Battle for Azeroth: The race for last place

As we round out the first week of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, I am firmly and securely at the back of the pack for this expansion. I saw some people moaning over Twitter how they weren’t level 120 by the second day and I’m like, my highest character right now is 113 after a full week. So zip it, maybe?

Other than to stress me out with artificial comparisons, I don’t get why World of Warcraft even has leveling any more. With zone scaling, no new talents, and no new skills, what’s the point of leveling for progression? For a blanket stat progression alone? I remember when leveling used to get me excited in this game, and now it only makes me feel bad because I’m not the higher number that other people are.

Instead, the real leveling is the Heart of Azeroth and the item level average. That’s where progression comes into play. And that’s fine, but in that case, this expansion would have worked just fine without any new character levels whatsoever. Just embrace the horizontal progression and be done with it.

That gripe aside, I’ve had a rollicking good time exploring this expansion over the past few days. I’m sticking with my nightly rotation between my three characters, focusing on one per evening to the exclusion of all others. It may hinder my progression now, but I’m playing the long game here — and I know I will be happiest to have them all more-or-less in parity when I start pushing into the endgame.

Plus, it’s kind of cool to be able to have three characters with three different experiences. Syppi, my Hunter, is staying close to Boralus by questing through Tiragarde Sound, while my other alliance toon, Syppy the Death Knight, is making her way through Stormsong Valley. Then every third night, I switch over to the Horde, where my Warlock Lilaca is getting the hang of Zuldazar and her new demo rotation. This gives me variety, keeps them progressing together, and keeps me from going crazy over feeling like I’m abandoning alts to focus on just one character.

I used this expansion as an excuse to finally create a dedicated auction house alt instead of using Syppi for that. So over a long, long series of packed mail, I transferred about 500 or so items to the AH mule and set my business up there. Everyone’s buying right now and I’m making some pretty good money. I’m definitely excited that the price of WoW Tokens has dove from over 200K down to 130K or so. Buy, buy, buy!

Part of my slow leveling progression comes from my tendency to wander off the beaten (questing) path for any and all diversions that come up. Want to explore some? See what’s up on that glacier? Get that herb node? Fight that rare mob? Go treasure chest hunting? Take some pictures? That’s me, easily distracted gamer. And that’s a fun way to do it, too, because you’re taking the game on your own time and at your own pace instead of letting it dictate to you exactly what you have to be doing.

Everybody loves a good Winnie the Pooh homage. I got a huge laugh out of “Melancholy Mule.”

I know that there’s this rat race mentality to get to the new end and start ramping up for mythic-plus and raids and rep grinds… but you know what? All of that will come in time. It doesn’t have to be done the first week, or even the first month.  I’m making a checklist of things I would like to pursue down the road for this expansion, but we’ll be here for two years. I’m only going to get one shot at going through this with a fresh, unspoiled perspective. Why would I rush that?

Probably my favorite bits of this expansion, other than the incredible visuals/music, are the stories. I’ve been surprised more than once with some great voice acting or shocking cutscenes, and I keep getting drawn into the various tales of these islands.

It’s also deeply satisfying to end a night by mailing a full bag full of green gear, herbs, and other assorted bits and bobs to my AH mule. The economy is all over the place right now, but at least I know I’m making money even while I wait for my mission table to crank back up that passive gold generation once more.

Hero Kids: Introducing D&D to my children

The other day I was thinking about how much I wish I had a D&D group when I was a kid (or heck, even now), and that made me realize that I have a potential party of roleplayers right under my roof. I got fascinated with the idea of introducing pen-and-paper roleplaying to my kids to see how they’d take to it — and to spend some quality time playing a game we all enjoyed.

