Monthly Archives: January 2009

WoW Patch 3.0.8 – Small Details

With Patch 3.0.8 Blizzard has improved the summary page for achievements so you can better see where you stand, or where you have been focusing.

Vikund's Achievements Summary

Vikund's Achievements Summary

Vikund obviously does not care about his reputation or PvP.

But even more important, the paddle wheels on the ships to Northrend now actually move now!

The Ship Now Has A Wake!

The Ship Now Has A Wake!

There is also steam coming out of the smoke stacks too!

And there is even a crew aboard, with a captain!

Captain John Brookman

Captain John Brookman on the run to Howling Fjord

I have felt since day one that the paddle wheels on those ships should move.  Having them still while the ship was in motion looked goofy and was, in my mind, quite un-Blizzard like.

Yeah, those are tiny little details, but I often pay more attention to details than the big picture.

Return to the Great Barrow

Sunday afternoon I was given an opportunity to reverse a route, to replace the sting of defeat with the thrill of victory.

18 months ago when our Saturday night instance group decided to take a trip to Middle-earth, we got kicked in the teeth when we tried our hand at the Great Barrow.

There were many things wrong with our attempt, which is documented in the post Defeat at the Great Barrow, and once we left, we never went back to that instance.

So it was with some satisfaction that I was able to return to the Great Barrow on Sunday afternoon.

I logged on with Tistann to clean up a couple of dangling quests.  Primarily I wanted to find that orc messenger that is part of the Weathertop quest chain.  I spent some time searching for him previously and failed, but was able to find him at last.

As I went to the next step of the quest, there was a group of five looking for one more person to do the last stage of the chain, Retake Weathertop, which Gaff and I had done just a month back on Windfola.

I was on the stage before that, which requires a run from Weathertop to the fields outside of Bree and back, but asked if I could join the group if they still had an empty slot when I got back.  Their leader said okay, and off I went.

I recalled to Bree, ran off to the right NPC, headed back to Bree, took a horse to the Foresaken Inn, and finally headed back across country to where I had started from.  As I approached Candaith’s camp, I asked if there was still a spot in the group.  The answer was an invite.

And as I got there, I noticed that much of the group was the same team from the Sons of Durin kinship that had been blazing a trail for me the night before outside of Trestlebridge.

We got rolling and did Weathertop about as well as you could have wanted.  I gathered from their chat that they had failed at it earlier in the day with a short fellowship, so it was doubly good that it went well for them.

After wrapping that up, somebody in the fellowship asked if anybody wanted to go do An Ancient Story of Evil.

The Great Barrow!  With a full group!

It was Sunday afternoon, my wife and daughter were out and not due back for hours, so I threw my lot in with them.

We shared out quests to make sure everybody was set then ran through the Barrow-downs, ending out run at the Great Barrow with a huge train of wights behind us.  We jumped into the instance and got ourselves squared away.

First there are the spiders.  Big spider.  Scary spiders.

Fortunately, our tank, Dorr, was scarier.

Yarr! Dorr the Pirate!

Yarr! Dorr the Pirate!

The fights through the barrow went smoothly at the start.  It was nice to be able to use some of the group support skills that the captain has.  I also got to use one of Tistann’s new level 22 skills, shield brother.  It let’s Tistann designate somebody in the party as his “shield brother” and gives Tistann an attack that, when used, raises the morale of the designated person.  Dorr, our tank, was the designated person, of course.

We pressed on, deep into the barrow.  I still like the fog effects in the zone.

Spooky Fog

Spooky Fog

The only mishap came when Tistann got out a bit ahead of the party and got himself defeated.  We were on a ledge over some wights and everybody else was just using ranged weapons to attack.  Tistann, who only has a shout for a ranged attack, jumped into the fray with his halberd and ended up with a couple of adds.

Tistann needs a longer handle on his pole arm.

We made it all the way to the fight that defeated the instance group 18 months back and handled it without issue.  We stood there with the left half of the key, the first of two quest items to obtain, in very short order.

Half a key is how much?

Half a key is how much?

Then we ran into a few issues.

