Posted in Stardew Valley, Uncategorized

Recuperating in Stardew

So it’s been a long time since I last posted. In that time I’ve had 3 lots of chemotherapy, lost all my hair, been measured up for radiotherapy (have three tiny tattoos so they know where to point the beam) and finally seen the first signs of regrowth on the top of my head (yay!). During that time I have done little to no gaming –  not even Hearthstone which is a bit of a shocker given how much I was playing in the last post  (I’ve not even seen the trailer for Witchwood!)

However, I have discovered a game I can play and enjoy right now  – Stardew Valley. Now I know this is not a new game and I know many of you will have already been, seen and conquered it, but it is new to me. The other day I stumbled across a review of the game saying how chilling and relaxing it was and how it was helping people de-stress at the end of a long day and it sounded absolutely perfect for me right now as I recover from chemo and wait for radiotherapy to start. So I started playing it and I have to say I love it. It is everything the review I read said it was.

Indeed I love it so much that today I started a new YouTube Channel to record my gameplay.  I think the channel might motivate me not just to play Stardew Valley but actually to go ahead and try  some other games that I’ve never played before. I’ve been so into WoW, Hearthstone & Minecraft in the past that I’ve really narrowed my gaming horizons – time to expand them. Anyway the first episode is up, it’s a bit rough but it’s here if anyone wants to take a look. Don’t worry – I don’t mention the big C and I’m not using a web camera until I have more hair (the wigs I tried did me no favours and my current scarf wear just screams chemotherapy). I’m hoping recording videos for the new channel will help me rediscover my love of gaming and, through living in Stardew Valley, the  joys of nature (albeit the pixellated version!).

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Posted in Uncategorized

Streaming Minecraft

So despite everything I said I’ve had no time nor inclination to play WoW over the past few weeks. So ended up only resubbing  for a month and now it’s all over. Not sure what that says about me and WoW going forward. Maybe whatever we had is really lost? Can’t go back, must go forward I guess.

So…going forward … last week I used my few couple of hours free to stream Minecraft on the  PS4 to my You Tube channel. I was missing Minecraft & had a hankering to give streaming a go. But the stream cut off halfway through and I didn’t realise and … well it was all rather disappointing (viewers – all 0 of them – missed some awesome mining). The other problem with PS4 Minecraft is it’s Vanilla & I like  modpacks.

So today I set up Minecraft on the computer again, downloaded FTB Feed the Beast mod pack & OBS for streaming and linked everything to Twitch and spent over an hour streaming. Had one viewer for about 5 minutes. They said one or two things in chat which was nice. But viewers or no viewers  I had a lot of fun. The realisation is slowly dawning that these days I prefer Minecraft to WoW and I enjoy streaming (although all I do is talk to myself the entire time). I think I’m going to do more of it and hopefully get better of it.

My stream is here if anyone is interested. Today’s stream got off to a shaky start – I was fiddling with my settings and forget to speak for awhile! Gets better as it goes on – although I should apologise for the scream when a creeper pays me a visit!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Singalong Time …Legion Eve is Here …

Let’s all sing the following to the tune of Jingle Bells…

Legion Eve is here

And we say no to bed

As we pour a drink

Shake our crazy heads

Put our Twitter on

Post a thing or two

Then log into dear old WoW

And get to 102

Oh

Illidan’s back

Varian’s dead

Jaina has the huff

Sylvanas has

To lead the Horde

And she hasn’t even got a tusk

Oh

Khadgar says

We have to fight

And win another day

And all I know is

Legion’s here

And it’s better than Christmas Day!

