LOTRO Lord of the Rings Online – A Beginners Guide to PVP

Is there any form of PvP in LotRO?
There sure is. But it’s different from what you might expect. Being that the notion of elves mass killing hobbits was distinctly un-Tolkien, Turbine has created Monster Play for players to help them free the beast within.

What is Monster Play?
Monster play, or PvMP, is Player versus Monster Player. What that means is instead of hobbits and elves fighting it out among themselves, a system has been created that lets players take temporary control of “monsters” and fight the higher level regular player characters of LotRO.

Great, so now instead of worrying about an elf killing my hobbit, I have to worry about roving bands of Monter Players?
Not at all! The PvMP system is 100% consensual in nature for just that very reason. Anyone who does not wish to partake in the PvMP never has to, not even for a second. The ongoing battle takes place in the isolated world area of the Ettenmoors, and you won’t find yourself accidentally stumbling into the area either. It’s only accessible through talking with specific NPCs.

Hmm… okay, I’m intrigued. Tell me more about PvMP.
Well let’s give you a run-down of its features, and we’ll go from there.

– The Ettenmoors is a large, fully-developed region, about the same size as the Shire.
– Players on each side start in a “no-kill zone”. You won’t be thrown into the Ettenmoors, and immediately waylaid by opponents.
– The objectives that either side must strive to attain are defeating the enemy in combat, completing PvE and PvP driven quests, and of course, maintaining your sides hold on several Keeps and Towers.
– There are five monster classes to choose from when creating a Monster to patrol the Ettenmoors with.
What classes are available for creating a monster?
The five “classes” of monsters are as follows:

The Uruk Warleader – The main tank of the Monster side, this hefty orc is directly intended to be the leader in groups. With powerful in combat and out of combat buffs, as well as the ability to heal and do moderate damage per second, the Warleader is sort of a jack of all trades.

The Orc Reaver – The Champion class for Monsters, the Orc Reaver is your most essential damage doer. Also with the ability to de-buff, interrupt skills, and do some tanking, he’s a crafty foe not to be taken for granted.

The Uruk Blackarrow – And expert Uruk orc Archer, this class is a ranged damage dealer with some crowd control abilities, and a sprinkling of area of effect damage dealing.

The Warg Stalker – A stealthy canine abomination of the Dark Lord’s army. These pups are proficient in doing high burst damage, they can serve as a tank in some pinches, and are capable of interrupting opposing players spells and skills.

The Spider Weaver – Similar to the spiders often found giving travelers trouble across Eriador, these little 8-legged freaks are efficient at crowd control, damage over time, some light damage dealing, and even some ambush attacks.

It should be noted that you can’t have alts of your monster characters. You can play one of each class though, and their names are permanent upon creations. So choose wisely.

How do I play as a monster in the Ettenmoors?
Below are listed the basic requirements for entering the Ettenmoors as a Monster Player.

-Level any one of your characters to 10 or above.
– Travel to Bree and locate Beggar’s Alley (the eastern side of the map, a small dirt path, and very run down area.)
– Find the red and black obelisk called the “Scrying Pool” that is at the end of the alley.
– Right click it and select the option “Play as a Monster”.
– Select one of the five available classes and click the “Play” button, you’re off!

Can I level my monster and make him stronger over time, like a normal character?
Yes and no. Your monsters will start as level 50 regardless of what level you first step into its skin. They’re not on par statistically or skill-wise with a level 50 player, but more so like a mob that a player would be fighting at that level.

This was done because Turbine anticipates at all times there being more monsters than players (who must be upper-level to play in PvMP) and therefore the fighting field should be level. Monsters can grow in strength though, through the acquisition of Infamy and Destiny Points.

What are Infamy and Destiny Points?
Sort of like experience for monster players, these can grant or enable things like additional skills, improvements to current skills, bonuses to the monster’s Morale, regenerations rates, armor mitigation, and so on. Players can also gain additional appearances to change the look of their monsters over time via the Infamy system.

Okay, now I know how to be a monster, but how do I play my main character in the Ettenmoors? Glad you asked! Of course, you’ll first need to level your character to level 40 though, as that’s the lowest level you can enter the Ettenmoors as. It’s probably a better idea to level him or her a bit higher though, as everything in the zone is geared towards top level players. Once you’ve done this, here’s what you’ll need to do:

– Travel to Rivendell by any means possible
– Find the Horse Stables in the Western section of the area (known as Elrond’s Stables).
– Right click on Stablemaster Remros then select Ettenmoors and click the “Go!” button. You’ll be taken to the Ettenmoors, where you can begin your quest to rid the area of Sauron’s forces.

