Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
LotRO Journal - 25-April-2007

Yesterday was the official release of Lord of the Rings Online, and over here in Europe it went medium smoothly. The servers stayed up, there wasn't too much lag, and installation and downloading the latest patch went fast enough. But the website on which you had to create your account and enter your CD key was totally overloaded, and hard to impossible to access. Now fortunately me and the other pre-order customers are allowed to continue playing without a CD key until Friday. But if you didn't pre-order, trying to create a new account for LotRO yesterday must have been quite frustrating. I couldn't manage to enter my CD key all day, and only managed to get my lifetime subscription set up this morning. Apparently LotRO is selling well in Europe.

Now I received a mail acknowledging may payment and telling me "your next payment is due before 01/01/70". Well, I'll be 105 years old on that date, presumably dead. So that's their definition of "lifetime subscription". :) Realistically, LotRO will probably cease to exist long before that, not being compatible with the holodecks of 2070, or whatever other display technology they'll have by then. As Codemasters has no information about *my* lifetime, I could be dead and buried with my descendants having inherited the userid and password, a "lifetime" subscription can only be for the lifetime of the game, not the player. But surpringly, in a world full of legalese, terms of services and end-user license agreements, I couldn't find the legal terms of the lifetime subscription anywhere. In any case Codemasters needs to hire some better lawyers. They had announced a "golden ticket" type contest to be part of the special edition, and had to renege on that, because running a legally binding kind of lottery covering many European countries turned out to be an unsolveable legal nightmare. They couldn't even put a wax-sealed letter as promised in the box, due to some safety regulations. Then they had problems producing the cloth map, and had to put a "parchment" map into the box instead. So now the special edition and collector edition boxes contain a lot less stuff than promised, and players who bought them are understandably upset. Fortunately I read about that before, and while my local store had all three editions in stock, I just bought the cheapest one.

I was playing the game yesterday still with my beta client, without movies and high-res textures. Following some advice from the forums I then installed the full game client on another machine, my laptop, and then copied the movies and high-res textures over to my main PC. At first that seemed to work, but then I zoned into North Downs and was greeting with black textures, turning my whole screen totally black, except for the 2D user interface. So I ended up uninstalling the beta client, and installing the full game client from scratch. As I already mentioned, the necessary download for that went quite fast, and there was no problem. I already thought LotRO was pretty with the old textures, but with the high-res textures the game became extremely pretty. But to see the game in all splendor you really need one of this year's graphics cards and a decent computer. For the first time I also saw the quite well done intro movie. Now I wonder whether I could delete it, because I have to press escape three times more every time I start LotRO to get past the movies. :)

Back in the game I'm on a balanced gameplay between farming and adventuring, based on the in-game time of day. By increasing your gamma you *can* adventure at night, but it isn't as beautiful as during the in-game day. So now I adventure during the days, and farm during the nights. The hardest thing I did yesterday was trying to do a level 11 group quest solo with my level 14, killing a named elite warg. As minstrel I have a fear cry, which allows me to heal myself while the warg is running, but even with that I nearly didn't make it. I ran out of mana, my potions were on cooldown, and my life went down faster than the wargs. Just then a level 17 elf came along, apparently undecided whether he should intervene or not, not wanting to be accused of killstealing. So I quickly typed "help", and he helped me, and I won the fight with a sliver of life (sorry, morale) left. Nice quest reward too. But I guess you really need a group for the LotRO group quests.

Then I worked on my accomplishments and traits. I killed wolves for my first "racial" trait, a short range "throwing a stone" ranged attack. Then I did all the postmaster quests, transporting mail between the villages of the Shire. Finally I started doing the similar pie transporting quests. Lots of running in these two quest series, but the advantage is that you get to know the geography of the Shire really well. And I'm also getting close to the nice accomplishment reward you get for doing 75 quests in the Shire. All this is probably not the fastest way to level up, but I'm not in a hurry. The one thing I learned from WoW is that reaching the level cap is more a problem than something to aspire to.

I'm having a role-playing idea, of which I'm not quite sure whether LotRO will allow me to do that. LotRO has a system where one character can be the parent of another, but I'm not sure it works with alts. If it would, I would like to make a hobbit guardian, and make him the son of my elderly hobbit minstrel / farmer. That would have a lot of role-playing potential, commenting as "the father" on how hot-headed the son is, while complaining as "the son" on how stubborn and conservative the father behaves. And all that in guild chat, with father and son obviously never seeing each other. From a practical point of view, and quite fitting into the roleplay, the rich farmer could finance the son, with the guardian being the more gear-dependant class and always a thankful target for twinking. I'd probably make the guardian an armorer, so I can make armor for himself, and iron farming tools for "daddy".

