When your game goes offline...

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cock block
cock block

Sometimes, despite our favorite game's best intentions, things go pear shaped. You get home at the end of the day, and switch on your computer and meet the ultimate cock block. DDO had some problems with their downtime yesterday.  Patch 9.1 over worked the hamsters, and the game didn't come back online until almost 6pm est. To be perfectly honest, it wasn't until very late in the afternoon, I even noticed the servers were down.  Absolutely no one on twitter had said a THING about it.  It could be all the gamers I follow have jobs and real life stuff, but it might also be, we simply weren't paying attention.

We were the minority however.  When DDO is down, the forums heat up.  By the time I hit the downtime thread, it was past 3 in the afternoon.  The thread had grown to over 600 replies ranging from OMG DOOOOOOM, to I want my money back. Devs did a pretty good job of keeping the community abreast of any information they had.  It would have been nice if they utilized their facebook and twitter.  I try and stay as far away from the forums as much as possible these days.  I get my news via updates to my phone.  If you aren't reaching me there, you don't exist.

I think I must be mellowing.  I was completely unaffected by the downtime, and in fact, began laughing about the number of "my life in ruins" posts splattered over the boards.

DDO's downtime was a minor blip in my day.

Possibly because the entire SOE mess took downtime to a new event horizon! I still play EQ2 when I have time.   When I heard about the hack to the Play station Network, I thought "How sad" and moved on with my life.  It didn't affect me.  No big deal.

server
server

It wasn't until I got a tweet the next day or so that I realized SOE had taken ALL of their games off line.  They had no expectation of when they would be back. The ire of more than one gaming community quietly smoldered.  I think some were convinced Sony was running their games on an ENIAC. Accusations abounded, blame mounted and people generally lost their minds as the downtime ticked into a week.  SOE had been hacked, user information had been stored on a server that lacked adequate security.  Besides being irked about the their favorite game being offline, customers were worried about what information had been accessed by the hacker and what to do about it.

(I will put a short note in here to remind my gamer friends.  We live in an interconnected online world.  If you are not taking steps to protect your personal information, you are playing with fire.  Check your credit reports yourself every six months. Sign up for protection with one of the myriad of companies that offers it. Be in front of the accident, not watching it happen in slow motion while your hands are tied!!!)

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images

Sony tried to stay in touch via facebook.  With their network down, there were no forums for the horde of angry gamers to flock to.  ZAM saw more traffic and commenting than it had seen in a coon's age.  Facebook comments went into the thousands.  It was just nasty. The entire gaming community watched the train wreck.  I think you had to be living under a rock to miss this one.  How was it going to affect Sony games?  How many subscribers would they lose? What would they offer the players as a "feel good" to try and retain them?

By the time the second week rolled around, I was half convinced this whole thing had to be some sort of crazy dream I was stuck in.  It was like ground hog day.   I'd wake up, check my tweets, and see Sony had said "We regret we will not be able to get our games back online today..."

When the games finally came back online, things were kind of anti climatic.   Jef Reahard over at Massively, asked if SOE owed compensation over the fiasco.  I know as an EQ2 subscriber I received a free 30 days, plus a day for each 24 hours period the game was offline, for a total of 45 days free.  I thought that was more than adequate.  In game perks are going on now through May 22 which includes all City Festivals, Double XP, Loot bonuses, races and more. I don't feel they owe me much.

hamster_powered_computer_xsmall
hamster_powered_computer_xsmall

DDO certainly didn't owe me anything for a patch taking all day.  While I might tease about sending them some Hamster food to keep the servers running, it is simply a fact of gaming.  Sometimes, through no fault of my own, I am not going to be able to log into my MMO of choice due to technical difficulties. If you are finding the downtime's send you reeling, you might want to check yourself.  Are you really missing an online game so much your life is negatively impacted?  I will caution you that you may be giving a game more power in your life than it deserves.

Gaming is an escape.  Like any other hobby, if it begins to intrude on your everyday life in an alarming way, you need to pull the plug for a few and step back. I get angry over changes to my games, I feel passionately about my characters, my game's storyline and the people I spend hours every week battling evil with.  I hope I have come to a place where I can turn the power off and do something else for a few without feeling the shakes for my MMO of choice.

What do you find yourself doing downtimes?  How attached do you feel to your MMO? Like Jef Reahard, I want to understand why you feel you need to be compensated for unexpected downtime.  What's your beef?

The video below has been linked to on my twitter and facebook for weeks.  I am linking it below for those of you who may have missed it.  Plus, I just like the darn thing :)  

The Shoe Thief

missingshoes
hacked
hacked

It happens to most of us at one time or another.  Despite our best efforts, an enterprising little snot hacks into your game account.

It hadn't happened to me in a game I play live.  I had my blizzard account hacked many moons ago.   I was already out of the live game, so other than being a little miffed, I laughed about it.

Tonight I logged into EQ2 to play the last few hours of the city festival in Kelethin.  I wanted the new doors and a desk that is only available a couple of times a year.

