Let’s be frank: Not every MMO zone can be a masterpiece of art, design, quest flow, and navigability. I mean, they totally should be, but that’s not how it shakes out in actual games. Sometimes regions get rushed, or the developers get a little too crazy with level design, or someone with a doomsday device in the office threatens to set it off unless an area made up of nothing but jumping puzzles is included.
The end result? “Those” zones we love to hate. We all have them. They’re the ones we seem to relish whining and complaining about to anyone who will listen, often instigating an echo chamber of like-minded grudges. We’ve been there, done that, and felt that our psyche took a hit as a result.
Today I want to look back at 10 MMOs I’ve played over the years to pick out a zone from each that, honestly, I really, really disliked. Perhaps the fact that I still remember them so vividly means that they were more important memories than the well-done zones that escape me at the moment, but I’m not going to think on that too much. Let the gripe session begin!
Mordor comes at you fast, or so it seems with Lord of the Rings Online’s next massive update. Standing Stone Games has followed up its streamed preview of the patch with preliminary patch notes and instructions. The studio is currently asking testers on Bullroarer to test the leveling curve past the new level cap bump, the new crafting tier, the improved barber UI, the allegiance system, the gear recycling system, and the early stages of the Mordor questing area, which I can’t believe I just typed.
Udun, the entryway that holds great forges, quarries, and parade grounds of Mordor.
Dor Amarth, the rocky plain holding the broken bones of Barad-dur
Talath Urui, located south of Mount Doom, home to key fortresses, prisons, and military establishments.
Lhingris, west of the Morgai ridge, home to Cirith Ungol.
Agarnaith, a valley southeast of Barad-dur with a dense, pestilent, and bloody swampland.
LOTRO Players has collected a bunch of preview videos of the five regions new to the game when the update launches; we’ve included them all below.
The cat is out of the bag, and this year’s Lord of the Rings Online
expansion into the long-awaited country of Mordor is going to be called… Mordor
. Let that sink in for a minute.
The Standing Stone Games team devoted an hour-long livestream to unveiling key details (but not everything!) about this summer’s expansion, including the following:
- Mordor will add five regions to the game and increase the level cap by 10 to 115. Crafting will also be increased to 115 and the virtue cap will increase to 20.
- The expansion is “not going to be easy” but “not discouragingly difficult.” Stay on the main path for easier going!
- An “ashes” barter system will allow you to buy gear upgrades that haven’t dropped for you yet, curbing RNG frustration.
- High Elves will have their own starting area and be able to roll every class except Burglar and Beorning. They’ll also have their own racial traits and skills.
- The allegiance system allows you to pledge your efforts to a race and earn special rewards (including cosmetics). You can work on more than one allegiance, although they get progressively harder the more you do.
- Legendary items will get new relics and additional legacy tiers.
- Barbershops will now allow you to modify all of your character’s visual details (but you can’t change your race).
- The anticipated avatar revamp is going to start with Man and Elves.
- The expansion will also take players to Erebor (The Hobbit’s Lonely Mountain) for the first time.
You can watch it for the full scoop below!
By the week’s end, Lord of the Rings Online
players should know a lot more about the game’s coming Mordor expansion — and even have an opportunity to play it.
In an interview yesterday with Dadi’s LOTRO Guides, CM Jerry “Cordovan” Snook said that the team is preparing a big reveal today for the expansion that should include the name and some key details. Additionally, the first beta preview is set to go live on the Bullroarer test server by this weekend. This test won’t be the full expansion, as the team wants to hold back the epic story and some other major content as to not spoil surprises.
Snook confirmed that there will be a level cap increase with Mordor (although he wouldn’t say what it is) and that the virtue cap will increase by one. The expansion is still on track for release in late summer 2017, with a follow-up patch that will add in group content (such as the new raid).
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree talk about FFXIV: Stormblood’s early access launch, Destiny 2’s PC delay, Elder Scrolls Online’s next DLC drops, breaking up the trinity in MMOs, and more!
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:
The other day I was continuing on with my Bingo Boffin adventures in Lord of the Rings Online
when Mr. Boffin decided he was going to sneak his way across battle lines and into Mirkwood Forest. Like most of his encounters, I don’t think he ended up loving it quite as much as he anticipated, but you know what? I did.
You see, ever since Siege of Mirkwood came out with LOTRO’s second expansion, I’ve always been quite partial to this odd little zone in Middle-earth. Perhaps this makes me the odd man out among the community; I rarely see anyone speak highly of Mirkwood (or, these days, speak of it at all). It seems like it’s forgotten, this strange cul-de-sac of the game world that only exists to be a stopping point on the epic story before players have to turn around and go back the way they came.
Yet as I was running all over the place trying to secure first AND second breakfastses for Bingo Boffin, I was reminded of how much I love this zone. I’d even say that Mirkwood is in my top five zones of the game as a whole (alongside The Shire, Forochel, West Rohan, and North Ithilien). It’s time this forgotten land got some recognition, so here goes.
Some players in Dungeons and Dragons Online
are complaining that a rather nasty bug is wiping out years of “hard-earned” inventory — and saying that Standing Stone Games
is unable or unwilling to help.
