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

The Daily Grind: What was the most disappointing MMO expansion of all time?

Best and worst, top and bottom: It’s fun to discuss video game in absolute extremes (at times). And I’ll bet that a lot of us only really remember the most excellent MMORPG expansions and the most disappointing ones.

So let’s grouse today and dredge up past heartaches. What was, to you, the most disappointing MMO expansion of all time? A few come to mind for me. Star Trek Online: Delta Rising was a narrative and structural mess that bogged down and made me desert it. I know that I was really let down with how RIFT: Storm Legion developed, faltering hard after a strong start. But probably for me, Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor took the cake. The publicity for it was atrocious, the actual expansion about as far from “fun” as I’ve ever experienced in an MMO, and the difficulty of moving and progressing was aggravating.

But that’s me. How about you? Which MMO expansion do you want to rag on today?

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Lord of the Rings Online talks Update 23, Mordor’s difficulty, lag, and more

Now that Lord of the Rings Online has emerged from Mordor, it’s preparing to go back in the future. SSG’s Rob Ciccolini and Jerry Snook opened up about next couple of updates with MMO Central, teasing an epic confrontation with the giant spider Shelob. Before this takes place, however, Update 23 is going to deliver what sounds like a new region and lots of new instances.

“Our next update will move towards the Grey Mountains, but as we expand we expect to have some reference or maybe even a short appearance because that will be the beginning of [Shelob’s] storyline,” said Ciccolini.

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Check out these jaw-dropping LOTRO panoramas

One of the true joys for many Lord of the Rings Online fans is being able to explore an intricate and often gorgeous-looking Middle-earth. While many screenshot folders have been filled with LOTRO vistas over the years, one player has taken it to the next level by piecing together spectacular panoramas of the landscape.

“Tolkien has put so much detail into creating Middle-earth. That’s why I decided to tag my screenshots with as much detail as to name of places, mountains, rivers, and the many things that Tolkien envisioned in Middle-earth that are present in LOTRO,” wrote Joego.

Check out several of these below, and for the rest, make sure to swing over to Joego’s Facebook page.

Source: Facebook. Thanks Joshua!

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Lord of the Rings Online celebrates its eleventh birthday

Not that Hobbits need much of an excuse to throw a party, but it just so happens to be Lord of the Rings Online’s 11th birthday this month. That means that the super-charged anniversary celebration is back with its treasure hunt cards and other festivities.

Free gifts are for the taking, too, for any player who logs in between now and March 31st, 2019. That is not a typo; you actually have a full year to get these goodies.

The anniversary event came with Update 22.1, which adjusted the new fiddles, added a new Bardic fiddle as an anniversary award, fixed the Lake-town fishing deed, and fine-tuned the chat filter.

Source: LOTRO

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 165: Step into the Morninglight

On this week’s show, MJ and Justin get giddy over Secret World Legends’ season two, discuss what World of Warcraft’s launch date means for players, and cover a whole host of major updates that have arrived for the MMO community.

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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Jukebox Heroes: Five great YouTube channels for MMO music

As a collector and reviewer of MMORPG soundtracks, I owe a great debt to fellow music lovers who take the time to somehow extract files from the game directories and make these tracks available to the world at large. YouTube has been an invaluable treasure trove of MMO music, thanks to these devoted fans, and I thought I would give some of them props today for their hard and continuing work.

While there are plenty of channels where you might see a person post a playlist at one point for a single game, there are a handful of YouTubers who see their mission to continually post new music for ongoing online games. Today we are going to look at five channels and the game soundtracks that they cover. We’re talking hours and hours of music at your fingertips here, so set aside your plans for the rest of the day and get listening!

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One Shots: Fun with filters

You know all of those weird filter effects that you have in your photo editing software? There always seems to be a stigma against using them, mostly because they’re very noticeable and showy. But today, let’s cast off that stigma and just have some fun, eh? After all, this is a column that begins every week with a black-and-white version of the headlining photo.

And that photo this week is from Deekay, who showcases the lighter side of life in Sea of Thieves. “Finally a selfie of my pirate as she dances on the bowsprit!” he write.

One leg, choppy seas. There is no way that she didn’t fall overboard and drown about thirty seconds after that screenshot was taken.

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Global Chat: RIFT Prime numbers

RIFT’s new Prime progression server certainly has recaptured or recruited many MMO bloggers to the game as of late, and it is all anyone seems to be talking about. So how’s the word out on the web?

Nerdy Bookahs observed that Trion “chose a perfect time” to release the progression server. The Ancient Gaming Noob initially felt conflicted but soon fell into a groove: “There was the feeling of life in the game, with lots of people around and public groups to join and things just happening everywhere.” And GamingSF said that he’s “coming along swimmingly” on the shard.

