Have been trying recently to confine mmo playing to weekends, because no matter how I attempt to limit the effects it has on getting a good night sleep I still get caught out and it's a major distraction from writing. So this weekend was interesting in that I ended up playing Portal as well as my current MMO of choice, Lotro. Spent several hours at Portal on Saturday, yeah several, probably slower than most, but did take a few breaks to puzzle out a few of the solutions. All in all it was one of the most satisfying experiences in gaming for a long time, funny, engaging and oh satisfying to finish it.
Contrast that with playing some Lotro last night, was working through Book 11 and it was incredibly infuriating! The book starts quite dramatically but the middle section had so many time drains and annoying tasks. It was probably a little about me not being in the mood to get so worked up about it, have to admit getting a little impatient with the game. Here's what annoyed me about those chapters:
Candelleth sends you to scout two locations where the ring Narchuil might be found, fair enough task. It's what the elves at those locations ask of you that's annoying. The first one sends you in to Delossad to investigate, that's not the annoying part, he also sends you to kill 8 Angmarims, the same mobs you just killed in the previous step, on the plus side he's not too fussy about which ones unlike Candelleth who wanted 6 of one type and 3 of the other. To be honest, it was just a 'huh' from me at that point. The other elf you get sent to, asks you to kill trolls and find the entrance to their cave, done! No wait you must now go back through the trolls (both stuns and knockbacks, fun times when climbing up ledges, yeah it did happen) and bog lurkers (btw what are these things anyway) to the cave and search it and kill their leaders, why didn't you say that the first time. Mounted up and just raced to the cave, 10 mobs chasing after me at all times, wading through mobs is getting really tiresome in this game (the stark contrast with Portal was not lost on me).
Okay, back to Candelleth, it wasn't in either place, oh I'm sorry, hmm where could it be. To the crumbled cottage and find a diary. This is probably what annoyed me the most, it assumes the players are stupid that they can't spend time to read the diary, figure out who L and N are and follow the directions in the diary. At this point I'm trying to imagine the thought process that the writer had, we need to have players march back up the hill to get exposition from Candelleth, so let’s use initials and also call Delossad by another name Sithad to confuse the players, can't have them taking the initiative, it must be Candelleth who figures it out after all. It doesn't make a whole load of sense. In my head I was imagining shouting up to Candelleth that I was going to investigate Delossad again. But no Candelleth has to tell you Sithad sounds like Delossad, was just about ready to kick her in the gorge and fling the diary after her. (Confession time: wasn't so quick to figure out the clues about the location of the keys, it was a nice little puzzle).
The next elf you get sent is probably the icing on the cake, she agrees to mend the key but first you must do a job for her (now where have I heard that before). Wanted to grab her and shake her violently and shout do you not realise the importance of mending those keys (where's the hobbit tinkers when you need them, fine by me if they use a scrap of iron from an old kettle, rather than needing mithril and a special hammer) Okay right about time to log off, and leave goblin-town until next weekend, have loads of quests to do there anyways and hopefully be a little more patient with the elves next time, they can't be blamed for living such long lives and their concept of time being so much more languid than humans (at least I’ve not been sent to Elrond in this book yet). Damn time-wasting elves!