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Friday, 22 July 2016

An expedition through LOTRO's frills: before and after


With Lord of the Rings Online's latest big update, three things were added to the game: interior housing hooks, frills and a new raid. The topic of most discussion? Frills. These improved grass polls, flowers and shrubberies are meant to make the in-game world more lively and realistic. Indeed, they were already implemented in all post-Mirkwood regions upon creation, and now they've been added to vanilla areas as well.

But LOTRO wouldn't be an MMO if a part of its population wouldn't dislike these changes to their familiar regions. I was curious myself how much had actually changed and started an investigation. It took some effort, but I managed to dig up old screenshots of five regions and revisited each in-game. I'm posting the before picture first, then the after one, so you can easily compare them. Go ahead and judge for yourself!
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Monday, 18 July 2016

Drawing diary: June


In the early spring, my brother gave me his set of professional markers that he didn't use anymore. I had told him I had started drawing again and he was curious to see what I'd do with them. Frankly, I was, too. I had not used markers since I was a child and back then I hated the ugly lines they created when colouring something in. But these were professional markers, and I've seen a lot of fan artists do cool things with them.

For marker users this probably sounds stupid, but I just didn't know where to start! I'm so used to sketching things with pencil. So I went to "marker camp" (this is like boot camp, but in an Scandinavian forest, and you're only allowed to draw with markers for fun). The less cool-sounding version is: I went on holiday to Sweden and Denmark with family. So this will be a report kind of thing with drawings and pictures, and naturally I'll be fangirling about Sweden as well, because that's what I do.

Anyway, the boot camp result was way better than I'd dared to hope, so I can't wait to hear what you think!

Friday, 15 July 2016

Pokémon, mobile phones and hype resistance


My latest blog post I'm dying to play Pokémon Go mostly got responses from fellow bloggers that said they did not grow up with pokémon and hence didn't understand what all the fuss is about. (I decided to take this as a compliment: I'm obviously young in spirit.) Bhagpuss even wrote a post in response entitled Why I'm Not Playing Pokémon Go (Like I Have To Have A Reason). Spoiler: it's because he doesn't own a phone. To keep up the tradition I'll now reply to him with another post about hypes and, err, phones. (I know, it's not exactly MMOs, but it'll have to do.) This is a lengthy one, so you're warned.

Monday, 11 July 2016

I'm dying to play Pokémon Go


1 April 2014 I geeked out on Ravalation about Google's April Fool's joke of catching pokémon with your phone. You'll have to forgive me for using this drawing I made back then once more. I still can't believe it's reality now!

Like so many, I grew up with Pokémon. I never really liked the TV series (I was a bit too old, I guess), but I dug the Gameboy games. Pokémon Gold was the first game I bought in my life, after jealously watching my younger brother play Pokémon Red; he shared his Gameboy with me and let me train his pokémon sometimes, the sweetheart. I spent months working in the garden and doing all kinds of menial tasks to earn enough money to buy it, but it was so worth it!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Six times yellow


It's the sixth again and that means another 6 on 6! If you don't know what that is, scroll down to the bottom of the post and it's explained there. I loved that this month's colour is yellow, because it's my favourite! At first I was having a hard time thinking of screenshots with yellow in it (I didn't want to go with something obvious such as six pictures of the sun), but eventually I think it worked out pretty well. Here you go.

Monday, 4 July 2016

SWTOR and losing companions in MMOs: walking a thin line


Warning: this post contains spoilers for SWTOR's Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion up until Chapter XV (The Gemini Deception), as well as Mass Effect 1 and Dragon Age: Origins.

When I game, I love to immerse myself into fictional worlds. The same goes for companions: I get attached to them almost as if they are real people. So when a guildie accidentally implied that the newest KOTFE chapter would involve losing a companion, I considered playing through it on an alt I cared about less first, in case I made any wrong decisions. It made me think about how companions impact us and how they even more seem to do so in SWTOR than other Bioware games, to a point I'm delaying logging in, feeling stressed about playing and terrified at "doing it wrong"! Why do the developers make me suffer through this?

Friday, 1 July 2016

The walk to Minas Tirith. A curious meeting with role-players


I was speed levelling my hunter, Ravereth. Not something I normally do, but I had promised to bring a level 65 to a nostalgia raid and I didn't have one. Now there was just one week left and still over ten levels to go. The epic quest urged me to talk to Elrond, but I had never been to Rivendell and couldn't take a swift horse there. The captain in Rivendell that I found with the /who command didn't respond to my polite request to summon me. Relunctantly I ported to Ost Guruth and mounted my own horse to make the trip manually. This would take much of my precious time.

It wasn't long before I passed a company of four players walking the road eastward. I blinked. They weren't running (the default movement for moving in MMOs), but actually walking. In other words, they were consciously moving about as slowly as possible, on a road with nothing to see. Curiosity got the better of me.