So I polled friends and did some research on what a good introductory PnP game would be for kids ages 5-9. There were a few interesting suggestions, but I ultimately landed on Hero Kids.  It turned out to be a perfect choice and affordable as well. I bought the entire bundle of print-it-yourself materials — which included the core rulebook, over a dozen campaigns, five packs of heroes, two packs of pets, and one pack of equipment cards — for just $20. Past that, all I needed to do was print out the materials, scrounge a handful of regular six-sided dice, and we were good to go.

While Hero Kids is kind of a very streamlined D&D-type game, its strengths are that it’s easy for kids to grasp and start playing without trying to explain a billion rules to them. There’s no leveling or complex stats, just easy-to-intuit strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and equipment on each character.

The idea for Hero Kids is that it focuses on youngsters who are called to take care of local issues around their home town while their parents and other adults are off adventuring somewhere else. Each player takes on the role of a character whose attributes are dice — one for strength/melee, one for dexterity/ranged, one for intelligence/magic, and one for armor. This is flexible enough so that it can be used both in combat and in adventuring scenarios (the same strength dice are used to swing a sword, lift a door, or bend iron bars, for example). Each character gets three hits before they’re knocked out (but they can be revived or healed as long as someone  is still up and around), and everyone gets three abilities and an assortment of special skills (tracking, lore) and equipment (healing potions, rope, gold).

With that, the GM — that would be me — takes the party through a campaign that’s broken up into encounters. If the party completes an encounter, which usually but not always has a fight, then they can move on to the next one. There’s a lot of flexibility for roleplaying, teamwork, and creative solutions, and the system is simple enough that the GM can quickly decide what ability rolls need to be done and what is and isn’t possible.

My kids got really hyped up about this over the week, as I had them choose their characters (one tank and two ranged attackers), think of names (Shelly, Rebecca, and Cederick), and come up with a title for their group (Team Cuteness). Then we sat down and played through the introductory campaign — which dealt with rats in the basement of a tavern, of course — in about 45 minutes.

There was a bit of a learning process, but overall it went smoothly. We took turns and I gave them hints as to various options they could take. Early on, my daughter threw some food into a corner to distract one of the rats, who took the bait. Then my oldest son decided that since he had a speech skill, he’d go over and try to make friends with the rat. This just cheesed the rat off, because rats can’t talk, and Shelly the Knight got bit for his trouble.

Everyone wanted to feel special and there was some anxiety over someone else getting a kill or people blocking each other. We didn’t have a healer in the group, but I was proud that my kids rushed to each other’s aid with healing potions if someone got hurt (which rarely happened, since these were really weak rats).

My five-year-old’s time to shine came when his amphibious frog-kid swam down into a 30-foot pool to retrieve a chest of treasure at the bottom. It wasn’t anything super-useful, but everyone was happy to draw a random equipment card even so.

The highlight came as the team squared off against the Rat King, which I embodied as a madly cackling jerk. I had a really good laugh for him, let me tell you. I think all of the three of them got a whack at him before he finally went down thanks to an arrow from my daughter. That made her day.

We’re all looking forward to our next session, which I hope will be more than just combat like this one was. I might have to tweak it if not.

LOTRO: Peculiar sight-seeing in Dale

Best decision I made in LOTRO lately was to abandon the rest of these piddly Mirkwood quests and simply follow the epic quest line right out of that cursed wood. Should have done this WEEKS ago, to be honest. Mirkwood’s just way too dark and bothersome to quest with any enjoyability. Plus, I start to miss the bright beauty of the game — just like I had with Mordor.

Fortunately, assistance was a short trek down the road. I can’t express the actual relief I felt watching the inky black of the wood dissolve into the gorgeous pastels of a sunrise above the Long Lake in the distance. Heck, I was even happy enough that I didn’t mind that the first town I came to was infested with elves.

I probably spent a good 20 minutes in that town — where The Hobbit’s elves help to manage navigating the barrels down to the Men — doing nothing more than sight-seeing and taking pictures. This world building team is still capable of pushing out some of the more gorgeous landscapes and settings, and right here is up with any of the best the game has done to date.

