Server merges are the pits!

Vilya server, in Lotro, got the go ahead to merge.  Our guild leader sent out frantic Facebook messages explaining the process to everyone, did everything right, and still the merge has made a heck of a mess.

Let me just say the architecture required to have one shard should be mandatory for a game.  Older games still advocating separate servers are outdated and way behind the times.  Sometimes though, a game just can't see a way to do the impossible.

Server merges mean so many things.  Server's tend to have personalities.  People become attached.  Prices on the auction houses and general sales in chat can vary widely server to server.  There has to be careful thought given to how to balance populations.

Forced transfers as one server merges and another accepts the refugees means people are moving around, but it can lead to a bunch of work for everyone involved.  The first thing to go was the Vilya Alliance.  A band of guilds around for years, we found everyone wanted to go to a different place and there was simply no consensus.  Bye bye to friends made over seven year of gaming.  See you around.

Character name changes.  Our guild went back and forth.  A particular person who had a voting block didn't want to risk a forced name change, so they refused to go to the server old members wanted because their name was taken there.  With the votes in their pocket, they forced a move to an unpopular server choice.  Other members have had to change their names, and I almost left a guild I've been with since 2009 over this crap.  I've known a particular player for 5 years, now her name is so different I keep forgetting who she is.  Driving me bat shit.

Housing changes have driven us to the edge of sanity.  Over the years, our guild had bought up all the property in our neighborhood.  It took us a long time.  Now with the move, there has been a bunch of jockeying trying to make everyone happy.  It isn't working very well.  People are trying to trade houses, but they aren't being released, others want us to move to a more open neighborhood, and people who haven't been around as long as others have been asked to give up their housing to make room. 

I shopped different neighborhoods until I could find one with my particular housing location available.  That was important to me.  It's my house.  It remains a central location where I decorate for the different seasons and lay my hobbit head at night.  So, while I want to sympathize, I don't really.  I have rarely been angry with our people, but this shenanigans has blown my rage meter over the top. 

I have never seen the officers of the guild so busy conferencing with each other.  We are generally pretty drama-free.  There has been the odd hiccup over the years.  I have a general dislike for a couple of people, but I can play with them.  Not everyone is going to like everyone else.  I am also VERY protective of the guild.  We've been around FOREVER.  A rare thing in Lotro.  I don't like people messing about with the guild.  Our officer's are overloaded trying to figure things out.  They've made a bad call or two.  It might take a while to heal up some of the fractures.

This merge has caused more hurt feelings and drama in our little group than I have seen in the seven years I've been around.  It's really amazing how names, housing locations and lack of knowledge of the new player base can create havoc in a relatively placid company.

I'm going to make a character and NOT put it in the guild so I can cool off.  I like dogs so much better than people...

Game On!!!


This plat farmer took more than a pair of shoes…


Zeff mentioned to me he had to adjust to my pessimism when we got married.  I am trying not to be disturbed by that statement.  Of course, he is completely correct.  If there is a glass in front of me, it’s isn’t half full or even half empty, it’s dry as a bone. Friday was one of those days when the glass wasn’t just bone dry, it had shattered into a bazillion pieces.

The Air Conditioning went out at the house, and we didn’t realize until bedtime.  I will swear to you I saw heat waves at the top of my stairs when we climbed up.   I got everyone moved downstairs to sleep.  The beagle loved it.  She has a thing for sniffing at the front door and barking every 2 or 3 minutes. It made for a great 6 hours of rest, not.


We all woke up around 6 am.  First thing I do every morning is check my email on my phone.  I saw I had several facebook messages, and clicked over to see what was up.  There were several from both my Kin Leader and one of my favorite Kin mates in LOTRO.   “If you see this, get online. You are being hacked.”

After my heart left my throat, I tried to repeat the information to Zeff.   Between stammers, I noticed I had missed reading the beginning of the message thread.

I hadn’t been hacked, Zeff had.

He took the news better than I had for the previous 5 minutes.  He checked the email on his phone and saw a message from Turbine that he had been perma-banned.  We read in another message that at least two of Zeff’s character’s had been deleted.  Our Kin leader had been fast on his feet.  He watched Zeff’s officer character log on at 2:51am for a couple of minutes and then leave the Kin.  Smelling something fishy, he put in a cheating/hacker ticket.  The spawn of satan had time to delete one more character and was on his third when the GM locked things down.

We had a Kin Rift raid scheduled for 9 pm est Friday night.  I figured there was no way the shattered glass could be glued together for raid night.

While I tried to figure out how to reconcile the news, Zeff dressed for work, poured his coffee and told me he would be sure to call someone about the Air Conditioning.  He then kissed my forehead, and went to work.

After he left, I sort of stared at the door expecting him to come back in at any moment.   I sure wasn’t feeling the TGIF!   I spilled my drink all over my T-shirt, dropped my breakfast on the floor, and forgot to turn off the stove all before 8 am. Friday officially sucked.

After he got home, we started trying to figure out what to do next.   Zeff called Turbine when the phone lines opened at noon, and after an identity check, they told him they would unlock his account within the hour.  He would need to put in a ticket for each character that had been deleted, as well as a ticket for what items he could remember each character having.

I watched his face when he was able to log in, and saw the shock register when his character list came up and both his almost capped character’s were not there.


We rebounded and he started getting on with it.  He put in the two missing character tickets, and started going through his other character’s to see if they had been touched.

Within another hour his two deleted characters were back.  He began compiling the list of things he was missing.  It’s going to be a long slog.  While Zeff is rather organized, it’s hard to remember everything.  It’s also hard to prove you had the items to begin with.

Turbine will try to replace things that they can prove you had.  Items that were destroyed or sold can be tracked.  Other things are too hard to pin down.  They will try and give you a general reimbursement based on your character’s level at the time of the hack.

We noticed that the deleted character’s retained reputation, barter wallet items, and the equipped gear they were wearing.  All his other Legendary Item’s on the two characters were wiped. EEEKKKK.  Think twice before you log out with a fishing pole in your hand!

I have in the past complained about the bound higher end gear which was unable to be sold.  I regret my verbal rant.  The only things Zeff retained were bound items the Plat farmer bastage was unable to sell quickly for hard cash.  I am really thankful for that.  Getting the character back nekkid would have been horrible.

We are still waiting for the reimbursement package, but I think it will take at least a week.  I think that’s smart of Turbine, by the way.  I think Turbine is aware memory is triggered in dribbles.  A player isn’t going to notice their XYZ with fire defense is missing until they go to run content which requires fire defense.   It will take a few days for Zeff to have a more comprehensive list together.

How did they get into his account? We really don’t know.  A TON of gaming sites have been hacked lately.  Zeff isn’t sure if he had reused his game password on any of the sites, but he could have.  We both spent hours Friday ensuring we changed password’s to be unique for the gazillion logins we use.

I have to a HUGE shout out to Turbine.  They not only froze Zeff’s account DURING the hack, they were really quick to reassure him of the steps necessary to fix some of what had been taken from him.  The customer service simply rocked.  It’s scary to have your account information used by an outsider.  Turbine did everything they could to make the situation more bearable.

Our Kin mates were smart.  They knew Zeff’s habits and what was out of character.  They ran to his house to try and get anything out of it they could before it was cleaned out or sold due to the character who owned it being deleted.  They quickly demoted Zeff’s character’s to protect the kin chests.  Most importantly, without their common sense, the hacker would have had time to further decimate the account.  Zeff could have logged in to having zero characters.

I am grateful for a lot of things.  My Air Conditioning is back working.  My t-shirt wasn’t permanently stained.   I remade breakfast.  I didn’t burn the house down.

Zeff made the Rift raid, and it was the first win we’d had with an almost exclusive Kin group.

Battle cheer ending!
Battle cheer ending!

I won the housing item. It's one I have coveted in many a front lawn in my shire neighborhood.