Posted in Uncategorized

Personal: Snowballing Mothballs

It’s funny the urge to confess on here.  A few weeks ago I posted that I was doing a course on Unity because I’d always had a hankering to create my own game (& something more than the little things I’ve created in Scratch). I was full fuss I really wanted to commit to this and create something – even if it took years. But where am I now? Well I got rather carried away using something called Fungus in Unity. I have so many stories in my head and I thought I would use Fungus to make some interactive adventure/visual novel type games. But weeks later I have just deleted one would be children’s game (about an orphaned chick on a farm trying to make friends with the other animals!), finally given up for good a murder mystery/thriller  that I have been striving to create in various formats for years & completely lost the will to live in regard to a school mystery adventure where you have to figure out out which of the teachers is an alien! I did create a tiny little game in Corona using Lua which basically gives points for shooting cookies before they reach a big red mouth in the middle of the screen (I thought it might be an interesting diversion for people on a diet- in fact the game is tedious beyond belief). So I’m starting to think I was mistaken. Maybe actual game development isn’t for me. I’m overwhelmed by the work involved in all the visual novel adventure games. I find myself fiddling  for hours on end with the graphics, camera views and music and getting nowhere with the actual story, characters and player choices . And when I do start on them I realise the amount of work it will all take and I visibly wilt.

It’s my fault I know. Whatever I’m doing seems to start small and then snowball. And while I know mobile phone/app type games could be done as smaller projects, in truth these are not the sort of games I like playing – so why then would I create them? I’m also coming to realise that what I actually like doing is learning the computer language/game development software (reading the tutorials, trying it all out, seeing it work etc.) but I don’t like working on anything generated in my own head! So for example I’m enjoying the Roblox videos I’m making for Geeks & Geeklets where I’m basically following the Roblox Wiki tutorials to learn more about Roblox but I’m less interested in pulling it all together to make an actual game (although I will do this at the end of the Roblox series as that’s the goal of the series).

But all these mothballed projects make me feel so guilty. And it’s even worse when I think about my writing. Sometime ago I wrote a scifi/parallel universes book (it was originally a NaNoWriMo project). For awhile I made it available on Amazon (together with Book One of a would be fantasy trilogy, a compilation of some WoW writings I pulled into a book and a non fiction humorous (well I thought so anyway!) book on improving your brain. I pulled them all off Amazon ages ago. I just did not like seeing these supposedly finished projects up there when I knew there was still so much more I could do with them if only I had the energy to do it. And I simply didn’t have that energy. So I have an 80% finished Part 2 of the trilogy sitting untouched in Scrivener while Part 3 exists only in outline. It all torments me when I let myself think about it. So I try not to most days.

So all this stuff is mothballed and it looks like the games I have part created will be mothballed too.  In truth in terms of creativity the only thing that seems to endure is my poetry on my Sullen Craft and Seatown site and my posts on this blog. I’m also writing more for Geeks & Geeklets (see here – I’m very much enjoying being a part of that site and community).  Maybe it’s a small doses thing. I can keep doing some stuff as long as it’s short and sweet. But if it snowballs it ends up being mothballed –  sad but true.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

A Late Starter

So I’m enrolled on a Coursera Unity course and I’m loving it. I’ve completed a Solar Simulation project to my family’s amazement (perhaps they humour me) & I’m part way through a Rollerball project. I’m getting my head around the X,Y, Z axis (is there a plural for “axis”? – yes, looked it up, it is “axes” –  I may have just grown a brain cell). I’m learning  the difference between Materials & Textures (not the same thing apparently – you put a Texture onto a Material but something could be a Material with no Texture  – I think – although it’s now reading like something the Riddler would send to Batman). I’ve also learnt about Game Objects, Assets and Prefabs. It’s a great course – the instructor is easy to understand and each stage of the project is broken down into nice bite size chunks. I feel like I’m learning new and interesting things. So why then am I  feeling so guilty about the whole thing?

The answer lies in the reason for doing the course. You see I’d like to make my own game. I’ve wanted to do so for awhile but aside from making a couple of little games in Scratch (as part of another course) and dabbling a bit in RPG Maker  I’ve not really got very far. And I’m no programmer – I’ve completed two beginner Coursera courses on Python but that’s it. One poor version of Pong does not a programmer make.