However, the more I was walking around, the more I felt that something was… missing. Took me a minute or two to realize it, but finally I noticed that in this sizable elf town, there were no side quests whatsoever. Not one. Perhaps it’s a result of abandoning some side missions back in Mirkwood, but that’s not how LOTRO usually handles these things. Side missions feature short chains that aren’t usually linked together. In any case, the whole town offered nothing but a single NPC for me to talk to as part of my epic. So I guess I was moving on?

I also saw something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in this game before: A boat (in this case, a raft) actually moving on the water. Usually LOTRO’s water vessels are always stationary, but not here in Dale. I saw rafts and boats going to and fro, and I thought that was keen. I did try to swim out and jump up on one, but I clipped right through. Guess they’re just for looks.

Even got fascinated watching this huge carp swimming around…

When I saw this, I called my kids over to show them Smaug’s bones, since we had finished The Hobbit earlier this year. They thought it looked pretty creepy, and I have to agree. I tried to get a closer look but got ambushed by a trio of mobs and I didn’t have a pet out to help me.

Next stop: Lake-town. Again, an absolutely magnificent addition to the game and a really fun place to explore. The detail and richness here is wonderful, with different tiers of piers letting you go under, around, and over homes and waterways. Although the weirdness of the “no side quests” thing persisted — Lake-town didn’t offer me any activities other than an instance that had me get into a bar brawl as part of my epic. This is so peculiar, because devs don’t put in this much time into new areas without creating a lot of quests to get you to stick around. Maybe I’ll be coming back? I have no idea at this point.

The sight of the Lonely Mountain towering over Dale gave me the good shivers. What a stirring sight!

Dale is pretty impressive itself, kind of an updated Bree with a mountain as a backdrop. I roamed around for a while here, too, but only found one questgiver — an NPC hunter who challenged me to kill 10 of this and 10 of that. What the heck, why not? I miss side quests!

I took a moment to mentally salute the statue of Bard. If I haven’t said so before, I’m so glad SSG decided to flesh out this region, because I’ve really wanted to go here for a while. And it is such a relief to be up here than down in the nastiness of Mordor.

6 things I’m loving about Battle for Azeroth so far

While it’s far too early to draw any firm conclusions about World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth in these first few days, I will say that (a) I am having just a terrific time and (b) I can’t wait to log back in when I’m going about my normal daily schedule. That’s a good sign. So instead of any review, here are six things I’m loving about this expansion so far.

1. The intro is as smooth as butter

I was worried I’d be in for hours of intro quests before actually getting to the new zone but, nope, this expansion gets you there right quick. And the whole Alliance intro, with Jaina’s cutscenes, a prison break, and the encounter with the Harbormaster, had me absolutely hooked. Great voice acting, too!

2. It’s redonkulously pretty — and good-sounding

I seriously can’t stop taking screenshots. Draenor and the Broken Isles were both visually stunning, especially initially, but Blizzard’s art team still deserves a huge round of applause for these visuals (and the small details when you take the time!). Each building is worth exploring to me, and I love how this place thematically feels much different than anywhere else in the game world. Plus, that new soundtrack sweeps me off my feet (so it’s good I’m sitting).

3. Kul Tiras feels more like a grounded and consistent fantasy setting

It took me a bit to acknowledge this, but after Pandaria, Draenor, Broken Isles, and Argus, Kul Tiras feels more grounded than the game has been in a while. This is more like a classic fantasy setting than WoW’s had in a while, and I really, really love it. It doesn’t come across as wildly disconnected theme zones, but a country that is connected in its politics, culture, and setting.

4. It feels like a huge meal that I’m starting to eat with small, satisfied bites

I love the beginning of a good expansion. It’s like going into a great book knowing there’s a lot of enjoyment ahead, so you want to savor every bite!

5. The story is pretty engaging

I’m not picky. If a story makes sense, is told well, and keeps me interested in what’s going to happen next, that’s a win for an MMO. And Battle for Azeroth, from the prequels through last night, has me eagerly turning the pages.