The bug concerns the game’s reincarnation system, which allows players to reroll their character in exchange for more build points and other advantages. However, some players assert that when they have gone through this process a certain way, the game got rid of all inventory on their character (which is obviously not part of the whole deal). To further compound the problem, help tickets have gone unresolved because the CS agent cannot see what was in the player’s inventory prior to the wipe.
An extensive forum thread is documenting some of these players’ struggle with the situation and their frustration with the lack of assistance from the studio. “Our crappy little stack of past lives and gear and tomes is our reminder of where we come from and how far we have ventured,” one player posted. “As it so happens it is also a neccessary MEANS to play the game on higher difficulties and for some it also is equivalent to invested real money.”
While Lord of the Rings Online’s
anniversary began back in April, it is only now coming to completion with this week’s addition of the Year 10 scavenger hunt cards. However, the lengthy event has one hidden and surprising conclusion
that players have only now discovered.
You see, for each of the 10 weeks, the anniversary quests have been rewarding players with seemingly worthless scraps of paper (in addition to other, more fun goodies). One each of these pieces of paper was a tiny bit of information that, when collected and combined, revealed map coordinates.
Players used these coordinates on different zones in the game to discover that in Bree-land there is a mysterious new pillar in the middle of a lake that looks suspiciously like Standing Stone Games’ logo. Lo and behold, the giant stone even grants a quest that has a final reward for anniversary adventurers. We’ve hidden the spoilers to this quest below if you need a hand!
After four years and over 700 MMORPG music tracks, the Battle Bards have arrived at their 100th show! For this centennial spectacular, Syl, Steff, and Syp reminisce about the most notable shows, their best soundtrack discoveries, and their favorite tracks. This super-sized show gets wrapped up with a bout of listener emails and a promise of another amazing hundred episodes!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 100: Centennial spectacular (or download it) now:
What’s the most newbie-friendly MMO? According to Pete at Dragonchasers, it’s Final Fantasy XIV. He’s been pretty impressed by the support structure that the game has in place for new and returning players.
“I don’t usually interact with other players in MMOs (ironic, I know) but when I was randomly invited into the Novice Network I accepted,” he wrote. “It’s a pretty active channel and at least for the short time I’ve been in it, quite civil […] This experience drew me out of my shell a bit, and by Sunday afternoon I’d dug out a bluetooth keyboard so I could talk in the Novice Network more easily. Overall the way FFXIV welcomed me as a player kind of re-kindled my love of MMOs.”
In this week’s MMO blogger roundup, we have essays on LOTRO’s attention span, the thought behind soloing in online games, and first impressions of Black Desert. Read on!
Ahh… smell that? Smells like a new batch of EverQuest nostalgia, served up to us as a fresh progression server. For some of the faithful, the chance to get a hit of that nostalgia is absolutely irresistible.
“I love EverQuest,” blogger Stargrace writes. “I love the excitement that comes with playing on a progression server. I love how busy they are, and watching chat channels fly by. I love the community and the fuzzy feelings I get when I think about that time in my life.”
Kaozz explained why this server was in such high demand: “My son was baffled how many people want to play on this type of server. I’ve been waiting on one for years and keep up with the requests in the forums I have seen for so many years.”
And The Ancient Gaming Noob finds it baffling that Blizzard isn’t cashing in on these kinds of servers with World of Warcraft. “Nostalgia sells, these servers are popular, they offer something people want and, more importantly, something people are willing to pay for,” he said.
One of the hallmarks and attractions of MMORPGs is growth. These games, much like the characters that inhabit them, grow and change over time. Every hotfix, patch, content update, and expansion adds or modifies something to the whole package (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse). And while that growth keeps things interesting and takes us on a long journey, there is always the very real danger of devs introducing features that, for one reason or another, get abandoned and left to rot inside this ever-expanding game.
After 10 years, five expansions, and hundreds of patches, the Lord of the Rings Online that we play today is by far larger, more complex, and different than the one that launched in 2007. It was inevitable that the team would introduce various systems and features that took off, became popular with the community, and have been heavily supported ever since. It was also inevitable that the opposite has happened too.
I polled some of my fellow LOTRO players about the subject of abandoned features in the game and received quite a few responses. Most of us agreed on a core seven features that the devs originally had grand plans for… and have since neglected and ignored. So let’s take a look at seven features that the team would probably rather you not pay attention to these days!
It’s hard to look at an MMORPG and imagine them without dungeons. For some people, these instances are the core of their game experience, offering challenging (well, hopefully) and rewarding group experiences that can be repeated for fun, profit, and optimal performance.
Dungeons and I have a strange history in MMOs. For me, it all depends on the game in question. There are MMOs that don’t really feature compelling or rewarding dungeons (Guild Wars 2), or make grouping up and getting into them difficult, or what have you. Yet in other games, I’ve run dungeons so many times that I could probably pathfind through each one blind. If done right, they can be really fun and offer me a chance to show off my stuff and feel like I’m part of a team.
For today’s list, I want to share with you my favorite MMO dungeons. I’m going to limit myself to one per MMO for diversity’s sake, which might make it a little challenging, but there you go!