Tag Archives: wow

Pandaren belong to WoW as much as orcs do!

As I’ve previously written here, I was sure that pandaren are a possibility in WoW because they are NOT forbidden in China.

So yesterday, Blizzard announced their next expansion Mists of Pandaria and that’s when the shit hit the fan… apparently. I’ve seen it, heard it, read it in so many places. How dare Blizzard turn an April Fool’s Day Joke into “reality” (in the game world, at least)? How dare they butcher their lore even further? And yes, while butchering of the lore has certainly happened, I don’t really see them doing it here.

Pandaren have been in Warcraft’s lore since Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne (released 2003). Together with the nagas (a race nobody has complained about so far ^^), the pandaren made their entry. Granted, it was only one – the brewmaster. But he was there. And he brought beer! Why is there so much hatred for this poor little soul now?

A quick look at WoWWiki’s Pandaren page* led me to a link about the “Manual of Monsters”, “source book for Warcraft The Roleplaying Game” which was published in 2003. Said book already had pandaren in it and bits of their world and their culture have been known for years.

Now, dislike the addition of pandaren and their world as much as you like. Fair enough and all that. But get your facts straight! There’s no lore butchering because it is part of the Warcraft lore.

* An interesting read if you want to know what Pandaren are about – they’re originally from Kalimdor, by the way, as opposed to the orcs which stem from Draenor.

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (August 1)

Welcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about LotRO, Guild Wars 2 and any other interesting news related to gaming.

First things first, I found it amusing to read a dispute between several players in the Warhammer Online forum. The short of it: Mythic was at GamesDay in the USA (I forgot which city it was in. Sorry). A (former?) player asked some questions and got some uncomfortable answers. The worst one would be:
Me Q: So what you’re saying is Mythic is gonna stand back and do nothing while the game is going to hell?

Prod A: The game will stay up for the hardcore dedicated players as long as we got them the game isn’t going anywhere. We still have Ultima Online and DAoC and we’re adding new content for them.

However, he apparently misunderstood when James Casey talked about Rift and how some former members of Mythic worked on that game. And there’s still the question whether Shadow Warriors will get more Crowd Control or not. So what I quoted above is also questioned. Is it true or not? If you ask me personally, I’d say that the patch history and how much was added to the game since its release (compared to what was taken out) speaks volumes.

Edit: Artiee published a recording of the Q&A. It’s hard to understand but what I could hear basically confirms the quoted answer above. Still not really a surprise, I guess. But they did confirm that there are no resources for new content like a new class etc.

Not an MMO, but still a game I’m interested in: Diablo 3. This game will offer an auction house where players can sell items for real money. You’ll be able to see items and also characters! Apart from that, another sentence stood out: It was also confirmed that the game will require an internet connection to play at all times. I love having games on my laptop that I can play wherever I take it without having to be online. Germany isn’t known for its wide access to WLAN hotspots or other cheap methods to go online when away from your home access. ;)

For interested readers who are capable of German, I’ll give you three more links: Diablo 3 im Hands-on-Test, Item-Handel gegen echtes Geld und Jay Wilson im Interview. – The following might be a “good to know” for concerned WoW players: “Ich glaube nicht, dass unser Echtgeld-Auktionshaus auch in World of Warcraft funktionieren könnte.” Translation: I do not think that a real-money auction house would also work in World of Warcraft. So hopefully, we will never see something like that in WoW.

Guild Wars 2 will hopefully bring us some cool information at GamesCom. On the list of things to show is the Charr starter region, mid-level play for Sylvari AND Asuras, all 7 professions (which means we will probably not see the last class revealed there), finally more information about PvP in Guild Wars 2 and last but not least, the character customization! The latter is probably the most exciting part for me. Call me odd but I usually spend a lot of time making sure my character looks the way I want it to. Of course, knowing more about the PvP systems is also high up on my priority list. I can’t wait to get into PvP again (preferrably without having to worry about item spirals and sucking not because I can’t play my class but because it’s horribly undergeared).

Last but not least, Lord of the Rings Online talked about itemization with the upcoming expansion, Rise of Isengard. When I read the first two paragraphs, my heart sank a little. Fortunately, it gets better when you keep reading. I am just not a fan of the whole item spirals. I also do not get why a character should become more and more and more powerful because of super awesome gear. But at least, they will offer some good items to everybody no matter their playstyle. I would assume that this also makes balancing content easier. If you need to balance quests around players that have super-awesome-über gear and players in regular-standard-unter gear, I’d assume that it’s either too hard for the latter or too easy for the first group (I’m looking at you, World of Warcraft!).