The objectives for the player character side of things are similar to the monster side. Kill the monsters, complete the quests scattered across the zone, and attain and keep control over the keeps and towers in the area. Doing all of these things will reward your player with Destiny Points.

What can my character do with Destiny Points?
Destiny Points are earned for the player by completing quests and generally waging war with the Monster Players in Ettenmoors. They can be used for special buffs and traits for your character as well as “per-session” buffs upon entering the Ettenmoors.

Will my weapons and armor take damage when I die in PvMP?
Your character’s items will not take damage when he or she is killed by a Monster Player. It is important to note however, that they will take damage if you are killed off by one of the many mobs patrolling the area. But worry not, for no matter who defeats you, revenge is only a few minutes away. You simply need to “rez” at a nearby respawn point and head back into the fray.

What about player character rewards, like items and other things of that nature?
Oh, they’re available. Destiny points and general partaking in Monster Play will help you acquire the necessary things needed for acquiring such rewards. I’ll leave it up to you to find out just what is available for your acquisition. Here’s a pick of some of the perks available, just to wet your whistle.

Is there anything else I need to know, before I go smiting the evil (or the good) of Middle-Earth?
Just remember to travel in packs, be you on the bad or the good side. A solo-player will likely be eaten up in the Ettenmoors, as most players go with the mob mentality when indulging in PvP. Secondly, remember that defeat is not permanent. If you fall in battle, all you need to do is run back to the fight, and give it another shot. No shame in being beaten. And lastly, remember to have fun. That’s what the game is about. Friendly competition, with the added perks of rewards from all your bloodshed.

How to Get Your Lotro Mount

Prerequisites

There are two prerequisites to getting your Lotro Mount

you need to be level 35
you need 4 gold and 220 silver

I highly recommend to get another 100 silver to pay for renting horses. The quest you need to do needs a lot of traveling around, and you don’t want to do that by foot.

Then what?

1. Fresh Steed for Bree

In the North of Breeland there is a vendor named Eogar at a Horse farm. You can easily find the farm looking at the map of Bree. It is straight North of the second letter ‘N’ in the word ‘Northern (Bree-Land).

Talk to Eogar to receive the first quest. He asks you to ride a horse to North Bree. Accept the quest, right-click a blonde horse / pony and ride to the stablemaster in North Bree.

1.b. Getting back to Eogar

Talk to the stablemaster in North Bree and buy a ride to Trestlebridge. Jump of the horse as soon as you get close to the farm.

2. Fresh Steed for Michel Delving

Talk to Eogar and accept the quest. Get a horse and ride to the Michel Delving Stablemaster

2.b. Getting back to Eogar (again)

Talk to the Stablemaster in Michel Devling and buy a ride to North Bree. Once in North Bree, talk to the stablemaster there, buy a ride to Trestlebridge, and again jump off near the Horse farm.

3. Fresh Steed for Othrikar

Talk to Eogar again and accept the quest. This one is the most tedious part of the quest. The ride to the Othrikar stablemaster is going to take you a good 5-8 minutes.

3.b Getting back to Eogar

Buy a ride to Esteldin, and from there back to North Bree.

4. Proving your Quality

Talk to Eogar again. Before he is willing to sell you a horse you need to prove your riding skills. Accept the quest and race the track around the farm. Make sure to take as many short-cuts as possible (maybe run the track by foot once before you do it in earnest) and the whole thing should be easily be achieved in the given time frame.

5. Done

Talk to Eogar again and you will receive the trait ‘Riding’. All you need now is a horse. Buy one of the color you like, but make sure you pick the right size for your race (Dwarves and Hobbits ride ponies, Humans and Elves ride horses)

LotRO Macros

Lord of the Rings Online is an MMORPG developed by Turbine, Inc. and based on the book by J.R. Tolkien which is also a well-known big screen movie.

The online nature of the game enables players from afar to come together and share their experience in middle-earth. Most online gamers stay addicted to the popular online game given the storyline and epic Monster play. The developers themselves have shown dedication and continues to expand and enhance LotRO. Some time in late 2008, the Mines of Moria expansion was released bringing much more excitement and interesting new maps, equipment and skills to LotRO fans.

Quite obviously, with popular games that are ever changing, the gaming community sees the birth of LotRO guides, LotRO macros and a great number of other LotRO gaming aids on a daily basis. Like with most online games, LotRO macros are placed in the grey area between ethically acceptably and not quite so ethically acceptable by the gaming population. Most LotRO macros are developed by expert gamers with programing knowledge and shared amongst every other player.

