto! Two or three levels done.

Rift is fun to potter around in, even now. Graphically it holds up very well, although I'd prefer it wasn't dark for so long next time. I was there for over an hour and never saw daylight. I've had to fiddle with the screenshots just so you can see anything.

I have four level fifties in Rift. I capped them all in the six months Mrs Bhagpuss and I spent there from launch. Plus another in the forties and one in the thirties. And levelling certainly wasn't fast-tracked back then. That's a lot of time invested.

What a shame Storm Legion was so horrible. Soured me on the game for years. I'm over it now, as I'm sure you can tell. No grudges left. Seriously, though, it was nice to look in on Telara again. I could spend a while there but I'd really need to get out of Silverwood next time. I've seen a lot of that place the last few visits.

So, that's LotRO and Rift, patched up and ready to be forgotten for another few months. Or years. Although, maybe not. I "played" five MMORPGs today (Sunday, as I'm writing): EverQuest, EverQuest II, Guild Wars 2, the aforementioned Rift and Secret World Legends, where I logged in to take a screenshot of a post box.

EQII got nearly three hours. GW2 maybe an hour and a half. Rift about an hour, EQ about thirty minutes and SWL about fifteen. At those rates I could add another half a dozen to my dance card. And I can think of half a dozen I'd like to take another run around, too.

I think I did intimate I was keen to get out of the rut of dailies I'd fallen into of late, didn't I? Maybe this is the way to do it, at least until something new and substantial comes along.

What did Jeromai call it? Tapas gaming? Sounds pretty tasty right now.

1 comment:

  1. "I didn't even notice I had no Soul" definitely goes on my list of top five gaming comments that sound really weird out of context...


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