Monday, 8 May 2017

Ten years of LOTRO:
a history of virtual Middle-earth

Lord of the Rings Online is celebrating its ten year anniversary. Time to go back to 2007 and look at everything that has happened since then, I thought. Well, that kind of backfired: it took me two weeks of writing to finish this article. Turns out a lot happened in ten years; more than fits in a blog post! This means I had to be selective. I also had to find a middle ground between my personal experiences and universal developments in virtual Middle-earth. History is always subjective, and by no means did I want this article to be a dry summary of facts. That said, if you experienced an in-game era very differently, I would love to read about it in the comment section.

This article is meant to reminisce about good and bad times in LOTRO, or to look up what happened in a period you were absent: few people will have been around for the full ten years. I realize that some people may read this that have never played LOTRO, so I have tried to make it comprehensible for everyone. You can drop me a note below if anything isn't clear.

I hope you'll enjoy this 'longread' of ten years of LOTRO. We start by traveling back in time, to the spring of 2007...
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Thursday, 27 April 2017

A modest proposal. Solutions to the grophet overpopulation problem

On Rishi, players are able to observe what happens when things get out of hand

Star Wars: the Old Republic's latest update, 5.2, had one nasty surprise in stock: the tier 4 command crates have a chance to drop... fiery grophet pets. It is no secret that I despise these repugnant little creatures. They remind me of handbag dogs that constantly get spoiled with food by their owners "because they're so cute", or - in the best case - of the final destination of guinea pigs during a Peruvian guinea pig festival (do check out that link if you aren't familiar with this event): on a plate. Indeed, there is a peculiar similarity between the roasted guinea pigs and fiery grophets. Surely this is more than a coincidence; this is fate!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Drawing diary: March

Star Wars: the Old Republic launched a new update (including a long expected new operation boss) and Lord of the Rings Online started off its tenth anniversary event this week, so what am I going to write about? Neither, apparently. I have plenty to say about SWTOR's 5.2, but I want to take the time to write it all down. You can expect a post early next week, and of course I'll talk about it on Corellian Run Radio Saturday. With all that's happening, I still need to set foot in LOTRO to try out the anniversary event, but that should happen somewhere next week as well.

Meanwhile, my drawing diary of March is way overdue, so I'll write that instead. I usually try to write these entries at the start of the month, but back then the Developer Appreciation Week (DAW) took up all of my time. I also may just have put this diary off because there was so much to scan. I made so much!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Fashion Friday: Egg hunter's outfit

It's Easter this weekend, and I'm already looking forward to our egg hunt. Okay, okay, I'm grown up... but what's wrong with some fun? I've been looking for eggs with my family since I was old enough to identify one, so it's a nostalgia thing for me. Also, if I'd be a hobbit I'd still be a tween, so... totally legit.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

DAW 2017 wrap up

It's been a few days since the eighth annual Developer Appreciation Week (DAW) ended, so it's time for the wrap up post!

This year, a total of nine different blogs participated, writing a stunning total of 22 dev appreciating posts! The devs of the MMO Star Wars: the Old Republic (SWTOR) had the most dedicated to them, with three entries. Others receiving multiple messages of commendation were the LOTRO dev team, Daybreak Game Company and Concerned Ape of Stardew Valley. New this year were players thanking devs on Twitter with the hashtag #DAW8, spreading some extra dev positivity.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Managing a ten year old MMO: thumbs up to the LOTRO devs

I've never written so much for Developer Appreciation Week (DAW) before: one post a day. I don't know, I think I just finally found the right format for this thing. When I thought of developers to thank beforehand, I came up with eight, more than I had time for! So I'm saving one for next year (which one will have to stay a secret a bit longer).

Note that this is the last day of DAW 2017, a bonus day (as I was late with the announcement post). I will write a wrap up post with everyone's contributions later this week. If you are too curious to wait until then, you can already check some out in the comment section of the introduction post or on Twitter.

This last DAW entry is dedicated to the developers of Lord of the Rings Online. I know, I've featured them in previous years (read To the people making the sun go up and The things I love about LOTRO), but if you read my DAW 2017 introduction post...
"Have you ever been so critical about a game that you read back that post later and gasped? As in, you start wondering if any dev addressed would jump off a cliff after reading it?"
Well, let's just keep it at that I have opinionated LOTRO posts that would qualify.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Love for the SWTOR Stream Dream Team

Yesterday, a SWTOR developer stream reminded me of the need for a Developer Appreciation Week once again. For those who don't know: Star Wars: the Old Republic is about to release a major update (5.2) coming Tuesday, adding an operation boss after two years without a new raid. I was expecting news about that and indeed we did, but the team also revealed another cool new feature coming with 5.2: a renewed galaxy map. Right now, you can only access the galaxy map when you're on your ship. But with 5.2 you can use it from everywhere to travel, as long as you've unlocked a legacy perk. The map also looks very slick now and it is easier to locate planets. I was really happy with this quality of life addition.

However, Twitch chat wouldn't be Twitch chat if people would use it to complain. When Eric and Charles said they were working on tweaking class balance but it was delayed, people felt the need to complain about one dev working on class balance being on maternity leave. At this point, the developers felt obliged to state that no, there was not just one dev working on class balance, it was a team effort; they had just mentioned the maternity leave on other media to congratulate their collegue.