Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bilbo didn't want to come

In the spirit of non-gaming news: look what I got in the mailbox today! It's my favourite (and only) fashion catalogue and - apart from making me chuckle - it reminded me of the fact that the first Hobbit movie is getting nearer and nearer. I still remember how excited I was as a seventeen-year old girl when my favourite book was going to be released as a movie, and I feel a little bit like back then again. 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is going to be released November 28 in New Zealand. Sadly enough, being Dutch, I will have to wait until December 12. Americans will even have to wait two days longer. I put a counter in the widgets to the right right away in order to not forget the date. You can find where The Hobbit will get released in your country at IMDb.

Even though there are some parts that I dislike about Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movies (especially the skipping and adaptation of some lore), I'm looking forward to see what this movie will be like and will definitely watch it in the theater. Will you?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Pink Yoda lives in the deep sea

Sometimes it's fun to not write about the games I play, but to write about the world they are supposed to represent. Today some news from both our own and the Star Wars universe: a new deep sea worm species was found and named after the wise master because of its eary appearance: Yoda purpurata, which you can translate as 'pink Yoda'. I don't know about you, but I like it!

At least it's something different than just naming a species after a scientist you admire, like usually is done. I also like the idea that 'Yoda' is living somewhere on this planet, secluded from the rest of the living world, just like he was on Dagobah.

More about this interesting earthly reincarnation of Yoda: Yoda worm brings Star Wars to the deep sea (The Guardian).

Saturday, 20 October 2012

LOTRO: A tourist guide to the East Wall

It's been five days since Rohan was launched, and I haven't been able to write a single post. Shame on me! I've been so busy with my studies (and I don't expect it to get any less busy the coming two years, to be honest) that I barely had time to let alone play the game, and I'm level 77 as we speak (while many of my kinmates are already level capped). Nevertheless, it's time to get rid of some screenshots I have been capturing!

In fact, I thought it would be cool to guide you through the different regions of Rohan while I quest through it. Today will be all about the East Wall area, where I started off with the new epic book quests.

And what better than to start with the Argonath, the giant statues of Isildur and Anárion that mark the passage into the large lake Nen Hithoel, and more symbolic, that into the reign of Gondor at that time. If you follow it more to the south, you will end up at the Falls of Rauros and Amon Hen, where the Fellowship fell apart.

The landscape of the East Wall region is rough, with many wild weeds, pine trees,

rocks and clear water creeks,

and warped trees. Not warped as like those crazy trees in the Old Forest, but warped in form. Even though capricious, I really like what these look like. I would love to walk through the landscape on the picture above in real life, if only there weren't Uruks hiding behind the trunks.

Sadly enough, these lands near the river banks of the Anduin are infiltrated by orcs of all sorts. Some even got the guts to settle themselves in fortifications such as on the picture above. I was pleasantly surprised, though, when I encountered these. The forts strongly resemble the Iron age and early medieval hill forts as found in northwestern Europe (including England, France, the Netherlands and Germany). It is no secret that Tolkien was inspired by archaeological remains as there are still many to see in Great Britain. 

Often, these forts, by rule situated on hills,  had ditches around them, and circular earthen walls brought up with the earth that was collected through digging them. In this case, the rocks already figure as walls, so ditches are unnecessary. Professionally, I've spend a lot of time studying the early medieval forts, and have recently attended two lectures about Iron age hillforts in France and Germany, so I thought it was pretty cool when I ran into this. For me it brought a bit more realism to the landscape.

As a first impression, I'm glad to discover there has been as much effort put into the landscape of the East Wall (and probably the rest of Rohan as well) as we are used to. It's no punishment to run around here and slaughter some orcs.

More in a Tourist guide to Rohan

Sunday, 14 October 2012

LOTRO: Almost there

We're almost there! Tomorrow at 12 pm (GMT +1) the servers will go down and the Riders of Rohan expansion will fire off. Luckily I have pre-ordered now, so I should be able to get going as soon as the servers are set free. I've always been impressed by LotRO's environment and vistas, so I'm really looking forward to exploring Rohan. I'm so curious to see what it will look like!

