I’ve been naggingly aware that while I’m still happily plugging away in Guild Wars 2, I have other games sitting neglected on my computer. At the moment in GW2 I have a non-pressing long term objective (I’d like a legendary weapon, just because, but I’m not in enough of a rush to have one that I want to grind like a madman) but I don’t have any short to medium term objectives demanding my effort. I suppose, given that I now have 6 max level characters, I should finish levelling up my elementalist and necromancer to complete the set, but that’s not something I feel I have to do right now. So under the circumstances I’m happy to pop on to GW2 each evening for long enough to do my daily achievements, fool around earning a little money for the legendary fund and then if nothing fun grabs my attention I can log out again and go watch a DVD or something. So I’ve decided that “or something” should consist of giving those other games a spin.
A quick inventory of what’s currently installed yielded SWTOR, Rift, LOtRO, Star Trek Online, Champions Online, World of Tanks and Neverwinter. All of these are free to play games… well these days, what isn’t? I have lifetime subscriptions to LotRO, Star Trek and Champions so all of those games come with full mod cons and a ridiculous pile of unspent store credit, and I have long-term subs to SWTOR and Rift that are now cancelled but have some time to run. So I figured I’d fit in an evening each of SWTOR, LotRO and Star Trek into some sort of rotation, and maybe patch up World of Tanks for the occasional drop-in game. That would give me a nice bit of variety in my gaming diet.
First things first – SWTOR, for some lightsaber fun. I still fondly remember my Sith Assassin as one of the most fun classes I’ve played in any MMO – part tank, part stealth, part melee, part caster all rolled up into a single flowing style of sheer awesome to play. If only I could… it turns out the security on my account is a bit too good. SWTOR is the only game I’ve bothered to set up an authenticator for, using the free app on my iPhone 4S – the fact that Bioware bribed people to add an authenticator by adding an in-game merchant solely for secured accounts is what tempted me to add the extra layer of security. Unfortunately, that presents two problems – I have a shiny new iPhone 5S and my good lady now has the old 4S (assuming she hasn’t removed the SWTOR security app already)… and it doesn’t matter because the iPhone app doesn’t work under iOS 7 and Bioware haven’t got a working version out there yet. Way to go, guys. Guess I’m Sithless until the authenticator is fixed, and even then I may need a call to support to unlock my authenticator for the new phone. I’m hoping not, as the new phone was built off a restore from the old one, but we’ll have to see.
OK then, Star Trek Online. No problems logging in there, and I’ve had a few fun sessions with my new Romulan captain plus treating my good old Federation Vice Admiral Tremayne to a new flagship – the escort carrier USS Ark Royal. Fast, agile, packed with cannons and the Breen transphasic cluster torpedo launcher plus a belly full of fighters, the Ark Royal is a truly nasty ship and a pleasure to take out for a spin when all I want to do is blow shit up. Say what you like about Star Trek Online, they’ve definitely managed to make ship combat that’s fun to play.
And that leaves me with LotRO. I am seriously behind with that game – I haven’t played seriously since completing Mirkwood, so although I have the Isengard and Rohan expansions installed my highest level characters are level 65 in a game where the cap is about to be raised again from the 85 I haven’t got to yet. So naturally, instead of picking up the loremaster, burglar or guardian that are at least within shouting distance of the objective, I spent this week dusting off a level 20 captain (I blame Syp for putting that idea in my head) and getting my other burglar up from level 48 to 50 and in the front doors of Moria. I thought I was going to hate going back to a “traditional” MMO after a year of Guild Wars 2 – the standing still, working through a rotation on way too many hotbars is something I didn’t miss at all playing GW2. However, in the case of LotRO at least it’s working for me because it feels like a completely different style of game. GW2 is all about moving about while using a limited selection of skills to their best effect – it’s fast and frantic. LotRO is a slower, more cerebral game where you have a lot of skills that give you a lot of tactical options, and a bit more time to think about using them. The burglar is a very tactical class, and getting the most out of it depends on understanding what your different debuffs do, when to trade them in for an effect such as a self-heal or a stun on the target, and how to manage your crowd control abilities. Unlike the rogue classes of some other games, dishing out the DPS is the least (or at least the simplest) part of a burglar’s job. When it all comes together you find yourself rolling through the nastiest situations while coming up with a counter to everything the game can throw at you. Too many enemies? Riddle to mez that one – debuff the attacks from the second one – counter defence debuff on the third so you can burn him down faster – consume that debuff for a self-heal and reapply it, then burn THAT debuff to stun the poor bugger while you rip him apart. One thing LotRO has done well pretty much with all of its classes is that they have a lot more depth to playing them well than just “I spam the damage skillz” and I’m slightly nervous about whether that depth of gameplay will survive the revamp in Helm’s Deep.
So I’ve got Middle Earth and Star Trek to give me some variety from my adventures in Tyria. I’ve yet to decide if I will be fitting another game into the cycle. Maybe I can run the blockade back to the Old Republic, or I might dust off one of my Champions – Crusader, Dancing Thunder and The Hibernian Blade could all use another chance to kick ass for justice…