Rift vs. LotRO vs. World of Warcraft – a closer look at all three MMOs (Final part)

Part 1: How much do the games cost and which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer?
Part 2: What can I play (races and classes?)
Part 3: What do the games look like?
Part 4: What’s there to fight against (PvE)?
Part 5: Who’s there to fight (PvP)?
Part 6: Crafting
Part 7: I want to be on my own sometimes (- or: What can do I solo?)
Part 8: Fluff

One thing I forgot yesterday is LotRO’s music system. Just a few days ago, Weatherstock took place. I haven’t been there, unfortunately, but here is a video (close to 4 hours long!). If you want to jump right in and play some music, The Fat Lute offers all you need (that is: songs).

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Let’s get to the last part of my comparison: The conclusion.

This will be even more biased and subjective than the previous parts. So, if you don’t want to read it, here’s the short version: Whether any of those games is for you is dependent on what you want to get from a game. The easiest would be to start the trial version (for Rift, you need to find somebody with an active account that can invite you – shouldn’t be too hard to find, though. There are lots of players, after all. For WoW, you only need to register for a trial account on their website. LotRO is free to play anyway).

***

The longer version: For me, all 3 games are solid MMOs where I don’t regret spending money. All of them get updates – including content updates. Which game is best for you is mostly a matter of preference.

A lot of people criticising WoW concentrate on its graphics. I personally like them. No, they are not up-to-date. And they are most certainly not realistic! But I like comics and I don’t mind comic graphics. If the game got released today, I would probably scratch my head at the graphics, though. ;) All in all, they are coherent. The world doesn’t look empty and it all fits together. That is what I find most important about all graphics, no matter the game. And this is where I find that all three games do it well. Then again, I really am not too picky when it comes to graphics and whether they make me stay away from a game or not. ;)

When asking whether a certain game is for you, you always need to look at what you are expecting to find in a game. In other words: What do you want from it and how do you play an MMO?

Your personal play style is important! I am going to list a few “stereotypical” gamer types and try to answer the question which MMO is for you. I know that people might belong to different categories. So don’t take it too seriously. ;)

Raider: I would probably direct you to WoW. They add new raids quite fast and regularly. They come in normal and heroic versions and you can choose between 10 man and 25 man versions. LotRO has raids as well but the cycle between adding more is slower. Rift also has raids. So, there you go. ;) In the end, if you do not mind waiting a bit longer (but do mind WoW’s graphics, for example), then you will probably have fun in the other two games as well. Of course, it is hard to say how fast Rift will add new raid content. It is still quite new, after all. Another advantage of Rift might also be that there are more new players. WoW has been out so long that it could be hard to find a raid that accepts somebody who is totally new to the game.

Casual raider (“casual” as in: You don’t have much time and/or prefer to play different games as well etc. “Casual” is never meant in a negative way when I use this term): LotRO. The “item spiral” (getting better items to get better items to get…) is a LOT slower in LotRO. In fact, people went to level 65 raids with level 60 raid gear. Also, as said above, the feature of scaling a raid in level is also nice because if the max level is too hard, maybe you can start practicing with a lower level first.

Solo player: LotRO. It does give you skirmishes on top of quests. You can challenge yourself with these skirmishes by making them harder. You can also get quite good gear just by doing solo content (the epic quest chain in Enedwaith is great for that!) and you can also get really good weapons. Of course, you might not need that stuff when you are mainly playing solo but advancing your character is always nice, I think. Even if nobody is there to see your awesomeness. ;)

Collector: Depends on what you want to collect. If it’s non-combat pets, then stay away from LotRO. ;) If it’s furniture for your house, then only LotRO. If it’s titles, then probably LotRO although you will get them in the other games as well. ;)

Small-group player (no raids but group content): LotRO. 3 man instances and skirmishes for 2 or 3 people is something the other games do not have. Rift might also be nice, especially because of its open group system and its open world rifts. It is easy to find groups this way, so no hassle of waiting around until you have finally found enough group members to do something.

