Saturday, August 30, 2008

PAX Day 1 and LOTRO: Mines of Moria

(This a copy of a post I made on the Lord of the Rings Online forums. I'd rewrite it for a better blog format if I weren't so damn tired.) 


The banner in the main entry, first thing I noticed when I lined up to register. It was huge.

The line to enter the exhibit hall. I stood here for two hours for MoM. My feet hate me, but it was worth it.(Addition: I said this, and then found out what a useless fiasco the line was with thousands of people waiting 2+ hours to get in while people who just registered were walking right in because they didn't know there was a line and no one bothered to stop them)

The standing ads I mentioned. There's a key to decifer the runes in the main PAX program, and if you translate it and bring it to the Turbine booth they enter you in a contest for some awesome stuff.

MoM central! I thought I'd taken more pictures, but apparently I didn't.

I'm no game reviewer, Moria is indeed huge. One portion that really impressed me is the caverns where the Balrog was found. It looked at first pretty typical of a huge dungeon space. But then Jeff started leaping off ledges and I realized that every single area of what I'd assumed from experience to be backgroun was explorable. He dropped down probably five or six ledges, each quite a long drop and still had more above. Every corner of the zone is actual zone, meaning no flat texture on a sky dome or any such. The scale was really amazing. Also, apparently they actually did make the Endless Stair, though we didn't see it. I saw stable markers on the map, but my curiousity about what we'll be riding wasn't satisfied.

Warden looked really fun, there were probably two dozen or more combos. Basically warden has an added UI bit, a set of squares (five I think). You can build combos by using abilites, which each have a color. (Think fellowship manuver - yellow, red, blue, green.) You can choose either to say, do two yellow colored moves and then perform the combo, or follow that by two red and a blue and build up to a bigger combo. It seemed hella complicated and I joked to my boyfriend that I'll need a cheat sheet of combos on my desk to remember what does was. There were a LOT of them.

I mentioned to a few people I sat with at the party that I was kicking myself for not asking what races were limited to what class. I believe both the warden and runekeeper demo characters were Elves though. The armor was also flipping gorgeous, especially the robe the RK was wearing. I was happy to see some new things, rather the same three or four basic robe shapes with different textures.

The legendary weapon system, as I said, really floored me. It was very in deapth and complicated, and I can say there are going to be some really godly weapons coming out of it.

Now, must feint. Have to be back at 11:00 am tomorrow

Edit: Bah! Forgot to elaborate on trait sets. I was really confused by the concept, and they've been so vague about what it is that I feel having seen it I should explain. They revamped the trait ui big time, and gave us a ton more slots. Each type of trait now has it's own tab in the UI. The new traits are in sets, like armor. So say, you collect this set of specific exploration traits. You set two of the traits from the set and earn a bonus, four and earn the first bonus plus the new one etc. I didn't get a chance to ask about how the old traits will fit in (or think too really. Info overload!) but just from the look at the UI I got I saw a whole heck of a lot more slots, including at least five or six legendary."

I arrived at the Turbine booth just after the exbit hall opened, it was the first place I headed. Seeing two men in Turbine shirts, obviously dev types playing Moria I scampered over ended up one of a dozen or so standing around watching them demo all the different details and ask questions. It wasn't until afterward that I realized the man I watched play and who answered all my questions was Jeff Steefel... the freaking excecutive producer of LOTRO. So, I not only was one of the very first to see Mines of Moria as this is it's first public showing, but I got a rather personal run through and Q and A with a big wig. How fracking awesome is that?

Later in the evening Brit and I head across Pike to Gameworks for the Turbine party. It was a lot of fun, free food, free drinks and tshirts (woo, swag). Two things impresssed me about the shirts. 1) They had seperate shirts for creeps and freeps (the "factions" in LoTRO. Though they're really less factions than ... eh. Google "monster play". It's an awesome system.) Freeps got a shirt that said "Watcher of Roads", which I of course got. And creeps got "Servant of Angmar". Fippy (my warg) would knaw my leg off for not getting the creep one but he can deal with it. 2) They had women's cut! Any gamer girl prone to getting swag tshirts knows how insanely rare it is to find that. I'm wearing the hell out of my shirt. 

I think my favorite non-LoTRO related moment of the day was the keynote speech. It really touched a cord with a lot of the growd I think, and was very nerd-empowering. I'm glad I decided to go. The other was getting to see Wil Wheaton, who I use to have a mad crush on as a little girl. I could have stood in line to meet him as well but I had an unusual attack of shyness in the large crowd. It's been years and years since I felt uncomfortable in a crowd. I guess like, eight thousand is just my limit. 

One a personal note, my feet are killing me and how in the hell does a convention center get away with charging almost $4 for a bottle of Vitamin Water? Saddest part of PAX weekend? I have so little time to play LoTRO. And I just finally finshed Tomb of Elendil which has a boss that tends to kick your butt and take hours to kill. Plus, roleplaying wise I'm finally at a point where I can advance some personal RP that I've waiting to do for a month. But PAX, Gah! 

Edit: Will resize the imagine to fit better tomorrow. Having done my duty as a gamer to share new info with my brethren, I am finally going to pass out. Early day tomorrow. 

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