6. And there’s a whole different faction to experience!

The first two nights I spent with my two Alliance characters. But now I know that on night three, I’m going to be experiencing an entirely different series of zones, capital city, and storyline. I’m definitely glad I decided to go with a Horde alt!

Battle Bards Episode 126: Out of this world

It’s time to boldly go where no podcast has gone before — by exploring MMO space themes! It’s perhaps the flat-out goofiest and silliest Battle Bards episode to date, so you’re going to have to excuse a whole lot of diversions, arguments, and giggles. Because that’s what space does to people? We do not know.

This episode is also notable for Syl’s all-time greatest quote, “Planets are usually in space.” Usually.

Episode 126 show notes (show pagedirect download)

  • Intro (feat. “A New Frontier” from Destiny 2, “Morning Star” from Anarchy Online, and “Centaurus” from Elite: Dangerous)
  • “First Light” from Star Citizen
  • “The Cold Science of Supremacy” from WildStar
  • “Terran Wander 3” from Earth and Beyond
  • “Delta Rising Theme” from Star Trek Online
  • “Through a Lush Ravine” from Wurm Online
  • “Main Theme” from Black Prophecy
  • “Theme Version 2” from Star Sonata
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener notes: Rafael, Bryan, and Katriana
  • Jukebox Picks: “Main Theme” from Revenant, “This Way” from The Terminator Sega CD, and “She Came from Outer Space” from A Hat in Time
  • Outro (feat. “Surface Tension Conference” from Star Trek Online)

World of Warcraft: Battle for Directions

The Heart of Azeroth. It’s mine. All mine. And millions of others’ as well. Seriously, you can find these things in the dollar store discount bin at this point. But hey, it’s the planet’s first attempt at making gaudy jewelry, so give it a break, won’t you?

So last night was the official launch for Battle for Azeroth, and we are now well into this new phase of World of Warcraft’s existence. As much as I really did like Legion, I was beyond ready for this expansion pack. The only question was how I was going to approach it, what with three main characters and all. With Legion, I primarily focused on one character for a long time and gradually brought alts in, but I found that that left those alts feeling way behind the curve. So this time around, I’m going to rotate nights between characters and try to keep them more or less progressing at the same rate.

Ouch. That is going to sting in the morning…

I’m much more excited for the expansion’s story and zones than its new features. I haven’t seen much hype over the Heart of Azeroth, warfronts, or island adventures, to be honest. And getting the Heart felt like a vastly lesser experience than getting the artifact weapon (with all of the class stories!) in Legion. I now have this doohickey and a bizarre hat, both of which I promptly forgot about.

At least the story really WAS gripping right out of the gate. I went to Kul Tiras with Corset Elsa and found myself in the midst of politics and a nation divided. I think the theme of a seafaring nation is a great one for World of Warcraft, and right away you can tell that this culture feels and functions differently than ones we’ve seen already.

I loved how one of the first things that happens is getting tossed into an island prison. I decided to take a nap for a bit before some pirate dude named Flynn broke me out. Elder Scrolls is screaming “copycat” here, but I do like the idea of starting from the lowest of lows and climbing back up to victory.

The city of Boralus is truly unique in the game. It’s also HUGE. I’m not one for urban exploration and felt really lost after wandering through this weirdly shaped town, but there were plenty of interesting sights and details that I’m sure nobody noticed as they were racing to the next quest objective.

I want these glasses on my characters! Can I get these glasses on my characters? I must have them!

The new housing system is spectacular! Just look at what I was able to accomplish with just one evening’s work.

There’s an autumnal feel for Boralus, which plays well with both the sea and mountains around it. Definitely a city for pumpkin spice lattes, yoga pants, and unnecessary scarves.