Roleplayer: LotRO. All three games offer roleplaying servers but I have heard so many good thing about roleplaying in LotRO. Especially when it comes to player made events. Then again, I don’t want to say the roleplay in WoW or Rift is bad! Not at all. It’s just what I have seen and noticed myself. I guess Tolkien’s world is just so easy to get you inspired and with all the choices of cosmetic gear, lots of emotes, housing, etc. it is easier to roleplay. What you will need either way is connections to like-minded people. Get a guild/kinship and join them. Sign up for roleplay events, etc. Don’t just stand around waiting for others to roleplay with you. :)

Discoverer (the one who reads every single quest text and/or wants to see every part of the world): All three games have lots to see and very nice quest chains! So no game “wins” here.

PvP player: Don’t choose LotRO. Rift and WoW both offer so much more when it comes to PvP. One open zone is nice and it may be fun to play there once in a while. But it does get repetitive when you do that every day and when there is no other PvP to do and apparently no changes on the horizon (well… Monster Play will be open for free players when Rise of Isengard launches in September. You will be able to play one class: the Reaver. Turbine might be working on another PvMP zone but that one won’t come with the addon in September, so I wouldn’t count on it in the foreseeable future).

As I said: It depends on your play style, what you want from a game, your personal preferences and so much more! So hopefully, this blog series has helped you with making a decision. And if not, all games offer trial versions (well, LotRO is freemium, so you can more than just try this game, of course). Also, Rift has only been out for about 3 months. While a lot is known about the game, it is still hard to say which direction it will take. LotRO and WoW have been out for several years, so it is easier to guess what they are going to do and what they are not going to do.

Rift vs. LotRO vs. World of Warcraft – a closer look at all three MMOs (Part 8)

Part 1: How much do the games cost and which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer?
Part 2: What can I play (races and classes?)
Part 3: What do the games look like?
Part 4: What’s there to fight against (PvE)?
Part 5: Who’s there to fight (PvP)?
Part 6: Crafting
Part 7: I want to be on my own sometimes (- or: What can do I solo?)

Today’s topic: Fluff (aka “other”)

Stuff to collect: Yep, all games have stuff you can collect. I have already mentioned the non-combat pets for Rift and WoW. LotRO does NOT have non-combat pets. If I remember correctly, I read somewhere that non-combat pets would cause too many issues with server performance. So only Loremasters can have them (they are LotRO’s pet class) – but when they have one of those little companions with them, they can’t have a regular combat pet out. So in this case, it probably doesn’t cause any extra stress on the poor servers. ;) The screenshot shows my dwarf in WoW with a little tree pet. It gets smaller and smaller the longer it’s out but once it gets into the water, it grows back to its regular size.

All three games offer a variety of mounts. “Unfortunately” for LotRO, they are bound to Tolkien’s lore. So there are no rideable dragons or unicorns (or sparkling ponies – although I do have a glittering pony). Only goats, horses and ponies are available. Rift has standard horses but also weird looking Yarnosaurs and turtles. They also have mechanical horses. I would say that WoW offers the biggest variety with flying and ground mounts: Horses, dragons, motorcycles, mammoths – you name it, they probably got it. ;) The screenshot on the left shows my warden on her summer festival mount. The next screenshot on the left (a bit further below) shows my character in WoW on her flying dragon. The one below that one, on the right, shows my goblin on her “mount” (well, trike, obviously).

Housing comes up sooner or later when people ask about MMOs. Unfortunately, most developers answer with: “Not in our game, no.” Only LotRO has housing. This, in itself, is very nice. And you can have a sweet little house. However, compared to how other games with houses solved this, I am sorry to say it but LotRO’s housing stinks! You have “hooks” which are predefined areas in a house where only certain items can go. For example: A rug can only go on two or three places in your house. No, you can’t put it in the corner. It’s either in the middle of the room or nowhere at all. You also can’t put a bed in the corner with a shelf next to it and a little stool. If there’s no hook for it, there is no way to put all the furniture next to each other. That’s especially fun when you have a table and a chair. Nope, don’t even think about putting them there next to each other where it’d make sense. ;) You also can’t give a different wall colour to every room. In some cases, two rooms only have one slot for the wall paint. So, it is very restricted! And even though players have been asking for changes over and over again, it doesn’t seem that Turbine sees this high on their priority list. Which is too bad but I guess I am in the minority when I say that I love housing and that’s a big part of what keeps me playing a game. If you want to decide between those three MMOs and you absolutely must have housing, then LotRO is the choice for you.

