Posts Tagged ‘videogames’

Several years ago I was addicted to online gaming, in particular Ragnarok Online, PristonTale, and FlyFF. But then one came along that would blow my socks off. No, it wasn’t the all consuming and powerful World of Warcraft, it was a beast of a completely different nature. By tugging on my childhood heartstrings, by going back to my best loved film trilogy, Lord of the Rings Online exploded onto my screen. Like a bad romance, I knew it would be doomed from the start. The only problem is I didn’t want to ever believe it would get as bad as it did.

The honeymoon period was incredible. My favourite go-to race, Elves, were present, but with more customisation than I thought would be possible. Elf? From Rivendell or Lorien? Oh back up there, pointy ears, you can choose from four origins. No two characters would ever be the exact same, and I relished in this. My most beloved character was Kisa, a lore-master, human. With short hair, freckles, little flicked up nose, and a huge bear at her side, she was the absolute bee’s knees in my eyes. Kisa trained to be a Scholar; a crafting vocation where you find broken pots, pitchers, urns, and collect ancient texts, tablets, then transform the knowledge into battle scrolls, or other useful buffs, dyes and paints. I was addicted. I remember shouting to my boyfriend at the time, ‘I can’t do that right now, I’m hunting for pot!’ I dread to think what the neighbours thought.

But years went by and I lost my touch with LotRO. I forgot about Kisa, the bear, the pot. My addiction had subsided and I had moved on to a different game. It wasn’t until six months ago I returned to the land of the free. And that is exactly why I didn’t want to go back; it had become free-to-play. If you have played online games, you’ll understand why I didn’t want to go to a dumbed down version of a once beloved game. My memories of the game, if I go back would it be as good? I was to find out.

I missed migration. I completely missed the opportunity to save my account. I tried signing in, but nothing happened. Once I got in to contact with Turbine, I realised it wasn’t there any more. Kisa, the bear, gone. My gold, my items, everything, lost forever. Well, there was only one thing left to do! Start again! I don’t mind doing that since I was so in love with the game. But I underestimated just how much it had changed from vanilla to free-to-play. I’m sure it’s just a few tweaks. I was oh so wrong.

It was like stepping out of a bubble onto an alien planet you once belonged to in a past life. There was something familiar about the place but everything was wrong. Very wrong. I convinced myself to pay for one month, this month, to see if I can rekindle my love for the game. Creating my character, another lore-master, took mere minutes. I knew what I wanted, I knew where I wanted her to go, and how to play. And yes, I wanted her to be a Scholar. It started out fine, I remembered what the keys did like it was only yesterday I had stopped. I played for two days straight. It wasn’t until the second day I stumbled back upon the housing market. Yes, in the game you can own your very own house. I decided to scope out a little village to see what the houses were like. Sure I couldn’t afford any, but it’s window shopping. I have never been so depressed while window shopping.

The houses were empty, cold shells of their former glory. Banners of battles won waved in the gardens of homes of other players. But you couldn’t gain access. The most common reason? Players didn’t pay upkeep on their homes any more. How do you pay upkeep? By playing. House after house, none of them let me look around. I walked around this ghost town, thinking it was the only village to be like this. I was wrong. Village after village, house after house, it dawned on me; I’m the only one here. I began to panic, what about my crafting?

I only craft to make insane amounts of money to fund my expeditions to farm for extremely rare loot (I’m the biggest treasure hunter ever). I checked my mail box and sure enough; full. Not full of money, full of the ingredients I had put up for sale. None of it sold. I was truly alone.

I remember the early days when a great number of people played, when the Shire was full of dwarves, men, elves, all helping each other, going off on adventures, banding together in fellowships. There was a soul to Bree, where people with flutes, lutes, clarinets and drums would come together and play their music, turning modern classics into acoustic gems. None of it remained. As I walk the roads of Middle Earth, I feel alone. Not even killing goblins lifts my spirits. One month is all I’ll need. One month is all I can take, before the four walls close in on me and I start talking to my shadow for lack of online contact.

