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Lord of the Rings Online

One Shots: The sacred bosom dance

Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, RIFT, Miscellaneous, WildStar

gw2
It's one thing to dance for the fun of it. But it's another thing entirely to dance to save lives. Apart from an exotic snake charmer who rescued me from a king cobra last year, I've never witnessed a boogie performed for someone's health. At least... not until now.

Reader Jesse kicks off today's community screenshots with this silly-yet-serious jig from Guild Wars 2: "I am submitting this screenshot of my character and a few friends celebrating Pink Day in Lions Arch in an effort to raise breast cancer awareness. Here we are dancing around (and on) a podium."

All she wants to do is... all she wants to do is dance, dance, dance! I wish that I was Jesse's girl! Now I'm dancing for my life!

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Working As Intended: Lessons from the history of MMO housing

World of Warcraft, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, Vanguard, RIFT, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Working As Intended, Landmark

Hustis House - Daniel Case
Once upon a time, a subscription MMORPG sandbox had open-world housing, only there wasn't quite enough for everyone. Well, there was, but there wasn't enough of it in safe lands, so a lot of the people who wanted a place to live had to live in dangerous places they didn't like, places where they could be killed on their doorstep by other players. Even most of the plots in the safe lands were so remote or allowed for such small homes that they were undesirable. In fact, there were only a few housing plots on every server that afforded a strategic advantage in PvP or trade or storage, and if you didn't own one of those, you were at a distinct disadvantage. And when new lands opened up, scripters and gold farmers were first in line to grab the best plots and sell them on Ebay for hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of dollars. And legit players were pissed.

I speak, of course, not of ArcheAge but of Ultima Online.

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Global Chat: Blaugust triumphant

World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Humor, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Elite: Dangerous

blaugust
Last month, Tales of the Aggronaut issued a community-wide challenge for MMO bloggers to commit to posting (at least) once a day for all 31 days. This challenge was called Blaugust, and it caused a tidal wave of additional posts, top 10 lists, and random cat pictures as writers struggled to keep up with the rate of output.

While not everyone who signed up succeeded in sticking out the entire month, it certainly injected some life into summer doldrums and got people talking. The 2014 Blaugust Wrap-up does a great job giving an overview of the challenge and a list of all of the blogs involved. If you're looking for outspoken opinions put forth at a prodigious rate, I'd suggest checking these out.

Speaking of outspoken opinions, we've also got plenty of them in the form of the most interesting posts from the past two weeks! Global Chat... away!

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Lord of the Rings Online Update 14.2 adds collections system

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Livestream

lotro
Update 14.2 might not be the biggest that Lord of the Rings Online has ever seen, but it's substantial enough that the developers took the time to livestream some of the additions and changes that it will be bringing.

Coming in 14.2 is a new collections system to reward players for snapping up mounts and pets. The new system will also help to point you in the direction of where and how to find these creatures as well as give a preview of each one. The team also gave a preview of a rarely visited Middle-earth location, the Dead Marshes.

You can watch the full stream after the jump!

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LotRO Farmer's Faire going on now through September 16

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE

Is it just me, or does Lord of the Rings Online have one of its annual festivals every couple of weeks? Not that I'm complaining, mind you, since I'm level-capped and have no real desire to roll an alt. It seems like I was grind-fishing my way through Middle-earth's Summer Festival not too long ago, though, but whatever. Now it's time for the Farmer's Faire!

CSTM says that the 2014 edition runs through September 16th, and the website also features its usual breakdown of quests, rewards, and guides.

Previewing LotRO's Dead Marshes patch on the test server

Fantasy, Video, Lord of the Rings Online, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Subscription

These don't look too lively.  I suppose that's the point.
The next major update for Lord of the Rings Online is up on the test server now. If you want to explore Update 14.2, you can. But what if you aren't in the mood for going through the process of a beta install just to wander around in the new area? Wouldn't it be easier if you could just get a quick look at the zone without having to roam about yourself?

Good news, then, as a new video from LOTRO Players highlights the Dead Marshes and what players can expect in the new zone. The patch is quite large for a small update addition, and it contains some new enemy arrangements, some new pets, and plenty of new activities for players. Check out the full video just past the cut if you'd like to take a tour without going yourself.

[Thanks to Andang for the tip!]

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LotRO heaps love on its music system with Update 15

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Music

lotro
This news should be sweet music to many Lord of the Rings Online players: Turbine is making improvments to the music system come Update 15.

"This system has such a net positive effect on the game, and more importantly on community, [that] it was long overdue for some developer love," the team posted. In the patch for sure are adjustments to the music system's pitch, volume, and balance, as well as a tuning pass.

Turbine also is toying with adding two additional instruments, the string bass and serpentine, although it makes "no promises" that it will be able to do so. Another stretch goal for the update is player-spawnable stages.

Lord of the Rings Online fans clean up old models

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Subscription

We don't look that old, do we?  Like... medium-old.  Distinguished.
Lord of the Rings Online has been running for quite a while, and while it's not an ugly game its graphics are getting a bit long in the tooth. That's no one's fault, really, just the march of time making itself known. One fan has taken up the challenge of seeing what can be done with a bit of adjustment and retexturing, and the results are available on Reddit for fans to admire.

The "new" models all have the same technical specifications as the models currently in the game, but have simply been adjusted and had their textures improved. Currently five of the models have been done -- male and female elves, male and female hobbits, and female humans. You can browse through to see how the updated geometry looks, although there's no way to put these models in the game at the moment.

