In case you missed it, over the past few days the Lord of the Rings Online
community has been running one of the largest MMORPG player concerts in history. Winterstock V
, sponsored by the Lonely Mountain Band kinship on Landroval, has been entertaining crowds with a lineup of 47 player bands performing in front of Thorin’s Hall. Not all at once, you understand. There is a schedule
Standing Stone Games has been livestreaming the event, but in case you missed it, the studio has archived hours and hours of footage. And guess what? It’s all waiting for you after the break.
It’s really neat to see what players can do with a decade-old music system (plus the coordinated cosmetic outfits add that layer of professional dazzle). Check it out below.
Ever since I’ve been writing this Lord of the Rings Online
column — which spans back to 2010, if you can believe it — I’ve started out every year with a little tradition of making a wish list that I’d like to see happen for the game. This year, I actually debated whether or not to do it, because Standing Stone Games has already sort of laid out its big plans for 2018 (or at least some of them) and I know that the studio’s smaller stature means that we probably can’t expect as much as we once did.
But then I thought, hey, it’s tradition. And why is it a bad thing to aspire to greater things and encourage the studio to reach for those? Should we just roll over and give up on this title that we love? Far be it! So I’m dusting off some old ideas and tossing in a few new ones to give to you my list of 11 things (for 11 years) I want to see happen in 2018 for LOTRO. Let me know what some of your wish list items in the comments too!
I know it’s a simple and basic thing, but I absolutely adore a great skybox in my MMORPGs. There’s something about looking up at a majestic and vibrant sky in-game that puts me right in the middle of the world and immerses me in the environment.
Fallen Earth will always be remembered fondly by me for its gorgeous sunsets, and World of Warcraft definitely brought it with some of its painterly clouds and patterns in the latest expansion. Lord of the Rings Online and Final Fantasy XIV both have crystal clear nights full of twinkling stars that make one feel small and awed.
Which MMO offers the best sky views and which zone makes for the best gazing? Bonus points if you include pictures!
Can’t decide between your love of two popular geek fantasy franchises? Come on over to Crowfall, and you can enjoy both!
The Crowfall art team is happy to announce that work has progressed on two additional gender/race combinations, the male Nethari and the male Half-Elf. The latter can give thanks to pop culture for his outfit: “The inspiration for their gear was a bit of the Night’s Watch from Game of Thrones and a bit Ranger from Lord of the Rings. Shrouded in dark fabrics and leathers, they blend into the night and the shadows and walk among the creatures of the world without notice.”
These racial options should be in the game soon. Players who pick the male Nethari can roll up a Confessor, Templar, or Assassin, while the male Half-Elf is all about being a Ranger, Assassin, or Druid. Next on ArtCraft’s plate? The male and female versions of the High Elf. So many Elves, so little time.
Tell me if you’ve ever been here: You just finished spending way too much time pouring over options in the character creation screen and have finally settled on a race, class, and visuals for your upcoming hero. But then you draw a blank on the character name field — or worse, your usual nomer has already been taken and you’re in the 98% of MMORPGs that don’t allow for duplicates.
What do you do?
Because I’m not one of those players who is content to slam my head on the keyboard and accept the letter soup as an acceptable name for the next 200 hours of my gaming career, crafting the perfect name is very important to me. I have roster of names that I typically use, but those aren’t always available, especially in older games that have witness the passage of thousands of players before me.
So I’ve come up with several tips and techniques to create a fun names that exude personality, charm, and style without falling into stale tactics. And because I am your oldest and dearest friend, I’m going to share these tips with you today.
What do you say that we all go and enroll at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics?
Hear me out here: It’s at this school that Dr. Helana E. Brigman, an English instructor, is using Lord of the Rings Online to help teach Tolkien to her class. She intends to take players on a two-week intensive journey into the game: “Each morning we will create our own fellowship and work our way through the game’s epic book quests on low-level starting characters (all Hobbits). In the afternoon, we will roam Middle-earth on our choice of characters, and I will introduce you to deeds, crafting, and hobbies.”
Best class ever? We think so!
And while we’re on the subject of this gaming community, Winterstock V is happening this weekend and will be broadcast over LOTRO’s official Twitch stream. The four-day player event involves a schedule of dozens of bands performing concerts on the Landroval server.
Last year was positively stuffed with updates, expansions, and cool stuff. A lot of years I struggle to remember which major updates happened in the past year, due partly to my own faulty memory but due largely to the simple fact that not a lot of them really stuck out for me. This year? We were awash in updates. Some games literally gave me multiple choices about which update I thought was “the best” just because, well, there were so many.
