My gaming news, including Skyrim SE, LOTRO, VR, The Division, & more

Since my hiatus from Destiny has allowed me to play other games, I’ve played lots of them. Since I’ve had all these (mostly) good experiences, I thought I should write it down.

I’ve spent most of my play time in LOTRO, which I mostly stopped playing when Destiny came out two years ago. I still logged in occasionally to pay my housing upkeep, but I let my VIP payments lapse (in terms of total dollars “invested,” LOTRO is by far my most expensive game, with maybe 5 years of VIP payments, plus buying all the DLCs – they’re good at extracting money from me). I made it to Gondor and did most of the Dol Amroth quests with my level 100 Lore Master, but then stopped. Now that they have tons of new content, I wanted to experience it, since I love the lore and the Tolkien universe.

First, being in Middle Earth without being VIP is very constraining. Most of the quests are locked off, travel is expensive, and many perks are disabled. So within minutes of restarting, I was paying up for a few months of VIP. At that point, the quests unlocked so I could deal with the baddies in Perlargir and all around central Gondor. Hopefully soon I will hear over to Minas Tirith and experience more of the story.

The game play came back very quickly, though I’m not as adept a Lore Master as I was, since I’ve forgotten what about half the skills do. The combat is quite boring, compared to Destiny and The Division or even Elder Scrolls Online, but it is a bit more strategic as I can’t just power through mobs, but have to worry about crowd control, debuffs, buffs, etc. And when I try to power through, I aggro a bunch of enemies that run over and kill my poor, squishy LM.

One of my favorite parts about the Rohan expansion to LOTRO was the war steed combat. I loved that and ended up being pretty good at it. But in Gondor, the enemy density is high and the terrain isn’t well suited to it. However, I still use the war steed, because it is fast and I can mount in combat. Unfortunately, even a light war steed turns like an aircraft carrier in confined spaces, so I’ve died several times trying to maneuver through a narrow passage to escape a bunch of enemies only to become stuck, dismounted, and killed. Also, the rubber-banding effect where the game lets you progress past an obstacle you hit on your war steed only to pull you back a few seconds later is still present. In fact, I had one instance yesterday where I was maybe 5 seconds and hundreds of feet past the obstacle when it yanked me back. It isn’t a game killer, but it is an immersion killer and quite annoying.

I also played with some VR games (well, really VR tech demos) on my new Playstation VR. It is a very comfortable unit and works quite well. The resolution isn’t great, but you quickly forget about it. I really enjoyed the shark encounter scenario in the VR Worlds Ocean Descent “game.” Even though I knew I was sitting in my chair at home, I was very concerned about that shark prowling around my cage, and when it attacked, I cringed in chair. Very well done!

I played a little of, and then deleted, Transformers Devastation and Lords of the Fallen. Transformers was a pretty OK action game with some RPG elements. It had a cartoony look that fit the theme, but as I was never a Transformers fan, it didn’t grab me for too long. Lords of the Fallen is an excellent Dark Souls clone that was difficult and very tense. Unfortunately, I have Dark Souls and never finished it, so I’m sure not going to finish this one.

So in my quest for action games, I went back to The Division. After this latest patch, it is quite fun. They’re trying to out-Destiny Destiny with all the loot that drops. I kill random baddies on the street and they drop top-of-the-line gear (though none better than what I had, so far). Some of the missions and encounters are still too hard to solo, at least for me, but it is a much improved game.

Finally, I tried Skyrim SE. Since I already had Skyrim and all the DLC on Steam, I got SE for free, which is damn nice of Valve and Bethesda. Unfortunately, Skyrim SE doesn’t support my 3440×1440 monitor. Sure, I could and did edit the .ini file and make it draw at that resolution, but the UI is cut off at top and bottom in that case. (To be fair, the original Skyrim is the same.) It is sad that a new release is so limited in what it can support. Even LOTRO, STO, and Fallout 4 support my monitor with only a little stretching sometimes. In any case, I never played the Skyrim DLCs, so I had thought maybe I’d give it a shot in SE, but since I used mods in Skyrim that don’t work in SE, I don’t want to mess with trying to load the saves, and I sure don’t want to play the whole thing again! So perhaps I will go back to Skyrim some day…

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