Incommunicado

I’ve been quiet for a while, now, due to lack of time to post. I’ll try to remedy that right now.

My sojourn in LOTRO is a going concern. In other words, I’m still playing, and I’m enjoying it despite hitting a few roadblocks.

First, I’m going to point out that there is a long history of this game running into issues when using a Creative Labs sound card with the manufacturer’s drivers. There are some compatibility issues with the Xi-Fi cards which cause the entire system to blue screen and reboot. Some people will point at the software developer (Turbine) and shake their fingers at them, saying that they should have tested their software for compatibility a little more thoroughly. Others will say that the hardware manufacturer should have made better drivers, and that it is Creative Labs’ fault. Personally, I think both parties are responsible, but pointing fingers isn’t going to make affected systems more stable. In an attempt to reach a more permanent solution than simply using generic drivers, I’ve ordered a Asus sound card, which uses an altogether different chipset. Hopefully, that solves the sound/crash issues.

Another peeve that I have is the requirement to group up for a good number of quests in the level 35 and up range. This is a problem for two reasons. First, I enjoy playing the game mostly solo, and grouping only one or two days each week at most. I don’t play this game for the social aspect, I enjoy exploring, which is more solitary. Second, the sound/crash issue I detailed above really only hits when I’m grouping with noisy classes (Minstrels and Captains, this means you). I blue screened three times when trying to complete one quest with two other people.

Finally, I have noted that there are some “gear gaps” in the game. There are really no good gear choices available in certain level ranges, and your best hope is to fight blue con monsters and grind your way through those levels as quickly as you can. This is probably more noticeable for me because I play a gear-dependant class. Your own mileage may vary.

Not all of my thoughts are negative, though. I’ve been exploring Forochel and Eregion, and thoroughly enjoying myself. Burhhelm is closing in on two milestones: level 48 is near, which means a new set of armor to protect him and a pair of Forged Elven swords with which to crush his enemies. Or dissect. Okay, maybe vivisect. The other milestone is achieving ally status with the Weaponsmith’s Guild. I love crafting in this game. I generally hate it in other games, but there is something deeply satisfying about forging virtual weaponry in LOTRO.

That’s it, for now.  Back to Eriador!

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