So I’ve thought about games development a lot but have always stopped myself either before starting out on anything or part way through whatever I’ve enrolled on (or checked out from the library).  And the reason for all this is that I feel very foolish about wanting to do this (even worse now I’m putting it out here on the blog – but where else but my Bravetank blog for a post about me being foolish?).

I try to be my own cheerleader of course. I tell myself  – you’re never too old, you should always pursue your passions, you’ll never get anywhere unless you take that first step. I’ve said all these things. I’ve even done a Rah Rah at the end. But still the fears and doubts come :-

 

I’m in my early 40s so probably too old

The world is awash with games – who needs mine?

People already complain about all the dross on Steam made from Unity  – why add to it?

To make something really good would require more knowledge, skill & ability than I could ever hope to develop – particularly at my age with brain cells dying off every second (although I did just grow one a moment ago).

I should be doing something more useful instead.

When do I intend doing all this – particularly come January when my work/life “busyness” is going to increase hundredfold?

 

So I have all these thoughts whirling around in my head making me feel silly for starting this Unity course. At my time of life I shouldn’t be feeling all pleased with myself for applying a Texture to a Material (or was it the other way round?) and oohing and aahing about my rotating planets. I’m being silly, deluding myself & wasting precious time. Maybe.  And in any case it’s going to take me ages to learn enough Unity & programming skills to create any type of game, let alone the one I want to create.

But I read something the other day about setting ourselves a 10 year plan. The idea is we shouldn’t be put off starting learning something new because it’s so hard and/or would take ages to reach anything approacher a mastery of the subject. We should tell ourselves that if we practice something new every day in about 10 years time we’ll have a lot of it figured out. I think I can commit to a 10 year plan – while accepting that we plan and God guffaws till his sides split, and all that. A ten year plan would take me to my early 50s. If I could create something that I want to create by my early 50s surely that’s worth doing or at least attempting? Sometimes I think I hit my peak too long ago – 11 years to be precise when I completed my PhD and published a book that was well received.  I left academia not long after. I didn’t want the academic life – too much travelling, too many conferences, too much home sickness. But I sometimes regret that decision. I’m proud of the book – it’s very occasionally cited in other academic texts on the subject and that gives me hope it will be around long after I’m gone. But I feel frustrated too. I feel that there’s still more in me. But I don’t really know what that “more” is. For awhile I thought it was writing – I self published some books on Amazon a few years ago but I pulled them all down not long after. I lost my nerve.

So will games creation be the same? Something I will try, get so far with and then chicken out from?  It’s not that I lose the interest. It’s that the fear becomes overwhelming. Fear of  screwing up in a conference, fear of travel and homesickness, fear of bad reviews, fear of ridicule. All I know right now is I keep thinking about creating a game and then I admonish myself for these thoughts. I tell myself that games creation was a road I should have travelled in my 20s.  It’s all so confusing. Roads travelled and not travelled, and the constant fear I’m now at a dead end.

So anyway I’ve enrolled on this Unity course because I have an idea for a game and I have to start somewhere. But I’ve had ideas like this before and I’ve talked myself out of them before. I’m hoping for once I can just shut up for a moment and let myself enjoy what I’m doing. And maybe that way I’ll find my way onto  a road I often wish I’d taken a long time ago.

 

Posted in Uncategorized, World of Warcraft

If life was more like WoW

Following on from last week’s post about Office Speak in the WoW Age I started thinking more generally about how much more interesting life would be if it was more like WoW:-

1. Everyone would want to be a coroner – think of all those plump intestines spilling coins whenever you sliced someone open (actually that sounds like a recipe for murder – & lots of it too  – scratch that one).

2. One brief glance at someone’s health bar (which you’d see hovering above their heads of course) and you would instantly know whether someone really did need to go home sick or not  (“Back to your seat Joan. Yes your leg is hanging off but that green bar has barely moved – you’re perfectly fine – and we have a spirit healer on site”.)

3. People with slightly pointy ears claiming Night Elf heritage – and trying to prove it by mounting tigers in London Zoo – would liven things up for the tourists.