In addition to flight paths, Kul Tiras also features a ferry service that goes around all three zones to the inner portion of the sound. They’re very speedy boats and I really dig the different perspective of zipping to your destination. As we’re now grounded again, we have to get used to traveling without flight. This will help.

Poor lady bore the brunt of a crab uprising. I tried to help, but alas, non-targetable crabs.

Being tired and taking it slow, I didn’t make a great deal of progress. I did a quest hub or two and was repeatedly distracted by treasure chests and herbalism nodes. At least my power level felt fine in fights, with none of them being overly long or difficult.

I won’t lie, it feels great having a lot ahead of me to do in this game once more. Yes, there’s some certain anxiety over wanting to get missions back up and running, wanting to hit the level cap, and so on, but really, one or two months until that happen aren’t going to break me. I recently bought another WoW token, which pays my sub all the way through June 2019, so I can afford to absorb some time without a steady income. And we have no idea how the inflation and economy is going to shift in these next few months.

I predict we’ll be hearing about the patch cycle for Battle for Azeroth at BlizzCon this November, so I don’t think we’ll have any significant updates before then. It’s plenty of time just to adventure through this expansion and get acquainted with these new lands (and hopefully make sense of this city!).

WoW: She slimed me

Well, this is it. The battle horns have sounded and, starting tonight in North America, Battle for Azeroth will go live. If this is anything like previous expansions and MMO launches that I’ve experienced, I’ll get really excited about it, try to get some time to play, and quickly be trampled by the stampede of players rushing as fast as possible to get to the new level cap and endgame.

I don’t anticipate getting there for a month, especially how chaotic life is getting. And that’s just fine — I want a new leveling experience, I look forward to the journey, and I genuinely enjoy getting set up again with new goals and champion missions and whatnot. I haven’t paid much attention at all to the beta and so I know only the broadest of strokes of the expansion — which means that I’ll probably have more fun in it than your average streamer or dataminer.

Before getting into it tonight, I should probably talk about last week’s Siege of Lordaeron scenario, since that wrapped up the prologue experience. I do miss the world invasions of Legion, I think those were more fun for the community and bonded us, but it definitely was cool to have a weekly episode to anticipate — especially ones with so many story beats and cutscenes.

I played both Alliance and Horde sides for this, and I have to say that the Alliance side made more sense and was more engaging. It was a full-on frontal assault of Lordaeron following the destruction of Teldrassil, and the scenario did a great job conveying the chaos and energy of warfare (although it wasn’t, at any point, actually challenging or dangerous).

So many great moments, too. Jaina’s return is the part everyone’s discussing, of course, but I was really partial to seeing the Forsaken coming out in gas masks to spread the Blight everywhere. Having to retreat by stages against the oncoming green Blight felt genuinely terrifying. And the showdown in the throne room was cool, I guess, but it was more posturing than anything else. Characters in this game like to show up, pose, and make grand pronouncements without actually doing anything.

What made less sense was this lady and her whole strategy. I don’t get what’s going on with Sylvanas, other than just accepting that she’s devolved into Big Bad Guy Mode which means that you kick your minions around, insult your inferiors, and be as homicidal as your schedule allows. She doesn’t show any great insight or plan here, nor does she explain why she went all tree-burny. She’s just angry and evil.

I probably felt the worst for the other Horde leaders, especially Blaine and Saurfang. Nobody stands up to Sylvanas even though they really should, yet they’re miserable because their dream of a noble, honorable Horde is dying all around them.

Then again, if you’re a Forsaken fan or player — which I am — this all is really gratifying to see the Blight in action. The Forsaken really should be their own faction at this point. Maybe that’s something that will happen in this expansion.

Other random thoughts: Anduin looks kind of silly in that lion mask. There, I’ve said it.

Jaina is like a more intense Elsa from Frozen and we all know that’s 100% deliberate on the part of Blizzard.