Back in August, when we all thought RoR would be released in September, I made a checklist of things to do before the expansion: On the menu. Let's see how I did:

1) Get virtues up to 14 on Ravalinde (rune-keeper) and Ravenwyn (captain)



Failed, but it was a good effort, especially if you knew the state of my captain's virtues before (zeal on 9 and that sort of painful stuff).

2) Skirmisher deed finished on lore-master Ravanel

I honestly tried and even did my least favourite skirmish, Stand on Amon Sûl, like six times, but kept getting the wrong encounters.


3) Gather iXP runes and guild symbols

In addition to these runes, I got around 40 symbols of various sizes on each of my three level capped characters. I think this counts as completed!

4) Finish the last golden Farmer tier on lore-master Ravanel


5) Take down Saruman

See my post Turn of the tide: Completed!

Total: 3/5, not too bad for a lazy elf like me!

The next goal

This was to get all ToO Challenges done, but we haven't managed that yet. My kin's achievement in RoI:

Lightning T2 + CM - Acid T2 + CM - Fire & Frost T2 - Shadow T2 - Saruman T2

I was at all the takedowns save the Shadow one. It's a pity we didn't get to do all the Challenge modes, but still I'm extremely proud of my kinship to have achieved so much in such a difficult raid. It was so much fun to work out all the fights and to grow. It's a good memory to look back at.

Tonight we'll go back in there, to the, as the event description reads, "only raid to ever defeat Asylum" for the last time and show our teeth. I can't wait! 

Friday, 12 October 2012

LOTRO/ME/SWTOR: October update

It's been a while, so I thought I'd give a small update to tell what I'm up to these days (apart from studying and not having enough time to write as many blog posts as I want!).


We've had a period of less signups, but this has changed for the better and lately we've been doing great on Fire and Frost Challenge mode. Fire and Frost T2 is quite easy, but Challenge mode requires some fine tuning. At least we got well-trained at resetting the fight! We have been close a few times and hopefully we'll get it done before the update with a bit of luck. That would be totally epic. It's a shame we won't get all the Challenge modes done in time, but then again, some of them are extremely hard (and indeed, none on our server has completed them all).

After the introduction of Riders of Rohan we can of course still run ToO, but it won't have the same value to me: gaining even just a few levels already has such an effect on the overall difficulty.

On another note, I had great fun when I found that someone had linked to my Raiding rabbits post on Reddit and talked about "the Bear Flattener" as if it was a factual name. Of course I just made it up because I didn't want to call them Rabbit 1, 2 and 3 or something (besides, I wouldn't know which rabbit to give which number anyway)! It did give me loads of pageviews.

Mass Effect

It's been ages already since I finished Mass Effect 3 with the original ending, and I still need to write about what I thought about it. I just feel that so many people have been saying something about it already, it's sort of hard to add something at all. However, I wrote a Mass Effect article for iRez: Avatar & Identity - Mass Effect (1). It's about how the 'Mass Effect experience' works and in what way one gets immersed in that world. I'm really happy how it turned out. In fact, I got so enthusiastic about Mass Effect again that I decided to extend it to two articles, and I feel I should really get the DLC and play the new ending soon. I might also finally write my Mass Effect 3 Ending story here on Ravalation.


Just at the day the new raid was released, our subscriptions ended and we had to renew them. The annoying thing is that you need a credit card for it, and those aren't that normal where I live. You need to pay money to get one, and you don't need it for anything. The only use for one would be if I'd need a hotel in another country (which I never do) or for Star Wars, which is not good enough of a reason for me. So far we've been using Tiger's foreign one which was free, but it now was empty and would take a few days for new money on it to arrive. On the SWTOR website we found it was now possible to pay with Paypal as well and use your normal bank account. However, we didn't get it to work and the customer service isn't replying to our mails. 

So now we don't have a subscription running and I'm not sure how much use it is with Riders of Rohan coming up so soon. I barely have time to game at all with the study load I got. I got a SWTOR post ready (just need to get one more screenshot in game) and I do plan on continuing to play the game, but with all the stuff going on this might be something of a short break.