Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ravric: Sightseeing on the Lonely Road

The inn, when I logged in, was full of hustle and bustle. There must have been at least 10 players just standing on the steps of the inn. I also got this weird error message from an icon of a broken chain saying that due to server strain, I would not be getting to see everything my graphics were capable of (mostly draw distance, I believe). That went away fairly quickly.

I had the Book 2, Prologue quest to go meet Radagast further down the east road, and I gained another one to meet the Eglain, or the forsaken men who got pushed out of their Ruin-Holds due to the White Hand goblin or orcs invasions. Along the way I caught sight of the great ruins of Weathertop.

I finally got to Ost Guruth, a Ruin-Hold with its own stable (basically a major quest hub in comparison to the Forsaken Inn). I got a couple new quests, and the problems seemed to be more of the same as what I heard from Forsaken Inn, but compounded. There were goblin and orc camps all over Weathertop. The swamps to the east were filled with dreadful creatures. And the wargs had come. I really liked the way the non-epic quest stories were moving. In Bree-Land most of the quests were all about local problems: brigands, wights in the barrows, etc. But now in the Lonelands, we are fighting The Enemy. I finally got to Radagast, who had taken over the one standing tower in Ost Guruth.

He said "Hmm... Gandalf sent you. Well you are clearly a noob and cannot start Book 2 yet." I was only level 20 when I met him. He then chose to stare at me for 5 minutes, before I realized the ancient Istari wanted me to leave until I was more prepared (level 21). At least I got the Stable travel point at Ost Guruth.

I then decided to check out the area north of the Forsaken Inn, west of Weathertop. It was filled with White Hand goblins, and crebans (large evil ravens). Far north, I finally fought a few orcs for a Forsaken Inn quest that wanted to take their battle standards and sew it into a baby blanket or something.

Just west of Weathertop (and probably on the other side as well) there are two goblin camps. I think the area is mostly meant for a buddy-play group because it is nearly impossible to get into the camps by pulling one mob. I was doing okay, but I must admit I am again unhappy with the old and worn usage of traditional mechanics that Turbine used. Things respawn once killed. This is not the problem. The problem is that things will respawn nearly on top of you without warning AND immediately attack. At least in WoW, the mob would be in a type of "stasis" for about 5-10 seconds or until attacked.

Basically I went to a sub-camp, killed the two goblins guarding it... went to go poison their food, and while doing so two more goblins respawned nearly on top of me and immediately attacked. I just feel it is a little too unforgiving, and since they chose that respawn style a grace period to gtfo would be useful. Something I will have to get used to now that I am getting in to tougher spots.

[soapbox]One of the things I pray for in future MMOs is the immersive feeling that you are accomplishing something. Right now MMOs fail at this feature. Guild Wars on paper came close, but shied away in the end. Tabula Rasa almost gets it, but you never feel like you are winning. Warhammer Online gets a little closer with RvR changing the landscape, but I am talking more about PvE. It just rips away immersion when you kill 100 goblins in a small camp, and they remain there... and "warp" in. I just feel that if it was a core focus (instead of being lazy, and I'm sorry but warping in mobs is lazy) of development, something beautiful could arise without the sacrifice of gameplay.[/soapbox]


Theodwine said...

I imagine you've noticed by now that soloing a captain can be a major PITA. Even solo quests can often be tougher than they seem they should be, though perhaps Turbine has fixed some of that in the past 6-8 months. Some friendly advice from a 50 captain (though you've probably already figured it out), we really shine in fellowships, and kin should be glad to join you.

Ravious said...

I actually am doing pretty well, so they must have changed enough to make it more solo friendly. That's the reason I did choose Captain, to be a great help in fellowships but not be the healbot.