The main purpose and concept of LotRO macros are to make the mundane routine task like grinding more durable and helps players keep the exciting essence of Lord of the Rings Online. The variety of macros available for LotRO are uncountable, from those enhancing a players leveling speed to those which help making gold much easier. Macros almost always comes with guides which explains how each LotRO macro works, what it’s for and how to make the best use out of them.

The more common LotRO macros are those AutoIT ones. For example, with the AutoIT tool you can automatically heal yourself if you’re a healer at every 4th spell by doing the following:

Set these hotkeys or modify the code to your hotkey.
Target Nearest Foe=Tab
Auto Attack=Q

Set to auto move to target.
Place your Favorate attacks in Quickslot 1,2,3,4,5,6 and either a heal if you have one or something else in Quickslot 0.

Some community sites offer forums dedicated to LotRO macros which comes together with guides to using them and where to download them. For gamers starting to tire of the routine set of keystrokes, LotRO macros can be very useful in keeping you interested in game and leaves more time for you to focus on the interesting parts.

How to Get Your Lotro Mount

Prerequisites

There are two prerequisites to getting your Lotro Mount

you need to be level 35
you need 4 gold and 220 silver

I highly recommend to get another 100 silver to pay for renting horses. The quest you need to do needs a lot of traveling around, and you don’t want to do that by foot.

Then what?

1. Fresh Steed for Bree

In the North of Breeland there is a vendor named Eogar at a Horse farm. You can easily find the farm looking at the map of Bree. It is straight North of the second letter ‘N’ in the word ‘Northern (Bree-Land).

Talk to Eogar to receive the first quest. He asks you to ride a horse to North Bree. Accept the quest, right-click a blonde horse / pony and ride to the stablemaster in North Bree.

1.b. Getting back to Eogar

Talk to the stablemaster in North Bree and buy a ride to Trestlebridge. Jump of the horse as soon as you get close to the farm.

2. Fresh Steed for Michel Delving

Talk to Eogar and accept the quest. Get a horse and ride to the Michel Delving Stablemaster

2.b. Getting back to Eogar (again)

Talk to the Stablemaster in Michel Devling and buy a ride to North Bree. Once in North Bree, talk to the stablemaster there, buy a ride to Trestlebridge, and again jump off near the Horse farm.

3. Fresh Steed for Othrikar

Talk to Eogar again and accept the quest. This one is the most tedious part of the quest. The ride to the Othrikar stablemaster is going to take you a good 5-8 minutes.

3.b Getting back to Eogar

Buy a ride to Esteldin, and from there back to North Bree.

4. Proving your Quality

Talk to Eogar again. Before he is willing to sell you a horse you need to prove your riding skills. Accept the quest and race the track around the farm. Make sure to take as many short-cuts as possible (maybe run the track by foot once before you do it in earnest) and the whole thing should be easily be achieved in the given time frame.

5. Done

Talk to Eogar again and you will receive the trait ‘Riding’. All you need now is a horse. Buy one of the color you like, but make sure you pick the right size for your race (Dwarves and Hobbits ride ponies, Humans and Elves ride horses)

Enjoy your new horse 🙂

Buying and Selling Virtual Items on eBay

Lots of online game players spend a lot of time and effort getting their game characters rare and valuable items. These are generally referred to as virtual items. Because of their value, some players are willing to pay a lot of money to get them, or want to make money by selling them. But for eBay users, buying and selling these items is not allowed. In this guide you’ll learn what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to listing your game goods on eBay and other places.

WHAT ARE VIRTUAL ITEMS?

Virtual items includes the following: game currency, game items and game accounts/characters. Basically, if you use it in the game or if it only exists in the game it is a virtual item. Generally, game developers maintain the rights to all of the in-game items. (Remember that big list of ‘terms and conditions’ you agreed to when you installed the software? That was the game developer telling you the game stuff is theirs and not yours.) No matter how much time you spend playing the game or how much you pay in subscription fees, you, as a gamer, are generally considered a renter of these virtual items, not an owner. That is why selling or buying game gold from online services can get you banned from the game. (See this guide for reasons why it’s a bad idea to buy game gold online. Though the guide covers Runescape gold, it is generally applicable to most online games.)

VIRTUAL ITEMS ON EBAY

In January, 2007, eBay began removing all virtual item listings. The sale of such items is prohibited and anyone violating this policy can find their account limited or suspended.

Why is the sale of virtual items prohibited? The short answer is because it violates eBay’s intellectual property rules, while the longer answer involves the currently complicated legal status of virtual items. Generally with items like this, Ebay’s policy is that anyone selling an item must be the owner of the underlying intellectual property. Since it is somewhat unclear who exactly owns a virtual item like a World of Warcraft weapon or gold, eBay decided that it would no longer allow the sale of any of them.