Trying to work our way across the barrow to the second half of the key, we ended up in a fight way over our heads and had a wipe.  It was the wight Sambrog and his retinue.  Not a party to go into uninvited.

That at least put us back at the entrance to the instance, which actually made it easier to get to the second half of the key.

Then a member of our fellowship had to leave.  She was the other “pick up” member of the fellowship and, as happens, wasn’t planning to stay on quite so long.

So we idled for a while as we cast about for another person to fill out the final place in fellowship.

Eventually we picked up a level 30 minstrel that Dorr knew and headed out again.

We ran into some spiders along the way.  Bits of the barrow seems to respawn, but not all of it.

We pushed on fairly well, arriving in the biggest fog covered room I have seen in the barrow.  It looked like a concert venue.

When does Spinal Tap come on?

When does Spinal Tap start warming up?

The room had groups of two or three wights scattered about along with a couple of patrolling wights.  We picked off the walkers, than took the fight to each to the groups individually until we had cleared a path to the door we needed.

We walked through the door, around the corner, and wiped.

That meant another run back through the barrow.  Fortunately we managed to kill at least one of the group of wights that slammed us, so the next time around it went our way.

And then we stood looking at the wight that held the second half of the key, Thadur the Ravager, minion of misery.  Just slay him and we would be done.

Hadur was waiting for us.

Misery loves company?

Of course, nothing is ever that simple.

The fight was interesting.  You beat down Thadur until he has lost about a small chunk of his morale, then he runs away and summons some non-elite wights to tackle you.

You slay them, then he comes back fully refreshed.  You knock down about even more of his morale, and he flees again.

After a couple of rounds of this, he finally sticks it out until the bitter end.

However, I messed up our first attempt.  When we were attacking Thadur, I was usuing my usual solo routine of just laying down as much DPS as I could.  This turned out to be enough to pull aggro off the tank at a couple of points, which got Tistann defeated.

Tistann down was just enough to tip the balance against the fellowship.  One of the minstrels went down, got revived, then the other went down.  Slowly it turned into a wipe.

Nobody pointed fingers, but I knew I had screwed up the attempt.

We ran back for another attempt.

This time around, I concentrated on the shield brother attack which kept a small but steady stream of morale boosts hitting the tank and kept Tistann from pulling aggro.  With everybody focused and knowing now how the fight would play out, things went very well and soon we all held both halves of the key.

I called for everybody to line up for a victory screen shot.  This is one thing that the regular Saturday night instance group is well trained at.  This group, however, meandered and faced in all different directions as I panned the camera around, trying to get a shot.  This was the best I could get.

Victory in the Dark

Victory in the Dark

At least we’re all in the shot.

And then it was time to collect the rewards, the fruits of our labor.

For Tistann, it was a big upgrade to his weapon, a nice new halberd.

New and Old Halberd

New and Old Halberds

All the better to pull aggro off of the tank!  I’ll have to go look up what Beleriand damage is however.  Some sort of serious second age whoop-ass I hope.

Some people had to head out so our fellowship broke up.  Then it was time to see about the repair bill.

When Tistann first checked, it was 80 silver to repair.  Aiyee!

Then I realized that I needed to sell some items from my bags first.  Things you carry get damaged when you are defeated, and I did not want to repair a pile of stuff that I was just going to vendor.  So out went all of that, including the old halberd.

That got the repair bill down to 60 silver.  Still a lot to me, but better than before.

At the end of all of that, Tistann stood very close to level 23.  I am still disappionted at how little experience the elite mobs in an instance like the Great Barrow yield, relative to how difficult they are.  That still seems out of balance.

Still, the few quests and all of the mobs killed in the barrow added up to almost a level of experience.

So I ran Tistann back out to the Lone Lands, to Ost Guruth, and started in on one of the quests from there.  That got him to level 23 in short order.

So another level in Middle-earth, another step closer to Moria, some new things seen, and a honking new pole arm!

My List for Obama

A lot of people seem to be coming up with lists for the President Elect (until tomorrow) about what they think he should focus on or do upon the assumption of the mantle of the President of the United States of America.

