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2:40 PM

Where to start, was bored of playing Anarchy Online, and with 100,000 applicants in the first 2 days of Age of Conan's beta, I decided that I was going to try this game, since I had nothing better to play currently. At first the game had a really bad feel to it and the graphics looks pretty bad, after a couple of hours i realised the game sets the graphics down to its lowest settings, at least it did for me. Odd for the kind of PC I was running it on, so I figured it doesn't have a system check or something because I set the graphics up to high and it was looking and running great. :)

Starting off with the g raphics, as explained above, the game seems to start you off with the lowest settings, which in return makes the game look like utter crap. Once I realised the graphics were on the lowest settings I r aised them and was amazed at how well done it was, it gives you a good feeling of being in the lord of the ring movie, the sky, weather, water effects, day/night changes, were all truly enjoyable to say the least. I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Moving on to the sounds, the sounds to me weren't all that great, and it seems like they didn't add to many nature sound effects, so when you are running around in the woods it all pretty much sounds the same, doesn't give you a feel like you are in any different area than you were before, the same goes for being in city's or a crowded Inn. I give the sounds a 1.5 out of 5.

As for the game play, this is where I have to give them credit. My first thought was "Jesus this feels an awful lot like World of Warcraft". There seems to be alot of things (if not most) taken from World of Warcraft. From how you actually enter the world at the character selection screen, all the way down to how the auction house system works with the mail, the way your specials regenerate, and how they are placed on the quick bar. It seems like they took alot of WoW's system and tweaked it. Cant say that's a bad thing, since WoW has a huge fan base for a reason, playing WoW my self I have to admit that it is enjoyable to a certain point.

Now, on a more positive note LOTRO has a really good quest system, the quests are set up from easy to hard depending on the color of the quest. One thing I enjoyed alot about the quests is how different they all are from each other. This is one of the only MMORPG's I've played that actually gave me much of a challenge in quests. Compared to some of the other games time consuming or zerging type of quests, this is by far the best in my opinion. I am not much of a PvM'er but this is the only real feature of the game that has kept me interested, although they do have PvP, which is the next topic.

PvP'ing in LOTRO is pretty much like WoW, in the form that you get to ask people to duel. The major difference is that it is called 'sparring' not 'pvping'. You get to ask someone for a duel, anywhere outside of the major city's. I found it very fun, and playing as a healer class I did very well even against the tanks and damage dealers, the game seems to be pretty well balanced, though I have not played all of the classes to be able to judge this correctly. There is another PvP feature called 'Monster Play" where you can find at some of the major city's like Bree-Town. Basically you go into a portal that places you in a monsters world, that has quests inside of it and you can 'spar' anyone you want in there by asking them, you can also purchase special buffs with destiny points that you gain by leveling after level 10 and up. You get to choose between 5 monsters that come pre leveled to the max level of 50. I tried it for about 20 minutes before I got bored with it, personally I rather "spar" on the character I have been leveling up my self. The only bad thing about that is dying in a spar seems to hurt your armor alot and you will need to repair it. All in all the pvp is enjoyable though not a huge part of the game its still something you can do when you are tired of questing/grinding. I give the PvP a 3 out of 5.

All in all, this game is a 4 in my book and its definately worth trying, if I wasnt waiting for AoC, and beta wasnt so close, i'd have purchased it for the time being. Those of you who have not tried it, its currently in open beta since April 6th, and closes on April 24th, so you have another 11 days to try it out.
With that said, here is a PvMP video:
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10:26 PM

Well, if there is someone out there that is into online games that still doesnt know about Age of Conan, you have either been out of the loop or too busy with real life. :D

In either case here are some links to get you started on this upcoming MMO that im almost certain many of us will enjoy very much.

Links: - Well duh, the Official FunCom site for Age of Conan - Alot of preview videos, screen shots, and a cool Developer chat feature. - The official Age of Conan forums for those of you who may have questions about the game. The community is friendly for the most part.

Screen shots:

In game video:
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7:56 PM

Well, today I had a discussion with a friend of mine about addictions. He brought up that I am just as addicted to gaming as he is to cigarettes, which in the end he kind of had a few good points (that I will never admit to him). While I believe we get very attached to games I don't believe it becomes an addiction that our body's crave for, he believes that our brains crave for it, and when we aren't gaming we are bored and anxious to play. In some ways this is true, I've taken breaks from some of the MMO's I play cause I got bored of them, but what I end up doing is replacing them with other video games that will relieve me for a while, and probably go back to some old games.

He says that's what drug addicts do, and in his brain he believes that we are just as bad as the next crack fiend, jumping around from drug to drug, cant stay away one day without relapsing. I explained its far from the truth, see I've been away from games for months on end, I enjoy gaming, its pretty much just a hobby to me. When i tried explaining that to him he said that that's what drug addicts say, they enjoy doing it so that's why they do it, kind of true, but my response was that gaming doesn't effect us like drugs. And yes, once again he had an answer, saying that it does... because we take away time from real life, our social lives start to dry out, we start to change our personality's and become a bit less social. While I disagree with most of anything my friend ever has to say (because hes simply a moron that enjoys arguing), I have to admit that my social life isn't as good as it was before I got into online gaming. I don't go out as much, don't enjoy joking around with my friends anymore without getting annoyed, and i definitely don't enjoy arguing about my gaming addiction!

Now that I think about it, its not that I'm becoming anti-social, maybe its the fact that I'm not a teenager anymore, and maybe after growing up those things we used to see as fun become lame and annoying. Arguing that with him would be pointless, if you want a perfect example of what my friend is like, just think Stiffler from American Pie.

Anyways in the end, my friend remains an anus, and I shall remain drugging my self with my video games.

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