What this means for eBayers is that you can’t sell all that stuff you got in the game. If you do, your eBay account can be restricted or suspended.

You will sometimes see a listing that advertises an item that ‘just happens’ to offer a free game item or character with it. These listings are not allowed either. For example, offering to sell a joke that also includes a free Runescape character with it is against eBay policy. These listings are attempting to sell otherwise prohibited items by including them with non-prohibited ones. eBay can remove listings that contain prohibited content, even if that content is offered as a free gift.

EXCEPTION: SECOND LIFE

Though trading in virtual items is prohibited, there are some virtual item sales that eBay allows. The eBay policy against the sale of virtual items is based on their intellectual property rules. Because of this, if you actually are the owner of the intellectual property, you can (theoretically) buy or sell these virtual items.

The best known example of this is Second Life. According to eBay Second Life is not considered a game, and thus the sale of Second Life virtual items is not prohibited. Though this statement seems dependent upon what the definition of a ‘game’ is, there may also be an additional basis to this. Linden Lab, the company that owns Second Life, maintains that all virtual items created by the players are the property of the players, not Linden Lab.

Either way, eBay has decided that listing Second Life virtual items is not a violation of the intellectual property or virtual item restrictions. Though this policy is always subject to change, you can currently buy and sell Second Life items through eBay without risking your account being banned or suspended. (Provided you are not violating any other poilicy.)

OTHER STUFF

Is there anything else that isn’t prohibited by the virtual item policy? There are some clear areas and some not-so-clear areas. Take a look at the following list:

* GAME CODES: Some games (like EVE Online), require players to buy time-codes in order to play. Players can buy time-codes for specific time periods (30, 60, 90 days or longer) and use them when they desire, kind of like a gift-card. These listings are commonly found on eBay and don’t appear to be included in the virtual item restrictions.

* GAME GUIDES: If you own a game manual or write a guide about an online game, you can sell these through eBay. Whether you are selling a digitally delivered product like an e-book, or a bound, printed book, such items are not prohibited. You do have to make sure you comply with all other related eBay policies, especially those that deal with copyright and intellectual property laws.

* NON-VIRTUAL ITEMS: If you have an Everquest figurine, World of Warcraft wall posters, game disks or other non-virtual items, there is no problem if you want to sell them. You can buy and sell these just like anything else on eBay, but like everything else you have to comply with all other related policies.

* SCRIPTS AND BOTS: If you write your own script or program intended to be used for someone in a game (commonly called a bot) you can probably sell it on eBay. Though bots are prohibited by most game developers, if they are not illegal or otherwise in violation of eBay policies, you can list your creations to other eBayers.

OUTSIDE EBAY

Even though most games prohibit the sale of virtual items, there are some places where this happens. There are lots of sites out there that sell game gold and other virtual-items, and though they are generally thought to be at least unethical if not outright illegal, they do exist. Buying and selling items on these sites is very risky, and not something you want to try. (Again, see this guide for reasons why this is a bad idea.)

Basic Intro to Online Gaming

Welcome to the world of online gaming. In the last few years, this industry has really picked up. It has now become a multi-billion-dollar industry. With a fan base ranging from seven years old to eighty years old.
Some of the main contributions to this success are:

o Online flash games
o Shockwave games
o Educational games for schools
o MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game)
o And many more

The biggest community is the paid MMORPG games. There are about 15 million MMORPG users in the world and their population is doubling every two years. Some of the more popular MMORPG games are: WOW (World of Warcraft), WQ2 (Everquest2), LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online)

o WOW has 11 Million + subscribers
o EQ2 has 500,000 subscribers
o LOTRO Has over 300,000 subscribers

While playing a MMORPG game you are playing with thousands of people around the world at the same time. You are interacting, and with many games can talk to them over a microphone. MMORPG games have taken gaming to a next level.

Almost all MMORPG online games have the same basic idea of game playing. What is different about each one is the environment you are put into. One of the best aspects of MMORPG games is that the game continues to go on, even when you are not playing. People are still selling things, still fighting, still doing quest, while you are sleeping, or at work. There are many things to do in the game. You can have a business, by doing trade skill. You can be a leader, by making a guild. You can do quest, and you can go adventure. And you can’t forget about fighting mobs.

Some of the more popular MMORPG games out there have both PVE ( player vs everyone) and PVP ( player vs player ) These are two different playing styles.

No matter what online game you choose to play, you can find guides to help you. Some guides are online; some are in books, and some on cds. Many players choose to use theses guides to help them along their travels.