Whatever happened to LotRO? Whatever happened to the merry players? Is it just my server? Or have the black gates finally closed on this once loved mmorpg?


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On November 7th the gamer world went a little mad for BioWare‘s Mass Effect as they celebrated 5 years of the sci-fi action game series. The whole day I was glued to Twitter and Facebook entering as many competitions as possible hoping that maybe I could win an N7 mug. But I was able to win something oh so much better.

I say better, I still got the mug. But I got all of that too! And all for a simple tweet. Tweet why you love Mass Effect. Well, as you may know from a previous post, the ME3 song Mordin will always make me cry, and so I tweeted just that little tidbit. And I won. I actually won. This is as big for me as winning the lottery. I know that may be quite sad but to a gamer, getting the merchandise you’ve wanted since completing the second game three years ago; it’s a big accomplishment.

My karma has been absolutely incredible so far this year, especially the past few months. I got to meet two YouTubers who I don’t just admire but respect. In a chance moment I was able to snag about three minutes worth of time with them, took photos, a quick chat before they had to rush off. Yes, I wish I could have taken them both out for coffee as they seem the loveliest guys on the planet, but I am still pinching myself it actually happened. So you can understand my utter surprise that I won this competition! A huge thank you to all those at FrostMediaUK who ran the competition. I am literally in your eternal debt!

Karma, thank you so bloomin’ much! I am expecting nothing for the rest of the year heh!

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There are times when reading a book, playing a video game or watching TV will reduce you to a blubbering ball of tears. We become so emotionally attached to these characters that, when something bad happens, it feels like it’s happening to a friend. The worst thing is all we can do is watch or read on. We have no control. The helplessness is one of life’s cruel jokes. But there is a particular game that takes your heart, wrenches it out of your chest, then stamps on it, puts a few bullets in there and, to completely finish you off, sets fire to it.

For two whole games we have been on a journey with our custom Commander Shepard, meeting a variety of different space travelling races, exploring worlds all over the darned place, and being introduced to character after character. Then the last instalment hits our consoles and boom; Heart broken. I won’t call spoiler alert, it’s been months since Mass Effect 3 was released. This game is one of my favourite games of all time. Why? Because whilst ME1 and ME2 set the whole thing up, you develop proper relationships with the characters, you are immersed in the story, ME3 takes it all and ends it in the most spectacular way.

In Mass Effect 2, there was a particular character that, to me, just seemed like a bit annoying. Okay, very annoying. Like a space hamster on speed; Mordin Solus. I didn’t much like him at first, he talked too fast, spoke in the weird Salarian way, and generally just grated on me. We didn’t click. Not like Thane Krios and I. Oh how we clicked… Ahem. Mordin’s moral compass is as unpredictable as Britain’s weather. But after playing ME2 over and over, making different choices here, romancing different choices there, Mordin slowly came forward in to my care zone. And soon I found myself liking him enough to care for his story.

Mass Effect 3 stole my Mordin away. Through times of war, circumstances change. In peace things present themselves differently, and in ME3, it changes even more. Mordin makes the change and he knows what he must do. Yes there is a way to save Mordin from his death, but long story short I will never choose it. It’s not that I decided last minute ‘Eh, screw you Mordin and your grey morality’. His story arc is the most rewarding and emotionally powerful that it blasts all else out of the water. Yes we’re technically invested in all the story arcs, but Mordin sacrifices himself after an almighty ‘I made a mistake!’; a line that still gives me shivers. And this song will always make me sad.

*sniffs* I’m still not over it.

This isn’t a real person, Mordin does not exist, never has, and yet seeing his death will always move me to tears. The first time I saw it happen, I cried like it was my brother who died. I cried so hard, I couldn’t play. I was literally an emotional wreck, sobbing into tissue after tissue, acting like a big baby. But it’s kind of nice; to be able to care so much for a character, you know the writers have done a great, no, perfect job of it. I’m sure I’m not the only person to have felt so emotionally attached to a character, so let me know if you have a character who, after something awful happened to them, made you cry.

In the meantime… *loops the song, sips tea, sighs forlornly*

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