Monday, August 31, 2009

The Meanings of Words

I decided to fool around a bit with the Notary in LOTRO this morning, giving my toons some surnames that grant character. I've always enjoyed playing around with the rich language that Tolkien created for Lord of the Rings. Most of my toons have some meaning in their names that describes their background or character.

Heren Lokion - As we've said elsewhere on this blog, this is our "translation" of Ordo Serpentis from Latin into Quenya (high elven). "Heren" means Order, as in "Heren Istarion," the Order of Wizards. Interestingly, it's close in spelling to "heru," which means lord, and another translation of "heren" is success, fortune, mastery over. Lokion, I think we misspelled. It should be Lokeon, which is simply the word for snakes made possessive, i.e. "of the snakes." So, Heren Lokeon is "Order of the Snakes" or "Mastery over the Snakes."

Ellote - My main's first name translates to "Star flower" from Quenya.

Avouz - This was a name created via a random letter generator. Avouz was originally a character from D&D Dark Sun realm, so there was no languages to draw upon. However, treating this as an actual Tolkien word produces some interesting results. "Ava" means outside and is used to describe the Void, i.e. Avakuma. "u" is a negative, i.e. "not" or "against." The letter Z does not appear in Quenya that I can tell. Avouz is an Avari prince in LOTRO, so one could argue that his name is from a language that evolved from Quenya and it translates to "Against the Void" or "Not outside."

Saemonades - Taken from the Greek name Simonides. This one is a bit trickier than Avouz was to plug into a Tolkien language. "Si" means now. There is nothing for "mon" although "men" means region. "Ada" is man in Sindarin, i.e. "Adan" or "Edain" in the plural. "Man of the now region?" Or perhaps "Man of this time." Still an odd name for an elf, but no worse than its original Greek meaning "snub-nosed one." His surname is easier, "Mordeion," son of Morde. Morde was the elven spellcaster played by another friend of ours in our very first MERP campaign back in college.

We don't know a whole lot more about Tolkien's languages for the Rohir, Dwarves, and other races, although it is obvious he did do some work in these areas. Still, I'm not sure I want to try to figure out what Stofnar or Maeoden mean in English. I did my own little language game for Nord, claiming that "korath" means child and "nord" means north in Haradric, so he is "child of the north."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Interesting observation....

As I've been diving into the Lord of the Rings game, I've also been rereading the trilogy and rewatching the Peter Jackson movies from a few years back. I've just gotten to the part in the movies where Grima and Saruman have identified Aragorn's ring as the "Ring of Barahir."

Being ever curious, I decided to snoop around and find out a bit more of this heirloom, which according to the story is a mark of Aragorn's kingship.

According to the summary on Wikipedia (which is affirmed by my MERP sourcebooks), the ring has a lengthy history as an artifact of Arnor, the north kingdom of the Dunadain after the fall of Numenor.

I find that interesting, because the shards of Narsil are also regarded as an heirloom of the north kingdom.

Is it just me, or do the two most important marks of Aragorn's kingship, the Ring of Barahir and the Sword-that-was-broken, both point to him as the Heir of Arnor, not Gondor? Granted, the north kingdom is long destroyed by the events in the Lord of the Rings and also Aragorn's reign at the end of that book extends over the lands of the north kingdom. But it seems odd to people make such a fuss over these two items when they belong to the north, not to Gondor.

(Also, Elrond grants Aragorn the Scepter of Annuminas as a gift upon receiving the crown, yet another artifact of the kingdom of the north.)

Bilbo's Trolls

See, I told you they're out there :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Too much of a good thing...

One of these days, I'm going to learn. But then again, after almost 37 years of life, my pattern of extremes is pretty hard wired.

I swapped from WoW to LOTRO and wholeheartedly embraced this game. I rolled a full cadre of 7 toons, deleted a few, then rolled some more. I've leveled four crafting professions to expert and a fifth to artisan. I have 5 toons over level 20 and a sixth closing fast.

And I am burned out on LOTRO.

Too much, too soon, too quickly. I rushed in and now I'm suffering for it.

You'd think I'd know better. This is the same road that led to much of my disillusionment with World of Warcraft. Solo play is fun to a point, but the fresh stuff is the stuff you can't get to without a group. Logging on every day out of habit more than desire to grind out another daily quest. Now it's logging on every day for a little while to grind out a quest I already did on 3 other toons just a few days earlier. Gets old fast. Different game. Same dilemma.

We should be starting our group activity soon, renewing our old WoW raiding schedule to do some instances, Great Barrow at the start. I told the rest of Heren Lokion that I'm taking a weekend break, and I may hold off logging in again until the actual start date. Not sure.

Either way, I need to find something else to do for a while, before I ruin a great game.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I think I'm eating my words...

Over the last few posts, I've been grumbling about WoW and its failed direction and my lack of interest in ever going back as a result.

Then, due to Blizzcon, all the preview and teaser material for the Cataclysm has been released.

I may have changed my mind. This isn't an expansion. It's World of Warcraft II for all intents and purposes. The game looks like a total reset, with the world literally being transformed from what it was. I have no idea how they're pulling that off. Are all the 1-60 quests and zones going to be completely revamped or is this going to be the ultimate use of the new phasing tech where the world will change after some level 80 quest line?

Flying mounts in the old world. Cool.
Goblins as a playable race. cool.
Heroic versions of old world dungeons. cool.
Human hunters. Cool.
Deathwing as the main villain. VERY cool.

Of course, this won't be released for another eighteen months probably, so there's still plenty of time for LOTRO goodness in the meantime.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Too little, too late, Blizzard

Caught this on a random visit to one of my old World of Warcraft stomping grounds. This is from the patch notes for WoW 3.2.2.