These guides can be used for a lot of things.

o Gold making
o Power Leveling
o Guild making
o Quest
o Loot farming

Most of the popular MMORPG games let you download the trail version of the game to see if you like it before you pay the monthly fee. This is a great way to see if it’s your playing style. Every MMORPG game has something different to offer people.

Basic Intro to Online Gaming

Welcome to the world of online gaming. In the last few years, this industry has really picked up. It has now become a multi-billion-dollar industry. With a fan base ranging from seven years old to eighty years old.
Some of the main contributions to this success are:

o Online flash games
o Shockwave games
o Educational games for schools
o MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game)
o And many more

The biggest community is the paid MMORPG games. There are about 15 million MMORPG users in the world and their population is doubling every two years. Some of the more popular MMORPG games are: WOW (World of Warcraft), WQ2 (Everquest2), LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online)

o WOW has 11 Million + subscribers
o EQ2 has 500,000 subscribers
o LOTRO Has over 300,000 subscribers

While playing a MMORPG game you are playing with thousands of people around the world at the same time. You are interacting, and with many games can talk to them over a microphone. MMORPG games have taken gaming to a next level.

Almost all MMORPG online games have the same basic idea of game playing. What is different about each one is the environment you are put into. One of the best aspects of MMORPG games is that the game continues to go on, even when you are not playing. People are still selling things, still fighting, still doing quest, while you are sleeping, or at work. There are many things to do in the game. You can have a business, by doing trade skill. You can be a leader, by making a guild. You can do quest, and you can go adventure. And you can’t forget about fighting mobs.

Some of the more popular MMORPG games out there have both PVE ( player vs everyone) and PVP ( player vs player ) These are two different playing styles.

No matter what online game you choose to play, you can find guides to help you. Some guides are online; some are in books, and some on cds. Many players choose to use theses guides to help them along their travels.

These guides can be used for a lot of things.

o Gold making
o Power Leveling
o Guild making
o Quest
o Loot farming

Most of the popular MMORPG games let you download the trail version of the game to see if you like it before you pay the monthly fee. This is a great way to see if it’s your playing style. Every MMORPG game has something different to offer people.

Buying and Selling Virtual Items on eBay

Lots of online game players spend a lot of time and effort getting their game characters rare and valuable items. These are generally referred to as virtual items. Because of their value, some players are willing to pay a lot of money to get them, or want to make money by selling them. But for eBay users, buying and selling these items is not allowed. In this guide you’ll learn what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to listing your game goods on eBay and other places.

WHAT ARE VIRTUAL ITEMS?

Virtual items includes the following: game currency, game items and game accounts/characters. Basically, if you use it in the game or if it only exists in the game it is a virtual item. Generally, game developers maintain the rights to all of the in-game items. (Remember that big list of ‘terms and conditions’ you agreed to when you installed the software? That was the game developer telling you the game stuff is theirs and not yours.) No matter how much time you spend playing the game or how much you pay in subscription fees, you, as a gamer, are generally considered a renter of these virtual items, not an owner. That is why selling or buying game gold from online services can get you banned from the game. (See this guide for reasons why it’s a bad idea to buy game gold online. Though the guide covers Runescape gold, it is generally applicable to most online games.)

VIRTUAL ITEMS ON EBAY

In January, 2007, eBay began removing all virtual item listings. The sale of such items is prohibited and anyone violating this policy can find their account limited or suspended.

Why is the sale of virtual items prohibited? The short answer is because it violates eBay’s intellectual property rules, while the longer answer involves the currently complicated legal status of virtual items. Generally with items like this, Ebay’s policy is that anyone selling an item must be the owner of the underlying intellectual property. Since it is somewhat unclear who exactly owns a virtual item like a World of Warcraft weapon or gold, eBay decided that it would no longer allow the sale of any of them.

What this means for eBayers is that you can’t sell all that stuff you got in the game. If you do, your eBay account can be restricted or suspended.

You will sometimes see a listing that advertises an item that ‘just happens’ to offer a free game item or character with it. These listings are not allowed either. For example, offering to sell a joke that also includes a free Runescape character with it is against eBay policy. These listings are attempting to sell otherwise prohibited items by including them with non-prohibited ones. eBay can remove listings that contain prohibited content, even if that content is offered as a free gift.

EXCEPTION: SECOND LIFE

Though trading in virtual items is prohibited, there are some virtual item sales that eBay allows. The eBay policy against the sale of virtual items is based on their intellectual property rules. Because of this, if you actually are the owner of the intellectual property, you can (theoretically) buy or sell these virtual items.

