Tuesday, 28 January 2014

LOTRO: Warm fur for the winter days

Now I've settled all the skills and points on my lore-master, I find myself logging her in each morning during breakfast. It strikes me as relaxing to spend some time on the five daily quests, at the same time working on completing the deeds in the area, my standing with the Survivors of Wildermore and accumulating some task items to send over to my captain.

The region is cold, though, and asks for warm winter clothing. So here's my winter fur outfit!

There are several nice and warm furry cloaks available in LotRO, however, they all cover the ears. Which is, of course, awesome for roleplay purposes, but I dislike hiding Ravanel's long hair.

It was easy to come up with the boots. I love the Ajokoira shoes, but there aren't many outfits they fit with. But then I found this Wildermore robe, with plenty of warm white fur on the shoulders.

Next on the list were some gloves, suitable to protect the hands from when making long hours on the warsteed (above), making snowmen (left) or even throwing some fire around. You're a lore-master or you are not.

We also need a headband to protect against the cold winter wind.

But enough talk, what pieces are in it already?

      Warm winter fur outfit      

The pictures include the Wildermore Survivor's Medium Gloves, save the one with the horse and sword, and the one with throwing the ball of fire, those feature the Ajokoira Gloves.

Both the Ajokoira gloves as the Wildermore Survivor's medium gloves work, but I slightly prefer the latter since... fur! As usual, follow the links to find out where and how to get each piece.

Friday, 24 January 2014

LOTRO: The beauty of simbelmynë

Contrary to the feeling you might have gotten when reading the latest post on the topic, I'm not totally done with LotRO. Yet.

Actually, I have been enjoying some Rohan exploration lately. After months without login in, I just felt that LotRO feeling itching again. Surprisingly, when I asked Tiger if he would mind me starting the new content on my own, he offered to explore it together with me. Surprisingly, because he seemed to be pretty busy impersonating a dark thundercloud every time someone mentioned the word "LotRO" before. Maybe he was now carefully getting over that. Or maybe he just doesn't want to unleash me unattended in-game. Either way, I blackmailed him into promising me not to become gloomy, naturally.

Aaaaanyway, this seems like a good moment for a beautiful screenshot.

"Oohhhh! Ahhhhh!"

We both bought the Helm's Deep expansion with Turbine Points. Luckily I was able to afford it, I think I had about 2000 left (of which I immediately spent half on extra storage space). Tiger logged in and found that he had like... 10.000 TP left or something? So if you need any, you don't need to beg me for them... (Okay, I'm so going to die now.)

The epic quest made us ride directly to Edoras and I was all like "Ohhhhh! Ahhh!" when I saw it from afar. I had to stop to make a screenshot.

Before we entered the city we came through the burial mounts of the kings of Rohan and I thought it was very impressive. I just had to jump into my princess dress and take a 'selfie' amid the simbelmynë.

Geesh, Rav, you're such an attention seeker.

Selfie with simbelmynë

Monday, 20 January 2014

SWTOR: Jersey Shore Andronikos

When I read Njessi's blog about her creeper experiences with Corso drooling at her in her ship's cockpit over at Hawtpants of the Republic, I just had to post this to show it's not always that bad. Go Jersey Shore Andronikos!

This is my revenge on all the 16 year old frustrated boys who still think it's cool to equip Nadia Grell/Kira Carsen/any other female companion with the slave girl outfit. Besides, we gaming girls need something to look at as well!

Friday, 17 January 2014

SL: My first steps in Second Life

It is a special moment that you all know: the first time you enter a different virtual game, or more broadly said, world. There is this feeling of feeling lost, not knowing what or how to do things, but there's also this feeling of wonder, a feeling that will slowly fade as you get familiar with the world, until you take everything you see for granted.

Vanessa allowed me to experience this moment once more, by inviting me over to the wondrous world of Second Life (in short: SL). Before I got to know Vanessa, I only vaguely knew something of Second Life. I only remembered that the newspapers were writing about it when it was new: something about how it was all about fashion and that the big brands were all trying to get in. And that it probably was just a hype. Others told me they thought it was all about sex.

Reading the stories of all the pleasantly crazy people over at iRez, I decided it had to be more. And as one of the contributing authors of the iRez blog, I was invited to participate in the New Year's picture... in Second Life.

Who oh who is the real Rav? Vanessa kept mimicking me!

When I logged in with my character, I thank the heathen gods Vanessa was there to carry me around. As a gamer, I usually find my way on the keyboard pretty quickly, but Second Life was very different and not very intuitive. Luckily Vanessa was willing to listen to me panic on voice chat and give me useful directions.

Shopping is big in Second Life. The incentive is present right at the start, as you can choose a pre-made character out of a handful. No body sliders, no colour options, nothing. And they are all super ugly. If you want to change what you look like, you have to buy the changes at shops and add them to your character. There are shops for everything: clothes, hairstyles, skins... even ears and eyes!

