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Lord of the Rings Online

The Daily Grind: Would you like more client-side customization options?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind

LotRO Gandalf
Lord of the Rings Online's latest patch brings some interesting client-side changes to the long-running fantasy MMO. Namely, the update gives you the ability to turn off other players' cosmetic pets. Turbine's announcement post mentions that this will help if you're having performance problems, but it'll also help with immersion if, like me, you're one of those crazy Tolkien nutters who wants a Tolkien-based MMO to look like Tolkien's Middle-earth.

In fact, I'd love to see the option expanded to include Loremaster combat pets, Runekeeper spell effects, and heck, even an ignore list that filters annoying players out of the game visually instead of just removing their chat. That last one may be technically impossible, but I can dream!

What about you, Massively readers? Would you like to see more client-side customization options in your MMOs? If so, what sorts?

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!

One Shots: Dance like nobody's watching

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

Boy howdy, my screenshot challenge from a couple of weeks ago for you folks to take pictures of your characters dancing was pretty popular! I received a slew of entries, so why not dedicate an entire column to Massively readers shaking what their developers gave them?

First up is reader Duncan, who wins the internet (for a minute at least) with this picture: "Hey Massively! Here is a snapshot of my Chua character BuzzCracker in WildStar taking time off from his adventures on Nexus to get down and funky on the dance floor at 'Wild William's Tiki Bar' in the tree tops of Wilderrun. Don't ask me why the Mechari and the two Loppi are dancing with no clothes behind Buzz; it must be something in the drinks being served by old Bill at the bar. Next stop for BuzzCracker is a spring break beach party ongoing in Malgrave!"

Really, this should go to show that the world is primed and ready for an all-dancing MMO. Let's shake our groove thang with the rest of this week's entries!

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Perfect Ten: Great MMO time travel adventures

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, RuneScape, The Secret World, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

Writers and geeks alike can't seem to get enough of time travel, although the ratio of horribly crafted time travel tales to fun and smart ones is pretty lopsided. I've come to realize that MMOs are positively littered with ways that players are invited to jump around the internal timeline of the game, and I wanted to share a few of them in this week's countdown.

When you think about it, the proliferation of time travel quests makes a lot of sense from a developer viewpoint. There is a ton of lore that goes into each one of these virtual worlds, but for the most part the players are affixed to a very specific (and unmoving) point in time. Hopping about in time is a great way to experience other eras and actually see history instead of just reading it in a quest box. Plus, if done right, these quests can be quite memorable.

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Chicken hockey returns to Lord of the Rings Online

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Humor

Even Hobbits need to pick on something smaller than they are, which is why the little folk (and the big 'uns too) are glad that they now can smack chickens across a field with a stick in Lord of the Rings Online.

Hobnanigans, also known as "chicken ball" and "chicken hockey," is returning to LotRO for a limited time event. Teams can take to a special field in Bree-land to attempt to knock chickens through the opposing side's goal. The two teams at play are the Flying Feathers and the Steel Beaks.

The current Hobnanigans event will take place from May 9th through 11th. The mini-game previously appeared in LotRO only once back in 2007.

Lord of the Rings Online patch offers more cosmetic pet options

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

Lord of the Rings Online's Update 13.1 is on its way, and with it comes several refinements to the new cosmetic pet system.

The devs have made the huorn pets "stand out a bit more" with the patch and hinted that there are now other pets that can be obtained. The big change here is that pets will live on the client instead of the server, allowing players to turn off others' cosmetic pet visuals if so desired to improve graphical performance. Also, the lil' pets can now be renamed.

Other changes with 13.1 include a fix for Quickbeam's quieting quests (say that five times fast!), an auto-fellowship feature for friends, an option to automatically add tasks to the quest tracker, and a new inventory sort button.

One Shots: Reflection perfection

Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter, The Elder Scrolls Online

"Take a picture of a picture in an MMO," I said to you guys a couple of weeks ago, and darn it if you awesome folks didn't come through! We have two entries from that screenshot challenge this week, starting with reader Chiara taking a look at her good looks in Lord of the Rings Online.

"One of the things that impressed me the most when Riders of Rohan launched was the furniture," Chiara wrote. "I spent the whole day breaking into NPCs' houses uninvited (they weren't amused). The first time I saw a mirror, I squealed."

I'm squealing right now myself, but that's mostly because a mouse just ran across the ceiling tiles. I need to throw a cat up between the floors one of these days to solve that problem. Anyway, let's take a gander at the other great entires from players' screenshot folders!

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The Road to Mordor: Birthdays and Beornings in LotRO

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

This month Lord of the Rings Online will be hitting its seventh anniversary. That's right: Seven years ago, LotRO opened the doors to Middle-earth in a way that we never had before. Some took cheap shots by calling it a World of Warcraft clone, but the less inflammatory and more intelligent in the crowd realized that there was something more to this MMO than a Hobbit-infested Azeroth.

We've had ups and downs in LotRO since 2007, but one continuing testimony that I see mentioned on a regular basis is how welcoming and wonderful it is to return to this game. There's something special -- almost magical -- about Turbine's version of Middle-earth that has entranced many players and continues to do so. Heck, in my very first Road to Mordor back in 2010 I tried to articulate why I felt that this game was set apart from the pack in significant ways.

Today we have much to discuss about the future of the game, but I want to start with one overriding factor that so much of the game connects to: its sense of cohesiveness. This is not a scattered playground full of discordant toys but a unified world with intricate bonds that we are still exploring.

