Spring is in bloom, love is in the air, and boots are primed for stompin' some major shrew butt.
Yes, it's once again time for Lord of the Rings Online's Spring Festival, which began Thursday and runs through April 2nd. During the festival, players can participate in traditional activities such as shrew stomping, pub crawling, and navigating the towering hedge maze.
There are a few new rewards in store for veterans of the holiday, including a pair of kites and a very attractive steed. There's a quick overview of the Spring Festival on the site, although if you want the full run-down, you should head over to LOTRO Wiki for the full walkthrough.
It stands to reason that Lord of the Rings Online
players are pretty thrilled this week to be exploring the outskirts of Mordor
, but this excitement has been tempered by severe lag that is hitting many of the servers. Standing Stone Games
acknowledged the problem yesterday and said that it is working on a fix
"We are aware of the lag issues occurring in the new U20 regions and are working on a solution," the studio said on the forums. "We will be making changes to live servers shortly in response to the lag seen in areas of the Update 20 landscape. We will continue to monitor both client- and server-based lag from there, and are planning a patch for early next week."
On an Update 20-related note, players commented on the quality of the promotional artwork for the patch. SSG informed the community that it had commissioned renowned Tolkien artist Ted Nasmith to create the illustration and that a wallpaper version will be forthcoming.
The path of Lord of the Rings Online
has always pointed, inevitably, toward Mordor. Update 20
, live today in the epic MMORPG, brings players within striking distance by adding three new zones (Dagorlad, the Slag-hills, and the Noman-lands) with quests and storytelling bringing players to the Battle of the Black Gate. It's about leading the charge to Sauron's very doorstep, and you're going to be taking part in it. And it's probably not going to end with chuckles over drinks as Sauron reveals this was all a big misunderstanding.
Players will also be able to help supply the Host of the West for battle and explore two new resource dungeons in both solo and group mode while moving through volume IV, book 8 of the game's epic story. There are also plenty of quality-of-life improvements and UI improvements to make your trek to the very doorstop of evil that much more pleasant.
Massively OP's Justin Olivetti trekked into LOTRO this past weekend and produced a guide on what to expect from the update -- get caught up before you log in!
Shroud of the Avatar's 219th newsletter has arrived! Of note is the segment on the Kas Ruins, whose biome is based on the Rockies and Grand Tetons of the US but could easily be pulled straight from Lord of the Rings.
Portalarium has also requested that backers entitled to submit NPCs for inclusion in the game do so for the village of Harvest, a farming community and waystation in Estgard. I would totally claim that town crier and make him say rude things, but that's why I'm not a game designer.
The devs have also uploaded more info on their charity work, the full telethon, and notes for the offline mode save game format changes.
One of the interesting quirks of Lord of the Rings Online's
free-to-play setup is that players can earn premium currency -- LOTRO
points, or LP -- through various in-game activities. Since LP is otherwise purchased with cash and can be used to buy quest packs, cosmetics, classes, and even expansions, earning that currency through gameplay can be a literal money-saver.
What if you could get a good chunk of LP in under three hours? LOTRO player Edward Gibson mapped out and executed a run in which he used a brand-new character to farm 570 LP in two hours and 43 minutes by completing deeds. The player did use a couple of skill and deed boosts to assist with the effort.
Check out the following video to see how this feat was performed and perhaps be inspired to replicate this farming pattern to help you earn your next LOTRO store purchase.
If all goes well, within a few days the Lord of the Rings Online
community will be getting its first glimpse of Mordor with the release of Update 20 (Standing Stone Games
said that it is "tentatively planning"
to roll out the patch next week). I don't know if I'm prepared, but after months of speed-leveling my Lore-master through the last few expansions, I'm in a place where I will be among the crowd that charges into the Wastes on launch day.
Update 20 is a big event for several reasons and should give us some insight into what the developers are thinking with their Mordor expansion later this year. Plus, with the 10th anniversary event right around the corner, the LOTRO community will have a bounty of content and activities to keep it busy during these spring months.
So as we saddle up our horses (and ponies and goats) for the trip north into the Wastes, let's mull over what we can expect when Update 20 lands.
Due to an issue with account management, Standing Stone Games
has apparently decided to extend its dual giveaways in Lord of the Rings Online
and Dungeons and Dragons Online
to allow players a few more days to subscribe for these free gifts.