So the list that follows is, honestly, a fragment of what could be chosen. At least one of them is something you will probably disagree with. And that’s fine, because thankfully, last year (as mentioned) contained tons of great updates for people to enjoy. So without further ado, let’s delve into the best updates of 2017 and gush for a bit about how many cool things got added to games last year.
“The road goes ever on” is one of the most well-known phrases from Lord of the Rings, alluding to the ongoing journey of the characters, life in general, and even the fandom that poured out of this franchise. That road took us through 2017 and one of the most interesting years for Lord of the Rings Online
since the MMO’s debut in 2007.
After all, this was the first year that saw Standing Stone Games handling the title since the studio’s formation in 2016. We lived through the 10th anniversary, went to Mordor, and lived to tell the tale. It was a year of ups and downs, of mistakes and successes, and one of continued life for LOTRO.
As we walk down the road and get ready to cross the border from 2017 into 2018, I felt it would be appropriate to look back at the year that was and the road we traveled. What great memories did you make in the game — or the game made for you — this year?
Before we jump into 2018, let’s take a moment to ruminate on our personal accomplishments in MMO gaming this year.
While I didn’t get around to all of the games that I wanted to play or had enough time to enjoy the ones I did, I feel like it was a pretty solid year all around for me. I went through the Bingo Boffin storyline and Mordor in Lord of the Rings Online, got my fourth level 110 in World of Warcraft, and brought my Secret World Legends character all the way through the game (again). I even got reacquainted with an old favorite MMO — Dungeons and Dragons Online — and collected tons of great stories.
What were your best MMORPG gaming achievements in 2017? Looking back, what are you most proud of doing? What made you the happiest? What game worlds did you visit and what did you do in them?
We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!
July was a month of MMORPG launches, as Riders of Icarus, Albion Online, and Gigantic formally launched; Dark and Light hit early access; and other MMOs, including SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, and Neverwinter, rolled out major updates.
But it was also a period of delays, as Star Citizen collected thousands of comments over its repeated delays of its 3.0 alpha and both ARK: Survival Evolved and Lord of the Rings Online’s Mordor rescheduled launches for August. We also said farewell to Firefall after its long limbo, and don’t forget the Pokemon Go live event trainwreck!
Read on for the whole list!
One of my favorite things to do every year is drill down the top articles on the site for our readers. I don’t mean the most controversial, the most fun, the most important, or the most commented-on; I mean the single articles that actually brought in the most hits. And what I find most interesting is that most “popular” aren’t always the ones we expect! As we’ve noted before, a well-timed link from a major website – Reddit, Fark, or a game dev – can elevate an entire month. (That’s why we’re so grateful when our fans share our work across social networks!)
Just remember that the list favors posts made early in the year (and in some cases, evergreen articles from earlier years) as later pieces haven’t had as much time to percolate, so when you do see big articles from December on a list like this, that means a popular post indeed!
Do you like to sing carols? That’s one of my favorite things about this time of year! Christmas time is the best time for music to permeate everything. There’s not a moment that goes by that I’m not thinking of or singing a song. Instead of sugarplums dancing in my head, I usually have lyrics. You may have heard a tune or two while watching The Stream Team adventures on OPTV (and you just might hear more again sooner than you think!).
Of course, my songs aren’t always of the traditional sort; they tend to have a twist or three. It’s inevitable that two things I love — gaming and music — are intertwined in interesting and/or strange ways. My first Christmas carol concoctions came back in 2011 in my Solorius medly album. The next year, a second batch was born, and I was pretty much totally hooked. Chaos Theory got in on the action in both 2013 and in 2014. But I play so many more games now that the tunes aren’t contained to any one title. Here is a smattering of holiday music from Warframe, The Secret World, The Lord of the Rings Online, EverQuest II, ARK, and Aion that you can sing along to this season. Go ahead, no one’s listening!
One thing is always for certain this time of year: MMO players have their hands full with Christmas events, so much so that they could probably forgo normal activities for a month in favor of trying to do every last scrap of festival content.
I’m kind of picky when it comes to participating in winter holiday events. Star Trek Online’s free T6 ship is always a major draw and consideration, although this year my interest and attention was drawn to the new winter elk mount in Lord of the Rings Online. And no matter what, I’ll be rushing to the tree in Ironforge come Christmas morning to see what presents World of Warcraft has left me.
What MMO rewards are you chasing this holiday season? How is it coming along so far?