The Brood Mother Returns

After years of lurking in her lair battling the many brave adventurers who travelled from afar to challenge her, Onyxia returns to commemorate World of Warcraft’s five-year anniversary.

Onyxia has been scaled to offer new challenges to level 80 players and is now available for testing in 10- and 25- player modes.
Adjustments have been made to the encounter to keep it fit for modern raiding, but the fundamental experience of fighting the Brood Mother will remain, as will the horror of the Deep Breaths!
Some classic items Onyxia offered level 60 players will have their stats adjusted appropriately for level 80 players.
Brood of Onyxia, a very rare 310%-speed mount modeled after Onyxia herself will be available for the luckiest of challengers.

Now they catch on that there's value in older content. Too bad they didn't figure this out ages ago before we all got bored and left. Of course, their idea of "adjustments made to keep it fit for modern raiding" might include Ony crapping epics and then fleeing in fear when she sees a typical raiding party. That would certainly fit Blizz's faceroll-to-victory design paradigm.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Pet-peeve List

Ok, I'm loving LOTRO, but there are some things about this game that drive me nuts. Things WoW, in truth, got right. So I'm putting together my Pet-Peeve List of things in LOTRO that I wish were more like WoW.

1) GIANT TOOL TIPS! My God, you mouse over a spell or ability and half your screen disappears as the interface tells you all the intricate details of what that ability does. You can't see the mob you were about to cast that spell on, since its behind the tool tip. Can't see yourself because you're behind the tooltip. And what's worse? You can't turn them off. You can make them mobile, in that they appear where your mouse pointer is, but so far, I've not found an off option or anything else that might make them smaller.

2) Color coding. I've figured most of this out, but it's still not a great way to do things. Grey = trivial. Green = weaker than you. blue/white = around your level. Orange = slightly above you. Red = a lot above you. Purple = death if you challenge me. But then, your kinsman are also blue. Summoned mobs also work off the same pattern when you see them running around. Never mind the whole silver ring icon for quests vs. the grey ring icon, the difference of which is substantial, but you can't tell until you're on top of the quest giver.

3) Buying and Selling. I hate that you cannot sell direct from your bags. Invariably, after a visit to a vendor, I've left some dealer trash behind that I somehow missed while scrolling through the list.

4) The Mail System. The last one is the biggest doozy of them all. No mechanism to send multiple items. No auto-delete of item mails after the item has been retrieved. No fill-in-the-blank name from your friends or kinship list. That one really gets me. I have a hard enough time with my own toon names. So I hope Shelwyn and Gwennyn enjoy the stuff I sent them (as opposed to Shelwin and Gwenynn, who they were meant for.)

Sometimes, when a game is this good, these missteps are all the more jarring. That's a bit how I feel here. Ok, Turbine, fix these things and your game will be about perfect.

Friday, August 7, 2009

One month out

As I got ready to leave on business Tuesday morning, it occurred to me that my WoW account was expiring that day. It had been roughly a month since I'd started LOTRO and now the hammer was falling on WoW. Did I miss it? Will I want to go back? Is LOTRO going to be as fun? All those questions ran through my mind.

Truth is, though, I don't miss WoW. Not in the slightest. Presently, I am having as much fun in LOTRO as I was in WoW, perhaps more at the moment because of the newness of the experience. I've got three toons now to level 20+ and a couple more catching up fast. I've discovered which classes I love (champion, hunter, warden) and which I don't (minstrel). I'm loving the crafting system, which is far more complicated and involved than WoW's but also more useful.

Will I ever want to go back? I can't say. Maybe if the next WoW expansion (Maelstrom, I believe) is really cool, but maybe not. It'll likely be more of the same dumbed down content that killed Lich King for me: Show up, fail, and still get epics.

I've heard rumor from a long time LOTRO-playing friend that LOTRO is not the place to go for challenge, so once I hit end game I may feel differently about some of this than I do now. But for the time being, I'm enjoying the ride. WoW will still be there and there's always the new stuff coming down the pike.

Do I regret playing WoW for almost four years of my life? Not in the slightest. I had some great times in game: Beating tough bosses, getting cool titles, causing a few wipes (with the requisite laughs). It was a good game for its time, but I think the truth of the matter is that I've outgrown it now.

So farewell to the World of Warcraft. Middle-Earth and perhaps worlds beyond await.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

For the gay fashion designer in all of us...

Ok, I'll admit I've gotten spoiled in one way by WoW. I've enjoyed seeing my max level characters walking around in set armor with these superb bad ass looking weapons. Having to shift gears to playing lowbies in a new game, even one as pretty as LOTRO, has been a bit jarring.

Thankfully, the outfit system that you unlock at level 20 helps immensely. I do appreciate that once you unlock it on a single toon, it is then unlocked for all your toons on that server. When Korathnord hit 20 a few days ago, I eagerly jumped in to give my characters that special look.

However, there were still two problems. One, I was dissatisfied with the selection of cosmetic "outfits" available at the four capitals (Michel Delving, Thorin's Hall, Bree, and Celondim). I found some of what I wanted, but not others. Two, this was exacerbated by seeing other toons run about in the world with some very cool looking gear.

So I went searching and found a website that has pictures of all the different outfits and crafted armor: Darzil's LOTRO Crafting Guide

It's been a boon. Only thing is, most of what I want seems to be Lossoth gear. The site doesn't give level ranges on the gear, but I'm guessing it's going to be a while before I get any toons up to the frozen north to pick the stuff up.

Either way, check the site out and let that inner fashion designer burst forth...