The best known example of this is Second Life. According to eBay Second Life is not considered a game, and thus the sale of Second Life virtual items is not prohibited. Though this statement seems dependent upon what the definition of a ‘game’ is, there may also be an additional basis to this. Linden Lab, the company that owns Second Life, maintains that all virtual items created by the players are the property of the players, not Linden Lab.

Either way, eBay has decided that listing Second Life virtual items is not a violation of the intellectual property or virtual item restrictions. Though this policy is always subject to change, you can currently buy and sell Second Life items through eBay without risking your account being banned or suspended. (Provided you are not violating any other poilicy.)

OTHER STUFF

Is there anything else that isn’t prohibited by the virtual item policy? There are some clear areas and some not-so-clear areas. Take a look at the following list:

* GAME CODES: Some games (like EVE Online), require players to buy time-codes in order to play. Players can buy time-codes for specific time periods (30, 60, 90 days or longer) and use them when they desire, kind of like a gift-card. These listings are commonly found on eBay and don’t appear to be included in the virtual item restrictions.

* GAME GUIDES: If you own a game manual or write a guide about an online game, you can sell these through eBay. Whether you are selling a digitally delivered product like an e-book, or a bound, printed book, such items are not prohibited. You do have to make sure you comply with all other related eBay policies, especially those that deal with copyright and intellectual property laws.

* NON-VIRTUAL ITEMS: If you have an Everquest figurine, World of Warcraft wall posters, game disks or other non-virtual items, there is no problem if you want to sell them. You can buy and sell these just like anything else on eBay, but like everything else you have to comply with all other related policies.

* SCRIPTS AND BOTS: If you write your own script or program intended to be used for someone in a game (commonly called a bot) you can probably sell it on eBay. Though bots are prohibited by most game developers, if they are not illegal or otherwise in violation of eBay policies, you can list your creations to other eBayers.

OUTSIDE EBAY

Even though most games prohibit the sale of virtual items, there are some places where this happens. There are lots of sites out there that sell game gold and other virtual-items, and though they are generally thought to be at least unethical if not outright illegal, they do exist. Buying and selling items on these sites is very risky, and not something you want to try. (Again, see this guide for reasons why this is a bad idea.)

However, some games allow for legal ways to sell your virtual items. Sony recently launched a virtual-item auction house for its Everquest games called Station Exchange. (http://stationexchange.station.sony.com) Players can come here to buy and sell their Everquest items without fear of breaking the rules or being banned by Sony. Other games may or may not have (or soon introduce) similar services. Given the popularity of trading in virtual items, it seems reasonable that game developers will allow for some kind of trade between players. If you are unsure what the rules are with the game you play, just read them or go to the game website and search for their terms and conditions page.

CONCLUSIONS

In the end, it’s up to you to be sure whether or not what you want to buy or sell is allowed. Even if it is allowed by the game, it may not be allowed by Ebay, or vice versa. If you are considering selling a virtual item on eBay, the safest bet is not to. In only a few areas are virtual, or virtual-related items allowed. And even if you successfully sell or buy a virtual item on eBay, that doesn’t mean it’s allowed, it just means no one noticed. You can sell multiple items that, even though they are against eBay policy, don’t get you caught. Never the less, they are against the rules and can result in you losing your eBay account. You are better off not dealing in them at all rather than risking suspension.

Making sure you know the rules is the easiest way to ensure you don’t run into trouble. If you always make sure your listings comply with eBay policies, you shouldn’t have any trouble.

One Man’s Computer Gaming Odyssey

My experience in – and passion for – computer gaming

A Computer-Gaming Odyssey

The early years

Computer gaming has been an interest of mine ever since I was a young child. This article is part-reminiscence; part history – tracing the development of gaming culture over the decades.

My youthful experiences – in the 1980s – included playing Pac-man on some of the early Atari models, to playing the early installations in the legendary Ultima, Wizardry and Bard’s Tale Series on my beloved Apple //c. While the Ultima series was comprised mostly of two dimensional tiles, the early Bard’s Tale and Wizardry titles involved a rudimentary grid-based first person view.

The graphics – by today’s standards – could be described simplistic at best.

Over the years game designers sought continually to to extract more and more from the limited potential of Apple II and Commodore 64 personal computers. (Although I do not include, here, the IIGS)

Bard’s Tale 3 ‘The Thief of Fate’ – was perhaps the most impessive title to emerge for the Apple II- not long before the line was abandoned to concentrate instead on Apple’s Macintosh series.

