Posts Tagged ‘grinding’

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Return to Form

May 18, 2009
Seriously dude, let's go grind!

Seriously dude, let's go grind!

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Some Good Stuff (LotRO)

May 13, 2009

There’s been a lot of chit-chat recently about the dearth of content for those of us at the end-game of LotRO at the moment. It’s true, Book 7 brought in very little except a bit of a grind, and that means we enter a bit of a malaise about having to grind or play elsewhere. But, as a reaction, I’ve also been thinking about a few of the little things I like about the game, ignoring obvious things like the look-and-feel and my lovely character class.

  1. Naming items, talked about it yesterday in the blog, the more we can name, the more difference it makes to us. Weapons especially suit being named. Of course the risk is there that people will name things stupidly, but really, if it’s not out in the open for everyone to see, it’s not that big a deal
  2. Content for small groups. Not just quests, but instances. LotRO brought in some 3-man instances with Moria, as well as some solo ones. Although I may have done the solo ones way too many times to really talk about them too sympathetically, they still remain a challenge to me in some way (esp the item xp ones), and I applaud their appearance in the game. The 3-man instances did remarkably well for not requiring specific classes, and I look forward to the seeing scaleable instances whenever they’re introduced. Next a game needs to work on some duo content!
  3. The cosmetic clothing system is really cool, allowing customisation beyond merely equipment that you have to wear to be more effective. It allows for some real thought and care as to what you display to the outside world, and you can have two separate outfits set up, as well as your actual equipment set. Coupled with dye it means I can dress as a pirate, or farmer, or wear a dress!! All while still in full heavy armour. Turbine have said they’re looking into cosmetic weaponry, something I know we’ll all be just as excited about.
  4. Legendary weapons/items. Items that level either with or independently of the character. It’s a n interesting concept, even if the LotRO implementation needs some tweaking (see Pearls of Unwisdom for details)
  5. Epic books, and epic questlines. despite some noticeable gaps in levels needed for the epic questline in LotRO, the fact these quests have in-depth story ramifications and a truly epic feel to them (mostly, I’m ignoring the delivery bits!) mean a lot to me. They introduce group content, interesting plots and instances, solo bits and pieces to get on with, and they have a progression to them that’s separate from other parts of the game. ie. you can get to 60 and not have finished them at all! They add storytelling and narrative to the game, and I’ll always love them in concept, even if I criticise individual ones. Other games have similar, but not quite packaged in the same way.
  6. Trophies. I’m not a massive fan of the housing, except the kin housing. But, I love the trophies from bosses and random mobs that I can mount in my personal house. We all like to show off, from titles to cool gear. Although no-one much may visit my house, I love going there and seeing all my favourite trophies out on show.
  7. The music system. Popped into my mind while I was writing about something completely different. I don’t do much with the music system, but it’s an incredible addition flavour-wise. You can learn to play different instruments, you can play original or non-original music, you can synch up with your friends and make a band. I’d love to see something like this in all games to help players expfess their creativity.
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Convenience/Inconvenience

May 5, 2009

Ravious over at Kill Ten Rats brought the following quotation to my attention a few weeks ago:

The only place where I find a very broad approach useful is in convenience of play. What is a player’s overall tolerance for inconvenience and delay of any sort? In that one regard I do tend to think in terms of casual and hardcore I suppose. A hardcore player will put up with less refined UI, buggier content, long travel times, and other things that basically delay or degrade the play experience. A casual player will quit after fairly little irritation of that sort.

It’s taken from a Turbine dev, Vastin and neatly brings a new way of looking at the whole casual/hardcore split into play.

It may have taken me a while to comment on it, but it’s been in my mind since I first read it. It’s also made me look at the way I play. How much inconvenience will I put up with?

Well, recently we’ve been discussing grinding in teamspeak a lot (and when I say ‘we’ I shortly hope to introduce you to the characters in my ‘stable gaming group’ and we’re hoping to bring a few group discussions to the blogosphere. It seems I’m a bit of a grinder, I don’t mind fairly repetitive mindless tasks, even if I don’t particularly need the rewards. I think it’s mostly because if I like a game, I want to be in the universe as often as possible, even if I don’t have anything truly ‘productive’ to do. The lack of raiding in my LotRO life is often a sudden, hard shock to me, but I like to be in the LotRO world, so I find myself enjoying grinding more than some of my counterparts.

Of course, it depends WHAT I’m grinding. If I can web browse a bit while doing it, I enjoy it more… back to inconvenience as an indicator of my comfort levels with the hardcore grind.

And back to that raiding, I guess I could do it, if I got involved, looked for another guild, went with an umbrella raid… but all those things are a little inconvenient right now, so I instead choose to play a more casual game of zero raiding, until I can deal with the inconvenience of finding a raid group once again.

I like the terminology, I thank Vastin for putting it out there.

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In the Meantime, Nothing Happens

April 24, 2009

Ok, so it may be the line that traditionally is used to summarise ‘Waiting for Godot’ (the play I saw on weds  night with Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Simon Callow), but it struck another chord as I watched Estragon and Vladimir trade words while waiting for their Godot…

…and that’s that it also reminded me of:

a. us talking on teamspeak while going through any kind of grind

b. the wait from one MMO that grabbed you to the next

Between grinding and waiting for new content, MMOs have captured us enough to make us happy to go through these slower period. There’s something in there that we love so much that we keep coming back, over and over again. Sometimes through addiction, but increasingly I think it’s because MMOs offer a sociable gaming experience with changing challenges and moving goalposts. They offer characters that persist enough for us to relate to them and love them. And all of these things have so far not been served by single-player games. Maybe Mass Effect 2 and the Dragon Age franchise will change that, it certainly seems that’s something Bioware is keenly aware of – our desire to stick with the characters we’ve created and played.

Another back-and-forth struck me, in the play last night. Probably the most famous one in the entire play:

“Let’s go”

“We can’t”

“Why not?”

“We’re waiting for Godot”

It could pretty much be mapped onto the difficulty of leaving an MMO.

“Let’s quit WAR”

“We shouldn’t yet”

“Why not?”

“Land of the Dead is coming up”

or

“Let’s leave LotRO”

“We shouldn’t”

“Why not”

“Book 8 will be out in a couple of months, with a new raid”

In the nothing times, it’s a good thing that we can explore other worlds. It’s not cheating on a game you love, because the game is an entertainment channel for YOU. It owes you companionship and entertainment, nothing more. If it’s good, people will continue to play and return.

And one day, who knows, Godot might show up.