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Day-long player carnival slated for May 17 in Lord of the Rings Online

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

LotRO warsteed in Snowbourn
Do you play Lord of the Rings Online? Do you play on Landroval? If so, you'll want to mark May 17th on your calendar and plan to stop by The Lonely Mountain Band's day-long Spring Racing Carnival.

SRC is a player-run event which includes "nine horse races, a horse parade, a mounted fashion contest, barrel racing, rodeo clown comedy acts, a demonstration by the formation riding team, name-that-breed and name-that-song contests, eight musical performances, and a final concert and fireworks show."

[Thanks Chris!]

The Daily Grind: What's the silliest thing you've done for an MMO achievement?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Anniversaries

LotRO Grindaversary fireworks
It's festival time in Lord of the Rings Online, which means that it's time to do all manner of inane activities in order to collect tokens and trade them for mounts, clothing, etc.

I'm actually more amenable to this sort of thing than I used to be, probably because I'm maxed out and looking for any sort of excuse to visit Middle-earth. And what better excuse is there than a series of achievements that grants the title of Master Blaster, provided you have the patience (and the silver) to stand around and fire off 300 vendor-purchased fireworks?

Yep, that's my what's-the-silliest-thing-you've-done-for-an-MMO-achievement story. What's yours?

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!

Lord of the Rings Online turns seven

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

Happy birthday Lord of the Rings Online!

Today marks the seventh anniversary for LotRO, and as such, Turbine is handing out presents. All players who log in today will get fireworks, with premium and VIP players receiving extra gifts. The new seven-year gifts include a new portrait frame, a shield-cloak, a loot box key, and a dancing emote for your monster play character.

LotRO's in-game anniversary festival begins tomorrow, April 16th, and will continue through April 29th.

LotRO launches The Breaking of Isengard, reveals new Beorning class

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play

LotRO logo
Turbine surprised us with its recent announcement of a new class coming to Lord of the Rings Online. This morning executive producer Aaron Campbell revealed that new class to be the Beorning. Campbell says that it is "a light armor casting class with a focus on control of the battlefield."

"When a Beorning gathers sufficient rage, they may transform into a mighty bear," he continues. The post contains a few other nuggets, among them the fact that a housing revamp is officially off the table, at least for 2014.

Meanwhile, the game has launched update 13, The Breaking of Isengard.

[Thanks Darasimi!]

Perfect Ten: My favorite MMO April Fools' pranks of all time

World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest II, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, RuneScape, Guild Wars 2, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter

There are two types of people on April 1st: those who are annoyed and indifferent to the tomfoolery going on all around them, and those who gleefully embrace the zany antics and baldfaced lies. For the record, I am of the latter crowd. I love April Fools' Day and the humor and creativity that it inspires. While this day is by no means contained to our neck of the woods, MMOs have a long-running streak of trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

I think a good goof has to have several qualities to make it truly memorable. It needs to be original. It needs to be actually amusing, whether or not you "fell for it." And it needs to tweak our expectations and understanding of how MMOs work. Sometimes there are even important ideas that emerge from these jokes that could, indeed, make these titles better.

So let's go through my favorite MMO April Fools pranks of all time, as catalogued by yours truly!

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Leaderboard: What do you do when you're out of content?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Leaderboard

Lord of the Rings Online - Farming in Snowbourn
I recently finished Lord of the Rings Online's epic story on my main character. Then I maxed all three of his crafting specializations. Then I polished off a bunch of outstanding deeds and a few interesting lower level quest lines that I had inadvertently missed.

As a result, I feel like I've pretty much "beaten" the game, even though there are still rep grinds, dungeons, and PvMP stuff that I could technically do if I found them interesting. I don't, though, so aside from roleplaying and the occasional Middle-earth screenshot soiree, I'm done with LotRO until the next expansion or whatever.

Are you in a similar predicament, Leaderboard readers? What do you do when you've exhausted all of a game's content that interests you? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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The Breaking of Isengard: A play session with Lord of the Rings Online's Update 13

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

It's strange to realize that Lord of the Rings Online players have been exploring Volume III of the epic story for four years now. With Update 13: The Breaking of Isengard, all of that is going to end. Volume III will wrap up, Saruman will get what's coming to him, and players will have a new endgame before heading out to Gondor.

We had a play session with the LotRO devs today covering the final eight chapters of Volume III and chatting a bit about what players will fill their time with as they wait for Update 14. Update 13 is certainly replete with plenty to do and see, from an upgraded inventory, mail improvements, a scaling Ettenmoors, revamped zones, and new crafting challenges, but the main story is what pushes the game forward.

In the final chapters of Volume III, players will not only investigate what happened to Isengard during the Battle of Helm's Deep but will have the option of jumping into the shoes (roots?) of an Ent for a unique perspective of an important character in the books. It'll be worth the journey, if only to have a shot at obtaining the first (non-Lore-master) cosmetic pets in the game. You read that right.

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Lord of the Rings Online accepting applications for its second player council

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

Turbine has opened up the doors for fans to apply to be part of Lord of the Rings Online's second Player Council. The studio will take the best of the applications along with its own picks from the community to be part of this influential board that meets with the devs and discusses current issues and upcoming content.

Applicants for the Player Council have to be 18 or older, have played LotRO for six or more months, and be able to converse in English, among other requirements. Members will actively serve for an entire year and be under an NDA during that time period.

Turbine will announce the members of the second Player Council on April 24th.

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