Define “Fickle”

Ok, I’ll save you the search. “Fickle: marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy, or stability: given to erratic changeableness”. That could sum up my blog, and my mmorpg habits over the last couple months.

I know when it changed. Sometime around November, I lost the desire to blog or play mmo’s, which resulted in my “Disgusted” post last week. Coupled with that lack of desire to play mmo’s was a corresponding drop in my desire to blog. The two kind of fed on each other. I’d feel like I should be writing, but since I didn’t feel like playing, writing seemed like work. So, I avoided ’em both, until Crazy Kinux dropped a line, which kind of woke me up.

Everyone who’s anyone in the blogging/podcasting world talks about consistency being one of the most important factors in getting regular readers. Well, I’ve spent most of my life listening to what everyone else thinks, and then going my own way. I’m not saying I’m smarter, or I have a more effective plan. In fact, it’s quite often the opposite. It’s just the way I’m wired, I guess. I have the attention span of a man trying to discuss car repair at a Playboy mansion party. Plus, I think I’m fickle.

I was carping about the beta I’m in, complaining a bit, saying it’s not what I hoped for, or “as good as” my expectations. Then I went and download the LOTRO 7-day free trial, which I would have described in exactly the same way this time last year when I was in the LOTRO beta. Didn’t perform so well (it was partially my computer), wasn’t “what I was hoping for” (I’m fickle, so “what I’m hoping for” is a seriously moving target), and it wasn’t “as good as” my expectations. See “Fickle”.

A year later, I’m thinking LOTRO is a pretty goddamn good mmo. I’m not going to go into everything I like about it in this post, maybe I’ll save something for another post and try to get back into a bit of a writing groove, but I wouldn’t have thought the game was going to be this good when I played it in beta.

So, in a roundabout way, I’m doubting my own assessment of the beta I’m currently participating in. I know they’re just testing portions of the game. I know I’m not seeing everything at once, I’m not getting the full experience. I have no idea, really, how much I’m not seeing. So for me to get all bitchy (even if it’s mostly bitching to myself, NDA) doesn’t make much sense. I’m going to take a deep breath, wait until it releases to judge it, maybe give it three months to stabilize after launch, get a full community developing, before I start to complain that it’s not DAoC or SWG or WoW or some other relic of yesteryear that always looks better in hindsight.

And in the mean time, I’m going to run around Middle Earth. Seriously, if you haven’t checked it out, and if you have a good graphics card and beefy system, and if you’re a fan of the books, or even just the movies, it’s worth playing the free 7 -day trial and exploring the Shire. There are moments where it might be the prettiest mmorpg I’ve played. I’m also finding that I’m enjoying their story lines, even though they’re pretty Quest Lite so far.

I’m not saying it’s the Next Best Thing. I took a decent mmorpg break, and LOTRO is benefiting from my relative freshness. I’m fickle, I could be trying Vanguard next month, who knows. In the mean time, I’m going to try and stop being a negative old man, and only play a game as long as it’s enjoyable, and then go do the same thing with the next game on my list. And I’m going to keep playing single-player games too. I’ve been playing mmorpg’s pretty much nonstop since the day Everquest was released. That’s longer than I was in high school AND college. It’s no wonder I bitch about the games…I think my perspective needed to be refreshed a bit. Ok, a lot.

It’s easy to be cynical about what mmorpg’s aren’t, but I have to give Turbine credit. It’s not easy taking a licensed property and turn it into a good game, but I think they’ve done a fine job with LOTRO. I haven’t seen subscriber numbers, but it might be the most successful licensed IP ever in the mmorpg space, or at least the most accomplished. I actually enjoyed SWG, but Turbine has kicked Sony’s ass when it came to putting out a solid game experience based on a licensed IP.

Maybe I’ll try to write up some thoughts on the game experience over the next week or so. Or maybe not…I’m fickle 🙂 Hey, that’s what RSS is for, right?

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