I read a couple (in print, so no links) this weekend that sounded remarkably like whiny posts you might see on the Blizzard or SOE official forums.

With the door open like that in front of me, I decided to make my own list of priorities for the new president.

Things I want answers to:

In addition, I’d like to see full Warren Commission-like investigations into the closures of Tabula Rasa and Auto Assault, the ongoing development of Hero’s Journey, and who was really behind the NGE.

With the answers to those questions, I think we can all rest easy.

Or did I miss something important?

Twenty-Two in Trestlebridge

I managed to get to 21 in the Lone Lands between the Foresaken Inn and Ost Guruth on Saturday afternoon, running down most of the remaining quests that were at or below my level.  I still have to find that orc messenger on the quest chain that leads to Retaking Weathertop, but otherwise I am at the point where the quests suddenly jump up a few levels.

That meant it was time to move to the North Downs, to travel to Trestlebridge.

I hate those first few quests out of Trestlebridge.  This will be my fourth time through them and, though they are marked as solo quests, they can be tough to crack by yourself at level.  Several of them require picking up items that are located in Orc camps with three or four orcs about, plus the usual crows around the periphery and a patrolling orc or two.

With care, patience, and a bit of luck, you can keep the fights down to battling two level 20-22 enemies.  But don’t loiter between battles.  The respawn rate is quick enough that taking a long breather can send your plans down the drain.

Still, it was better to face those quests than to try to go after some of the level 23-25 quests that awaited around Ost Guruth.  Plus, at 21 I got to upgrade some of my armor.  Gaff had gotten a critical event when making a chest piece for me, so I had something extra nice to put on.

tistannwca

It is nice to get something that good from crafting in a game.

I took advantage of the quest from Ost Guruth that sends you straight to Trestlebridge, and headed out.

Luck seemed to be with me.  Or, rather, my timing was correct.  Rather than running around at off-peak hours I was playing on Saturday night.  And even LOTRO gets pretty active on a Saturday night.

There seemed to be quite a few people working on the same set of quests, including one full group from the guild Sons of Durin who was cutting a swathe through the orc camps that let all us solo players follow behind and collect the needed pieces.

That was enough to get Tistann over the hump in the North Downs.  After that the quests tend to become more manageable for a while.

Before the night was over Tistann hit 22 and even got a new cloak from one of the quests.

Who is that cloaked stranger?

Who is that cloaked stranger?

It isn’t the best cloak in the game, but at least it hides my goofy helmet.

Reflections on 1000 Posts

Somewhere along the line in the last month I passed the 1000 post mile stone.

This is actually post number 1,032.

Given that I have been at this for just a quarter past two years, I have been posting more than once a day over the life of the blog.   Being a celebrator of milestones, I thought I would reflect a bit on what I have learned.

Doing something 1000 times is purported to impart wisdom on a person.  You are supposed to gain some insight on life from folding 1000 origami cranes, walking 1000 miles, or scrubbing out 1000 public toilets.

I rather suspect that, for some, the insights might end up being along the lines of, paper cuts hurt, the security line at the airport really isn’t that bad, and I need a better job.  But I tend to be too literal at times and often miss the profound whilst off in the corner examining some minor detail.

Still, I can figure some things out.

Readership

A lot more people read this blog than I ever expected.  And most of you do so during working hours.  Seriously, there is a huge dip in readership on Saturday and Sunday, and then a great big spike again on Monday.  Am I hindering or helping the economy by reducing productivity?

Thanks for stopping by!  I won’t tell your boss.

Change of Focus

I wanted, when I started writing, to tell a lot of tales of days gone by.  That was the plan, the reason “ancient” is in the name of the blog.  I ended up not doing quite so much of that as I thought I would.   It turns out that my memory isn’t that good, so a lot of those tales have big gaps in them.

I also started off posting frequently about upcoming games, games I was looking forward to, games I did not understand, games I might play, games I might not.  That has tapered off quite a bit.  I did not, for example, dedicate a single post to Age of Conan last year.

On the other hand, I have ended up writing more and more milestone pieces about making levels or other accomplishments.  And shortly after I started the blog, the Saturday night instance group formed and somewhere along the line Thursday became the regular recap day for what happened to the group the previous weekend.