Not that I think I'll get there anytime soon. I tried to level up tailoring, and found that I quickly got blocked. To become proficient at journeyman level (making level 10 to 16 armor) you need to do a quest which involves killing a level 21 signature boar. Now I'm all for creating a player economy. But making the crafting system so that you can only make armor for lower level characters and never usefully for yourself is rather stupid. But up to now, and like in so many other games, the crafting system is the only real disappointment for me in Lord of the Rings Online. I'll have to live with what LotRO offers there, and enjoy the adventuring part more, which is really well done.
@Having to kill a level 21 boar --> Or take along a few friends and beat the living daylights out of this boar, then thank them with some newly crafted goodness. I turned T2 Master in Metalsmith two days ago and it required me to kill level 24 mobs at level 18. So along came a friend who wanted some forge-crafted armor and we got it done.

On that note... do you find yourself talk about T1, T2, etc instead of Apprentice, Journey etc. I for one find "Master Journeyman" or "Master Expert" etc to be rather confusing terms. The tier-talk makes it considerably easier. I wonder how that's going to develop. I guess for RP servers it's great to have the woolly terms, but on non-RP the tier talk may stick.
- Sveral
Actually 1/1/70 is more logically a numerical 0, which in *IX-time translates to 1-1-1970. (see here
I had a bit of problem with the payment. Copied from my guild boards:

I entered all keys, no problem. But when I was going to pay (I chose the lifetime offer) the payment was denied. I looked at my bank account and the payment seemed to have gone through there, it was processing. I mailed CM, which mailed back and said that it had been activated and that everything was ok on their end. The payment had gone through and I could play whenever I wanted.

I played the evening, but when I logged off I checked the CM account just to be sure. The subscription is closed and no payment history. I try logging in again but that doesn't work, sub expired.

I've mailed back so I guess I'll see how this ends.

Still no answer from CM. I guess they've got a lot to do.
What payment method was that? I paid via PayPal, because I found it interesting that they even offered that.
It was Worldpay, using a Visa e-card. I suspect that something odd could happen with e-cards because the last time I paid for WoW something similar happened, but I called them up and they fixed it on their end. But then again I had paid for WoW a few times before that with the same method and it worked like a charm all the times then.

Well I don't know. Now they've activated the account again but no payment in sight on the CM account page. I could just bet that I have to redo it just to discover that the founders key gives a message that it has been used. Oh well...
I like your role-playing idea but you might have some trouble with the "rich farmer dad" concept because farming isn't such a viable trade at the moment. That's my biggest frustration with the game so far because farming was my favorite thing to do in closed beta and now it's just prohibitive. I can't sustain my addiction! :P
As Trinity may well remember, crafting was totally borked for most of beta, and it's come a long way. But it's definitely clear they still have a lot of work to do to get it to where they said it would be (the best loot in the game would be crafted). And I'm honestly thinking they may never get it there.

Time will tell. Right now, it's like WoW's, mostly a useless diversion.

But it's still fun. :)
farming isn't such a viable trade at the moment

Depends on where you live. In Europe the farming nerf patch still hasn't been applied, and farming Sweet Galenas is still profitable. The "rich farmer daddy" concept is just a starting point for role-playing. I don't know yet which character I end up playing more, but right now daddy is level 14 and son level 1, with daddy having over 1 gold in his pocker, so in any case it would take some time before a role reversal and the new character being richer than the old one.
The greatest aspect of LotrO is that turbine designed it with roleplay in mind. In the last few days I did more roleplay than in 2 1/2 years of wow!

Also the GM support ingame/forums seems to be fast and helpful.
I have to agree with the roleplay comment. I really never roleplay in MMOs, even when playing on roleplay servers (which I do to avoid horrendous names, leetspeak, etc), yet LOTRO is actually making me want to roleplay on general principal. The setting lends itself to it in a way WoW never can.

It sounds like Turbine's U.S. account servers were set up better -- I had no trouble at all getting my account set up and was done long before the game finished installing.

The high res textures add a LOT to the look of the game, though I've noticed my framerate now drops to near unplayable levels in towns. I'm not sure if that's server congestion/lag or client-side issues though.
I can only speak from extensive experience in metalsmithing. While it takes a bit of effort, I can report the items I can make with metalsmithing make a real difference for my guardian. I've worn the bronze armor for a few levels and at level 18 switched to a full suit of heavy iron armor. I fully expect to start using the steel armor once I hit the appropriate level. So quite useful and there's a market for selling them as well, although you shouldn't go for the last piece of silver.
Cheers - Sveral
Tobold - keep farming that Sweet G! You are lucky you didn't get hit with the farming patch. I got lucky and got up to 8g right before the patch went in (They announced that the patch was "coming soon" so I power farmed). It's pretty sad, nobody is farming on the US servers.
Jewelcrafting is nice aswell, though i am a bit stuck. (allready reached the cap for Journeyman lvl) To get Master Journeyman i know have to kill some elite Dwarf, but i am to stupid to find him. (i hope to catch him later today)

I am staying ahead of my Level with the recipes i can do and my guild has a lot of use for my jewellery and with a lot of other prospectors i have a steady flow of Gems incoming. On the other hand i can provide the Weapon and Armorsmiths with iron.

I hope that cooking and farming will be fixed soon, so i can start to level my cooking skills.

So far i like my tradeskill. (though it is a moneysink)
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