See my big sword!
See my big sword!

My glass will always be empty.  It is just the way I am built, but I can celebrate the moments of joy when they come my way.   I can try to keep my eyes open to the good things, and be less quick to embrace the dark side!

Take the time today to look over your current security for logins, passwords, firewalls, virus protection and so forth.  Don’t be the next victim.  Every one of us who are derelict in our own safety feed the Plat Farmer monsters a little more.  Don’t support them.  Don’t buy from them.  Don’t put other gamers at risk with your own laziness.

Basically, don’t be a tool.

I am inserting my favorite Plat Farmer video below for your viewing enjoyment.

If I ever meet the little prick in a dark alley, I am gonna kick him in the nut sack! Bloody Plat Farmer raping ass hat.

*mumbles to herself as she retreats away from her computer for a sanity check*

Game On!!!

Mad, sad…trying to find glad

dragon age 2 pic
dragon age 2 pic

It’s been a tough year of gaming at my house. The wonders and joys of Dragon age were pillaged by the limp Dragon age 2. Mediocre at best, this is one sequel that should have been left to bake a while longer.  I salivated over Dragon age at Gencon the year before it launched.  I played all the add-ons, beat Origins, and wished and wished for more.   I should be careful what I wish for in future.

I’ve managed to battle my way to halfway through the game.  I can say definitively, the lack of an overall story arc robbed Dragon Age 2 of the biggest thing Dragon Age was given raves for…A  STORY!!!  Without the necessary writing bits and bobs, you were left bereft of character motivation.  To be honest, I just don’t care if I ever finish this one.

Even a facebook game couldn't save my inattention to Dragon age.  I won't call it a waste of a tie in, but they could have just released Dragon Age Legends and made me happier. At least it has some bones to it.


I’ve been watching Dungeon Siege 3 for a while.  It’s been on the radar.  I still remember breaking a mouse in anger with a battle in Dungeon Siege 2.  How could I resist a third installment?

I downloaded a demo to my xbox the other day.  After 20 minutes, I quietly turned the machine off and wished I could erase the entire experience from my brain.  It is a poorly executed mish mash of bad voice- overs, poor AI pathing and I won’t even discuss the story.

Mass Effect 3 looks flipping beautiful, but I can’t have it this year. *sniff sniff*  I thought I was going to get it for Christmas.   Here’s a tasty trailer to whet your appetite.

There has been no release date set for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I don’t think I am going to get this one this year either.

Ditto for Diablo 3.

I would still be playing Everquest 2, but between being hacked personally, and the entire company being hacked debacle, I simply haven’t the urge to turn it on.

Dungeon’s and Dragon’s Online is exploring crafting.  Growing pains can be painful, and it’s my feeling this is still very much in an incubation stage.  Epic’s haven’t become any more exciting.  The level cap is still 20. I am still NOT going to reincarnate. There is just very little for me to do right now.  Player’s Handbook still meets once a week to play, but even we are running out of juicy things to sink our teeth into.  I am hopeful there will be SOMETHING to make me blissful for this MMO soon. Please?

( As an aside, if you are willing to do the input, you can participate in the new Cannith Crafting Cookbook.  Please be aware the content appears to be edited by players, use at your own risk!)

I finished Fable 3. This has to have been my favorite out of the entire Fable series. I am sad it is over.

By the time I reached the month of June, I wondered if anything was going to get me hot for gaming.

la noire box
la noire box

I’d seen the advertisements for LA Noire.  I knew there had been a lot of buzz about it.  Rockstar is getting a reputation for taking the impossible and making a profit from it.  Did anyone ever think a western video game would perform like Red Dead Redemption has?

I’d been amassing some Best Buy bucks, and realized I could almost get LA Noire for next to nothing.  With trepidation, I put the disc in my Xbox.

I then played the game for almost 50 hours in a week’s time.  It’s fun, distracting, interesting, full of the flavor’s you would expect from a Noire film live and in your face.  I’m even finding some of the achievements interesting.

For example, you need to find 50 golden reel film canisters scattered throughout the world.  I found this link to the list that included the actual movie DVD fronts.  How cool is that?

I drove though through the city in a Chrysler Woody and instead of stopping off to investigate a murder; I sat in the car to listen to the radio.   It was a Jack Benny piece, and I just wanted to hear the entire thing.

I am also back to playing Lord of the Ring’s Online.  I have managed to make my way in Moria, and I haven’t had this much fun in an MMO in a while.  I’ve been exploring the LUA plugins, listening to A Casual Stroll to Mordor, writing guide posts for my Kin and redecorating my house with every trophy I can win.  In case you think I don’t love LOTRO enough, here is a pic of the framed map about in my study.


By the way, I completely missed the entire Digital River versus Turbine Rise of Isenguard pre-order mess.  I think I want to buy the 50 buck package, but I am in a waiting pattern atm.  If you are receiving those cancellation emails, don’t panic. I am sure Turbine will get it all sorted before launch in September.

I’d hoped for some really juicy stuff out of E3.  I can say nothing piqued my interest.  It seemed like a rehash.  I don’t want to buy a new Wii right now.  Xbox is taking the entire Kinect thing a little too far, and poor Sony could do nothing to erase the exceedingly bad luck they have had this year.

How is your gaming year looking?  What’s got you excited?  Please share it with me, and maybe you will help get me re energized for a game I didn’t know I would like!

Game on!!!

Who are you really in an online world?


I’ve never really thought a great deal about the people around me in an MMO.  I tend to take things at face value.  Present yourself as you want to be.  It’s a fantasy world.  Create your persona, and live it out in a pixilated Shangri La . With the advent of guild websites, facebook, twitter, email, cell phone texting and the seemingly endless ways we can all communicate with relative ease, I have begun to see my online friendships blossom into beautiful bonds I cherish.  When I filled out a reference sheet for my resume recently, I realized almost everyone in my life I have met online in one way or another.

Sociologists are having a field day studying the data.  Real life relationships are blending into the online world.  People date each other, befriend each other, and some find the online world is easier to navigate than the real one leading them to be stronger in their communication than they would be sitting across a restaurant table from a real life person.

What is it about an MMO that lends itself to this strong bonding?


As humans we are subject to the same mammalian characteristics as our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, the gorillas and chimpanzees.  We are social animals.  Like our cousins, we “created complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups.” (Wikipedia)

When I read the above, I realized I could insert any MMO’s tag line in there.  Each MMO world is purposefully built to mimic the real one.  Developers take pains to create more and more “life-like” avatars, create a stable economy, systems for competitive and cooperative play, and so forth.

When I am playing with my friends in an online world, I can tell a lot about who they really are simply by being around them.  Some players are highly competitive, some are super helpful, some will set themselves up to be their guilds crafter for xyz, and others are quiet content to move around the periphery of the family/guild.  There is an endless scope of personalities peppering the online worlds.

After spending between 20-40 plus hours per week with my online guildies, I can tell you who will be willing to help me go through a tough dungeon, who is going to be a prick about the loot, who is going to enjoy the run, and who is going to get mad and rage quit when things don’t go their way.

It isn’t a surprise to me when I find myself drawn to certain people.  I met my husband in an online MMO while he was in another country serving in the military.  My best friend I met on a website for Navy spouses.  Several really important relationships in my life started with the DDOcast podcast 4 years ago.   I have a girlfriend through my DDO static group who adds joy to my life on a daily basis through emails and facebook games.

I live more socially because of my online life, than I do in my real world.  I am not terribly outgoing by nature.  If I had my way, I would only leave my house when it was on fire.  I don’t have dinner parties, or have friends over for gatherings.  I am not an entertainer.

But through my MMO’s, and the friendships created within them, I have an outlet for keeping up with life’s celebrations.  Births, deaths, birthdays, anniversaries, new jobs, bad hair days and crap relationships.  It’s all played out in the guild chat daily.