4. You’d need some sort of weapon every time you wanted to do a bit of gardening  – this would also add a much needed edge to all Alan Titchmarsh shows.

5. You could justify spending hours upon hours in the pub – after all you’re gaining valuable “rested experience” and potentially doubling your future productivity (even more if dressed in Granny’s handmedowns i.e. heirlooms). Unfortunately you’ll probably find you can’t actually lift your head the morning after  – damn that alcohol stamina debuff.  

6.  Employment law would allow you to whack forestry workers  (i.e. peons) with a Blackjack if you ever caught them napping under a tree – none of this formal warning, five days notice for the interview & you can bring a union rep nonsense.

7. Every elderly person who asked a friend or relative for help with their shopping would immediately find themselves put on the Abercrombie watchlist. We’re not messing here. Fool me once – shame on you. Fool me twice – I’m running an alt through Duskwood. Fool me three times…no never again. Never again.

8. Oprah would make sure The Green Hills of Stranglethorn was number one on the bestseller list for Christmas. Her & Nesingwary go way back.

9. Being caught up in some black dragon’s fiery attack on a city & burning to your death would be a cause for great celebration at gaining the achievement. Huge comfort to your relatives as they weep over your grave I’m sure.

10. But on that note- no permanent death. Yay. With a WoW life comes immortality of course. And overpopulation would not be an issue as you would have no ability  to  procreate (check your Spellbook & Abilities button –  yep nothing there – RP emotes don’t count). Enjoy your eternal sexless life.

Hmm on reflection maybe a WoW life would not be so great…

Posted in Uncategorized

Milk of Human Kindness

WoW Insider’s Community Blog question this week is “What’s your end game?” This is a question I‘ve been asking myself this week. It doesn’t feel that straightforward to me. There is one easy answer – a description of what my end game currently is.  And there is another answer –  what I would like my end game to be. Two different things.

What my end game is: – Well I seem to be juggling a lot at the moment. Seashell my mage is on the “earn 3000 valor points” part of the Legendary Questline (the Black Prince now reveres me  – although deep down I suspect he reveres no one but himself). I understand that the delights of PvP & fighting masochistic Celestials awaits me on the rest of this questline.  It all feels rather overwhelming when I think too long about it …  one step at a time I guess.

As well as that I’m trying to get all the various cooking Ways done  (I have Grill & Pot so far). It’s slow going. I’m either out farming ever day until my little hands bleed or guiltily paying over the odds at the auction house.

Then there’s the Anglers,  Isle of Thunder & Timeless Isle stuff (I want the trinket). I’m leaving the other dailies for the moment. I just can’t do it all.  I’m trying to run a scenario a day with my husband & one random person. The random person normally leaves us to get on with it – sensing a domestic on the horizon. Which there sometimes is – particularly when hubby makes me run around getting in all the hozen brew while he plays with the cannon.

Ok so that’s what it is. Fun – yes, definitely. There is a variety of things to do. I’ve never enjoyed an end game as much as this one. While I’m still levelling some alts I actually find I miss being on Seashell, which is unusual for me once I’m at the level cap. But is it the end game I want? No – not exactly. I like the variety of things I’m doing  & I enjoy teaming up with hubby. But there’s still an issue – and that issue is LFR.

I want to do LFR at end game. And I want to enjoy it. I am never going to be a “proper” raider.  But I do like LFR level raiding. I like it a lot. Or at least I like it a lot when it goes well. And by well I don’t mean no mistakes and no wipes. No – I recognise that these are an important part of the game, part of the challenge, part of the learning curve. No – by going well I mean when the people are nice, friendly & tolerant. Or if incapable of that then at least neutrally silent. But unfortunately I see neither of these things in LFR. I usually see  impatience, intolerance  &  abuse. And this is an unwelcome part of my WoW end game & is turning me away from something I should be enjoying.