Lordaeron’s been nuked with Blight, so now we are down two capital cities? Can Forsaken not live among the Blight? I’m not really up to spec with this whole plague. I wouldn’t think the undead could get undeader, but that’s me.

The whole stalemate ending felt shoehorned and cheesy. Something significant needed to happen here, some balance of power should have changed, but nothing did other than Saurfang getting captured.

Biggest disappointment: No cool rewards. COME ON, BLIZZARD. Couldn’t I at least keep this awesome gas mask? I’d wear it all the time, promise!

WoW: My lucid nightmare

After hearing that a Twitter friend was pursuing an odd goal of unlocking a rather difficult-to-acquire World of Warcraft mount that was part of a long series of secret puzzle-based quests, I decided to kill some time this week by seeing if I could do it too. I kind of really dig these hidden quests in this and other games, particularly because (1) they put some real thought into them, (2) they take me to places I don’t normally go to in the game, and (3) they give me a sense of achievement when I finish them.

Before all that, of course, I had to put together a sleek black outfit as part of my BFA prep. And off we go!

So this whole series — which is known as the “Lucid Nightmare” chain — is kicked off by a really cryptic note in Dalaran that has fortunately been figured out by the community (as well as subsequent notes). I’m sure this was great community bonding fun as everyone got together to try to suss these out, but as it is, I’m glad to benefit from their detective work. There’s no way I know enough about this game to find a whole bunch of places based on vague clues.

Mostly, the clues led me into different raids and zones, where I’d find puzzles to solve. Some of these were minigames, like this Bejeweled thing above (which was admittedly cool)…

…and this “untangle this mess” puzzle (even cooler). I spent about one night getting through most of the quests, at least until the penultimate mission.

Which turned out to be pure hell.

So we have to talk Endless Halls here and why this quest line is a badge of honor for some people. Maybe more of a rite of passage, I don’t know. I just understand now why people commiserate over this quest line, all because of this one step.

Right before you finish up the series, you have to navigate the Endless Halls to find five orbs and put them on their respective colored platforms. It’s a maze, basically, of rooms with NSEW entrances, although some are blocked by rubble. And it’s almost, almost impossible.

The problem is that you can’t easily map it. The maze is kind of three dimensional, with different levels, rooms that skip past other rooms, and even a teleporting trap that’ll throw you into a random part of the maze. It’s very disorienting and doesn’t lend itself at all to mapping out on graph paper. There are a couple of techniques to try to run in a consistent pattern as to cover most of the maze, but even then, you have to change things up every now and then to find all 64 rooms.

To make matters even worse, the maze is randomized for you — AND it resets when you log out for a while. I found that out after three hours of running and finding four out of five of the orbs. Thought I could finish it up the next day, but nope, it reset.

My second attempt took place one night where I cleared my gaming schedule, put on a movie, and went to town on the maze. That run took two hours and 15 minutes before all was said and done.

And let me tell you, when you see this room at last, it’s the most glorious sight in the world.

From there it was a quick trip to the Forgotten Crypt behind Kara. Never been there, and after mousing over clickables and getting weird file names for them, I suspect that this was a half-finished building. But sure enough, my mount was waiting for me on the top of the biggest pile of bones in the universe.

So I got my dark unicorn mount. Probably was a lot more work than it was worth, to be honest, especially since it can’t fly. But you can bet I’ll be riding it around BFA like crazy! It does a really nifty rear-and-spin move if you’re not jumping, but other than that, I suppose it’s just a way to show other people that you had too much time on your hands and a lot of patience in your back pocket.

Site news: updated blogroll and anticipated games

Just a couple of blog upkeep notes, for those who might not visit the actual Bio Break site these days:

  • I’ve erased my old blogroll and started fresh, adding all of the Blaugust Reborn participants as well as anyone I see active on my daily RSS feed. Lots of great blogs to check out if you’re bored, so look to the right there and get reading!
  • I’ve also added a few titles to the “Games I’m keeping an eye on” section. Again, this list is mostly for me, so that I won’t forget about these smaller titles when I go to check up on them later on. But I figure I might as well share those with you guys, so there’s that.

