lord of the rings online

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Official Site: Lord of the Rings Online
Studio: Standing Stone Games, formerly Turbine/WB Interactive Entertainment; published by Daybreak Game Company
Launch Date: April 24, 2007
Genre: Fantasy Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid F2P (Optional Sub, Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

One Shots: I am no man!

The big screenshot challenge last week was to capture action, not just still shots, in MMORPGs. This is tricker than it sounds, because you have to be quick with the screenshot key and manipulate the camera just right to get the perfect picture. It is easier to do this with other characters, obviously, including those in cutscenes.

Borghive gets headlining honors with his "final showdown" between the Witch King and Éowyn from Lord of the Rings Online. She looks a little outmatched, what with being smaller and having an actual head, but I think she's going to come out just fine. After all, she is no man.

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LOTRO Legendarium: Checking out LOTRO's housing improvements

Like probably most of the population of Lord of the Rings Online, I was initially interested in player housing when it first came out, gave it the ol' college try for the first year or so to work within its limitations, and mostly forgot about it after that.

It was a sore point with the community, a subpar housing experience in a game that screamed for a robust feature on par with some of the genre's best. Year after year, a housing revamp was the top most-requested desire from players, and year after year, Turbine either ignored it, delayed it, or promised and then abandoned it.

Yet over the past year we've actually seen some movement on this front with two important changes: the addition of premium housing in Gondor and, most recently, Update 19.3's expansion of housing hook functionality. With these in mind, I turned my attention back to housing for the first time in so very long -- and found myself actually enraptured with creating a new home for myself. It's not the complete overhaul that we want and the game still needs, but it's far better than nothing and has actually revitalized the housing scene somewhat.

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Lord of the Rings Online reprises its Yule Festival

Some Lord of the Rings Online players are doing a double-take at logging in today to see that the Yule Festival has returned once more.

This isn't a mistake but instead a planned reprise of the winter holiday event for those who didn't manage to finish up their quests or spend their tokens in time. The Yule Festival encore will run from today through February 23rd.

Other upcoming LOTRO events on the calendar are as follows:

  • Lootbox Drop rate increase (February 23-27)
  • Hobnanigans (March 2-6)
  • Buried Treasure Event (March 9-13)
  • Spring Festival (March 22-April 3)
  • Hobnanigans (April 6-10)

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 104: WoW Token resistance

Financial nerds ahoy! On today's show, Bree and Justin talk about the economics of WoW Tokens and earnings reports, encouraging listeners to break out their accountant books to play along. There's a secret message encoded for those who balance their checkbooks correctly!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Global Chat: Get over the lockbox debate already

One of the largest and most enduring arguments of the MMO genre is the purpose, legality, and profitability of so-called lockboxes in games. We've certainly railed against them pretty hard here on the site.

MMO Bro takes an interesting position this week by saying that, yes, lockboxes are annoying, but we need to move on from grousing about them: "If I may play devil’s advocate here for a moment, I think the time may have come for us to take a step back and examine whether all the furor over lockboxes is really productive. It’s clear that lockboxes are here to stay, so perhaps it’s time for us to learn how to live with them."

Agree? Disagree? That's why we have the comments section. Now that you're fully awake, why not check out the rest of our roundup from the MMO blogosphere, including essays on early access stumbles, costumes, multiplayer mounts, and -- everyone's favorite -- geography!

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One Shots: The power of pink hair

Wherever there is trouble, Manastu Utakata will be there to fight it with her lightning-fast screenshot button and trademark pink hair. Villains, start running right now! The pink is coming for you and it will never, ever give up until you are six feet under the ground (in your hidey hole, shaking in your boots because you never saw it coming).

Pink: It's what's for winners.

As we rebuild our One Shots catalogue from the ruins of Livefyre, let us be blinded by the neon colors of WildStar and dye all of our hair pink in honor of a certain famous pig-tailed commenter.

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Dungeons and Dragons Online hands out free battle companion to all subscribers

One thing is for certain these days: Standing Stone Games really wants your business and loyalty, and it is not above a little bribery to ensure it.

Similar to how the studio gave out a free horse to all Lord of the Rings Online players, Standing Stone is gifting Dungeons and Dragons Online players with a free copy of Asheron's Call. What, too soon? Actually, the studio is delivering a level 20 hireling to all VIP players who log in between now and March 13th.

The Alabaster Lioness Figurine of Wondrous Power (yes, that's its actual name) can be summoned at level 18, can be brought out practically anywhere, counts as a party member, and has a contract that never expires. And it's yours for the taking, even if you have to deliberately choose to sub up this month to get it.

Source: DDO. Thanks DDOCentral!