How much do I share with people I meet in an online world is up to me!  Many outside my guild in several of my MMO’s don’t know I am actually female.  I generally don’t use voice chat unless I am comfortable with the players I am with.  While I play female avatars almost exclusively, you can’t always assume the person behind the female avatar is actually a female.

I am happily married.  I tend to talk about it a lot.  In fact it has been pointed out to me that in my MMO worlds, I am generally a super happy, friendly, outgoing person.  This could not be more counter to my actual personality.  I generally don’t answer my phone.  I am exceedingly private.  I don’t share my day to day dealings with anyone really, excepting my partner.

So which one is the real Rowanheal?

Both.  I am a complicated.  I am human.

I had a friend come to me a week or so ago in the wee hours of the morning to talk.  They had not realized how close a bond would be created when they started playing an MMO.  They felt they had misrepresented themselves and needed to let me know who they really were.  What they told me didn’t change how I thought of them.  They were still the outgoing, funny, generous person I knew them to be.  If anything it deepened my respect and awe at who they are.

That world blending I spoke about earlier has come home to roost.   Not always in a good way.

sticks and stones
sticks and stones

The same social stuttering we suffer in our real world has grown in our online ones.  The arguments over Race, Religion, and Sexual Orientation are discussed with little thought to who those words might be offensive or hurtful.

With the anonymity pervasive in online dealings, people can find themselves overwhelmed with a case of verbal diarrhea and vomit their beliefs all over those around them with little consequence to themselves.

I won’t say it doesn’t belong in an online world.  We are human.  Who we are is carried with us wherever we go.  We are immensely honest really.  If you are an ass, you are going to be an ass in an MMO.  *shrugs* It’s just the way we are built.  We have an inability to hide our core beliefs.  They rise to the surface like oil floating on water.

I am just going to ask if you would let some of it go while you play.

I like what the Buddhists have to say on the subject.  Be who you are authentically, but be careful not to let it hurt those around you.  We are here to learn how to be better than what we were born as.

And let’s face it, based on the studies done by the The Genographic Project, we are ALL related by blood despite our Race, Religion or Sexual Orientation.

So who are you really? Is who you are in an MMO how you want to be seen? Are you making strong relationships with the people you play with every week?

I am interested in hearing what you are experiencing.  So let me know!

Game on!!!

What makes you stay in your game?

I realized last week while looking through my budget, I am currently subscribed to four MMO's.   I started looking at my games and trying to make choices.  Holding onto four games is a little ridiculous, besides being a drain on my pocketbook. At the moment, I am subscribed to DDO, LOTRO, EQ2, and WOW.  That's a lot of games, and I can honestly say, I don't have that much time to play and give each game justice.

Since 2007, I've used Xfire to track my games, time played online, and to keep in touch with friends.  I swung by their website to look up the data and see what I am actually playing.

xfire time played
xfire time played

In peeking over my profile, it appears I spend wayyyy too much time gaming.  Xfire doesn't even keep track of my Wii, or Xbox.  Kinda scary when I think about it.  By the way, my total time online in computer games sits at 3,413 hours. O.M.G.


I've played DDO the most hours. 1,811.  That's a ton of time to invest in a game.  I've been visiting Stormreach since December of 2006.  That's four years of making friends, moving servers, joining guilds, leaving guilds and all the assorted drama that comes with an MMO.  What keeps dragging me back to DDO?

The biggest factor keeping me hooked into the game is  my static group.  Four of us have been together since the beginning 3 or so years ago when we were level one, didn't know each other and were playing character's in a whole new way.  Now we exchange Christmas cards, babies are  talking children, and our lives are intertwined by meeting once a week to blow off some steam and enjoy time together.

I have never left the game entirely, but I did stop playing actively on my home server for about a year.  My friends are what drug me back into game.

Generally, I play DDO when I am feeling chatty and social.  It's not a game I play solo.  I play with my guild or with my friends.  I don't PUG.  Pretty much that is a hard and fast rule.  I would rather short man a quest than run with people who may make the quest more work than fun.

DDO offers  Free to play options, has maintained the game for their subscribers and has an E-store.  It lacks Player housing, mounts and any kind of cross server chat amongst players.  There is little avatar customization offered in game, and it's limited to items bought in the E-store. Crafting is bulky and exceedingly limited.

It is rich with a grouping style that has continued to morph in mostly positive directions as changes have affected the game.  Recently added guild housing has ramped up this social aspect of the game, pretty much for the better.  The game also boasts a strong storyline, an active combat style and the best character build customization I have experienced in any MMO.

DDO stays on the list of games I am going to play in 2011.


Next up is LOTRO coming in with 558 hours.  I haven't actively played LOTRO since it went free to play in September of last year.  I've logged in a few times.  Mostly to pay for my beautiful deluxe hobbit hole house I lovingly decorated.  I have a guild mate who bugs me on facebook to log in and play.  I just haven't found a reason to stay more than moments online in ages.  Zeff has been playing a lot of LOTRO.  I have watched him and heard the music in the background as I am playing other things.  It has tempted me, but I haven't fully commited to playing again.

LOTRO has a free to play option, solid subscriber options, and an E-store.  It has guild housing, player housing, mounts, and good avatar customization.  You can add limited mods to the game with LUA scripting.  The game has a solid crafting system.  You can easily solo through the game,  but there are ways to group up and play with others.  I generally play LOTRO solo or as a duo with the hubby, but have grouped up with guild mates to run the tough dungeons.   Character builds are through a skill tree type set up, and therefore not terribly creative.  The four festival's are one of my favorite pastimes in Middle-Earth, and I gather up all the cosmetic items and fun frothy beverages with zeal!

The best aspect of this game is the storyline.  If you love Tolkien's world, please do yourself a favor and load this game.  The graphics are stellar, the music gripping and the the quest lines easy to follow and enjoy.  The combat style is a combined active and tiered gambit style.

If you have never played an MMO and are wondering where to start, I would really suggest this one.  The playerbase is almost as rabidly protective of the game as DDO's, and I have generally found them helpful and encouraging.

Still, I think LOTRO will need to be parred back to a free to play game this year.


EQ2 ran third with 281 hours.  I was amazed I had that many hours  considering I only started playing last fall.  I simply love the game.  I love the varied storyline's, avatar customizations, mounts, guild housing, player housing, good versus evil alignments, festival's, different mods you can add and the overall varied and spicy flavors this game has to offer.

If I can think of it, I can do it EQ2.

My first MMO experience was in Everquest years ago.  I have a lot of fond memories of that game, and I still have a friend or two hanging around I originally met in Norrath.  Playing Everquest 2 is like coming home.  While there are many new fangled things in EQ2, I can't help the feeling of familiarity with the lore of the game.

It offers free to play options on free to play servers, subscriber options on subscriber servers and a very limited E-store.   The crafting is fully functional and delicious.  Player housing is the most customized I have seen in any game to date.  It can be soloed, but offers grouping options.  The graphics are 7 years old, but continue to be updated.  It's not as pretty as LOTRO or even DDO, but it's still pretty enough.  There are many events in the game, covering all the holidays and then just some monthly city events and such dotting your time online.

I would not suggest this game to the first time MMO player.  It has a major learning curve.  The combat is a combo of gambits and action.  The character builds are cookie cutter, but the avatar options are awesome.

EQ2 stays on my list for games to play in 2011.


Lastly Wow with 54 hours.  I am really new to this game, and I am not sure I can give a full thumbs up or down.  I will say if it offered a free to play options, I would use that method.  It has a plethora of mounts, crafting, cosmetic pets and cross server chat.  It does not offer guild or player housing.  The grouping system for dungeon's is one of the smoothest I have ever seen.  The graphics are cartoonish, but livable.  It lacks any kind of character or avatar customization.