Also a nice thing for collectors: Titles. There are a ton of titles in LotRO. My hobbit is very proud to be the “Little Wonder” which she had gotten for finding different items in the newest zone Enedwaith. I don’t know if it is complete, but here is a list of titles. WoW has titles as well. Note that you can have a title in front of your name or at the end of your name here. Last but not least, titles in Rift.

WoW and LotRO also offer festivals that fall accordingly to our RL holidays like Christmas, Easter,… LotRO also has a summer festival, WoW has Children’s week and so on. The screenshot on the left shows the maze in LotRO. It’s quite fun to run through it and there are several quests, even timed ones, that lead you through the maze. During these festivals, you can also usually get a new mount or non-combat pets (the latter only in WoW and not in LotRO). Unfortunately, WoW is not friendly to low level players! During the first WoW Brewfest (yes, on time for Germany’s Oktoberfest ;) ), they had fun ram races where you could get a Brewfest Ram for levels 40+. The next year, those rams were not available anymore and you had to be at max level in order to get the faster version of this ram. There was no explanation as to why the low level ram was removed. It just was. Luckily, those who had already gotten the ram in the first year could keep it (and upgrade it to the faster version). LotRO placed all its festival areas into the low level regions. There’s usually no problem at all to participate as a low level character! I don’t know if Rift offers festivals like this. They had a special event some time ago, though, with special rifts taking place all over the world and there were some open world bosses to defeat. Participation in the rifts and doing some special dailies gave you a special currency which could be turned in for special rewards. I think I chose another non-combat pet.

WoW and LotRO offer addons. WoW has had them for a long time and thus, the addons are usually of a very good quality. It is also easy to install, maintain, load or unload addons. LotRO’s addons (or plugins, as they are called) are still in beta. If you have several plugins, you need to load them all manually by typing something like “load plugin XY”. Imagine what that is like when you have a ton of plugins. ;) Of course, plugin developers solved that problem by programming plugin managers. So you only need to load this plugin manager and can then load the other plugins easily without having to type any further commands. Plugins in LotRO are also heavily restricted in what they can do compared to WoW (no looking at the items in your alt’s bank while you are logged into your main character, for example). All in all, the current system leaves a lot to be desired especially when looking at the usability and the plugin interface. You also need to go to Turbine’s forum to the plugin section, find the appropriate thread with a specific download link and download some folders without which a lot of plugins would not work. Hopefully, Turbine can move that whole development out of beta soon and make it easier to use (it started last autumn, I think, when LotRO turned f2p). Still, there are a few addons that I’ve tested and really like. The screenshot on the left shows Palantir: the percentages on the left and the right show her health and power. The bar below my character has spaces to put pots in that are used to get rid of debuffs. The bar on the right shows a buff she’s just activated and how long it’s still active. This bar also shows debuffs if there are any on her. The screenshot on the right shows my character in Rift after she used some item that temporarily changed her appearance. The next two screenshots show mounts in Rift next to the mount vendor.

Plugins/addons are often criticised. Especially when they are made mandatory by your fellow gamers or used in a way to easily spot the “n00bs” and make fun of them – or kick them from your group. There is the infamous “Damage meter” in WoW which shows everybody how much damage you have done and if it is not enough, you are ridiculed (well, not by everybody, of course. But it has happened!). And then there is Gearscore which adds all your items’ item levels. This alone doesn’t say anything about your skill as a player. It just says how great your gear is. And players started to not invite other players who did not have a high gearscore – even for content where a high gearscore was not necessary. But some players think another player with better items means that they must be a good player. Or, to turn the argument around: A player with a low gearscore must be a new (and thus, bad – or not-good, player) and thus, they would not want to have them in their raid.

Trion is working on addons for Rift. So currently there are none in the game.

Cosmetic items: Both Rift and LotRO let you equip items “cosmetically”. You can wear your regular gear but have the appearance of other items. That is very nice if there is this one item that is SO much better than your current one but you don’t like its look at all. LotRO supports this system by having tons of cosmetic items that don’t have any stats on them but only have a nice appearance. If you want to see some examples, have a look at Lotro Stylist and Cosmetic Lotro, two blogs that show different outfits that you can put together. WoW has no such thing. Rift and LotRO also let you dye your gear in different colours. Again, WoW has no such thing.