For its time, ‘Bard’s Tale 3’ provided a sprawling game world, and devilish, maze-like dungeons. Given the extraordinary limits of the Apple // line of personal computers, the musical score of the Bard’s Tale titles was lively and ‘pleasantly catching.’ It comprised the ‘pinnacle’ of what could be achieved with the limited 128 kB Apple // c frame.

Hand-held electronic games were also popular for the time. Popularity at school rested at lest partly on possession of such titles as ‘Frogger’, ‘Scrambler’, ‘Burger Time’, ‘Donkey Kong’ and others.

I even recall my mother staying up late at night: entranced by my Pacman hand–held electronic game. Even then, gaming was not ‘just for the kids’.

Computer role-playing games, however, were always my favourite – and they still are.

At the time – of course – no one had even heard of ‘Massively Multiplayer’ games OR of the internet.

Some of my favourite memories of my youth include days I spent at my local libaray, playing the quiz game ‘Millionwaire’, wagering 5 1/4 inch floppy disks on who would be winner. Back then, amongst enthusiasts, there was a real sense of community.

Looking back, now, it is hard for younger gamers to envisage the joy which my friends and I knew – despite what today would seem to be rudimentary graphics and sound.

And while those of my generation may have ‘moved on’ in our expectations for modern day gaming, I personally enjoy occasionally reminiscing about ‘a simpler age’ – now so long ago.

into the 1990s

As ‘time marched on’ – into the 1990s – I found myself turning to the PC as the Apple //c ‘passed into history’. The advent of VGA – and then SVGA – graphics while I was in secondary school – marked a milestone – and the quality of the gaming experience improved markedly also.

It was then, also, during this transitional phase – that the ‘Gold Box’ series of Dungeons and Dragons games set the standard. The ever-renewable D&D franchise would serve developers well for many years to come. Even within this series, the difference was marked between the original titles – which had been available on the //c – and those which made the most of the-then groundbreaking SVGA graphics.

To this point, also, Computer Roleplaying Games were mainly charcterised by ‘turn based’ rather than ‘real time’ combat. But the 1990s were to see a paradigm shift to ‘pause and play’ or ‘real-time’ combat.

Meanwhile, the later installations in the Ultima series boasted interactivity which – for the time – caused the series to ‘stand out from the crowd’. I can still remember the ‘buzz’ I felt from making bread in Ultima VI: and even cooking it in an oven. Trivial by today’s standards, such ‘touches’ added character to the Ultima franchise.

This was also the ‘coming of age’ of the real-time-strategy genre. Dune II, and ‘Command and Conquer’ in particular – set a basic template that was to be remodelled and improved upon – time after time.

The same might also be said of the first-person-shooters – which during the 1990s included such titles as Doom and Wolfenstein 3D. These titles ‘spread like wildfire in this the ‘heyday’ of ‘shareware’, and again provided a standard template which was later to be refined and expanded to include Player versus Player action.

The advent of multiplayer and online gaming – into the new Millenium

In good time first-person shooter gaming, as well as the real time strategy genre – were to evolve to the point where player versus player gaming became a lucrative ‘sport’. Today, Quake 4, Starcraft, Warcraft III – and other titles – are played competitively – often with thousands of dollars at stake.

Into the late 1990s, the computer role-playing franchise expanded to provide for online, and massively multiplayer gaming. Ultima Online comprised one of those original titles: just as the internet was ‘taking off’; but while broadband was still rare.

Ultima Online, in particular, was marked -originally by an uncontrolled ‘Player versus Player’ (PvP) element. This allowance for ‘Player Killers’ (PKs) greatly reduced the enjoyability of the game. Later developers were to learn from this – and provide ‘PvP’ under more controlled circumstances – often only with mutual consent.

Also the late 1990s saw the rise of such ‘first person’ titles as ‘Everquest’. For some time the ‘Everquest’ franchise ‘ruled supreme’ – comprising the standard by which games of the genre were measured.

But come the mid ‘2000s’ Blizzard’s “World of Warcraft’ (WoW) erupted onto the scene: providing new opportunities for (consensual) PvP combat, lush environments, rewarding multiplayer, and appealing animations.

WoW also struck ‘the right balance’ in instances of player death – with the resultant penalty not being so onerous as to seriously compromise gameplay.

World of Warcraft’s beautifully-rendered animation – cartoon-like – with no pretense of realism – featured as one factor behind the game’s appeal and longevity. This also might be seen as one factor behind Blizzard’s eclipse of the ‘Everquest II’ title – which failed to capitalise on its forerunner’s success.

Perhaps the only weakness of WoW – and other Massively Multiplayer Roleplaying Games (MMORPGs) – is the tendency for gameplay to be reduced to a ‘grind”. There is only so much fun players can glean from ‘camping out’ for spawns.

