LoTRO Account mystery

Digging through the LoTRO support pages, I found a FAQ about re-activating an account. Since I hadn’t found anything specific about problems with the Welcome Back weekend, I checked the re-activation suggestion.

Apparently, I can’t see everything I’m supposed to be able to see in my LoTRO account management page through Turbine. I’m supposed to contact “support” if I can’t see information about resubscribing, but their link to “support” is just the main support page for LoTRO, with no further information about where I should start contacting “support”.

Weird. It should be easier if I want to re-activate. I wonder what’s going on? I was only checking in because it was free. If it’s going to involve a lot more steps than that, I’m not sure I’m interested.

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Asking for help: LoTRO Welcome Back weekend

Lord of the Rings online has a Welcome Back Weekend offer for former subscribers. That’s cool, but I can’t figure out how my old account (which was left in good standing when I unsubscribed) gets enabled for the Welcome Back Weekend.

When I attempt to log in, I’m told that my account does not have an active LoTRO subscription. Well, duh.

I might be overlooking the obvious on the LoTRO website, or in their forums, but I can’t find information anywhere about how my account would be allowed to log back in for the free weekend of play. Does anyone know what I’m missing?

Runes of Magic progress

Runes of Magic is the first free-to-play MMO that I find myself returning to on a regular basis. I’ve moved servers, choosing what I think will be a permanent home for a while.

Over the last 10 days or so, I leveled a character up on the Govinda server, getting a Scout/Rogue combo up to 13/13, or something like that. As I learned about the primary and secondary class system (which explains the Number/Number level designations), and as I learned more about the crafting options and the daily quests, I realized I could probably call ROM home for a little while…or a long while, since I don’t have to worry about a subscription fee, and I can log in whenever I want.

I figured if I’m going to play semi-regulary, I should move over to the Artermis server, where Saylah plays. Yesterday, I created a new character over there, and quickly leveled my first class (warrior) to 11 and traveled to the main city of Veranas, where I picked Priest for my secondary class. I took the priest to Reifort, since I haven’t leveled over there yet, and quickly got to level 8.

I still really don’t know what I’m doing in ROM, but I am enjoying myself. I try to run my 10 daily quests every day, and I gather a bunch of stuff and craft it into something else, and I’m enjoying exploring a new world. I have to shoot Saylah an email and say hello…I managed to get all hyperfocused on leveling and forgot to do it yesterday πŸ™‚ Doh. If you read it here first, Saylah…hi!

If my work and RL schedule cooperates, I’ll be posting thoughts and impressions on ROM here. If I get swamped again, I’ll talk to y’all in a week or so πŸ™‚

Runes of Magic

In addition to playing Wizard 101, I’ve also been playing Runes of Magic. Saylah’s been talking about it a lot over at Mystic Worlds, and I think I like it better than Perfect World, which I was playing a couple weeks ago.

It’s difficult to know why some MMO’s click more than others. “The graphics” might be too simplistic; it could be the overall art style, the avatars, the landscape, how your avatar moves in the environment, or combat animations. Maybe you don’t like the race choices, or the classe choices, or RMT, or PvP. Maybe you want crafting, but the crafting is absent, or too simple, or too complex. The community of people you encounter has an effect on your experience…not enough people can be as bad as too many people, and it only takes a few jerks to really ruin an experience no matter how many people are online. Maybe there’s gold spam, maybe there are bugs in the game, maybe it’s too easy to level, or too tough to level. Maybe the only good zones are the starting zones, and you can see the decline in contant quality as soon as you venture into the middle levels of the game.

In short, “Game A is better than Game B” is highly subjective, unless Game A is WoW and Game B is Dark and Light.

With that sort of preface/disclaimer, I’ll dive into Runes of Magic. Like most free-to-play MMO’s, there’s plenty to dislike if you’re looking for a polished, Western-style, triple-A MMO. If you’re bored with current Western MMO’s, though, and you’re a curious MMO player, here’s what you might find in Runes of Magic.

The first thing I thought was “Holy hell, I’ll never be able to stand these character models.” You can only have a human, and the hairstyles and colors are pretty horrific. Once I got into the game, though, I stopped noticing the character model pretty quickly.

The second thing I noticed was the horrific translation. There’s a note up about it, saying that they’re still in beta, and they’ll be improving the translations…and god, it needs it πŸ™‚ I’m usually willing to overlook that, though. I want a global games market; I want to see what gets created in other cultures, and I’m willing to live with poor translations in a beta, especially if they’re going to address it.