Rift vs. LotRO vs. World of Warcraft – a closer look at all three MMOs (Part 7)

Part 1: How much do the games cost and which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer?
Part 2: What can I play (races and classes?)
Part 3: What do the games look like?
Part 4: What’s there to fight against (PvE)?
Part 5: Who’s there to fight (PvP)?
Part 6: Crafting

Today’s topic: I want to be on my own sometimes (- or: What can do I solo?)

I have those moments quite frequently. I always enjoy chatting with people and that is what I love most about MMOs, but I do not always want to play with others. I have the habit of going afk in the middle of a quest, doing other stuff like getting myself a cup of coffee, cleaning the flat in between, cooking, reading news websites or replying to emails,… – as soon as I play with others, I cannot do that anymore and it annoys me greatly. Of course, I want to do group things once in a while because it is fun, after all. But that is the point: Doing stuff together should, in my opinion, be something you can do but it should not be the only thing you can do in an MMO.

Anyway. Let’s have a look at how you can play solo in those three games.

WoW AchievementsAll three of them offer solo level content: The usual which you probably know if you have played a (standard) MMO before. There are quests, those give you experience and experience is what you need in order to level up. There might be quests in between that require you to get a group to help out, but you can skip them and just do something else. I have written about the quests in the PvE-section above already.

LotRO also offers skirmishes (which I have also already written about). Just look at them as kind of “solo instances”. They can get challenging, especially when you either choose the mobs to be higher level than you, if you do them without your NPC or if you choose a higher tier (difficulty ranges from tier 1 to tier 3). Turbine also changed how the epic quest chain works. Previously, if you were unlucky, it could take very long to find fellow players to do the group quests of that quest chain. Now, you can do them as a group or on your own! You usually get a buff that scales you up in power once you enter the area of the quest or you enter the solo version of the instance instead of the group version. This way, both the solo and the group players can enjoy the game the way they want.

Deeds and achievements: LotRO has deeds, WoW and Rift have achievements. In some cases, WoW awards you with stuff like a non-combat pet (e.g. for having a certain amount of non-combat pets with your character) or even a mount. Rift awards you nothing or titles (as does WoW as well in some cases).

Deeds are a bit different as they actually make your character stronger. In LotRO, your character has virtues which give you, for example, a bonus to might, evade rating and power regeneration outside of combat and you have 10 ranks of this virtue (each rank increases those stats a bit more). Specific deeds increase your virtue by 1 for solving them. You also unlock your character traits by doing those deeds. Character traits are used to specialise (to take my warden as an example: She can trait to do more damage, to tank by healing herself more or to tank by drawing more aggro). Unfortunately, lots of those deeds consist of things like “kill 500 wolves in region XY”. And believe me, that is a lot. Others are more fun as they are related to exploring regions or finishing a certain quest line etc. Still, I would prefer if they were ‘fluff’ like the achievements are. In all three games, there are a lot of deeds and achievements you can do solo. But there are also deeds and achievements that require a group or a raid.

I have already written about quests. But what about quests when you have levelled up to the max level? WoW offers a lot of daily quests. Most of those give reputation for the various factions in game. The higher the reputation, the better the items you can get. You can also run dungeons with the faction’s tabard equipped and get faction points that way. But if you prefer solo play, then you can do the daily quests. With the next patch, Blizzard will add a new zone, “Firelands”. That one will also apparently have lots of daily quests that are designed to entertain the solo players (there will also be content for groups and raids, of course!).

LotRO has repeatable quests. Most of those are connected to certain factions. So it is basically the same than WoW. There is also a daily quest connected to each skirmish. The first time each day that you do a certain skirmish, you get bonus experience when you finish it. This is very nice for levelling. I usually ran each skirmish that was available once and then returned to questing in the open world (if I still had time after doing the skirmishes). Other regular daily/repeatable quests also let you gain more reputation with certain factions. There are also nice rewards, although in a lot of cases, it is not just a better item but also a mount.

Rift is not much different here. They have dailies and dailies increase your notoriety with a faction.

WoW and Rift have crafting dailies. LotRO doesn’t have them. In Rift, you get a certain currency which you can then spend for special crafting recipes. WoW handles it quite similar. Cooking, fishing and jewelcrafting have their daily quests. The other professions have none. They give you special currencies which you can spend on recipes as well or a bag with random items. Some cooking and fishing dailies additionally give you one to two skill points. My favourite daily quest is the fishing one from the quest giver near Shattrath “Crocolisks in the city”. The reward is a bag with items in it – and there is a chance to receive a cute crocolisk non-combat pet! Awwww. :)

PvP is not possible as a solo activity – unless you are on a PvP server and run around looking for 1 vs. 1 fights agains the other faction, of course. Or 1 vs. 2 fights if you are really brave. ;)

Rift vs. LotRO vs. World of Warcraft – a closer look at all three MMOs (Part 6)

Part 1: How much do the games cost and which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer?
Part 2: What can I play (races and classes?)
Part 3: What do the games look like?
Part 4: What’s there to fight against (PvE)?
Part 5: Who’s there to fight (PvP)?