There are some truly awful people in LFR. The things they say are extremely offensive.  Their attitude towards other people is quite appalling. The abuse stuns me. I have never spoken to anyone the way they speak to other people in the raid.  The bottom line seems to be that no one can make mistakes. No one can learn. Apparently because some of these raids have been out for a long time everyone should know exactly what they are doing. The fact that in every single LFR there are people who are there for the first time  completely escapes them. I notice some of these “first timers” now announcing their inexperience as they enter the raid. “First time here”  they confess  – the unspoken part of  this is often a plea I think- something along the lines of,  “Show some patience please. Explain the fight. Don’t be mean.” But of course there is rarely patience, rarely explanations and nearly always meanness.

It seems that even if it is your first time in a raid you are expected to know everything, to have read all the strats & to have remembered every single boss mechanic. You are expected to have good reactions & spatial awareness (lo betide anyone who gets themselves in a bit of a state when the screen is an explosion of numbers & colours). You should have watched the videos,  committed it all to memory & you should know exactly what you need to do in every situation. And yet of course for many people it’s not that easy.  Many people do not learn by reading and/or watching. They have to do something to understand it.  And yes that might mean making mistakes. In fact it often means making mistakes. Like falling down the hole when the platform disappears. Yes that can  happen. I’ve seen it happen lots of times in LFR. And it happened to me the first time (when my addon said the floor was dropping away I thought it meant the main floor so ran ONTO the platform!). But you know what? It’s never happened again. This is because I, & most people, try to learn from mistakes. After all it’s a fairly important part of life. So when someone has messed up  in LFR next time they usually remember the mechanic that caused the death, fall, shame etc. and are more aware to ensure it doesn’t happen again. They learn to move  quicker, target the adds, run from the wall, distinguish between platform and floor. That’s how it works.

Except of course in LFR it doesn’t – not because people don’t learn, but because many are so horrified by the level of abuse they see that they leave & never come back. And this means that something that might have been an enjoyable part of their end game is cut off from them. And that shouldn’t be the case.

I have no answers to this. I see my end game being constrained by my apprehension about LFR. I’m yet to try SoO – I have heard that the mechanics are complex & while I’m happy to have a go, fail, learn & have another go, I suspect there will be plenty in LFR unwilling to give me the chance to do so.

So I stay away. I run scenarios with husband & do my dailies. But it’s not what I actually want my end game to be – not fully anyway. I want my end game to include at least some degree of raiding, albeit the watered down, raiding for non raiders that is LFR. But I can’t easily have that – at least not in a non-stressful, pleasant way. And I find that frustrating.

Posted in Uncategorized

One Two Three

I’ve been sidetracked from LOTRO the last few days playing the Card Hunter beta. Never played a tabletop RPG – have an untouched Pathfinder beginner’s set sitting  on my bookshelf (guilting me with memories of that particular impulse buy from Amazon) nor an online card game, but I heard about the Card Hunter beta and decided to register.

The game is great – lots of fun. For a beginner like me it does a fantastic job of introducing you to the  (virtual) table top RPG  world. The whole thing is designed to look like a tabletop game. The graphics are cute and fun. The tutorial quickly takes you into an actual game & shows you what to do (basically step by step “click here”, “do this” “click that” sort of instructions). Despite the help it still felt a bit overwhelming at times.  My fault though – I click before I think – it’s why they made me hand back the  nuclear reactor keys.  Some of the card descriptions also didn’t make much sense to me at the start (what is this thing called “dodge” … ah yes you can see I’ve never played a warrior well in WoW), but when you start to play & use the cards  you quickly get to grips with it all.

Andy is your guide – he’s the virtual GM taking you through the game. His character adds another dimension to the whole thing   – he makes you feel like you’re actually sitting around a table with friends playing a D&D game (or starring in an episode of Big Bang Theory where they do that – which is my only real D&D reference point). The constant chat about pizza (an in-game currency you can choose to use if you want to) made me hungry though (from now on Dominos will be rubbing their hands with glee every time I log on).