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The Daily Grind: Which no-housing MMORPG needs housing the most?

During our Elder Scrolls Online housing stream earlier this week, Larry and I joked about World of Warcraft's half-hearted and ineffective attempts to satisfy player demand for housing over the years, from farms to garrisons to order halls. I certainly wouldn't call any of these "player houses," no more than I'd consider Guild Wars 2's home instances to be housing.

Interestingly, most of the other games I'd say are in the top tier of MMORPGs have housing now, many of them having only just added it in the last few years, from Final Fantasy XIV to SWTOR. Even Lord of the Rings Online recently reinvigorated its housing (stay tuned for an in-depth look at that this weekend). In my mind, the best trend of the year so far has been this renewed emphasis on player domiciles, not just because I enjoy that type of content but because it's clearly a money-maker for the games that implement and monetize it well.

So for today's Daily Grind, I ask you: Which no-housing MMORPG needs housing the most, and why?

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Tamriel Infinium: Four reasons Elder Scrolls Online's Homestead tops other MMO housing

Traditionally, in this Tamriel Infinium column, I have been extremely critical of The Elder Scrolls Online, and I promise you, I'm sure I'll lob criticism at the game in the future too. But I also like to give proper praise to video game developers when they do something extremely right, and that’s the case with Homestead.

My first MMO experience with housing was probably very similar to every other old-school MMO gamer's experience with housing: Ultima Online. But I didn’t really play UO for a very long time, only a month or so. My first real experience was in Star Wars Galaxies. Unfortunately, that game is shut down now, so I can’t show you just how powerful and creatively flexible that housing was. Since then, I’ve experienced housing in a number of different MMOs. I’ve seen EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, WildStar, and of course, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Although some of these housing systems have elements that I really like, I don’t think any of them reach the level that ESO reaches. And to help illustrate what I mean, I’ve compiled a list of four reasons that Homestead is better than those other MMO housing systems.

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Choose My Adventure: LOTRO in hindsight, WildStar ahead

Writing about Lord of the Rings Online is an odd experience for me because the reality is pretty simple: I don't like the game very much. But it's not really the fault of the game itself.

There are, to be fair, a lot of games that I play without liking too much. That's actually not too unusual, even. But there are also a lot of games I play that I am no longer playing but still have something I point to and say, "Yes, this right here, this makes it worth it." The Secret World's ability building and setting are juxtaposed against awkward missions and lackluster combat. The Elder Scrolls Online has a mixture of open and linear elements and a greatly improved combat engine. Star Trek Online has plenty of open stuff in the endgame that almost justifies its incredibly complex opening moments. You get the idea.

But when I look at LOTRO, I see a game that more or less perfectly does what it wants to be doing with only a handful of exceptions. It just doesn't ever make a connection with me whatsoever.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 103: Back to Morrowind

We apologize in advance. The news of the return of Bree's most favorite Elder Scrolls setting has jacked up her excitement levels to 11. Be warned that this episode may contain any and all of the following: gleeful giggling, spontaneous singing, half-hour recollections of the old days, readings of player-written poetry, and confetti thrown through your computer speakers.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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LOTRO's housing changes arrive on Monday

One of the biggest changes to Lord of the Rings Online's housing system in years is arriving on Monday, giving Hobbit interior decorators something new to do.

Update 19.3 will allow players to adjust housing decor on all dimensions inside of its hook box, allowing for items to be moved around on all axis and grouped together to look more natural instead of being artificially spaced out. Players will also be able to buy premium houses via writs, which do double duty in securing home ownership if a player transfers servers or gives up the house.

Other changes with the update include three new global chat channels, four additional user-defined chat channels, a fix for the /say bug, and a 9,999 gold cap for currency. It should also be noted that starting on Monday, VIP players can get a free mount and warsteed cosmetics by logging into the game.

Source: Patch notes

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LOTRO Legendarium: 10 things we know about the Mordor expansion

We are one month into 2017, and already the MMO genre is brimming with anticipation over several upcoming expansions. One of those has no name -- yet -- but is still the talk of the Lord of the Rings Online community.

I confess that I am a little puzzled how Standing Stone is currently handling the reveal of the Mordor expansion. One assumes that there's an official reveal in the works, yet at the same time, the studio's been quite chatty about some aspects of the expansion if particular outlets happen to ask about them.

The end result is a scattering of information around several sites, including the main LOTRO site and its producer's letter, leaving us with the task of putting together a picture of what we know so far about this next step of our epic journey through Middle-earth. Today, let's count down 10 things we know will be in the Mordor expansion proper (the title of which I am guessing will be The Doom of Mordor).

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