Despite this, as of 2009 the World of Warcraft franchise continues to be enjoyed by millions of gamers: with two major expansions having been released: and possibly with more to come.

Opportunities for meaningful PvP is also important for many. Epic overarching storylines are also desirable: and comprised a central feature of Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) – perhaps the best MMORPG of 2007.

Most importantly – a player should never be lost for something to do. Hours of ‘grinding’ simply are not good enough.

Other recent competitors of WoW include ‘Dungeons and Dragons Online’, and “Warhammer Online’.

‘Dungeons and Dragons Online’ – in particular – encourages co-operative rather than solo gameplay. Such are the class designs that they complement each other.

Upcoming titles planned for release this year (2009) include ‘The Old Republic’ (based in the Star Wars universe) and ‘Stargate Worlds’.

Amongst all this, Industry watchers are left to speculate as to who will one day usurp the ‘WoW’ crown. The challenge for MMORPG developers is to balance options for single and multiplayer co-operative play, while minimising the all-too-familar ‘grind’.

Looking back: single player gaming – late 1990s to the present day…

The late 1990s and early ‘2000s’ saw more breakthroughs in the depth and complexity of first person shooters, computer roleplaying games, and real-time strategy.

We will close, however, with a final consideration of the CRPG genre.

This period was marked especially by the ‘Baldur’s Gate’ series; as well as the ‘Icewind Dale’ titles, and the masterful ‘Planescape Torment’. Bioware’s ‘Infinity Engine’ provided lush graphic backgrounds, accompanied by moving musical scores and deep, immersive and epic plotlines. Adaptable as ever, the Dungeons and Dragons franchise was brought to a new generation. Despite a massive fan base, though, the Infinity Engine line was abandoned before its time – and the much-awaited ‘Baldur’s Gate III’ never emerged.

The ‘Fallout’ series, meanwhile, provided a gritty third person and turn-based gaming experience. Its post-apocalyptic themes developed such a solid following that – in 2008 – Fallout 3 was one of the most anticipated titles of the year.

Diablo I & Diablo II also emerged through this period – marking a new age of ‘action RPGs’: and heralding a new age of ‘co-operative’ online multiplayer gaming. The series is notable for its deeply atmospheric music, and for its dark and foreboding environments.

So popular – and resilient – has the series been, that even now – almost ten years since Diablo II, veteran gamers are eagerly awaiting the new instalment. Diablo III looks set to comprise one of the best-selling CRPG titles for 2009.

Other recent impressive titles include Elder Scrolls IV ‘Oblivion’, Bioware’s ‘Neverwinter Nights’ series, the ‘Knights of the Old Republic’ (KOTOR) series.

Neverwinter Nights I & II provided a ‘makeover’ for the Dungeons and Dragons franchise – with expansive opportunities for user-created content and customisation.

‘Oblivion’, meanwhile, provided for an immersive world, with a plethora of individual characters – each with their own quirks, voice recorded dialogue, and routines. Oblivion’s graphics were ground-breaking for the time – and have left industry watchers to speculate: what next for the Elder Scrolls franchise? Many suppose a new instalment will emerge in 2010.

Meanwhile, The ‘Knights of the Old Republic’ series, (also by Bioware), introduced players to a Star Wars universe set several thousand years before the subject-matter of the original Star Wars universe.

Finally, the KOTOR series (I&II) featured epic storylines; detailed character development system, immersive game play, weapon and armour customisation, and spectacular combat animations. Such elements comprise solid fundamentals which might be borrowed from in ‘The Old Republic’ when it is released some time in 2009-2010.

In conclusion

2009 is set to be a most interesting year. Aside from what we have considered already in this feature, there is a mass of titles in production – many for release this year.

Red Alert 3 was one of the best real-time strategy titles of 2008: offering challenging multiplayer combat, with innovative and often humorous story lines and units. 2009 will see another instalment in this series: ‘Red Alert – Uprising’. Undoubtedly for some this expansion will find its way onto the ‘must-have’ list.

Mass Effect II, Dragon Age, Guild Wars II and Star Trek Online, meanwhile, will likely be amongst the most popular in their respective genres.

Twenty years ago virtually no-one could have foreseen the evolution of games genres and computer technology that has unfolded since.

Regardless – looking to the future – who knows what awaits?

Tristan Ewins is an experienced freelance writer and blogger based in Melbourne, Australia. He specialises in PC Gaming, as well as political and social commentary. He has been writing for ‘On Line Opinion’ for several years, and blogs at the ‘Blogger’ blogs: ‘PC Gaming Forum’ and ‘Left Focus’.

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