After one or two starter games you find out  you’ve been playing Andy’s brother’s set of characters  & you’re then taken to the character selection screen (the Inn) to start creating your own. I picked a Dwarf Fighter called Swedgin  – he was later joined by an Elf Wizard called Seashell & a Human priest called Terema.  Then I really started to play,

Currently my little team is Level 5 & I’ve played about 8 campaigns. I’ve had a brief foray into Multi Player mode  with an entirely different set of characters (they give you a pre-made set to get started) but I only played  a tutorial session against Andy & I lost – badly – so have gone back to single player campaigns for the moment, licking my dice induced wounds.

It seems I need practice – lots of it. This  game is showing up my limitations on several fronts – not least counting and reading. You know those basic things they teach you in nursery school.  Turns out I’ve been doing them rather badly all these years. I  don’t know how many times I‘ve carefully moved my little wizard to a square 6 feet away from the enemy, perfect for my next spell, only to find out I’ve miscounted and I‘m one square out of range.  How can I not count to six? I mean…really!

And reading- yes – I keep on misreading the cards and misunderstanding their effects. One time I helpfully cast Frenzy on the enemy & another time  – again helpfully for the enemy – a debilitating spell on my fighter  (who was  only 1 health point away from death, so I managed to swiftly finish him off). My poor team – they tremble  in fear every time I select a card. It usually means a painful death for one of them.

But I’m getting there.  Slowly I’m working out how far I should  run/dash/walk (finger on screen, tongue on lip, brow furrowed – one square, two squares, three squares, there, that does it  – yes amazing how it works when I actually think about what I’m doing). I’m also learning how to recognise and use blocked terrain (boy did I celebrate when my elf hid behind a wall …bloody coward though) and how to pull together a deck that makes sense   (in the beginning I was just looking for the highest gear level   – WoW thinking I suppose  – but then the card thing  finally sunk in… ah yes I’m playing a card RPG –  maybe I should actually think about the cards I want to use).

So the beta is great fun and very addictive. I lost a good two hours on it last night & have played a fair bit this evening. I’m learning to think tactically. “It’s like chess!” I shouted to my husband today, as my dwarf warrior got ready to finish off  an enemy troll with a rather vicious chop to the head. Or at least he tried to. Turned out I was one square short. Guess I still need to work on the counting.

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Billy No Mates

Slowly levelling up Emeera  (my Guardian) in LOTRO (level 13 currently). Having lots of smack forehead with a mallet moments. For example I ignored all the stable masters  for ages – assuming they were just decorative (if you know what I mean). Then happened to click on one in the crazy hope I could get a mount from them (extremely crazy now that I understand the mount rules for Free Players … the official line is “buy one in the shop you tight wad”) & saw that they operate like Flight Masters. Well sort of. One major difference is the fact you stay on the ground, second major difference is the fact you can only travel to some places with in game money- for others you need – yes you guessed it – LOTRO points (grr – I promised husband I’d save money by going on LOTRO – can hardly now go on a spending spree in the shop).

Another travel difference is that some journeys are swift travel journeys – almost instantaneous; while others show the entire journey & cause a lot of problems on my computer since it seems to be stubbornly refusing to render  graphics that it thinks I’m not going to enjoy properly. So there is some quicker travel, but it’s not particularly straightforward & since my gift horse only lasted 24 hours  (because I looked it in the mouth – yes convoluted nonsensical play on words – I think I’ve had too much sugar today),  I spend most of my time running round. On foot. Yes actually on foot.  It’s virtually very tiring. And often rather fruitless too.

