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If you’ve ever played LOTRO, even for the first few levels, you’ve probably encountered a neeker of some kind. These are rather over-grown bugs that are a staple baddie in the game. You fight small ones at low levels, and bigger ones at higher levels.

Thing is, those little bastards are *creepy* when they get bigger. I never realized how creepy until the other day.

Aethgar was riding north out of the Shire, headed for the lake in Evendim. He was roaming along the banks of the river where there’s a broad sandy beach. It’d be a lovely spot, if not for the native wildlife. Salamanders roam the area, and he was collecting teeth and scales from them, and at the same time cutting down on the neeker population (in Evendim the locals call neekers ‘norbogs’ but trust me, they’re just big fat neekers).

It wasn’t too bad until he came upon a spot called, descriptively enough, the Sand-Mounds. This is where the neekers breed, and the place was *crawling* with the wretched things. To the point where I started feeling all itchy and creeped out. The hairs on the back of my neck actually stood up as I watched all these insectile appendages waving back and forth at me.

creepycrawlies1creepycrawlies2

I took some screenshots (click to enlarge), but when the things aren’t moving they don’t look like much (plus Aethgar was killing them right and left before I thought to take screen shots. I wasn’t even controlling him, it seemed. He’d totally taken control away from me while I just averted my eyes and shuddered). Huge kudos to the animators at Turbine who managed to so expertly capture that… insectness… of their movements that people tend to have a very instinctual aversion to.

I was nothing but relieved when Aethgar had finished killing enough neekers to placate the healer up at Evendim lake. He rode away from the Sand Mounds as quickly as his horse would carry him, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

It was a beautiful day at the lake. Shortly after this shot, Aethgar leaped in for a swim, and I swear I could feel the cool waters washing all that insectoid filth off of me.
evendim2

I really do love LOTRO. I love that I have a lifetime subscription so I never feel the slightest bit pressure to play it. I play it when I want to experience Middle Earth, which for me happens fairly often. I love the art-style…the same one that so many people hate. IMO people who hate the art in LOTRO are…well, crazy. OK, the avatars aren’t the best, but the world is lush and beautiful and I never get tired of gazing up at the sky.

I joined a Kinship the other day. I’m still not sure it was the right move. I kind of hate the intrusion of Kinship chat. I tend to just lose myself in idle wanderings through the world; I don’t often use fast travel, preferring to ride hither and yon, seeing what’s over the next rise, gathering cabbages and taters for dinner, mining a bit of ore, helping the odd adventurer out. It’s a total escape for me — a place to decompress. I always come away smiling.



Comments:
6
  • I wish SOE would have done a lifetime option for EQ; I’m sure I’ve given them enough money to cover one! I still get the urge to hop in now and then, but don’t want to pay for a sub and let it go unused most of the time.

    I remember after my first time in West Karana with my baby (level 14) wood elf druidess, I had dreams about those stupid giant spiders!!! And this was back in the pre-Luclin graphics update days. It’s amazing sometimes how immersed we can become in these virtual worlds.

  • I love the spiders, they come in even more flavors. The first thing to kill me was one of these oversized grashoppers though. I do not think many people hate the art style. It is mostly about the animations of the avatar and horses outside of combat. They have shown that the engine can easily be expanded – think of the dynamic DX10 shadows from every leaf of a tree. The insects and monsters in general are very well animated, and in modern times systems should have little trouble to handle some revamped player animations, too.

    The Riders of Rohan are rumored to be part of the next expansion, but whatever. Middle Earth is big, and Mordor still far away. What better place could there be to ride around on a horse than Rohan. The city of Minas Tirith will be an interesting design challenge for Turbine.

  • Yeah, I wonder how they’ll handle Minas Tirith. It should be *huge* but if it is huge, it’ll be kind of a pain for the players, once they run through it once to explore it. If you think about how large Bree is, and that was a pretty small town…

    Hmm, glad I don’t have to solve that one.

  • I would make Minas Tirith an instance like Thorin’s Hall. Or maybe 9 subzone-instances in the one instance. One instance to rule them all. Sorry, could not resist. :) This way they can make it HUGE, and if they follow the film or Tolkien’s lore ( http://www.lotrplaza.com/gondor/WhiteCityTour.asp ) it is quite poassible, as MT has only one major entrance and few doors between the fortress rings.

    Anyways, back to topic: PRETTY SPIDER AWARD for LOTRO!
    http://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Spider_Weaver
    The pics of the playable monster spiders are at the lower end, scroll down please.

    off-topic: Pete, how fast is a Bree Horse compared to the 25% Force March of a Warden? I am level 25 on my Champion and as I am a cheapo I do not have the EU gold version which has the level 25 horse as gift. But as long as I am gathering and fighting all the time I guess I can make do without a horse till 35 and hav no problems

  • The Bree Horse is a nice ‘extra’ but I wouldn’t shell out money to get it. I’m not sure exactly how it compares to the Force March, but I know when I went from my Bree Horse to the “Real” Horse, the real one felt much faster. I would *guess* that the Bree Horse is a little bit faster than Forced March, and of course it doesn’t cut your power down (though on the other hand you have to get off it to do anything).

    My advice is just to wait until 35 and get your real horse.

  • iirc the Bree horse is 25%, might even be lower at 20%. I know I never bothered with my Hunter as his run speed was adequate.