Today’s topic: Crafting (and secondary professions/hobbies). Crafting gets its own topic because I realised that I have a lot to write about here. I still wish MMO developers would make crafting more “important” or “meaningful” and not a hobby that you do when you don’t raid or otherwise kill mobs or other players. Still, all three games offer crafting, fortunately. :)

If you want to make money with crafting, have a look at the auction house first! This goes for all three games. In a lot of cases, the raw crafting materials (e.g. the cloth, iron ore/iron bars, herbs, leather,…) are worth more in the AH than the end result. So if your game of choice offers a gathering profession with which you can collect those raw materials, it might be smart to take that one.

World of Warcraft offers 11 primary professions of which your character can learn 2. It also has 4 secondary professions of which your character can have all four(those are “archaeology”, “first aid”, “cooking” and “fishing”). I will get back to the secondary professions later. I am not going to list all 11 professions. But they do have the standards like tailoring or weaponsmith. The system is rather easy to understand. You buy the profession and then get your first recipes. For example, as a tailor, you start by turning linen cloth (which drops from low level humanoid mobs) into bolts of linen. Then you create linen cloaks – all of that gives you skill points. If you get higher, you can buy new recipes from the trainer which then allows you to create higher level items. If you can keep up with your crafting profession while levelling (which is not that easy after they have made levelling faster), you can make a few items that are actually useful for you. Depending on your profession, there will be more or less useful items you can use. And, of course, more or less items that you can put in the auction house to make some profit. The best recipes are usually from reputation grinds at end level. So your character needs to reach the max level and you need to grind for reputation. You can even craft epic items (“epic” is the best quality). Sooner or later, Blizzard usually adds even better items to their raids and sometimes even to their heroic instances. Still, some of those items are pretty nice and some of the best you can get!

In order to make professions more useful at endgame, every profession can craft something special. For example: tailors can enchant their own cloaks which then give the wearer e.g. more spellpower. Others can also enchant their cloaks but those standard enchantments are less powerful. A scribe can do the same with their shoulder pieces. So, depending on your crafting profession, you can make one kind of item more powerful for yourself (compared to what players without this profession can do).

Herbs, leather and ore can only be gathered if you have a gathering profession (herbalism, skinning and mining respectively). Those also belong to the 11 primary professions.

And to give you another example about a WoW profession: Engineering. This is a fun profession because it gives you gimmicks like bombs to throw. There are also very stylish glasses and you can craft your own flying machine. Tailors can craft their own flying carpet, by the way. :)

Rift has 9 professions. You can choose three of them. It also comes with pretty standard professions (“standard” being gathering professions, professions to craft armor, weapons, consumable and items that enhance your armor/weapon to make them stronger). “Outfitter” is the profession that comes closest to WoW’s tailoring. While the tailor in WoW can only make cloth items, the outfitter in Rift makes cloth and leather armour. While levelling my character, I always made sure that my crafting skill was on par. That way, I always had nice items to wear that were usually better than the quest items I had gotten (although the crafted items were not as good as some items that I could trade in for having participated in rifts!). In general, the system works like in WoW: You learn the profession from a trainer and also buy new, higher level, recipes from the trainer. The difference is that in Rift, I hardly ever had to craft an item that was not useful to somebody. So no creating items with no stats on them just to get your skill higher. Also a nice thing about crafting in Rift: You can add an augment to the item while crafting it. Augments can give a bonus to a certain stat (intelligence, for example). There is a guide about augmentation in case you are interested.

LotRO handles the decision about which crafting professions you want a bit differently. LotRO has 10 different professions and you always have 3 of those. However, they are sorted into vocations. That means that you can’t just take cook, farmer and forester, for example. You can take the “Yeoman” vocation which has cook and farmer but tailor as the third profession. Or you can decide for woodsman which has farmer and forester but no cook. If you want those first three professions, you need two characters who choose fitting vocations. In LotRO you automatically get the most important recipes when your skill level reaches a certain threshold. Your crafting can also “crit” and then either produce more of an item (instead of one dye pot, you make 3 in one go) or produce a better item. There are also items that increase this crit chance.