What I like, what you like, and what Google likes

There seems to be three categories of posts, the ones I like, the ones that you, the readers, like, and the ones that somehow end up on the first page of results returned for certain Google searches.  Well, there is a fourth category, which is “none of the above,” but we’ll leave that alone.

The post I tend to like the best are tales of days past or me trying to be funny.  For the former, I get that they tend to be tales that mean something to me and maybe one or two other people, so the audience is limited.  As for the latter, well, we all think we’re funny, yet most of us are not.

Then I’ll write a post that I think is okay… I mean, I chose to post it… I don’t post everything I write… really…  but which I feel is probably pretty forgettable.  And then that will get 20 comments and ping-backs from two other blogs and a guild forum and I’ll have to go back and read it again to make sure I actually said what I thought I said.

And then there are those posts that I write on a whim that somehow end up being at the top of a not unlikely Google search.  For example, as of this moment, if you search on “king ping wow” (and Google will offer that up as an option as you type it), this post is the top result.  And I am still the number two result for “wow guild name generator,” and the post just points to the number one result.  Some day I’m going to drive up the street and pound on Google’s door until somebody explains to me how this happens.

(Yahoo, on the other hand, hates me.)

Milestones

Oddly enough, as time passes, the posts that I tend to feel a bit silly about posting at the time, the minor achievements like levels and such, tend to be the most valuable, at least for a matter of perspective.  My brain seems to sort events into things that happened recently, say the last few months, and things that happened a long time ago, more than 18 months or so, which is pretty bad when it comes to precision.  That and there is this mental gap where nothing apparently happened.

So, for example, when I wrote the 30 million skill points post this week, I went looking for the 20 million skill points post, which I was sure happened just a few months back.  It was actually seven months back.

I am also glad I put the names and levels of everybody in the instance group when I post about them.  I was going to stop at one point, when the group had settled down, but then I realized that those posts are really the only “growth chart” our group has.

Memories

One of the objectives of this blog was to preserve in writing some memories about what I was doing while gaming.  What games I played, what I accomplished, what I failed at, what I liked, and what I did not.  And in that I think I have succeeded.  For most readers I am sure that once a post slips off the front page of the site, it fades from memory, gone and forgotten.  For me though, the ability to go back and look at what I was doing at a given point in the past is a gift.

I only wish I had started earlier.

I wish I had started in 2004 when I was getting back into MMOs with EverQuest II and I hated World of Warcraft. I did some guild forum posts about my first venture into WoW that would have been amusing in hindsight.

I wish I had started in 1999 with EverQuest, logging events and levels.  At some point I was playing with a regular group and we went and did the quest for Ghoulbane for my paladin.  Today I cannot remember who was there, when we did it, or how much effort really went into it.

I wish I had started in 1993 with Sojourn/TorilMUD.  My first days impressions would have been priceless.  Now all I have are some memories that have managed to stick to the Teflon that is my brain and a folder full of email which consists mostly of out of date stats for items in the game.

I wish I had started in 1986 when I was learning to play Stellar Emperor.  I would love to have some record of the campaigns and lists of the people with whom I flew.  The same goes for Air Warrior.  All I have is a stack of GEnie LiveWire monthly magazines which gave only scant coverage to the gaming scene on the service.

I wish I had started in 1983 when I got my first real computer.  I do have some written logs of that time, including complete maps for the game Wizardry, but most of that time has faded in my brain.

Heck, I wish I had started in 1977 when I got an Atari 2600 for Christmas.  At least then I might have some written proof that the Wikipedia article on Adventure is wrong.  The article says the game came out in 1979 based on an interview with Warren Robinett, though he said 1978 in other places.  In the end all I have is a picture of my brother and I sitting in the living room of a house we moved out of in 1978 with the game clearly visible on the TV screen.

But in the end, I started, and I am happy that I did.

So if you’re thinking about starting a blog to chart your course or to preserve your memories, start today.

Now back to ancient history and meaningless milestones.

Oh, hey, I passed 500,000 page views yesterday.