The tutorial is probably too basic for experienced MMO players, but it’s a good way to get some quick levels and some basic tradeskill training out of the way. The leveling is experience-based, but you allocate skill points to your character, and I’m enjoying that. It’s a Diablo-style skill tree, pretty simple in the early levels, but I’m looking forward to some of the multi-classing options I saw Saylah discussing on her site.

The tradeskills look interesting to me. I’m a tradeskill nut, so if you usually eschew crafting, I don’t think there’s anything here that will suck you in. If you do like crafting, though, you might enjoy clicking around and seeing what you can make. It’s fairly grindy, both gathering and creating, but I’m enjoying it so far. There’s more variety than what I found in WoW or WAR.

I’m finishing up the starter town (the town after the tutorial area), with a quest pointing me toward my class trainer in the second town. I can’t gather the second-tier wood, stone, and herbs yet, so I’m sticking around the starter town a little longer, until my tradeskills improve. I don’t want to fall off the tradeskill leveling curve.

Combat is simple, and I feel pretty overpowered initially. That’s OK with me, especially in the starter areas. There’s plenty of time for combat to get more complex.

I get a house and storage, and there will be RMT options to increase both my carried inventory and my house inventory. I’m not spending anything in a beta (I don’t even know if the shops are open yet), but for a reasonable price, I’d be tempted to spring for more space. It’s a good place to ask players for a couple bucks πŸ™‚

I find myself coming back to Runes more than Perfect World, but we’ll see how it goes over a couple weeks. I lost the quest thread in PW, and I can’t find a level-appropriate place that still gives quests. I could look up where I should be leveling in PW, but I’m finding that I like Runes better at the moment. If Runes turns me off at some point, I’ll give Perfect World another look. That’s the nice feature of free-to-play MMO’s; my character will be waiting for me when I come back, without needing to re-subscribe.

Wizard 101

How’s everyone been? I’ve been absent from the blogging world lately, both reading and writing, mostly due to the usual suspects: work, sick kid, more work, etc.

I’ve had time to play games, though, especially since my daughter had days off school and was house-bound all weekend. Normally, she’d be logging in to run around in WoW, but about 10 days ago, she asked me if I’d level her Death Knight up to 80, so she could see the Northrend and the new stuff added in the Lich King expansions. She has no interest in fighting mobs in WoW; she’s mostly a tourist, enjoying the landscapes and cityscapes Blizzard creates. Unfortunately, after three years of off-and-on WoW, I’ve got zero interest in leveling anything in Azeroth.

She was briefly dismayed, but quickly got a hopeful look in her eyes again. Cartoon Network has been running Wizard 101 commercials, which we played during last year’s beta. We both enjoyed it, and she asked if we could check it out again.

Since it’s free to play in the starting City (which has quite a bit of content if you’re curious about the game), we downloaded and tried it out. She quickly realized she’d rather be playing Wizard 101, and I noticed that there’s a family subscription plan, $6.95 per person. When she played WoW, she was creating characters on my account. In Wizard 101, for the same money as one WoW sub, we could each have our own accounts and play alongside each other.

When she turned to me and asked if we could subscribe to WoW, offering to cancel WoW and Pixiehollow, we had a deal. And we’ve had a blast running around as a duo in Wizard City.

I noticed that she was much more willing to work her way through quests in Wizard 101, compared to WoW where she hardly ever bothered to quest or fight mosters. When I asked her why that was, she replied that the pace of the combat in Wizard 101, and the one-on-one fights, were more manageable than WoW’s real-time combat, where you have to make sure you pull a single mob and avoid adds if you want one-on-one fights.

We’ll see how long her comfort level lasts. As you get higher in level, you sometimes fight two monsters at once (or maybe more, I’m not sure). She’s already taken out boss-level monsters, though, and they’re frequently 2-mob fights, so maybe she’s up for it.

I think she gets bored of leveling, though. Some days she just wants to log in to run around and tell stories. Yesterday, she dragged me all around the Commons, the Library, and the training area where the student dorms and teachers are, making up stories about needing to find rare books, exploring nooks and crannies, and basically pretending she was the wizard she was controlling. I think I’ve got a budding roleplayer on my hands.

I’m really enjoying the game as well, with an alt who’s higher level than the main that I created to play alongside my daughter. I’ve never been hooked by CCG’s, but I can see the appeal, especially in a game where I don’t have to worry about the expense of buying booster packs. As I get more cards in my deck, and the combat gets a little more complicated, I’m finding the strategy of card choice and battle order to be pretty engaging. It’s a welcome change of pace from Diku-style leveling, and I think I’ll be playing for a while.