[Thanks to Emilia for the tip!]

One Shots: [Epic Pants]

Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, The Secret World, Miscellaneous, WildStar, Firefall

firefall
If you've never truly appreciated a good pair of pants, then you've never been a video gamer who's had a character in severe want of some. Today, we're able to bring you a story that will make you tear up when you hear about one player who got what we've all wanted.

"After downloading the massive pre-launch Firefall update, I logged in to find that my Engineer looked different somehow: more self assured, more confident," reader Ralph the Wonder Llama wrote. "You see, all through beta my engineer had been getting by with just one 'pant.' While the other players used to run around looking all comfy in their full pair of pants, my poor Engineer had to make do wearing just one. But no more! No more sleepless nights wondering where her other pant had gone! No more Chosen snickering at her for showing up to battle half-dressed! My Engineer can finally hold her head high! She has... PANTS!"

Pass me a hankie, that was beautiful. To see the pants in their full-color glory, all you need to do is stop sobbing for a minute to click that button.

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The Road to Mordor: Has LotRO grown too big for its own good?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Road to Mordor

lotro
Jumping into an MMO that's been out for several years -- let's call it "more than five" -- lends itself to several blessings and curses. While the game has more content, stability, and a playerbase that isn't drunk on launch drama, it can be overwhelming and even lonely to the latecomer who is just trying to figure out the basic ropes while everyone else is milling around at the Level Cap Country Club. Often I see people asking whether it's "too late" to join an MMO, wondering if they're getting into a game that everyone else is getting out of, not to mention considering how long it might take to do meaningful content with those who have been around longer.

Lord of the Rings Online is now most assuredly in that zone. It's been out for seven years, adding along the way numerous updates and systems, a free-to-play conversion, two classes, 50 more levels, a class overhaul, and five expansions. A game that used to occupy a relatively small swath of Middle-earth is now an empire that stretches from the icy bays of the far north to the shoreline of southern Gondor. It's absolutely huge when you step back to consider it, which is what both a new player and a reroller must do.

My question this week is this: Is LotRO getting to be too big and too long for a player to start from scratch these days? Is it suffering from a case of too much of a good thing?

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Global Chat: A blast from the past

World of Warcraft, Asheron's Call, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, Vanguard, Guild Wars 2, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

As many of you know, Massively doesn't really believe in reviews of MMOs, as they are ever-changing and shifting targets. Instead, we've provided impressions and continuing coverage of these games during their lifespans (and even after), which is something that many bloggers also favor.

In this edition of Global Chat, we have several hands-on impressions of MMOs both new and old from the blogosphere. What is it like to head back to Asheron's Call after a long time away? Is Guild Wars 2's and Lord of the Rings Online's new content hitting the mark? And what will we miss most of all now that Vanguard has departed? It's all there and more, right after the break!

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Jukebox Heroes: Lord of the Rings Online's housing music

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Housing, Jukebox Heroes, Music

lotro
One of the interesting features (but by no means unique) of Lord of the Rings Online's housing system is the option to slot a music box item so that visitors can enjoy your favorite tunes while they check out your pad. Like the rest of the housing system, music boxes haven't been added to or expanded much over the years, but I still think they're pretty keen.

Most of the music boxes contain a medley of three or so similarly themed tracks. Most of these are pulled from all over the game, but some are rarely heard outside of houses, so I thought these deserved another look. Plus, the original music for LotRO is quite gorgeous in spots and holds up very well over the years.

For those looking for a buyer's guide to these ambient themes, may I point you to CSTM? For the rest of us, I have six favorite music boxes waiting for you after the jump.

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One Shots: The green marble

Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, WildStar

wildstar
Man, Bunglerm00se is so lost right now, you can't even imagine it. At least he's getting a great view as he contemplates having to trudge back. If you haven't heard, space is, like, really really big. Costco-family-packages-of-goldfish-crackers big.

"WildStar is shaping up to be one of the most immersive, interesting, and (above all) fun MMORPGs I've played in over a decade of mMm-Mor-Pu-Guhing, and I'd recommend it to just about anyone!" Bunglerm00se enthuses. "This is from the first shiphand mission your character can run. In this case, my character was asked to liberate a moonbase from a deadly menace. Is there any other kind of menace, you ask? On and around Nexus, the answer is 'no.' But the scenery sure is pretty."

You know what else is pretty? Everything after the break. Just you wait and see, my friends.

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The Daily Grind: What MMO company has given you good customer service?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Bugs, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind

A couple of Lord of the Rings Online's Inn League deeds are broken, which is unfortunate because the main reason I showed up for this year's Summer Festival was to finish the Inn League stuff on my newest character.

I submitted a customer service ticket, and after having it closed with no action because I was offline (Turbine CSRs can't email, I guess?), I opened another one and remained online for a couple of hours so that I could be told that there is nothing to be done about broken deeds.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I find Turbine's customer service off-putting. It's also a prelude to today's Daily Grind question. What MMO company has given you good customer service, and what was the circumstance?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

LotRO's Summer Festival runs July 22 - August 5

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play

There's no shortage of things to do in Lord of the Rings Online these days, what with the recent release of Update 14, Western Gondor, and the level cap bump to 100. If you're already burned through all of that, though, you'll be glad to know that the game's annual Summer Festival starts tomorrow and continues through August 5th.

Events include keg races, horse races, fishing challenges, the Taste of Hobbiton, and the usual Ale Association vs. Inn League shenanigans.

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