I have to be honest in saying I am only playing this game for a friend.  It's probably not something I am going to stick with.  It really doesn't offer me the things I have been looking for.

Maybe I simply haven't been playing it long enough to find the nuances.

It's staying on my play list for 2011 on a limited trial basis.  I fully expect by summer to be out from under it.

In looking at my games, I can say I have a pretty strong idea of what I like and what I don't.  I want to be able to customize my character whether it be in it's build or in it's overall appearance.  I really like housing, both guild and player based.  I like the fluffy festival's that add both some fun and a level of immersion to the reality of a MMO world moving in time and season.  I don't like to be pigeon holed into a cookie cutter unless there are other outlets for my creativity.

Most of all I like story.  This isn't a true surprise to me.  I am a voracious reader.  I like to follow characters to see where things will go, and one of my favorite play styles is a light role-play element in a game.  All of my character's have a back story, and I am rather disillusioned when their builds or looks are messed about with by the developers of a game.  Even in my MMO worlds, I am adverse to change.

I know there is a level of individualism even in our MMO worlds.  So what is it you look  for in a game?  What keeps bringing you back  hour after hour? What turns you off a game?  Let me know!

Game on!!!

Exploring more on Free to play

I love Twitter. I pretty much have an addiction to it. I spent 8 days at a girlfriend's this month. She had neither cable nor internet. It was like living in the dark ages! Ok, that's probably a little melodramatic, but can I say that based on the experience I may have noticed I twitched for my phone on a regular basis to check twitter, my email and facebook. This morning my twitter told me Champions Online announced they would be going Free to play early next year. ( Thank you Anne!) I wouldn't say I found the news unbelievable. It's becoming a popular refrain from the gaming companies.

I then found myself in a spirited conversation about Free to play. My feelings on it really couldn't be contained in 140 characters. Good thing I keep this blog around. :)

I don't hate Free to play for it's own sake. I should make that crystal clear. I have played Free to play games and even enjoyed a handful of them.

What I don't enjoy is when a pay to play game goes Free to play mid-stream.

Of course it has it's pros. People who have wanted to try the game have no barrier to entry. They can "try" the game for longer than a trial, and continue to play and perhaps pay according to their own terms.

From my own perspective, when a game I have been playing has switched it's business model, I've found it frustrating.

It goes beyond the forum cries of "children and posers." It's about the way the changes the store can bring to the way I approach a game.

I don't think I am entirely alone in this, but I am perhaps in a minority?

For instance, in DDO, I found the community changed. The player base before free to play had generally been tight knit, older, and well versed in Pnp rules of play. After free to play Turbine found they needed to add "signs" to the landscape to alert players to quest lines available to them. I found this disturbing. I'd played DDO and never found myself at a loss for where to go next, but the influx of new players seemed unable to follow the story lines from Korthos through the harbor into the Marketplace etc. I won't say the new people were dumb, but it was as if they were in such a hurry to blow through the content they couldn't or wouldn't read and enjoy the story.

The player base experienced a definite split. The has and has nots or rather I pay and you don't. People began putting up groups excluding free to play players. I didn't like it, but to be honest, some things took some getting used to. If you put up a LFM and weren't paying attention, you would find yourself running to an entrance and your group would thin out as players realized they didn't have the adventure pack. It made some guilds become terribly insular as they choose to simply skip PUGs all together and join alliances where they found other subscribers who knew the content and played with skill.

After reincarnations hit the game, and really I've ranted enough about Turbine's lame attempt to keep players interested in the game once they'd tapped their head on the 20th level cap, the Hearts of Wood hit the store. I didn't know these weren't lootable and it shocked me. When Turbine took the turn of only offering something in the store for real cash I didn't like it. ( as an aside according to Madfloyd's blog post on in update 7 Hearts of wood should begin to drop in level appropriate chests!)

When guild housing FINALLY came to DDO, Astral Diamonds could only be found in the store.

LOTRO went Free to play a few months ago. I have to be honest here, I have only logged into it a few times. I paid the rent on the house I worked so hard to decorate and to check out a few things.

I still get the constant stream of "ad" emails from Turbine. The last one just kinda sent me over the edge. "Last chance to buy your Special Summer steed mount!"

One of my absolute favorite things about LOTRO was the festivals. I looked forward to them. I know when both the spring and summer festival's launched this last year I had my finger hovering over the "launch game" button. I worked my rear end off to earn tokens fishing, running races, and by gods I won't even tell you all the things I crafted and sold on the auction house to earn the gold for my spring and summer steeds.

Now you can buy all the housing items and steeds from the store. :(

Dyes. I made a bunch of money off of gathering the ingredients, farming and then using my scholar to make dyes in LOTRO. You can now buy dyes in the store.

The hubby used his cook to make food and sell it on the auction house. You can now buy it in the store.

I could go on, but it's simply disheartening.

It's not that I begrudge people the opportunity to play the game any way they choose to. It's that when I play a game and enjoy it, and then they rip the rug out from underneath me and tell me "Hey, don't work so hard, just use your credit card" I tend to get a little pissed off.

I LIKED playing LOTRO the way I was playing it. Sure I could still work my rearend off for things, but it stings a little when I see someone riding by on their summer steed and I wonder if they "earned" it or bought it. It DOES make a difference to me.

Maybe it shouldn't. Maybe I am being shallow and narrow minded. Maybe it's because when I started MMO gaming the idea of paying for your gear was repugnant and would get you banned, not only by the game, but by your gaming friends that I simply can't seem to pull the trigger and get with the times.

So yes, for now I am only playing DDO once a week with my static group. I haven't touched LOTRO. I am sticking with EQ2 because the way they chose to handle F2P suits me. The F2P servers are completely separate from the subscriber servers. People still have the chance to try EQ2 out and play and pay for it their way, but I can play it MY way and subscribe to it and not worry that I am going to work for 6 months on my Epic gear only to see it as an option in the store a year from now.

I think in future if a game launches Free to play I won't have any issue starting out just like everyone else. If a game launches with a subscription model, I won't be buying a lifetime subscription, and I think I'll wait and see if it goes Free to play. Why buy?

Perhaps I am an old fuddy duddy. That's ok. At least there are still options open to me. I suppose if all else fails there is always World of Warcraft! *throws up a little in her mouth*

We should all pay attention to the disclaimer that pops up on screen every time we log into a game.

Gameplay May Change During Online Play

Game on!!!

Summer's ending with Free to play


I've had a busy summer.  So many games, so little time.   I can feel the fall nip in the air here at the beach at last.  I am so grateful.  As I type out this blog, I have all the windows in my house thrown open to welcome the breeze. Mostly what I've been up to is Everquest II while huddled under the fan blades escaping the sweltering heat.  I'd been avoiding Everquest.  I didn't want to jump back into that world.  I lived it for 5 years in the original incarnation, lovingly referred to as Evercrack.  The hubby had picked up the box a half dozen times in our trips to my favorite electronics store, and I finally just picked up a couple of boxes.  I've spent 126 hours in the game so far, and I like it.  There are many reason's.

The biggest one being the way Sony chose to handle Free to play.  We'd signed up for the game on the subscription servers shortly after the announcement EQ2 would be free to play under the banner Everquest II Extended.  I knew from having read articles, Sony was creating Free to Play servers.  The subscription servers would be left mostly untouched.  Free to Play would be relegated to a seperate realms, and the character transfers would not be available between the subcription and Free to play servers.

After being hooked on LOTRO for months, Turbine's decision to move towards the free to play model left me desolate.  I began to notice I wasn't logging in as much, and my enjoyment seemed tarnished.  When I worked on deeds or towards a crafting goal, I wondered whether I was wasting my time since in a few months I would just buy the horse, potion or decorative item through the LOTRO store.