Go me.

Head Fake for Ingvar

We thought we would fool Ingvar the Plunderer this week by setting ourselves up outside of Utgarde and then running off to do something else.

Actually, we intended to take a run at Utgarde Keep again, but got off to a really late start, so ended up just doing some quests.  Once all there, we were:

71 Warlock – Bungholio
71 Priest – Skronk
71 Mage – Ula
72 Paladin – Vikund
72 Warrior – Earlthecat

We decided to see if we could not roll up a group quest or two, maybe get a nice quest reward, and then call it a night.

Unlike Lord of the Rings Online, where I pick up fellowship quests all the time, simple group quests that do not involve heading into an instance seem to be a bit rare.

We sat for a few minutes in Valgarde trying to decide where to head.  Then I remembered a group quest that I had dropped that came from the pirates at Scalawag Point.

So we took the griffon to Kamagua and road straight into Scalawag Point only to discover that if you do not do the lead-in quests for that area, not only are there no quests waiting for you there but the whole camp is aggro!

So Vikund, who had done the lead-in quests, was standing there in the pirate camp wondering why everybody was suddenly headed back to Kamagua.

Fortunately, everybody was on or able to quickly get on the quest chain we needed and soon we were back at Scalawag Point and being welcomed with open arms.

The quests in the area are fun and, like much of Northrend that I have seen so far, very few were of the “kill 10 rats” variety.  If I recall right, there was only one kill and collect quest.  Most of the quests did not penalize being in a group like so many quests in old Azeroth do, though Mutiny on the Mercy was a trial for a group of five to get done in a reasonable amount of time.

On the other hand, Vikund got to demonstrate what happens when you consecrate on a moving ship.  The circle of damage stays put as the ship moves on, so he was able to pull the full lower deck as consecrate appeared to move towards the stern.

We also got to take on Abdul the Insane, an elite mob with a mini-boss’s hit points and a very fast respawn time, as we went after the Staff of Storm’s Fury.  We ended up having to fight him both coming and going.

Capping off the night was a chance to travel in another gnomish flying machine.  Here is Vikund on the outbound flight.

Northrend Aurora

Northrend Aurora

And on the return trip we managed to fly together.

Return Formation

Return Formation

Over the course of the night Bung, Ula, and Skronk all hit 72, making the group just that much more powerful for our return trip to Utgarde.  And, finally, at the end of the night I remembered to off up the Egg-Warming Blanket of the Invoker that I got as a drop off of King Ping a couple of days earlier.  After some discussion, Ula ended up with it.

Now we just have to get ourselves back into Utgarde and finish of Ingvar.

Level 20 in Middle-Earth

Tistann, my captain, made it to level 20 on the Nimrodel server.

I was worried about how long that journey might take.  My memories of the first time around seem to put the time much longer, but then your first time to level 20 is always long because you are learning the game.

In addition to my already knowing, or mostly remembering, the ropes of the game, Turbine has done a lot to smooth out game play and make the transition into the game easy.  The first 8-10 levels pass by very quickly.  The only hitch I found was missing a few quest lines because I ran off in the wrong direction at one point.  But that was a matter of my memories betraying me.  If I walk past a series of quests I ought run to start in on some a bit above my level, I can hardly blame the game.

After 12, things slowed down a bit, but I was still able to make a level or two if I sat down for a reasonable amount of time.  Hitting the game every other night or so ensured that I had enough rest experience to make the next level just a bit easier.  Quest experience is always the bulk of a level, but it is still nice to get a double dose of experience each time you make a kill.

And level 20 seems to be a significant level in almost all games, dating back to TorilMUD in my case.  My captain got a couple new skill, including the option to get a different ally and the ability to wear heavy armor.

For a new ally, I had a number of choices, including females.  With that available, I left behind Mr. Shabby and hooked up with a hot red head from Rohan.  She has a temper and is a mean drunk.  Here she is up on the table in the Prancing Pony after far too much mead looking for a fight.

Anybody else have something to say about tempers and red hair?

Anybody else have something to say about tempers and red hair?

