Gaem Torents!?

Lutenent Worf

Turbine makes some outstanding games. The Lord of the Rings Online has been my main MMO for the past 5 years or so, and Dungeons & Dragons Online is pretty decent too. Both games offer exceptional value – free-to-play with a cash store, and you can earn the currency needed for the cash store through gameplay, allowing you to unlock F2P restrictions. Basically, they set the model for how to make a good F2P title, which other companies have followed. I like their producers, who are always friendly in Skype conversations when they do their PR blasts for new updates and expansions. Turbine is a great game company.

BUT! My one gripe with the company is that they use Pando Media Blaster as the download client for their games. I hate Pando Media Blaster. I find it buggy and demanding, like a B-list celebrity throwing a tantrum in a restaurant or something, demanding ALL the attention and creating such a commotion that if one thing goes wrong, the whole system shuts down and has to be restarted. I’m on wireless internet, which can be intermittent during periods of lousy weather, and occasionally my connection sputters. PMB hogs every spare bit of bandwidth, so I can’t even really use the Internet while downloading a game, and when my connection sputters out because of fog or wind or whatever, PMB freezes dead, generates errors and can’t be shut down properly, and won’t resume the download when the connection is re-established. I have to restart the computer to make it work again.

Anyway, my buddy Kevbob started playing Star Trek Online, and I figured I’d check it out. It’s made by Perfect World Entertainment, a company I’ve been having good luck with over the past year. Their games have generally been solid and enjoyable. I did reviews for Torchlight II and RaiderZ and gave them both fairly high marks, and they are coming out with Neverwinter sometime this spring, which is also looking really good. So yeah… I go to the STO page, click on the Download link… and they have options. Apparently, you can get the game through Steam (which I don’t really like for a number of reasons), any of a number of file-hosting sites, or my personal favorite method: torrent.

Why don’t more game companies offer this choice? I hate 3rd party downloaders. Torrents are easy, they don’t break and bug out, you don’t have to lawyer up with needless legal disclaimers ducking responsibility for the use of another company’s crappy product… it’s all-around win.

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Anuther Shertless Dorf!

First Rule of Dorf Club

“The farst rewl of Dwarf Cloob es, ye donnae talk aboot Dwarf Cloob!”

I don’t remember if it was John Rhys Davies’ inspired performance as Gimli that set the trend of Scottish-accented dwarves, or if that came about before the Lord of the Rings movies and he just did it better than anyone else ever. But it seems to be the standard now – Dwarves sound Scottish. Tolkein’s Dwarves should definitely not sound Scottish. They use names that are either very influenced by or directly stolen from Old Norse mythology, and the Khuzdul language has Semitic roots. A Dwarf accent should sound like an Arabic viking.

Raiders of teh Lost Rohann!?

Ryde to Rohann Liek A Baws.

Ryde to Rohann Liek A Baws.

I wrote a review for LotRO’s Riders of Rohan expansion, which can be found here:
http://www.tentonhammer.com/lotro/reviews/riders-of-rohan

I don’t want to give away any industry secrets or anything, but let’s just say that game developers are informed of our reviews and other articles.

Apparently, some game companies send links to such articles to outside contractors who help develop their products, particularly when those contractors are mentioned by name. That’s my guess anyway. Turbine forwarded a link of my review to Riders of Rohan’s music composer, Chance Thomas, and Mr. Thomas sent me a personal thank-you email for discussing his music so favorably in the review.

That made my month.