Daily Blogroll 7/16 — Lost in Bree edition

I guess I just don't like sleeping with someone who has such hairy toes, okay?

What makes The Prancing Pony such a “must see” when you’re in Bree? Butterbur just stands in that same spot all day and all night, perpetually on the edge of remembering what it is he needed to do while buying sticks and pebbles from snickering children.

If you go, though, to the cloakroom on the second floor, you might find Melmoth of Killed in a Smiling Accident hiding from insanely super-powered wolves as he struggles with Lord of the Rings Online’s gated content — where overpowered common animals with a long history of being dead block lower level adventurers from peeking around the next curve. (Wolfshead also has a tankard of tears, by the way, for the poor, bereft children of J.R.R., whose money beds require additional stuffing).

Naamah of Aionic Thoughts heard that Aion’s latest patch (1.5) would be adding a cool dozen new instances, and he had a sudden thought: Instancing is killing WoW. Do we really want Aion to go down that same road?

Stropp doesn’t like people much. At least, not human-type people. At least, not in MMOs. EQ2 has rats, cats, frogs and lizards, but most of them are evil, and all of them are just more or less re-skinned people. Why not more exotic races? (Well, Horizons did have PC Dragons).

Mixmeister and Diapermancer Thomas, the Friendly Necromancer, has done another amazing remix of Wizard 101’s music, this time, the foresty, beastly themes of the Viking world of Grizzleheim. He once remixed a rather boring four-part Renaissance dance I recorded into something really special. He truly is a genius :)

There’s a lot of things you can do in today’s MMOs, but which one activity is the MOST fun? For Keen, it’s leveling. I dunno. I tend to think of leveling as a chore, where I pay $15/month (or whatever) for the privilege of doing boring, repetitive tasks. I only enjoy leveling when I am having fun with the game, and levels come when they come, but there’s no urgency to move on from where I am.

Petter finds more danger in Nosepickers and Unannounced AFKers in Final Fantasy XI Online’s Valkurm Dunes than he does with the more mundane Goblins and Star Bats. But aren’t these mobs found in pickup groups in every MMO?

And finally, via Wandering Goblin, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters:

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15 thoughts on “Daily Blogroll 7/16 — Lost in Bree edition”

  1. “I dunno. I tend to think of leveling as a chore”

    Really? Leveling is the only reason I play these games. When I hit cap, I roll an alt or switch games. Gaining a new level means being able to explore new areas or get new skills or fight different monsters!

    It’s always interesting to be reminded that we all play these games for different reasons. :)

  2. Aye, I’m more of a leveling sort, myself. If there aren’t any new places to explore, I lose interest quickly. Raiding does little for me.

  3. I can’t really understand the backlash against leveling in MMOs. Yeah, it is repetitive, but, barring very few exceptions, every single MMO out there uses the leveling game play mechanic. One thing that I do with all games, not just MMOs, is that I use my imagination to build up a story behind my character. I don’t see the same old attack animation repeated for the zillionth time, I see an epic struggle with a dire bear. If you take RPG game mechanics at face value, of course it is boring. That is not specific to MMOs. When I read a book, I am not focused on the fact that I am on page 236 and that I have 472 pages to go. I allow myself to get transported into this imaginary construct that, while GUIDED by the story, is constructed wholly by my imagination. I guess that is why the level grind isn’t completely boring to me.

    I also don’t know if I can agree that instancing is killing WoW. Maybe it is a long death, but when I play I see TONS of people in the main cities, and I am always running into people out in the wild, even in more remote places. By and large, people still play and enjoy WoW a lot. Instancing was one of the things that I liked the best about WoW when I started playing it. Coming from the EQ and FFXI world where you were competing with other people in an overcrowded dungeon, instancing was a blessing. As much fun as I had with EQ, wanting to have an adventure in dungeon X, only to get there an find it completely cleared out by a hundred other adventurers was kind of immersion breaking. I want to kill monster alpha for his mega blade of cuisinart … but I have to take a place in line since a thousand other players were here first. I will take the directed story telling that instancing makes possible over the old way any day.

  4. The Leveling process as a whole is not a problem. It’s how designers have altered/changed it over the years. Surely you had fun while leveling up in the classic EverQuest, Tipa. I like rob’s book analogy. Let’s consider the leveling process like a book. Some books you just can’t wait to finish because they’re poorly written, boring, perhaps too long, etc. But then you find a book that you can’t put down because you love reading it. You don’t care how many pages you have left because you’re so immersed in the pages of this book that you’ve lost all perspective on this being a book – it has become something more. THAT is what a good leveling process should feel like.