It wasn’t all kudos and praise. Endgame Variable hedged his outlook by saying that RIFT Prime was “fun, but I don’t think it will last very long.” Inventory Full felt disillusioned with the way the original game was handled and said, “RIFT simply doesn’t have the depth or breadth of content of either of the EverQuest games, nor the nostalgia factor.”

Read on for the MMO blogosphere’s thoughts on other topics, including inventory woes in Guild Wars 2, the classic multiplayer dogfight sim Air Warrior, and the early access release of Project Gorgon.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO NPC do you love to mock?

Hell hath no sarcasm like MMO gamers who find a particular NPC to be a little too annoying, repetitive, or otherwise goofy. Then the memes crop up, ire is unleashed, and no one from that point onward can take that character seriously.

Some of the more notable MMO NPCs that I’ve loved to mock include Guild Wars’ boneheaded Prince Rurik (and his nutcracker mouth), the oh-so-very-very-slow Sara Oakheart in Lord of the Rings Online, and as of late, the “there’s much to be done” Khadgar in World of Warcraft.

Let fly your quips and quibbles today by ripping on one or more NPCs from MMORPGs that are completely mock-worthy. Why do they annoy you and what have you and your friends said about them?

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The MMO Book Club introduces the good kind of lootboxes

Not quite a year ago, we covered a brand-new MMO community called the MMO Book Club, whose goal was to bring MMO players together to try out new games together. It’s a bit like a huge open-membership guild, albeit one that doesn’t stay in a game forever and instead moves on in accordance with the community vote. Since then, we’ve covered the group as it grew to more than 1400 members and romped through a total of 11 games.

And now it’s getting lootboxes, and that’s not an April Fools’ Day joke. But it’s also not the kind of lockboxes you’re thinking. For starters, they don’t cost anybody anything, and the prizes are actually games and apparel donated by the community.

“Players can now earn free lootboxes with actual cash value prizes just by playing games with the community and picking up achievements set at the start of every month,” says the group. “A custom-made bot, designed specifically for the Bookclub community, unlocks the lootboxes players have earned. After that, it’s up to the RNG gods as to whether loot hunters will win a common, uncommon, rare or legendary prize.”

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The Daily Grind: Are blacklists, quizzes, and threats effective at reducing text toxicity in MMOs?

Toxicity in online gaming just keeps popping up – specifically as it pertains to chat and commenting.

MOP reader Tanek pointed us to a thread about Standing Stone Games, which is apparently blocking specific words in LOTRO’s chat, including supposedly “political” words, leading some players to demand the company publish the full list to prove to said players they’re not “biased” (not gonna happen).

Reader Stephen then linked us to the amusing story of a Norwegian site that’s developed a WordPress plugin that requires people to take a quiz on an article’s contents before being allowed to comment.

Finally, there’s Saga of Lucimia, which this week spent its Monday dev blog discussing the Fair Play Alliance and its own home-grown play nice policy – and the fact that it will take a zero-tolerance, insta-ban approach to dealing with racism (we’ll assume other bigotry too).

All of these are approaches to handling specific community problems that MMO players deal with in text-based chat and forums (vs other online games that are more focused on toxic voice chat or grief play). Do you think they’re effective? Do text-based games have a bigger problem than voice-based games? Are chat blacklists, intelligence vetting, and dire threats enough to thwart text toxicity, or is there another way?

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Lord of the Rings Online releases secret goat quest

Leave it to the sly folks at Standing Stone Games to slip a little spring surprise into Lord of the Rings Online.

The studio behind the Middle-earth MMO teased players with the foreknowledge that there would be a special and secret event on March 21st. In quick order, the community rooted it out and discovered that it was a quest that led to the acquisition of a new type of armored goat mount. Cue lots of collaboration between players and servers to solve the puzzle.

The particular quest is called The Secret Stone and requires players to have completed the introduction to Northern Mirkwood. To complete the quest, riddles and codes will need to be solved, but the community has already done the heavy lifting on that if you want the answers.

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One Shots: Don’t you forget about me

I think that we can all agree that Hirku seems like he’d be a pretty fun-loving dude to hang out with in World of Warcraft. We would all get cooler just by association, and he would take us on these crazy adventures where we’d log in the next day, find ourselves naked in some unfinished expansion, and have no recollection of what happened the night before.

I mean, look at this picture! “Ordinary” does not suit this party pirate’s life at all.

As a side note, I am completely jealous of players who have the ability to take great screenshots using fun emotes. Trying that usually results in me taking a picture of my character’s left ear from an extreme close-up view.

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