I was going to name her Isolde, which sort of goes with Tistann, but after that brawl at the bar, I decided to name her Veruca, as she is worth her salt in a fight.

Heavy armor at 20 was a bit of a mixed blessing.  As it turns out, for player crafted armor, level 21 is the next tier, so I could either armor up for a level then do it again, or just press on with what I had to hand and arm up in a serious fashion at 21.  I chose the latter, though Gaff sent me a couple of pieces he had on hand to add to some of the heavy armor drops and quest rewards I had set aside.

This gave me better armor, but left me looking quite mis-matched, as you can see in the picture above.  Fortunately level 20 also grants access to the appearance tab, so I can stabilize my look, or at least find a decent hat.

Speaking of people making me things, Adam of Witty Ranter made me an awesome fishing pole.  It was good enough that it has a name.  Screw Anduril, Orcist, or Sting, I have ShoreThrasher, catcher of fish!

shorethrasher

In the end, 20 is only a waypoint on the path to greater things.  Somewhere in the distance Moria awaits.

Is it this way?

Over there?

If I can find the way.

Thirty Million Skill Points

I have not done much in EVE Online over the last two months.  Work, the holidays, other games, and being sick have all conspired to keep me from leaving the station in EVE very often.

But, with EVE, you can always progress while sitting still thanks to their skill training system.  I just crossed the thirty million skill point marker, putting me only seventy million skill points behind one of the most trained guys in the game.  If only he’d stop and let us all catch up.

I seem to be on a steady pace with skill points.  I hit twenty million skill points about seven months back, and ten million skill points about seven months before that.

And what have I been training over the last seven months?  Wilhelm’s skill points are divided up as follow:

Engineering:       5,738,540
Spaceship Command: 5,172,255
Science:           3,733,898
Trade:             3,224,591
Industry:          2,426,441
Learning:          2,001,963
Missiles:          1,662,223
Mechanic:          1,165,016
Gunnery:           1,061,607
Social:            1,011,275
Electronics:         998,658
Leadership:          680,544
Drones:              656,785
Navigation:          454,434
Corp Management:      11,770

It looks like a lot of stuff in the engineering tree.  Engineering went from 6th on the list last time around to first place by a fair margin.  Of course, engineering is where all my shield tanking skills are located, always useful for a Caldari pilot.

Spaceship command also went up a decent chunk as I skilled up to fly battleships and to prep for the freighter I never purchased.

As a percentage increase, leadership went up the most, going from 8,000 points to 680,544 points.  That increase mostly reflects getting Mining Foreman V (512,000 points alone), along with working on some of the fleet combat boosting skills.

So while science, trade, and industry all went up some, I appear to have spent most of the last seven months working on combat skills.

Wilhelm has 170 known skills, only up 10 since I hit twenty million.  I guess I have been concentrating on improving my current skills versus chasing new careers.  The skills are spread out as follows:

Level 1: 20 skills
Level 2: 18 skills
Level 3: 30 skills
Level 4: 61 skills
Level 5: 41 skills

The biggest jump seemed to be in level 5 skills.  I now have 15 more skills capped out.

There were a couple I needed to prep for that oft mentioned (but never purchased) freighter and then I started working on shield related skills while I was semi-idle and just running a mission now and again.  Level 3 skills actually went down in number, while the other levels went up a bit.

And, of course, the metric against which we all measure ourselves:  After the last seven months of training, I am almost exactly 22 days closer to being able to fly a Titan!

Go me!

I should be reporting on forty million skill points some time in late July/early August if I keep up this pace.

Being Evil in LOTRO Chat

I must admit that it is nice to be playing Lord of the Rings Online.

The word “nice” applies to so many aspects of the game.  The scenery, the effects, the classes, the skills (both trade and combat), the zones, the quests, and the other players are, generally, nice.  That is the word that keeps coming to mind for me.  Not great, gigantic, or outstanding, just nice.

Not that you should take that as a slam on the game in anyway.  It seems to strive to be nice.  It is the well behaved child in the family that doesn’t use bad words, that does what its told, that is polite, and does not get involved in anything unseemly like RMT, or even PvP except in the most round about way. (Okay, go dress up as a monster, then I’ll walk in the room and you jump out and scare me!)