As in Rift and WoW, there are gathering professions. And just as in Rift and WoW, you do not need to have one in order to produce items with a crafting profession. In all three games, you can use the auction house and buy the materials you need. This can get quite expensive, though. So it is usually a good choice to have a gathering profession. In the screenshot on the right, you can see an elf smelting ore she’s found on her adventures.

“Farming” counts as a gathering profession even though in this case, you do not wander through the world but instead, you stand on a farming field. Pretty nice to see, actually. And quite fitting to see the best farming fields in Hobbit-land. ;) What LotRO does differently is that your character does not just stand there idling around while you are crafting. In the case of farming, the character stands there and you can see him throw the seeds onto the earth. When you harvest, the character kneels down and picks up something. Every crafting activity has its own animation! In the screenshot on the right, you can see a hobbit collecting apples from the tree she’d planted before (don’t worry, you will not have to wait for 4 hours before you can harvest the apple tree. This isn’t Farmville! ^^).

LotRO has something called “legendary items”. You will get the first one with a quest tied to Moria (which is a zone for level 50+ but you can do the quest a few levels before that). Those items are usually 1) your main weapon and 2) one other slot (in the case of my warden, it’s her main hand spear and her ranged weapon, a javelin). Legendary items are superior to all other weapons in the game. So you won’t want to have a regular weapon anymore. Unfortunately, this makes crafting weapons a bit obsolete. On the other hand, my warden is a woodworker and while her regular weapon recipes are obsolete for the most time (for high level characters, at least), she can craft herself a legendary spear and a legendary javelin.

Secondary professions/Hobbies: As mentioned above, WoW has a few secondary professions. Those can all be learned by each character. Fishing is also possible in LotRO and the only hobby you can do. Sometimes, or quite often actually, you pull out a fish that you can turn in to a taxidermist who then gives you a fish to put on your wall of your house as a trophy. Fishing in WoW also gives you nice items like a non-combat pet, for example. Fish in WoW can also be used for cooking, another of their secondary professions. Other than that, I find fishing quite relaxing. Especially when you are looking for a place where the ambience sounds are fun to listen to (I suggest an oasis in the Northern Barrens in WoW). Not everybody gets this nice fishing chair, though. I was very lucky and got the code for this item from a booster pack for the trading card game (which I’ve stopped playing in the meantime. I just prefer Magic the Gathering – I know, it has nothing to do with the topic of this posting but I still felt like mentioning it).

WoW also introduced archaeology with their latest addon. You basically travel through the world to different places (marked on your map) and search for artifacts. This search is done by planting a survey device (shown in the screenshot) in the marked area. It glows either red, yellow or green and points into a certain direction. This tells you where to go and approximately how far away you are from the spot that hides an artifact. You can randomly find nice and fun items (like a mount, non-combat pets, other “useless” fluff items or even epic items that aren’t bad at all. Those epic items are “bound to account” which means that you can find them on your mage and send the item to your new level 85 warrior. I found this profession to be quite fun. Kind of like an Überraschungsei/Kinder Surprise. You never know what you will get next and if it is junk or one of the little figures! Unfortunately, once you have gotten all or almost all the rare items, it gets boring because there is nothing left to find. Until then, it is a nice passtime, though. Especially when you are watching TV or just want to chat with a few friends at the same time. Actually, parts of this entry were written while my character was flying to the next survey area. ;)

Rift has artifacts. It is not so much a profession as it is actually just artifacts standing around in the world. They’re shiiiiiny (spot the shiny in the screenshot. There are apparently lots of weird positions, so this one isn’t even that strange). There are lots of collections which consist of different artifacts found in the different zones of Rift. Once you finish a collection, you can hand them in at an NPC in the capital city. Artifacts can be sold in the auction house. I have used them to earn quite some money in the game! As a reward for turning a collection in to the NPC, you get lucky coins. Once you have a certain amount, you can buy stuff like a non-combat pet or even a mount!

I’m not sure I’ll get to post tomorrow. The next topic – posted on Saturday or Sunday – will be about stuff you can do solo (apart from crafting, of course!).

Do you have any questions or found a mistake in this posting? Don’t hesitate to comment! :)