LOTRO launched F2P this past Friday.  I am sure it will bring a crop of new players to the beautiful Tolkien  world.  I still log into the game from time to time.  Mostly, to pay the rent on my house I spent hours painstakingly decorating.  I am in hopes I will find the drive to play again.  The DDOcast build guild has been created on the Vilya Server.  They revived my love for DDO, perhaps they will be the prescription I need to kindle new fire for LOTRO.

In the meantime, I am meandering Norrath.  EQ2 takes place 500 years after Everquest.  The geography is familiar, but not.  Graphically, I like it.  It doesn't have the same eye goggling landscapes of LOTRO or DDO, but it satisfies for now.  It's a more complicated game, and I have sometimes logged off wondering if I need a degree to play it.  I am having fun, and for now I feel safe knowing the game I am playing is not going to be changed significantly in the future.

I like that.  I need that.  I am grateful for that.


P.S.  I hear from the EU DDO players they still don't have a date on when they will have their transfers to the newly named Global DDO.  Opps I meant to say transfers to Ghallanda, since that is where they are being ported.  Not much "Global" about it atm.  This is one time when I wish I hadn't been right.  I am saddened.  It's been almost  month since Codemaster's shut down the EU servers.  I am desperately hoping something is done soon before they all find something else to do and abandon a game they have come to love.  This strange silence must end.

Odds and Ends...

The website upgrades are finished.  I hired someone to help me this time, and saved myself a lot of headaches.  It's very very pink, no?  I love it, and am hopeful it is easier to read, navigate and enjoy! We are only a couple of weeks from Gencon.  My schedule is full, I have a new backpack to bring, and all my tickets are bought.  I am soooo excited I can hardly stand it.  If you have never been and are looking for information about the con, give a listen to DDO Cocktail Hour Episode 21. It's almost here :D

Rowanheal's Comprehensive Quest list has been updated again.  It's current through update 5.

The hubby has been busy working on his Ale Association favor during the LOTRO Summer Festival.  He got a new title and I had to get a pic of it.


Hysterical, no?

I've been hitting and miss on gaming.  I bought The Witcher when steam had it on sale and am about half way through it I think.  Since I didn't have enough games to finish, I also picked up Red Dead Redemption, a western styled rpg shooter.  Both of these games I can pick up and play and not realize hours have gone by.

Player's Handbook, my static group in DDO, made Guild Level 5.  It's slow going when we only play a couple of hours one day a week, but I am hopeful the small guild bonus will move from testing to live soon.

Basically, I am have been running around in life as I have in my gaming realms, like a chicken with my head cut off.  There is so much to get done, and so much to see.  I would love to slow time a little, so I could sit back and enjoy some of it and not feel like it is just rushing by.

Lastly, Zeff re-enlisted in the United States Navy last week.


*sigh*  I will admit, he looked rather handsome swearing to uphold all manner of things, most of which amounted to me realizing we were committing to spending even more time apart.


Since he's a Sailor, he decided nothing would be more fitting than a celebration meal at Hooters!!!  *giggles*

I am hoping to get some real MMORPG time in this week.  Things have been so nutty, I need a little down time.  Wish me luck :)


Summer Festival gone wild in LOTRO and Announced for DDO!

I have lost my mind over the summer festival in LOTRO.  I have spent a ton of hours since it's opening fishing, betting on hobbit eating contests, dwarven keg races, and running around and drinking with the Inn League. In the last 48 hours, I have ammassed an impressive stack of summer cosmetic items.  OMG where am I gonna store all of this stuff once the fall fesitval hits???  It's bound.  I am gonna have to empty out a bank or something.

Anyways, to say I am enjoying it, would be putting it lightly.  I am a total loser at betting on races.  I want the title, but seem to be especially bad at picking the random winners.  I think perhaps this is why I don't gamble in real life.  It's just not a lot of fun to lose all the time.

I am gonna be working overtime to try and get my Inn league Favor to Friend.  I am not sure it can be done during this festival, but I am commited to logging in everyday to run the daily quests.

Just to prove to you how obsessive I can be over cosmetics, each of the items I am about to show you in screenshots cost 12 tokens.  I started with zero and worked my rearend off getting all of these.

The picture at the top of this post is of my hunter laying in her front yard in the new hammock.  It was my first barter.  I had to have it for lazing in the sun.  Isn't it awesome?


This is the short-sleeved summer dress dyed gold.  I have this one on my hunter.  Since they are bound, I am going to have to get both a dress and a cloak for all my girls.  Glad I like fishing.  At least I can dye them differently for each of the girls.


This is the Golden Tree cloak.  Isn't it beautiful???  I left it the original color since I figured the gold matched my dress.  Yes, I think about these things.  Stop laughing!


I had to have a new door mat to welcome guests with.


And since I live in the shire, I figured it was only appropriate that I have a vegetable garden for snacking purposes.  Flowers are pretty, but I can't eat them.


This is the wall paper I picked up in Celondim.  It's called the Festival of Enendhin.  Of course the paint color in my house is pink, so this is the pink version :D


This is my new bedroom.  I picked up the summerfest bed, and the white wicker chair.  They match very well, plus they look very girly.


This is the summerfest painting.  I love it and put it up in my living room.


My keg/trophy room needed a new look as well, so I picked up the Summerfest wall paper out in Thorin's Hall.  I am actually considering doing the whole house in this paper.  It's just gorgeous.  And yes, even this room is pink :D

If you were counting, that's a total of 108 tokens so far.  WOW!!!

I haven't gotten all of the items yet, and I still need outfits for 2 of my girls, but its a work in progress.  If you want to see all the Decorations and Furniture being offered in the Summer Festival, Check out the excellent guide made by Kiarane over at A Casual Stroll to Mordor.

In DDO news, it appears that festival coins are dropping in chests.  Posts started popping up on my twitter and on the DDO forums.  It's just been confirmed!

Fullscreen capture 712010 22611 PM
Fullscreen capture 712010 22611 PM
Fullscreen capture 712010 24356 PM
Fullscreen capture 712010 24356 PM

So if you've been in DDO and have picked up some coins already, hang onto them for incoming Festival guy.  Wonder what he'll be wearing?  Swim trunks and a snorkel?

If you haven't been over to DDO Cocktail hour, I've posted  their video below.  OMG it's hysterically funny.  It's a spoof of "I'm on a boat" which makes it even funnier to me since I play that song every time I am pulling onto the pier.


Players Handbook plays Update 5 and Summer Festival odds and ends

Our static group logged into DDO with great excitement tonight.  Dreams of airships and fun new quests had us all logging in as soon as we could to get the party started. The hotfix Turbine applied today seems to have gone off without a hitch.  With every launch there seems to be a fewer bugs, but this one had everyone in a lather thanks to Guild renown being down.  I kept my fingers crossed all day and thankfully, it was fixed.

We ran through 3 of the new quests.    I think Party crashers is probably a wee tad over the lvl it states,and omg is it long.  Kinda fun, except for all the dickering about in different zones.  The one in the bar was long as well and had a bunch of jumping over buildings and through tunnels.  I am not sure who thought it was a great idea to make quests longer by adding in mazeish dungeons, but gee thanks for making me want to bang my head on my desk... oh and for the large glass of wine I finally poured to put myself out of misery.   The one with brawnpits made me giggle.  The brothers Grimm were simply funny as heck.  Plus, who really wants to teach a guy in a loin cloth to be an actor???

We were all a little curious about the Guild renown.  We managed to make it to level 3 running the 3 quests we did under level.  It's a 6 person guild.  We are probably never going to see Guild Level 100, but it didn't stop the end rewards from offering us guild minimum level 70 gear.  I could rant on that for days.  I think its a silly thing to have added.  In general, I think the way guild housing has been handled is really disgusting.  It's already begun to polarize the community.  I have no idea what the landscape is going to look like once it's over, but I feel sorry for all of us small guilds.

I found the lag no better or worse than usual.  I was kicked out of game once and had dps lag in a quest.  I am hoping I am the only one.