You see there are so many quests on offer in so many different places in The Shire that it all feels rather chaotic.  The problem is I can’t resist a golden ring hovering above a head – it’s a symbol of promise, adventure & reward  (if I ever meet a haloed angel in real life I’m going to be really narked when I stop to chat & they don’t hand me a  quest – sod the salvation, send me to kill some chickens please). So I pick up loads of quests in one place, then before I know it, when I’m only halfway through the first of those quests, I find myself  somewhere else where yet more quests are on offer and I pick up all those as well! They then send me further away from the original area & before I know it I’m all anxious about when I’m going to find my way back to the guys there to do their quests (the poor folk of Michel Delving- I really left them in the lurch).  And then the next thing is I’m miles away approaching Bree (oooh it’s big) being scared of things that are red to me. Side note-  in the good tradition of MMOs & indeed life in general (think blood), red is bad. But I haven’t really got to grips with the mob colour thing in LOTRO yet. I mean what the hell is blue? – animal is cold, mob is depressed? And purple? Saw some lovely purple wolves earlier. Purple to me is a very spiritual colour– third eye chakra & all that – but they did not seem at all interested in a group meditation session or anything similar. In fact they looked at me in a very un-enlightened manner, causing me to run away – into a pack of red bears…sigh.

I don’t think I have it in me to do all the quests in all the areas (and I refuse to do anymore postman quest – I cannot help but stop to talk to nosey & hungry hobbits so the postman life is not for me). But I’ve decided at the very least I must do all the Epic Quests – they seem to be where the all the story happens. But a few of those are now ending with the line “you might want to bring some friends” . And therein lies a  problem – I have no friends in LOTRO.  And I’m not absolutely sure I want any. Not right now anyway. I’m enjoying the solo play.  But I know I’m missing out on the storyline & probably all the good loot. It’s like WoW back in the day before LFD.  And while I‘m the first to say that the instance group system in WoW has its problems  (there are about 70 posts on this blog about the trauma of running instances in WoW!) I do miss that functionality in LOTRO.  But having said that I’m a Guardian – ie  a Tank & we all know I’m not really a “brave” Tank- so I’d probably be too scared to queue anyway. Useless – I know.

So where does that leave me? Well right now it’s enjoying the soloing, “half unfinished storyline” life  – and all on foot too (grr)!

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I met Strider!

Oh my little hobbit is so cute. And oh Archet is pretty. And oh I think I’m going to like this Guardian class. Yes I’m getting into LOTRO. I spent a few exploratory days on an Elf Minstrel but have decided to start again with a Hobbit Guardian after getting tired of singing my enemies to death (I’m already torturing husband with my singing in real life…I’ve joined a choir …so it was all a bit too close to home). And boy am I glad I’m now a Hobbit. Within seconds I had run into  Frodo & Sam (I stood to the side, looking on in starstruck silence, resisting the urge to offer Frodo a pedicure), and have now earned my stripes (plus a lustful look …well I think it was lustful) from the delectable Strider for helping him out.

What I love so far (apart from Strider):-

-The opening narration

-NPCs saying stuff- but not too much that you don’t want to read the quest text

-The straight talking description – Walt has been “murdered”. Ooh – chilling. Those evil blackwolds.

-The “collect your loot when you want it” system  – although logically it makes no sense (I don’t play MMOs for logic  – the crazy loot the animals of WoW carry put pay to that)

-The faint/swoony effect when something dramatic is happening

-The  range of classes  on offer – they all feel very different from WoW. Maybe as I level  it will  end up feeling the same but right now it’s different

-The graphics- I ran through some grass that was swaying in the breeze  – beautiful. But then my hobbit’s hayfever kicked in & it got messy.

-The sounds – I splashed in water! Actually splish splashed. Bobby Darin eat your heart out.

-The fact that I don’t know what’s coming next. And it’s this that I love the most. I am excited to log on. I am excited to level. I want to play some more tonight before bed. And it’s a work night. How crazy am I? And I don’t want to rush through anything. I’m not desperate for end game. I am right at the start of discovering a brand new world and it is great. I remember this feeling in WoW. I remember getting up early the first Saturday  after I’d bought the game, so excited to log on I couldn’t sleep. I remember my toon running down the road from Stormwind to Eastvale Logging camp and I remember thinking, “This is going to be great.” And it was.  For a very long time. And now I’m having the exact same feeling in LOTRO.  The same feeling but a new experience. Ooh – exciting.

And there’s Strider of course. And the lustful look. There might be a thing happening here. Let’s see how it goes.  I’ll play it hobbit cool (but I’ll shave my feet … just in case).