I wanted to look a bit like an elf for the picture, so we ported to a shop I had found that could provide a dress in the right style (picture above). Vanessa gave me loads of money so that I could afford whatever I wanted. Did I tell you guys already that she's awesome?

Just before, we had spent five hours (no exaggeration, it was literally five hours) on finding the Elvish hairstyle that we're wearing on the picture. And all that time, Vanessa put up with me, it was pretty amazing. The worst part had yet to come, though.

In order to change your face, you could buy "skins". We spent some time looking at posters of faces on walls. I thought that if you would buy one of these, you would ending up looking exactly like the person on the wall. But that wasn't the case. Then I thought it meant you just bought the skin tone, but that wasn't the case either. I didn't really understand Vanessa's explanation but I picked one that looked different but worked anyway.

I think I've worked it out now. I think the skins form a combination between what you already look like and what's in the skin when you attach it to your character. I'm not sure why it works this way, but maybe it is meant to ensure everyone gets a unique face. Very complicated, either way!

This dress reminds me of the Festive Azure Party Dress that I like to wear in LotRO. Very elfy!

After we were done, we rested and talked a bit in Vanessa's amazing lighthouse. It had super hot chairs and looked very surreal. You could even fly to the roof and make weird poses (see the top picture), which we of course did. Because we could, or something, I think.

Now I was ready for the big photoshoot with the other iRez authors... or was I? I'll write about my continuing adventures in the next post.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

LOTRO: A captain, a hunter and a champion enter a deserted bar

Somewhere mid December, I managed to login to LotRO.

I had been procrastinating logging into the game ever since Helm's Deep has been released because of the prospect of having to:
  • realize how few skills my characters have left;
  • check out how the new skill trees work and what everything does;
  • actually spend points in a skill tree;
  • check if any game mechanics/stats have changed;
  • figuring out what legacies are available and how useful they are in the new system;
  • actually spend my points on my legendary items;
  • move my skills to useful places;
  • set new keybinds to my skills;
  • get rid of the junk in my bags;
  • try out some new content;
  • realize it sucks.

(If you skipped reading the above list because it looked boring, that's okay. Its content feels very boring to me too, so it's only fitting.)

So when I logged into LotRO, it was the first day for me in the new era of Helm's Deep.

I logged my level 84 captain (I could not bring myself to level that last bit to 85 before the expansion) and tried very much not to stare at the half empty skill bar that was hers. It looked a bit like a mouth with half the teeth rotten and fallen out. (Tiger compares it to gatenkaas, cheese with holes, but I'll go for the horror option.) While she was completing deeds all by herself over a course of five minutes (apparently the deeds were new but got completed retroactively), I discovered the presence of two others online in my kinship, both Star Wars players as well. I'll refer to them here as the Hunter and the Champion. Our characters were level 84, 85 and 86 respectively - not very impressive considering Helm's Deep has been out for several weeks by now. I tore my eyes from the emptiness of that what was supposed to be my skill bar and concentrated on the kinchat instead.

The Champion: "Are we all just here because SWTOR has maintainance?"

I indeed had tried to log into Star Wars earlier, but decided to give LotRO a try since the servers were down.

Me: "Errrr, maybe."

The Hunter (who happened to be on his warden, to make things more confusing): "Haha, perhaps."

We laughed because we had caught each other red-handed. (I'm writing "we" here, because it almost felt as if we were physically in the same space - although I may just as well have been the only one who was smiling.)

The Hunter: "I logged in earlier this morning to see if there was anyone on, but nobody came."

I explained how I had procrastinated logging in for such a long time because of the prospect of all the chores: spending points on my legendary items (LI's), skill trees, trying to find a space for all the items in my inventory... It was met with general agreement.

The Hunter revealed: "I haven't spent my LI points either."

Me: "But you just told me your hunter has reached the dazzling heights of level 89!"

The Hunter: "I mostly leveled by handing in quests that I'd completed before Helm's Deep... I did do some quests of the epic storyline, but couldn't be bothered to do anything with my LI's."

I took a last desperate glance at my half empty skill bar and logged off again. And even though I had not done a single thing in-game, I somehow was smiling like a maniac.

Monday, 13 January 2014

LOTRO: Belated wishes

This is the Christmas card I sent in December to friends and family while I was too absorbed with studying to spare some time to read and write blogs. On real photo paper, yes, I am that old fashioned.

What, you don't read Elvish? No worries, the text is plain English, merely written with Tengwar signs. You can find some help here

The best reaction was from a male friend: "You always say K. and I are such nerds (NB their favorite topic in my vicinity seems to be the Ubuntu operating system), but at least we don't send our friends Christmas cards with our in-game characters!"

Jokes aside, I'm having a bit more fun in games again and I have even felt the urge to make some posts, so you can expect some to follow this month. I'm hoping for a better year to come (from a personal viewpoint it's hard to beat the depths of 2013, but let's not tempt fate), with lots of games, discoveries, creative posts, comments and new friends. All the best for 2014!