So sure, it isn’t as dynamic, colorful, or fun at parties as some other games, but maybe you’ve grown up some and you want a stable relationship with nice.

I think there is a market for nice.

Even the chat channels are nice.

Over the course of a week I played EVE Online, EverQuest II, World of Warcraft, and Lord of the Rings Online, and LOTRO was certainly the easiest to deal with when it came to random stranger chat.  It was nice.  It was certainly so compared to WoW where logged on one of my alts on which, for the Lord only knows what reason, I had not yet turned off every single public channel, and it was like a scene where you press a button on somebody’s entertainment system only to have bad heavy metal music blare out at 11 while you try to figure out how to shut it off… only in chat text laced with internet acronyms and WoW slang.

Having all channels on in LOTRO, on the other hand, is a pleasant little stream of questions and people looking for fellowships (groups) for a quest that is easy to follow in a single window.  Sure, once in a while somebody seems to think that you must broadcast your request on the looking for fellowship channel every 15 seconds or somebody might miss it, but I have yet to find a game where that sort of over aggressive repetition doesn’t happen once in a while.  And they are always nice about it.  It is never in, say, all caps or anything.

Granted, people can get their noses a little bent out of shape in protecting this niceness when somebody dares to use the trade channel to actively, you know, sell stuff.  But otherwise it is mostly a very pleasant give and take.

LOTRO chat can be so nice that every so often people begin chatting about how nice it is.  I’ve run into this a few times.

Such a conversation was going on Sunday evening on OOC.  Several people were going on about how nice people were in LOTRO, and how polite, and how mature, and how unlike WoW it was, and on and on.  They began to speculate on why that was, doing into the depth and scope of the subject matter and how wonderfully rich and deep the books on which the game was based were.

At which point I just had to type into OOC, “STFU Noob! It wasn’t based on books! It was based on movies! WTF?!1

Then I began to count slowly in my head.

The channel remained silent until I hit 20, when I then typed, “Sorry, just had to remind you of what you were missing.

That got a “Heh” or two in response, but I was probably on a few ignore lists by that point.  And it killed the discussion, which was fine.  It was drifting a bit too close to the shores of sanctimony in any case.

I mean, nice is fine and all, but let’s not go overboard patting ourselves on the back about it.

Maybe I’m not as nice as I thought.

KartRider?

I went looking for KartRider this morning, but it seems to have disappeared.

A little less than a year back I ended up, due to a big colorful ad on the back of Games for Windows Magazine (which itself disappeared in April of last year) downloading and installing the Nexon free to play game KartRider.

It is (was?) a fun little racing game that my daughter and I played on and off for a couple of months.

This morning my daughter was looking at the icons on my desktop, pointed at the KartRider icon, said that we had not played that game in a while, and asked if we could give it another try.

But when I tried to launch the game, it gave an error, citing my firewall as a possible issue.

I went to the KartRider site I had bookmarked, to see if anything had changed or if I needed to download a new client and was greeted by this:

Open Beta has Ended

Open Beta has Ended

The open beta is over (oh, yeah, I forgot it was still in beta) and thank you to all the people who made it a huge success.

The main Nexon site had no obvious mention of KartRider.  The Korean site for the game still seemed to be up and in full swing however.

Eventually I found a notice on the site about the end of the open beta:

Greetings KartRiders!

We’d like to thank our beta testers for all their hard work in testing KartRider!

The Closed Beta will come to an end on Thursday, May 31st, 2007 at 5pm (PST). We encourage you to get your last few races in!

We will announce the full launch of KartRider at a later date.

Thanks for playing!

– The KartRider Staff –

Hrmm, it has been a while since I peeked in on the game.

Still, I have to wonder how huge of a success the open beta was if they removed all mention of the game from the main US site and have let the US localized version of the game sit for more than seven months.

They still have MapleStory, Combat Arms, and a couple of other games listed on their US site, but could this be another sign (ala NCsoft) that Korean game makers aren’t able to tap the US market as effectively as they do their home market?