  5. I never worried much about leveling in EQ. I liked it when I leveled, but it was never my reason to play. I was in a raid guild, Divine Grace, and I wasn’t even max level. I had zero interest in leveling in EQ and still don’t care for it. I only level when I am required to in order to see or do something that makes the pain worth it. I had no interest in leveling to 80 in Kunark, except it was required for a guild I wanted to join. MMOs would be a lot more fun for me if they weren’t based on doing repetitive and boring crap for no reason. Iam NOT anAchiever, and I resent having go be forced into Achiever play styles. That’s what I utterly love about EVE is that it is explorer and socialized based. More of those, please.

  6. Yeah, I am tired of the leveling process. Leveling as the goal in and of itself is terribly dull. But what I like in these games is the promise of a changeable world. So far, only Eve Online really delivers that, with its PVP system. (Most other PVP games are just e-sports that reset, which is fun too.) I don’t care for PVP though. The only PVE game that really seems to be looking to create a world where you can be the hero is Heroes of Telara. That means a world that changes. One where you can tell stories in because the bad guy isn’t there perpetually waiting for you (and you and you and you). THAT’s what I’m interested in. (I’m not saying HoT will deliver; they’ve released awfully little, but they have been seducing me in with their purty words…)

  7. I don’t really see it as being an Achiever, though maybe it is. And when I say “leveling” I really mean “statistical character growth”. If I’m playing a skill-based game, getting my RIFLE ACCURACY to go from 10 to 11 feels the same as going from level 8 to level 9 in a class-based game. I consider them the same thing.

    Without some kind of leveling, you could go anywhere in the game world on Day 1. I like the anticipation of wanting to see some cool zone but having to work towards it… getting there is my reward. Hmm, so I guess that is Achiever.

    Maybe I’m an Achiever who prefers Explorer rewards? :)

  8. EVE Day 1: Go anywhere, be part of a huge PvP battle, even.ore playtime just makes you more effective; you start with no limits. I like that. I want that in more games.

  9. And you never enjoyed playing as a newbie and leveling up in the world? You never enjoyed the zones like Crushbone or Mistmoore? Wandering the deserts to of Ro and hiding from Sand giants and Spectres? The journey, more than the act of “Okay i need X more levels to do this”, is what I refer to when I speak highly of the “leveling process”.

    This is back before “raiding guilds” even existed in EQ. No one – not a soul – was forming raiding guilds in early 1999. I know that eventually the magic wears off when you’ve seen and done it all, but the first time through EQ (especially in 1999 when everyone is new) has to provoke more than a “god I can’t wait til this is over” feeling.

    Different strokes for different folks though. Some people truly do not like leveling or character progression. I just don’t get why you would even play EQ that early and hate leveling. That would mean that you essentially hated EverQuest.

  10. Of course I enjoyed those! It was six months before I hit level 20! Then I spent another two months leveling to 30, and that’s when Kunark came out. Almost a full year until level 30.

    I enjoyed the hell out of the low levels.

    And I never felt like I needed levels to do anything because I had no idea what was beyond where I was right then. I heard stories of CT, Guk and Sol B, and by the time I finally got to them, they felt familiar as anything.

    I didn’t cap levels until I did it with my next character, a rogue, a couple years later. I maintain I had more fun than any person who rushed to the level cap and then just sat around with nothing to look forward to. And I only leveled the rogue because I decided I wanted to switch mains and become a desired class instead of a useless druid.

  11. “EVE Day 1: Go anywhere, be part of a huge PvP battle, even.ore playtime just makes you more effective; you start with no limits. I like that. I want that in more games.”

    But that’s not an RPG. That’s a space sim. Not that there’s anything wrong with space sims — quite the contrary.

    I guess in my head I still say MMORPG, when the rest of the world has moved on to MMOs.

    Anyway, the nice thing about the MMO :) space is that now there are so many choices that we can all find something to enjoy. :)

  12. It sounds to me, and please correct me if I’m wrong, Tipa, that you like the exploration and play of lower levels (the leveling “content”), just not the grind of leveling to get past level-based gates to more content, or the drive to “get to the real game at the endgame”. If that’s a fair assessment, I’m in complete agreement, as I’ve written about a few times. ;)

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