lotro

See: Lord of the Rings Online

One Shots: I took a picture THIS big!

When you take the best screenshot in the world and want to impress your friends, do you find that you end up exaggerating a tiny bit? Perhaps with wide-flung arm motions and tall tales of shutter speed and multiple lenses?

Reader Matthew dishes up a boast for us from Elder Scrolls Online: "This screenshot amuses me for two reasons. Firstly, my friend Jacob and I met up yesterday for the first time in a week and discovered that we'd somehow dyed our gear almost the same color. Secondly, Jacob decided to mess around whilst I was taking a screenshot but his dancing animation plus my character's idle 'look around' animation has randomly made it look as though Jacob's Dragon Knight is telling my Sorceror how big the monster he just killed in the dungeon behind us was!"

This is when kobolds mysteriously transform into elder dragons through the power of storytelling. Onward and upward!

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The Daily Grind: What long-term MMO tech issues still annoy you?

The other day in Massively OP office chat, Eliot and I were reminiscing about World of Warcraft's launch period and in particular a bug that would lock your character down into a looting pose for minutes on end, even as you scooted around the world. It was a particularly annoying issue that persisted for a long time before the game engineers finally squashed it.

In LOTRO right now, there is a mind-boggling amount of lag and rubberbanding going on in the high-level areas as a majority of the playerbase crowds into these areas. There have been nights that I logged out due to frustration overwhelming my desire to play, and I sincerely hope it gets sorted out soon.

That's one of the caveats of playing online games, which is that there are always tech issues that need fixing. Some of these prove to be more troublesome to fix or are ignored by the dev team in favor of working on other projects. When they significantly disrupt your play experience, it can sour your time in a game or even push you away for good.

So today's topic is a bit of a gripe session as I invite you to share long-term tech issues in MMORPGs that greatly annoyed you (or continue to annoy).

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LOTRO's Spring Festival returns

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.

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LOTRO fights the lag monster of Update 20

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.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 109: We are all Dragonborn

Roll for initiative! Bree and Justin are getting all kinds of nerdy with this week's show, in which they talk about Dragon-people, the return of a long-abandoned sci-fi game, a momentous anniversary, and the viability of sandbox MMOs.

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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Lord of the Rings Online sends players to the Black Gate with today's Update 20

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!

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How to farm 570 LOTRO points in under three hours

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.

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DDO and LOTRO suffer sub woes, LOTRO Issue 20 arrives this week

How would you feel if you paid money to subscribe to an MMO, and the company took the money without delivering that sub? Probably pretty disgruntled, which is exactly the mood among some DDO and LOTRO players this month as they struggle with attempting to secure a VIP membership to Standing Stone's titles.

On both the DDO and LOTRO forums, players have been complaining since early March that the studio took their money but haven't activated their membership. It seems that PayPal is a possible issue in this transaction, so you might want to avoid that payment method for the time being. For the studio's part, SSG said on the 12th that it would be looking into the issue.

There is some good news, however. LOTRO Issue 20, with the new Wastes zone, looks to be coming this week. Let's hope the Standing Stone Games tech team can sort out the lag that's been caused by the squash of players in the end game areas when it arrives.

Source: DDO forums, LOTRO forums. Thanks Sanasu!

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LOTRO Legendarium: Heading into the Wastes as update 20 advances

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.

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Global Chat: Fare thee well, Landmark

Believe it or not, there were actually people who played and enjoyed Landmark -- and were saddened to see it taken offline. To kick off this week's roundup of interesting MMO blog posts, we turn to those who knew and remembered Landmark with their words.

"The game, once just a bullet point on the EverQuest Next announcement at SOE Live, has been shut down," The Ancient Gaming Noob said. "The web site and forums have been hidden away and the domain resolves to the Daybreak main page. The few remaining fans have had their final look at the lands of… erm… <does Google search>… Lumeria! That was the name of the place."

Superior Realities took a tour on its last day: "That, really, is what was special about Landmark. You could go to any map, walk in any direction, and in no time flat you’d be sure to find something beautiful, fascinating, or awe-inspiring. The traditional wisdom is that if you give players the tools to make their own content, the vast majority of it will be utter crap, but Landmark was stunning refutation of that notion."

Continue our roundup as bloggers dissect problems with The Secret World's combat system, share tips on how to grind LOTRO points, mull over why it's hard to go back to the "olden days," deliver an early access review of Revelation Online, and pontificate on why theme park MMOs simply work.

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LOTRO and DDO extend free gift promotions due to account bug

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.

Source: LOTRO, DDO. Thanks Tanek!

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One Shots: No more worlds to conquer

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!

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The Perfect Ten: A plague of MMO bears

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.

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