In the northern hemisphere, ’tis the season to stay indoors and take advantage of long nights with long play times, whatever your play persuasion. Steam has begun its legendary holiday sales with 8-hour and 24-hour updates through the weekend until Tuesday. There have been good titles featured so far.
A lot of the good sales right now are for a male protagonist only: Witcher 2, Batman Arkham, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and Bioshock:Infinite. I’m tempted to get Saint’s Row IV for $20, but I haven’t finished the previous iteration. Same story with Borderlands II.
I re-installed LotRO this weekend, which was a harrowing ordeal resulting in a couple hours of errors and attempts to configure my firewalls and Pando Media Booster, LotRO’s third-party P2P installation system. I finally just downloaded on Steam. Praise the goddess that Valve is awesome.
I’m pleasantly surprised by Helm’s Deep and the new skill trees. They are slicker and less dumbed-down than they looked in previews.
I’m saving some rage-quit face by abandoning my Rune-Keeper main and continuing with my Lore-Master alt. I couldn’t enjoy the time demands of multiple legendary items for multiple group roles in past expansions anyway.
I’m enjoying the Helm’s Deep quest writing. As in Rohan part one, you go straight to the leaders and get the lowdown on the politics and setting, which is very effective. The LotRO writers have been given free reign to wax eloquent in pages and pages of quest text. It’s actually refreshing.
While other MMOs keep the quest text lean (a few by necessity due to the demands of full voice-over), LotRO is recognizing and betting on its strength. So I’ve sorted things, begun Helm’s Deep, and poked my staff briefly into Wildermore, which is pretty and snowy, another zone to explore.
My LGBT guild kicked me for inactivity, which is unacceptable, so I won’t be re-applying. It’s not like I feel I deserve special treatment. I just think the policy is silly to kick people if they take a six month break.
Knights of the White Lady is supposed to be a “safe space” for LGBT people, but from the initial application and trial by jury for acceptance to then getting kicked in six months for not logging in, I’ve found it not safe-feeling. It’s just a fact.
It could be noted I was also kicked in Rift for inactivity, and just started my own RP guild. Rift’s superior grouping tools make that feasible for me as a non-raider. Meanwhile, I’m still a member of my random-invite guild in Guild Wars 2. Go figure. A warm holiday hug for that guild leader.
The only negative so far in LotRO (besides epic failure to install itself properly without Steam), is that it’s showing its age. People are still saying LotRO is a great-looking game that holds its own, but as of this year, I’m not so sure.
This judgment is partly due to a beta I played recently. This beta game had excellent performance and put my default settings as “ultra high”. It’s been a very long time since I wanted to take so many screenshots in a new game. Of course, I was strictly forbidden to take screenshots.
I’ve gotten hitching and poor performance with ultra settings in LotRO, despite having it installed on a SSD. Maybe I need to re-install on a normal HD? (Oh, joy.) Rift is fine on my SSD (Solid State Drive).
Another sidebar comic strip is on the way with more steamy interracial action and unthinkable nonviolent options to resolve conflicts. Happy holidays, and happy gaming to all.