Nothing appeared amiss at first glance.  I'd logged out previously on the winter festival island, which had since ended, and had been logged into a bank in town.  I didn't think anything of it.  I made a run out to the city festival tents and looked up to see how much plat I was carrying.  ZERO!  I thought about it for a minute and wondered why I had to zero plat, and zero gold.  Maybe I had sent some of it to my alts for housing or crafting needs?

I wasn't alarmed.  My bags weren't especially empty.  I ran to my house, and while I didn't see everything I thought I had, I knew I had done some redecorating for the holidays.

In the back of my mind, a little niggling itch kept screaming to be scratched.   I ran over to the bank to see if maybe I had accidentally put my money in the shared bank.   No such luck.  Increasingly concerned, I flipped over to my alt to check things out.

missingshoes
missingshoes

I wasn't wearing any shoes.

The truth conked me on the head.  I'd been hacked.

I sat staring at my laptop stunned for a few minutes.  Breathing way too fast and with my hands shaking, I yelled at Zeff to come over and look.  I didn't believe it really.  I  had to be seeing things.

He agreed with my assessment using small words to penetrate the panicked haze swirling around me.

With a few minutes, I had googled how to call Sony.  They quickly flagged my account, changed security things and gave me instructions on what to do next.

I called my bank, called lifelock, and got a new email address.

I'll be honest.  I am not an overly emotional chick.  I cry occasionally, but not often.  I don't remember things like most "normal" girls do.  I seriously have to pull out my blackberry to remember when my wedding anniversary is.  I am not going to remember your birthday unless some contact program tells me.  I'm just not made that way.

Being hacked shook me a great deal more than I expected.  While I am missing all the money on my characters, and a few items, it wasn't the ingame stealing which scared me.  Someone had access to my account, my name, address, last 4 of my credit card, and my email address.

How much could they use it?

Ok, while I may not be over emotional, I can make a mountain out of a molehill.  I went upstairs to talk it over with Zeff.  He's pretty good at realizing when I need a chill pill and not terribly shy about letting me know it!

He thought I should check my other MMO's.  After a few tense minutes where visions of empty bank accounts the universe over threatened my "only cry occasionally"  rule, I verified Stormreach, Middle Earth and Azeroth were unscathed.

The pondscum had only touched my EQ2.

Lifelock assured me my credit hadn't been touched.  My bank has a watch on my credit card.  I learned how to make a new email address and sync it to my blackberry.

All in all, I spent 4 hours making phone calls to secure all my data.

In all probability, the spawn of satan who hacked my account spent less than 5 minutes causing all this frustration.

It's about 3 am and I have changed my passwords to everything I can think of.  I am now using a program that creates a password for me each time I need it.  While not hacker proof, it's better than I had before.  Some 11 year old with an iphone can probably hack  me in a nano second, but I feel better none the less.

I have never had my home robbed.  I have had my purse stolen and car stolen.  Neither scared me the way the account hack today did.  The interwebz truly have created a level of interdependency that leave me open on all sides to attack.   I spent a few hours feeling like the details of my life were hanging out for anyone to use.  Hackers tend to share information.  If you get on their list, they tend to come back.

I am not overly preachy, but I am gonna get on a soapbox for a minute.

Obviously, I don't know how to keep you from being hacked. I do think there are lesson's to be learned from the negative experiences of life.

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600px-no_sign2svg
  • Don't over share.  You don't know who is on the other side of the screen name.
  • Don't share ANY password with ANYone.
  • Don't open attachments.  How may times do you have to hear this before you stop doing it?
  • Don't use your account name as your forum or community name.
0808-0710-2914-4641
0808-0710-2914-4641
  • Do rotate your passwords.  Yes, it's a pain in the arse, but trust me, tonight's marathon of convoluted automated phone menu's is more of a pain.
  • Do have anti virus, firewall and security software and understand how it works.  Having it, but turning it off because you don't know how to open or close a port, why your firewall is blocking your internet, or the computer does an auto update while you are gaming and it irritates you,  isn't an excuse.  Ignorance never is, learn it.
  • Do have a clue how to check your credit, call your bank or delete yourself from your online life to protect your data.    It's your job to know how to facilitate a needed change in an emergency.

Keep in mind, you can do all the right things, and bad things are still going to happen.  I kept my password safe, rotated my password every so often, and didn't share it with anyone.

Sony says the majority of their hacks seem to be occurring through email.  I am not sure how it happened in my case.  My email was hacked a few months ago by the fabulous gold farming maggots over in china.  I am not sure if these two instances are in any way related.  I DON'T know how they got in, but I am trying my level best to ensure I don't give them a second opportunity.

How much of your life could some nefarious hacker glean from your email?

Use more than common sense.  Be paranoid.  I'd rather be a little circumspect than go through this again.

Sony does have a policy in place that replaces my missing items.  I was lucky my characters were not deleted.  Not all games are so forgiving.  At this time, and to the best of my knowledge, if you are hacked in a Turbine game you are up a creek without a paddle.  Get hacked, get sad.  I had a kinmate in LOTRO who had to restart his lotro characters twice due to hackers who stripped him and deleted most of his characters.