They finally put mounts in the game...JUST KIDDING!!!  Hellmy, our drunken dwarf, did find a way to ride an animal ingame though.


I made him stay there long enough for me to get a screenshot.

The summer festival started in LOTRO today.  I am still trying to figure it all out.  Seems there is alot of fishing in this one.  Guess I will be a master angler by the time the festival is over.

Before I forget, there is an excellent guide to the Summer Festival over at A Casual Stroll to Mordor.

On the bad side, the outfits are bind on acquire, which means I am going to have to grind them out on all of my characters.  I like wearing the outfits.  This has me pretty steamed.  In past festivals, the outfits were no bound per character.  Which meant I only had to earn them and store them on one toon.  Egads, I just don't know if this makes the festival fun anymore.

I am posting a video below someone put together ot show off the new festival mount.  OMG, isn't she pretty?  I must must must have one of my own...or 3 or 4.

Anyways, as I am typing this I am riding to my next fishing hole in Thorin's hall.  :D

Game on!!!

Wardrobes, Pirates and Naughty Cheese

I've been playing tons of LOTRO lately.  Maybe it's the impending shadow of the changes coming to game, or perhaps its just that I am having a blast. I won enough items on my Runekeeper to dress her as a pirate.  Argggg!!!  The costume's in LOTRO are simply stupendous, and I have a mule holding a ton of outfits.

One really fantastic feature coming with the f2p announcement is the wardrobe system.  It's sorely needed.  Inventory space is at a premium in LOTRO.  Between all the crafting supplies, special end reward items, gear, costumes and decorations, its just really hard to keep everything.

Wardrobe is a special storage for your cosmetic items. That way they don't take up inventory, bank, vault, or housing storage. [Sapience] It's expandable to 50 slots, much like shared storage, in 10-slot increments. It's account level, so you buy it once and each character will have their own wardrobe.[Patience] It is 20 storage slots that holds cosmetic items. There are several things you can do with the items once in storage and some very cool tricks it can do, but you'll need to wait for the dev diary for the full details. [Sapience]

(quote from Lotro Life)

I can't wait for this in game.  I figure I will put my wardrobe on my mini first since she has attained lvl 42 and will have the most slots available.  W00t!!!  Inventory space on the way :)

I've made a hunter.  Totally soloable.  She's someone I can play when the hubby is off being Navyish.  I don't have to worry about taking a tour of rez circles (I kinda did on my mini).  She just doesn't get herself killed.  Her gear is better now that I have leveled several of the craft skills on other characters, and she has impeccable skills.  I'm only in my 20's with her, but so far she's displayed the greatest survivability of the character's I've made.

And lastly, I couldn't help myself.  I had to eat the cheese.


This cheese can be found in the rep dungeon over in the barrow's, but over the Father's Day weekend, Turbine offered it up on a lottery.  I will not speak to the unresolved angst some employee up in Boston harbors with their daddy, but I will say I entered that lottery every time it popped on my screen.

Upon consuming this rather bad tasting bree cheese, you begin to slowly die.  The effect lasts for 20 minutes.  It's possible to heal or regen your way through it, but my little mini was so shocked by the after taste she keeled over in less than 30 seconds.


The gods explained I had been rather unwise.

I giggled myself silly when I did this.  I'd heard the guild chatter about it, and couldn't stop myself from earning the title.


I don't normally show a title on my mini.  It has to be something special before I will run around with some sort of pronouncement stamped over my head.  How could I resist Rowanheal, The Unwise???

Game on!!!

Lotro goes F2P...&^%^%#

My phone woke me up on Friday.  It takes a lot for my phone to wake my up since I have it on vibrate.  Irritated, I rolled over and grabbed the thing, briefly considered hurling it against a wall, and noticed I have a gazillion missed phone calls, texts, IM's and Tweets. I kinda stared at it and wondered if the interwebz had imploded overnight or something.  I mean why else would everyone be in such a state of emergency?

One scroll through my IM's explained.

Warner Brother's Announces LOTRO going Free to Play.

My immediate reaction was a sense of deja vu.  This simply couldn't be happening again.  I mean, seriously?

I spent the morning quietly smoldering.  I had to turn everything off and just let the thought percolate in my little grey cells.

What will follow below is an off the cuff almost stream of consciousness opinion piece on F2P in Middle-Earth.  I have thoughts.  Many of them are too slanted to share, but I have done my best to cull out the bad ones and try and make sense of what has essentially ruined my own personal gaming experience.

The announcement DDO was going Free to Play brought me to my gaming knees.  I spent the first few months tolerating it.  The next few  deciding if DDO was still a game I could enjoy.  By December 2009, I had quit playing my main characters.  I just didn't turn on the game except for Static group night.

By March of 2010, DDOcast had set up a static group type guild on Orien.  With some trepidation, I joined the guild and used the DDO store for the first time.  It was a terrible experience and unfortunately cemented the ire I had been living with for some time.

Free to play changed things.  I got a giggle when I read in the press release that things would essentially not change for VIP members of LOTRO.  I am not sure what crack Turbine is smoking, but once they cut through the haze of smoke, they have to admit,  the model changed things significantly.

The caliber of players changed.  I am keenly aware of it on Orien.  While I admit I have met several players who have benefited from the free to play model, most have gone VIP.  Being Free to play is simply a lot of work.  And yeah, as I predicted there is the class problem.  Most players just don't want to play with free to play people.  It a stigma that's grown like a cancer in the community.

The store has continued to grow in its role as the big fat easy button.

Things that drive me nuts in DDO's F2p?

Share the quest...I haven't bought that pack. Can someone get me a pass?...I didn't know this was a pay to play sorry...Oh we need a rez? I'll just buy a cake from the store!...Oh I ran out of mana, let me buy some pots from the store...I bought 32 point build but I don't understand what its for...I thought if I bought the pack I was flagged for the raid...Man this game is so easy to level in.  I've made it to 14 in 10 hours with xp pots, but the game has no story...I'm 12 my mom says I have to clean my room now...I need my moms credit card to get more points from the store...

I could probably go on forever.

I had someone tell me they were under the impression I hated free to play players.  I don't think I do.  I think I hate the way some Free to Play players treat DDO like a " you can win if you throw enough money at it" kinda game.  I don't like that the knowledge level of the players has decreased significantly. Not to mention Turbine has been on a "how can we make this easy" kick with DDO!  It's like they are playing to the lowest common denominator of Free to play players who can't read.

And yeah, it ruined DDO for me personally.

LOTRO will be different.   For one, I don't think the any one item in the store can be game breaking the way rez cakes, rest shrines, xp pots and mana pots have been for DDO.  The game has settings inside of it already that will stop most of that.  I foresee the store being able to sell a bunch of cosmetic items, something I would love to see in DDO.

Biggest issue I see coming is that LOTRO is not an instanced game.  While a select set of quests are instanced, it is generally a wide open world.  I can't wait for the servers to open up so a bunch of idiots can run rampant being loot whoring, kill stealing, camping morons.

Since the quests follow story lines, as the new population levels, they are going to be following each other around in waves trying to out kill steal another player to complete quests.

It's a disaster in the making.

I am  hoping Turbine will not be selling crafting items in the store.  So far, the LOTRO economy is pretty healthy.  Amassing any gold of significant quantities takes a bit of work.  Most of that work comes from crafting.

LOTRO offered life time subscriptions until recently (which should have been a signal more people picked up on).  I feel horrible for those who spent good money on a lifetime subscription to a game that will now attract the dredges of the gaming community at large.