LOTRO’s maps are… not my favorite

It’s been a good long while since I’ve played LOTRO (a month?) and even longer since I’ve been in any regular gaming pattern with it. I still think I’m feeling the burnout from Mordor a bit, although I know that it probably just comes down to getting out of a routine of playing and then letting it slip. I kind of would like to reverse that, especially as there seems to be some pretty great content ahead, so I put in a couple of sessions last week and got reacquainted with my long-suffering Lore-master.

First things first — I needed to do some housekeeping. This meant cleaning out my bags and stashing cosmetics and housing items in the appropriate vaults and wardrobes. I guess SSG has added a ton of new wardrobe expansion slots, and since there was a sale and I had points to burn, I expanded my cosmetic wardrobe to 240 slots total. That was more than enough to store everything I had sitting around and then some.

It felt good, really good, to have this all organized before I returned to Northern Mirkwood and another round of “questing while lost in the bush.”

Let’s talk about LOTRO’s maps for a while, because this is an aspect of the game that has repeatedly disappointed me over the years. By my count, LOTRO has three types of maps, and all of them have pretty deep flaws. There are the hand-drawn maps, the slightly more stylized realistic maps, and then the Google Earth (aka “We had no time or resources to actually make a map”) maps.

The problem here is that LOTRO’s landscape is really dense and challenging to navigate in spots, and yet the maps all fail (in different ways) of portraying what the actual landscape is like and how you can get around in it. Throw in invisible walls and other natural barriers, and you could find yourself banging your head just trying to get to where you want to be.

And I’m simply not a fan of the blobby/ring overlays for quest markers. More often than not, they don’t do a great job showing you where you actually need to be if the quest itself has multiple objectives. For example, one quest I did the other night required exploring two separate locations, beating up six spiders, and cleaning out 10 spiderwebs. All of these were covered by a large blob that told me nothing of where those two locations were until I narrowed it down by eventually finding spiders to kill and getting rid of that objective.

I really do wish we could zoom in more on maps and zoom out more on the minimap. Man, that minimap is a near-useless piece of work, let me tell you. I would much rather have a DDO/WoW option to open up the full map inside of the UI instead of going fullscreen as LOTRO’s does.

Anyway, it’s probably too late in the game to see any work or improvement done on this feature, but I felt like griping about it anyway.

Most of my attention was devoted the other night to finishing up a whole hub of quests for a bunch of lost Beornings. None of it was particularly exciting, but I did use them to get reacquainted with my character’s fighting style (especially after the latest round of class nerfs). I truly do miss the days of LMs being a pet machine that would chew through mobs. Now I’m in serious danger if more than one bad guy heads my way. Even if not, the fights take a lot longer than they used to. At least I can amuse myself by thinking that these wood trolls look like guys who have wrapped themselves up in linen to look like discounted mummies.

I took a short break from Mirkwood to do the new Christmas quest, which for whatever reason, was making its debut at the tail-end of July. The quest takes players outside of Winter-home to recover a bunch of random sweets that an errant eagle had dropped all over Middle-earth. It’s kind of one of those quests that gets increasingly ridiculous the more you think about it, especially when you start asking:

  • What kind of flight path was an eagle taking that took it over Ered Luin, Forochel, Misty Mountains, and Eregion?
  • Why did the creatures on the ground steal, but not eat, these sweets?
  • Do the denizens of Middle-earth usually deliver confectionaries via air travel? If so, why not rings of power?
  • Why is it so important to recover these sweets at extreme danger to life and limb instead of ordering — or simply making — more?
  • Am I the bad guy when I’m leaping out at snow beasts and other animals and clubbing them to death to get my dessert back?

Oh well, at least I got a new title to toss onto the pile of all the other titles I’ll never use, as well as a cute little fluffy bunny.