Pay attention to those little notices your online game blasts through email and the log in screen.  If they start mentioning account security, take the hint and check your account, and change your password.

Want another surprise?

They didn't change my password at all.  The hackers took what they wanted and left it.  I don't know if they were hoping I wouldn't notice for a while, or if they were just lazy, but I am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Hacks happen.   Hackers suck.  Be careful out there.

I sent out the this tweet earlier this evening.

I would like to send a YOU ARE NOT WELCOME to whomever hacked my EQ2 account. Please enjoy the fruits of my gaming. *shakes her fist*

By the way, why did you take my shoes?

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.

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lh_ddo_community_play_weekend

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.

LOTRO-logo1
LOTRO-logo1

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.

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925__580x299_destiny-of-velious

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.

wowcataclsym
wowcataclsym

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!!!

Post Turkey day EQ2 fun...PINK Dragon's

Just a quick post to check in.  I am still trying to recover from my day of deliciously over stuffing myself :) The hubby has been in and out.  Every time he's been home, I have bothered him about building an aquarium for my Wood Elve's  study in EQ2.

I had read some articles on how to accomplish this feat.  I also know my own limitations.  Zeff is more patient than I am.  So I totally conned him into building one for me.  I won't tell you how long it took him on Saturday.  Suffice it to say, it was a while :D

aquariumeq2
aquariumeq2

We had to run all the quests to get the plushies for the tank. That was not an easy feat, but we managed it. It looks pretty good, no?

I then moved on to creating an outside garden.

mygradeneq2
mygradeneq2

I will have to run more moonlight enchanments to get a few more trees and such.

Lastly, since I did nothing but talk about the color pink a few weeks ago on DDOcast, I want to show off my pink dragon. I have bought one for each of my character's houses. I simply adore them. Someone remind me why I can't have one of these in DDO?

mypinkdragoneq2
mypinkdragoneq2

******* DDOcast Episode 195 is out for your listening pleasure! I missed this week's show, but SteinerDavion and Burrbaby join Annefried for an awesome show.

DDOcocktail Hour took off a week for the holiday. Hoping they are back this next week for some yummy listening.

Pop Culture in your game?

I was running through Everquest 2 the other night with the hubby when I ran across Adam and Jamie. I laughed long and hard.  They are mad scientist tinkers up in the Steamfront Mountains.  I ended up making a few test dummies and helping  destroy them.  It was like being in a mini Mythbuster's episode.  I loved it.

Untitled
Untitled

It got me to thinking though.  How often am I picking up on Pop Culture reference's in my games?

Let's talk about DDO.

Apparently the Dev's have a thing for hiding references in quest name's.  My favorite has always been Mentau the Fleshmaker.  If you can't figure out what that references back to, watch the short video below.

The dev's also seem to have a penchant for rock songs.  While researching references for this blog, I ran across post after post on the DDO forums talking about how the Vale quests were all Rock songs, the Depths quests use footballer's from Manchester United, and the text from Wiz King "I'm a god, why can't I live on" from the song Powerslave by Iron Maiden.  I've noticed some of these references, but to be honest, they weren't in my face glaring.

One  I have never run across and just learned about is that in Dirty Laundry an enemy  recites the Black Knight's lines.  I have to go run this one now and find it.  I must.  I can't wait to giggle over it.  Just in case you are a n00b, there is a video below of the the Black Knight.  If you didn't know this, you should turn in your geek card >.<  Just saying!

I learned that the big giant banker in Meridia is named for Andre the giant.

ScreenShot00016
ScreenShot00016

How about this one?

arnal swarts
arnal swarts

I never caught it.  I seriously snorted water when I learned about it this morning.  I am gonna have to hire him tonight in my static group and see if anyone notices :D

I called a friend who plays WOW.  He knew about Haris Pilton.

haris piltob
haris piltob

I think the end rewards for her speak for themselves ;)

An acquaintance pointed out Ricole Nichie to me.

ricole nichie
ricole nichie

I think there are probably gobs and gobs of pop culture reference's sneakily hidden around our favorite games. Some are more obvious than others. I blissfully seem to miss the majority of them, and it took some work to pull some of them up for this blog. Maybe I am so super immersed in what I am doing it doesn't register for me. Probably it's more likely I am simply not going to catch an Iron Maiden song line, or the soccer players :D

What have you noticed in your game? Are you running through a quest when you stop swinging to laugh at some obscure line of dialogue? Does it bother you to see them in your game?

They don't bother me. It doesn't pull me out of the game, nor does it in anyway get in the way of my enjoyment. In fact, it strongly adds to things as I pay a little more attention to what is going on around me.

***

DDO Cocktail hour episode 36 is out and ready for your listening pleasure.

It is somehow a week before Thanksgiving. ACK! I don't know how this happened. How is it almost time for me to put up a Christmas tree and get completely bloated in my yearly binge eating marathon?

I am off to try and right some wrongs in Fable 3. I am Queen, I roll like that :D "Off with her head"

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 myddo.com 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

sentinels_fate_boxart
sentinels_fate_boxart

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.

GAME ON!!!

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.