On the DDO forums, players have noted problems with being able to subscribe in time for the free lioness. SSG acknowledged the situation and said that it would be moving the promotion's end date from March 13th to the 19th while account support tackles the issue. LOTRO is following suit with its Steed of the Eldar giveaway, which also now runs through the 19th for players who sub up to the fantasy MMO.
Currently, both titles are testing out major content updates. LOTRO is putting Update 20, with its new Wastes zone, through its paces, while DDO is working out the kinks of its new Dragonborn race.
There's that special joy that every screenshotter knows when you're able to get that perfect angle, that photogenic pose, and then capture it for all time. I kind of feel that Rob was able to get that with this first picture from Star Trek Online.
What is his captain thinking? Is he bummed that the Federation has put a kibosh on his plans to warmonger his way across the galaxy? Does he want that planet to be named "Glory to Rob the Magnificent" and populate it with adoring subjects? Or is he merely contemplating the deep mysteries of what was in that replicator ration he ate for lunch?
No matter which it is, he's looking profound and deep doing it!
I have long been of the opinion that there are few more terrifying animals on this planet than bears. Sure, there are sharks, the mighty kraken, and that little fish that may or may not swim up your urethra and summer home there, but as I live primarily on the land, I think that the odds are greater that a rampaging bear might ruin my day.
True story: When I lived in Colorado Springs, one morning I left home to drive to work and there was a black bear sitting in the middle of the road. I looked at it, nonplussed, and then sloooooowly backed up into my driveway and called in a sick day. Bear days should totally be a thing, however.
I have also been of the opinion that bears are consistently underestimated in MMORPGs. They're low level trash mobs or pets that finger players as complete noobs for not picking something more exotic. More exotic? Son, if you have a bear on your side, you have won the game. Period. One swipe of its paw and any raid boss' head should pop right off.
There is a plague of bears in MMOs. Today, let us delve into the ursine horror that curses our genre.
This past week, I received this letter from reader Thurro: "Your recent LOTRO
resurgence has my interest, and from the sounds of you on the podcast I might not be the only one. Would you consider writing a beginners guide or even just a list of tips for getting started from scratch?"
Sure, why not? It's still a little too early to tell, but we could be seeing a nice little LOTRO renaissance right now, and I bet that there are more than a few players who are checking the game out for the first time after reading the news and hearing recommendations from others. Considering that it's a massive MMORPG with 10 years of content and expansions, I could see how it might be overwhelming during your first week.
A true guide would probably take so much longer than the space I have this week, so let me present a quick and dirty starting guide to the this wonderful MMO and then point you to LOTRO Wiki for any further questions (seriously, it's a great resource!). Let's get started!
On February 28th, 2006, Turbine
branched out into a new franchise by launching Dungeons and Dragons Online
. In the years that followed, DDO
would make headlines with its pioneering of the western free-to-play model while also pushing out dozens of models and a few expansions.
To celebrate the game's 11th anniversary, the Standing Stone team is giving its players their choice of select gifts (or a huge chunk of XP). You'll need to follow these instructions to redeem them from the store before April 2nd!
Meanwhile, over at Lord of the Rings Online
the team has started back up its efforts to promote the community with the first issue of the LOTRO Beacon
. In it, you can find links to articles and videos from players, community spotlights, and a summary of the recent news from the game. It's a good sign for people hoping the new studio would mean big improvements for the team's involvement with the community.
. Thanks, DDOCentral and BalsBigBrother!
As one of Massively OP's resident modding nuts, I am drawn to MMORPGs that offer plugin support and modding APIs. World of Warcraft's modding was a whole secondary game for me, not just playing with other people's work but cobbling together my own (pieces of junk that don't remotely compare to the pros' -- I know my limits!). Lord of the Rings Online, EverQuest II, and Ultima Online likewise helped feed my urges, as did classic Guild Wars and City of Heroes (though that was all unofficial).
Now, I have The Elder Scrolls Online's plugin community to keep me busy, and while it's no single-player modding folder monstrosity (hundreds of gigs of files across the three big TES games!), it's still fun!
But I was reminded the other day that there are some mods that are still pariahs in the MMORPG community when commenters joked that gearscore addons are worse than murder and slavery.
So, do you use plugins for your MMORPG? If not, is it because you have something against plugins or because the game doesn't properly support them?
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.