Lord of Magic City of Runes and Heroes Online
This weekend I had some game time spent in three games, City of Heroes, Lord of the Rings Online and Runes of Magic. The latter two has the fantasy setting and the “kill ten boars” type of quests in common, while the first and last have a quite casual feeling in common.
In City of Heroes I decided to play my controller Frieda and found when logging on one of my in-game friends that do not play so often being there. We decided to team up and he brought one of his favourite characters at the moment, a werewolf type tanker at level 11.
Soon after teaming up I got a tell asking if I wanted to join a group of other 43s (Frieda was level 43). I said that I was sorry, but was already temed up with a friend playing a low level character. And the response was “bring him along also if you want, we have space for more”.
And this is one of the great things about this game – both that the ability is there for someone at a low level to easily team up with high level characters, but also that the community is often supportive for that type of team play. No arguments about have a specific profile for the character or being at a specific level. The more the merrier is rather the attitude often and which is one reason I really like this game.
We had a great time in the team and after a 2 hour session it was time to get some sleep. Sessions like this is one of the reasons I keep coming back to this game to play and has been doing that for more than 2.5 years now.
Compared to the City of Heroes session my LOTRO session earlier that day was something quite different. While I was doing a number of “kill X boars” type of quests, some of them tend to be better than other, like when fighting wights in the Lone-lands area (near the pool of Blood or whatever it is called). Enemies like that a least give a bit of feeling of real adventure. Some investigation of another nearby swamp area which turned out to be a bit too high level and dangerous was also pretty ok.
In its best moments LOTRO does do a good job of at least some slightly epic happenings, which perhaps is also its downfall when faced with more mundane “kill 10 boars” tasks – the feeling of less exciting activities is so much more prevalent in those cases. Add to that long travel times and sometimes long times to actually find the relevant enemies and parts of the game play.
I did have some team-oriented quests in my quest log, most of them starting to get a bit low level. I did see 1 or 2 LFF requests for some of these quests, but frankly I did not really find particularly inclined to respond. I remember doing them before in my first run with LOTRO and those memories where not exactly the most positive experiences (read a bit grindy). Also, the travel time and waiting time to get a team together did not urge me to respond to the requests.
I have reached sort of a milestone now in LOTRO. My Rune-Keeper is currently at level 26, which is the highest I have reached in the game and is pretty much at the same stage my previous highest character was when I gave up on LOTRO.
From now on new quests are likely to be things I have not done before, which perhaps will make the game experience in the game better. I do hope that at least, because LOTRO is not exactly at the top of my list for most wanted to play games.
Runes of Magic has as a contrast been quite a different experience in that sense. There is not any feeling of epic adventure there, but somehow it works out quite well anyway. It has a lot of “kill X boars” type of quests, but for some reason it does not bother me as much as in LOTRO for example. Part of the reason may be short travel times, plenty of mobs to find and that combining it with harvesting etc also breaks up the activities more. And finding harvesting nodes is also quite easy – there is plenty of that, also quite different from LOTRO.
And there has been a fair amount of teaming up also, although not perhaps in time. Quest series typically are a a mixture of “kill X boards”, some delivety quests and some collection quests. But in general they end up with a “beat up the boss” quest objective. So while most of the regular quests are soloed by people, the boss part is where people team up, beat up the boss and move on, although sometimes the team moves on to tackle other bosses and/or instances.
With relatively short distances and a reasonable amount of boss/elite type encounters, teaming up is fairly straightforward. It is not up to the quality of City of Heroes/Villains teaming, but neither is it a particularly painful PUG experience, which it can be in some games.
Not having read much about the game and generally avoided detailed guides etc I find myself discovering new bits and pieces of the game all of the time. While looking around in Silverspring I noticed an “Elite Skill Trainer” on the way to Forbidden Abbey (a spooky monastery area). He provided training for “elite skills” at level 25. Later someone made a comment in a chat channel about level 15 elite skills – apparently there would be some skills that I might already be eligable for. I found another Elite SKill Trainer in the Class Hall in Varanas City for level 15 and 20.
Seeing the description that trainer provided for the available skill it seems that there are elite skills that are unique for each class combination. In this case I had Rogue as primary class and Priest as seondary class active, which meant that I could get Quickness Aura, a spell buff that increased the dodge chance of my team. Switching to set Priest as primary and Rgue as secondary I could get the skill Snake Curses, which basically was a poison DoT which used rogue enegry instead of mana.
The NPC did not part with these skills without something in return though. He wanted 3 each of 3 different items that could be crafted from some of the basic level 1 resources. And this was just after that I had sold off all my level 1 resources, thinking that I would not need them anymore after raising my crafting skills to higher level resources…
Getting enough resources to get the elite skill for both of my class combinations essentially meant collecting 72 of each of the three base resources required (Balsa wood, Mountain Poplin and Brass ore). With the ease of finding resources nodes, collecting these 216 resources only took a bit more than 30 minutes though. Looking towards the future, I checked the requirements for the level 20 elite skills and already have the necessary items in store :)
Of the three games the one that many seem to thinking is one of the best MMOs out there (LOTRO) is the one I have had the least fun currently. There is certainly potential there and a setting which can differ from the more casual atmosphere of the two other games. Will that be enough? If Chronicles of Spellborn gets some things sorted out I might be dropping LOTRO – the soon to come patch for Spellborn might be a step towards that.