Knowledge level is not going to be a super big deal.  LOTRO has cookie cutter builds a 5 year old could navigate.  It is however a big world.  I foresee a bunch of those ugly "signs" like they put in DDO helping players who can't figure it out. *rolls her eyes*

Most of us play LOTRO solo, we aren't gonna have to group with knuckle heads who can't find their ass from a hole in the ground.  I think  though we will see the same type of cancer in LOTRO suffered currently in DDO.  Free to play players will play amongst themselves.  There are fellowship quests, but the "looking for group" mechanic in LOTRO sucks monkey balls.  I think we will stick within our guilds for fellowships.

Things are gonna change.  The first six months of F2p in DDO were horrific.  I am girding my loins for the influx in Lotro this fall.

In general, I think we are going to see this model popping up more and more.  I live in fear of having to quit PC gaming entirely in favor of my console.  Turbine has been very open with how much money they are making from the model, and I expect a few more games here in the future to begin emulating what's already been highly successful overseas in the Asian market.

Used to be, you picked an MMO, paid your money and spent a few years in your fantasy world of choice.  You were spending your money, and with it, came a sense of commitment to a game world. With the advent of Free to play in the mainstream, younger players have learned to jump games when they like with no guilt and little thought.

I swear we are raising a generation of people with the attention spans of gnats.

It's almost enough to make me want to play WOW.  Almost...


Being invisible

I rounded out my gaming weekend with more LOTRO.  I only squeezed a few hours in on Sunday, but I still pounded through some of the book quests.  They are always very very fun, and I enjoy seeing the story play out on the screen with my character making decisions. My hobbit mini finally got another of her race deeds completed.  My mini earned the deed to feign death for thirty seconds.  Once I realized I had it, I ran back to a town to visit the bard and slot it.  I couldn't wait to try it out.

Zeff joined me on my book adventure yesterday.  Most of the time we have little issue with the book content.  Every once in a while though, a set of quests come up that are truly challenging.  We found ourselves sneaking into caves to fight elite trolls.  They were several levels above us, but we both had an inspiration buff that gave us heightened hit points and mana.  As long as we took them on one at a time, everything was fine.  I would stand back and heal him while he killed the mean trolls.

There is a problem with trolls though.  They like to kick, and I found myself launched in the air.  Unfortunately, one of these kicks landed me at the feet of two more trolls.  I ran back toward Zeff screaming my head off.  He didn't think he could handle all three trolls.  Especially if I had had the aggro of two of them.  I just didn't have the hit points to handle that even with the mega boost from the buff.  I hit the feign death button and fell over dead.  Cackling, I yelled at the hubby I was dead and wished him luck.  He said a few bad words, and went back to killing the trolls.  His guardian is a beast and managed to kill them off after a few tense minutes.

I can't wait to find more trouble to get into and fall over dead.  It's just fabulous fun :D

I have been using every opportunity possible to ride my new blue roan horse.  Unfortunately, my horse like to play tricks on me.  The picture at the beginning of this article shows horsie has a habit of going invisible.  I must look hysterical riding across Middle Earth my horse playing tricks on me.

Basically, I had a blissful weekend gaming.  I have a long week ahead, and I am glad I had a chance to be a slug and enjoy myself.


Odd and Ends

DDOcast episode 166 is out and ready for your listening pleasure.  Jerry highlighted an article from my site last week. Pretty Cool!!!

DDO Cocktail Hour Episode 12 is also out.  This has to be one of their best shows yet.  It's completely hysterical!

I've also inserted below the DDO commercial.  I'm late in doing this, but someone sent me an e-mail about it.  My opinion?  I am thrilled that the commercial is out on the TV waves.  While I find it a wee tad underwhelming, I am still really happy to see DDO advertising in a big way.

I'm going to go fall into bed.



I've completed most of my tasks for the week.  It's been a weird one.  The schedule here at home is on the fritz, and will remain so for the foreseeable future.  I am annoyed, but military life is attempting to teaching me patience.  A year or so ago my head would have spun off.  I figure since my head's still  attached, and I haven't screamed at anyone, I must be patient! Feeling rather proud of my apparent ability to be task oriented and outwardly calm, I am rewarding myself with a weekend of gaming.  I can think of no better way to spend my time at the moment.  Ok, there are possibly productive things I could be doing, but who wants to be all productive all the time?  It's exhausting.

I'd squirreled away the horse race token and 12 leaves for my festival horse.  I have been salivating over the blue roan for a month.  Thankfully the barter vendor appeared back in the game, and I ran my little hobbit out there as soon as I logged into LOTRO today.  The picture at the top of this article is my new blue roan horse.  Sexy, yes?  LOVE HER!!!

On my run out to  Hengstacer's Farm to procure my new mount, I found my eye's bulging at the graphics.  I played on my new laptop today.  It's really the first long play session where I have experienced the Direct 10X graphics.  I might have needed a napkin to wipe up the drool.  Simply stunning.  I am almost kicking myself for not having given in to Windows 7 before now.  If you have been sitting on the fence about the upgrade, do yourself a favor.  Just do it.

I managed to level my little mini to 37.  *smiles*  She remains my favorite girl.  It could be because she was my first real LOTRO character.  Maybe it's just that she is a mini.  Probably it's all of those things plus the fact she's a hobbit.  She's just cute as a bug.

It took hours to level today.  I spent some of them thinking about my never ending trips to the skinner box.  LOTRO does a super job  making me press the lever.  As an example;  the quest called for me to get medallions from hillmen outside of Estedlin.  No problem.  I ran out there.  I killed hillmen.  A mediallion dropped every 5 or 8 kills.  I needed 12 medallions.  I ended up spending 45 minutes grinding through the random drop rate until I accomplished my task.  Yup, I truly do live in the skinner box.  *sigh*

I took a break from the grind when I heard some friends might be playing LOTRO.  One of them is rather new to the game, so I made a new girl and leveled her to 9 to help show him around.  I am a sucky tour guide, but its fun to see a game through someone else's unvarnished eyes.


Everything went swimmingly.  We made a few levels.  I explained some of the tricks and ins and outs I've learned.  We decided to take a tour of a house, so I could show him how housing works.  After the purchase of a deluxe house, I am proud to let people in the door :)   One room has an Inn league keg as the centerpiece.  It's kind of the alarm system.  I figure someone wanders inside and sees the ale, they are gonna take a swig.  Especially dwarves and hobbits.  They can't resist!!!  Before I could get the words "Don't drink" out of my mouth, he'd swallowed a flagon of ale.  Within 15 seconds he hit the floor, ported and ended up pantless in Bree.  :D  I personally found it rather hysterical, although I worried he would be a wee tad upset.  It certainly added a whole new flavor to the tour.

I had a blast and hope he visits again soon.

I logged back on to by hobbit and found a quest which seemed relatively simply.  Collect a giant skull and return it to camp.  No big deal.

skull heavy
skull heavy

Do you see that thing?  Now someone explain to me how exactly my hobbit carried this monstrosity across a zone without falling over from the weight?

*shakes her head*

Every once in a while the dev's need a swift kick in their rear ends for coming up with this kind of stuff...and then for leaving it in the game.  It certainly doesn't lend itself to immersion.  I will admit though, I laughed all the way  back to the camp.  I couldn't help myself.  I couldn't see my feet around that thing.  All I could do was run and pray nothing aggroed on me while I sprinted to the NPC!!!

I am off to do a little inventory maintenance before I pass out.  As usual, I am taking full advantage of my day of gaming.  It's 2:30 in the morning.  Yup, silly skinner box.  I need more food pellets!!!


Sentinel's Bracers and Another horsie!!!

DDOcast Build Guild got together this morning to run the new Update 4 content. We were right at the level range. I worried a bit that it would be difficult, but we found after a few minutes that we were doing fine. I know it was going to be a good loot day when I found a sigil in the first chest. When I found one in the second chest, I felt super lucky. By the time I got to the third chest and pulled the last sigil I needed, the group was cussing me in a nice way. The loot gods FINALLY decided to smile on me.

The group finished up in the tower and I ran down to pick my end reward. I had read something on the forums about the bracer's, but hadn't been paying close attention. Once I upgraded them, I ended up happy and awfully surprised.


