A gloomy week and why I picked up Red Alert 3

ra3

The layoffs over at EGM/1UP have really put me in a non-gaming mood as well as a general haze over my week. I haven’t touched LOTRO in at least a week, the queues in WoW have caused a crisis in what server my friend and I play on, and the massive disappointment of Death Knight and the boring, daunting, idea of leveling 1-60 again is causing me to lose interest altogether.

I’ve gone on a mission to download and archive every single season and episode of The 1up Show and that is proving to be taking up enough of my time to distract me from my gaming drought, and entire 33gb and counting worth of distraction. Thank you AT&T for not limiting bandwidth (yet). Reminiscing and watching past 1up Shows has sparked an interest in non-MMO gaming, which led me to pick up Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 today on sale for $29.99 at Best Buy, with my handy gift card I received for Christmas. The gift card, combined with my recent sparked interest in learning how to properly play and micro real time strategy games got me pretty excited about C&C RA3. I love the over-the-top FMVs the C&C series is none for, and the cast they got on board for RA3 is perfect for the game. Why hello there, Gemma Atkinson and Jenny McCarthy.

So I’ll be busting into that tonight after the BCS Championship game, but other than that, I don’t see myself playing an MMO until I kick this little lethargic bug I have going on about WoW and LOTRO.

On a side note, go listen to the ex-1up crew’s new RebelFM podcast. It’s fan-fucking-tastic to hear them all again. Now I just need a 1up Yours 2, with Shane, Garnett, and J. Davison all back together 😦

LAN backfire!

My LAN that was an attempt to show my buddy who great LOTRO can be turned into me reactivating and frantically installing World of Warcraft again!

We did a few rounds of Warcraft III, he tried coaching me in some Starcraft 2, and then I got him to use one of my Mines of Moria trial keys, which lasted about 1-2 hours before he was uninterested. He’s an interesting gamer to dissect. He’s almost the opposite of me, when it comes to MMORPGs, but we can both understand where each other is coming from. As Bartle would put it, he’s an achiever and I’m an explorer, and thus LOTRO just isn’t his cup of tea, I suppose. I honestly just think he doesn’t give new MMOs enough time to hook him, as convoluted of a concept as that is for hobby such as gaming, where instant gratification is supposedly king. It’s easy to believe that a game should grab you instantly, but it’s just not true for such games as MMOs with enormous learning curves and a smorgasbord worth of gameplay.

So game analytics aside, I am now wet-footed in WoW again, leveling a brand new Horde character with my friend, when I was just beginning to fall in love with LOTRO. EVE didn’t even stand a chance.

First Impressions: Lord Of The Rings Online

So I finally got some downtime tonight after the girlfriend passed out from sheer exhaustion (we’ve been out since 8am) and I had some time to sit down with LOTRO.

I made my little hobbit Warden Jameseo so I could see what this new tank/healer hybrid was all about. Wardens are unique in that they have this gambit system, which is similar to the rogue’s combo-points in World of Warcraft, except it allows for a little more flexibility. Instead of just building up 5 combo-points from any general attack that builds CP, the gambit system builds up two gambits, which then allows you to unleash your main gambit attack, which depends on whichever 2 gambits you had queued up in the two gambit slots, varying from direct-damage attacks, defensive attacks, and dot attacks from what I’ve read in-game. I probably did a poorer job describing it than Turbine has illustrating it in-game, but it’s seems pretty unique so far. Never really seen something like it in MMORPG class.

As far as how the game runs and looks, it’s quite good. I’m running it in DX10 mode with pretty much everything on High or Very High and I haven’t noticed very much slowdown yet. It will hiccup in a few spots when turning the camera or running to a new area, but it’s nothing compared to Warhammer’s obnoxious unreliable inconsistent performance. My main gripe with the game so far, and what could be a deal breaker for me, someone who truly believes that the devil is in the details, is the UI and how tiny and borderline illegible the font is in my native 1920×1200 resolution. I’ve never been one to need my lenses to use the computer, and I’d prefer not to start. Even as I type this I can read it just fine and it’s just simple black on white 12-point font. Having to constantly squint to read quest dialogue after quest dialogue is a real bummer for me, especially now that I’m trying to appreciate the writing in MMORPGs.

As of right now, it’s a toss up. I find myself wanting to log into Guild Wars as I play LOTRO, or even give some more trials a try (EVE online?), but I’ll definitely give it more time – these are simply just first impression ramblings from a tired man.

Merry Christmas and good night!