My monk donned her new fabulous gear and ran off to complete the tower one more time. It's the first piece of actual good gear she's pulled on Orien, and I was super pleased by how well they worked. I am a killing machine baby!!!

Everyone seemed to enjoy the new content. Well, ok. I will be honest. Some of the group had choice words for the "pit lite" quest :D I swear I didn't egg them on. One of the players just couldn't get the jumps. I ended up going after his stone, and carrying back up for a rez. Comments ranged from "Interesting" to "OMG, what the #$%". I think I am not the only one who is not happy with the mechanics in this quest. One things I have figured out. Don't fight where the jets send you. Let go of the mouse, take your hands off the keyboard, and put your arms in the air. You will normally land where you are supposed to.

DDOcast Episode 163 is up and ready for your listening please. We had several live callers, had a round panel on different subjects... plus Clanky is back with another clerical errors.

After finishing up with the DDOcast Build Guild, I logged into LOTRO for some fun with the hubby. I checked out my lotteries, and saw that my mini had won her horse. *jumps up and down with joy* It's a good thing. I was going to be low on cash to buy hers. Now, I can catch up with training all the levels I've skipped due to being poor.


It cracks me up to see how small the hobbit pony is. In the above pic, Zeff is on his dwarf. Even his pyon is bigger. I figure it has to be. Dwarf's drink an awful lot of ale, giving them a wide girth. I almost feel sorry for his pony now that I think about it.

We ran through some average content, did a few parts of the book we are on. Nothing to write home about. Except we got this great end reward from a quest.


Ok, so you might be wondering what's so great about a pipe?


I couldn't wait to find out. So I lit up and watched. I blew out the smoke and it made a bird. Now you can buy pipe weed that will do this, but the pipe we were rewarded lets me smoke once an hour and it will never run out. How cool is that?

It's late here and I have had a full day of gaming. I think I am going to go crawl in bed with a book. Anyone read the Honor Harrington series by David Weber? If you like space opera, this is some of the best I have read. Its just excellent. I'm itching to read the last five books I have stacked up on my nightstand, but tonight, I am going to read Jim Butcher's new Harry Dresden book Changes. I've had a friend who has called me for 6 days to see if I have read it yet. Maybe tomorrow I can say yes and gab about the thing :)


I won a horse and DDO Cocktail Hour!!!

I've been dutifully entering the LOTRO lotteries for days trying to win a Spring Steed.  I put off buying a horse on both of my girls hoping I would win one.  I know, I am cheap huh!  I just couldn't help myself.  The horse is free, pretty and exactly what I need at the moment to get from point A to point B in style! Zeff has won three, count them, three horsie's so far.

FINALLY Sunday night, I won.

*giggles with glee*

I immediately switched characters in game to claim my steed.  I also made the decision that since I had won a horse, I could use some of the gold I have been saving up and buy a bigger house.  My girls we feeling a little cramped in their little hobbit hole, and the sharing of bathrooms had become dissolved into a cat fight last Saturday.  It was time to upgrade.


I went shopping.  Perhaps its my years in the mortgage business, but I am all about looking around.  Not to mention location, location, location.  I visited several neighborhoods, looked at the neighbors houses and yards.  I dislike it when you have neighbors who let the grass grow too tall or don't trim their hobbit hedge.  After a few minutes, I found a bigger house just down the street from my old one.  I took a tour, liked the neighbors, and signed the paperwork.

Isn't it beautiful?

In other news, I was a guest this week on DDO Cocktail hour with Lessah and Samius.  The title of the episode was "Doing it with Rowanheal...THINK PINK'"  I had a blast recording the show.  Listen at your own peril.  An entire bottle of wine was imbibed while I was a guest :D

In honor of me being on the show, they turned the banner on their site PINK for the week.  I totally agree with Lessah's sign "Pink is the new black", and I think Pink is definitely on Samius's color wheel!!!


Update 4 is live for DDO.  I know there were a few issues.  A hotfix seems to have been applied this morning, and it looks like everything is working as intended.  I say as intended because there has been quite the fuss about Epic tokens in the new Epic dungeon's.  It is my understanding that there are no epic tokens dropping.  I say lamesauce, but that's just me.

The guys over at Massively are looking for a few players to join them in their Nights in Eberron.  They play on Cannith at 9pm EST.  Add Syp and Rubialina to your friends list, and join them this week on Korthos Island after the tutorial.

I am off to cobble together some projects before static group tonight.  We plan on hitting the zombie pirates quests, and then maybe squeezing in another try at the Reaver.  WIsh us luck!


Spring Sillyness and the DDO Quest list

I've been enjoying the Spring Festival in LOTRO.   I have FINALLY gotten proficient enough at Stomp a Shrew to not be the last person in the garden :) Overall, I'm having a blast with it. I am including a video below of Stomping Shrews. You wouldn't think it was hard, but I sure have a tough time of it. I've been entering the lotteries and have won a fair number of the fireworks. In fact, I have enough to have one heck of a July Fourth Party! I have still been unable to win a Spring Steed. Zeff won one, blast his eyes. I am still a little upset at him over it. He likes to ride by on his horse and SHOW me. *growls*

Enurnawor continues (Rowanrune backwards, I've decided to stick with the backwards thing in LOTRO!) working on Inn League Favor. Maybe a little too much. I was walking by the beer aisle in my local grocery store the other day and had a hankering for ale. There is currently a six pack residing in my mini-fridge LOL. I couldn't help myself. The hobbit's are a bad influence on me :)

This what my screen looks like by the end of one of the Inn League runs.


I am glad the count down timer is a little longer towards the end of this quest line. The ale begins to move across my screen and I have a hard time catching them :)

Perhaps my favorite Inn League quest is still the one to convince the Dwarve's to abandon the league. Zeff caught a screen shot of me making fun of one of them.



An anonymous friend sent me the Rabbit Mask in the mail. I can't resist wearing it. It's too much fun.

Both the hubby and I picked up a sinister keg as an end reward. Perhaps one of my favorite moments this past week occurred when he was redecorating his house. I heard "Oh CRAP!" And look over asking "What happened?" He said "I was putting the keg in my house and clicked on it!" He ended up across the map. Cracked me up. Too funny. So I guess those things should come with a buyer beware warning. Don't click too many times when decorating with them :D

In other news, we made another update to the DDO Quest list. It contains everything through Update 3. I have still not figured out how I want to represent Casual and Epic on the quest list. Maybe I will work on that this summer when I have time. Otherwise, I am going to just leave it as is. It still has a few nit picky corrections that need to made, but for now, its functional!

We'll be doing another live call in show for DDOcast tomorrow. Episode 162 LIVE SHOW set: Saturday, April 3rd from 3-5p Eastern on Calls (507) 295-1847. So call in with your DDO questions or comments. We run a live chat as well on the Ustream link, so even if you don't call in, you can participate. Can't wait to hear from you.

I've been playing more DDO lately. The DDOcast Build Guild has been a lot of fun, and I look forward to every Sunday at noon EST. My monk has made level 7, but I am waiting a rank or two to click for it.Many of the people in the guild are between 3-5 and I don't want to get too far out of level range. Two of my static group friends are in the guild and one of them put aside a Pink docent for my girl.


How pretty does she look?

I finished up Dragonage...FINALLY!!! I downloaded Awakenings and am having a lot of fun with it. I also picked up Final Fantasy 13. I had to. The main character, Lightening, has pink hair! How was I going to resist that?


Ohhh, before I forget... I am a guest on DDO Cocktail Hour this week with Lessah and Samius!!! I am sooo darn excited. *ponders* Maybe that's why I bought the beer? Maybe its not the hobbit's fault?

Alright, its Friday afternoon and I have nothing pressing. I am off to play some FF13.

Game On!!!