Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lord of the Rings Online is now free to play

Meet Mneme of Rohan:

Have you ever wanted the chance to explore Middle Earth and mingle with hobbits, elves and dwarves? The Lord of the Rings Online MMORPG has recently implemented a free to play option - you don't need to buy the game or pay a monthly fee to enjoy this online game. All you need to do to get started is download the game and sign up for a free account.

The free option is great and I've really had fun playing it so far. You can make two characters per server and I have Mneme, my Human Lorekeeper and Aureanna, my Elven Hunter. The gameplay is very natural and easy to pick up.

Something that is always pretty important to me in games like this is the crafting system. LOTRO has done a great job - each character can have three Professions, all of which rely at least somewhat on the items other professions make. Rather than choosing which three individual professions you want, you choose a Vocation that comes with a standard set. Mneme, for example, is an Historian - she has the Farmer, Scholar and Weaponsmith professions. In fact, as I'm typing this she is busily processing crops grown earlier this morning on another computer.

So if it's free, how does the company make enough money to keep things running? There are paid options that open up different aspects of the game or give boosts. These can either be purchased by subscription OR by paying only for the aspects you want. One of the great features is that you can earn credit to buy these extras just by playing, so if you really want something but can't afford to spend real money you can eventually earn it by completing in-game objectives. I haven't spent any money yet and I've really been enjoying myself.

Winners x 2

Good morning everyone! After an unexpectedly hectic weekend I'm back and ready to get prizes on their way to the winners of our first two giveaways: the 10 post "Somethings" giveaway and my TGIF giveaway.

Thank you to everyone who participated! I'm planning more for the future (including something that will start later today) so stay tuned.

Both winners were chosen randomly from all eligble entries.

The winner of the "Somethings" giveaway is . . . Breanne!

The winner of the "TGIF" giveaway is . . . Chisum's Crew!

 E-mails have been sent out to both winners. Please respond within 72 hours to claim your prizes!

Friday, September 10, 2010

TGIF Mini Givaway Thing - $10 Amazon eGift Card

“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.”

~ Sergei Rachmaninoff

I'm having a really good Friday - great voice lesson, three items from various things came in the mail (including something completely unexpected!) and a whole weekend in front of me.

To spread the cheer I'm doing a mini giveaway for a $10 Amazon eGift Card.

All you have to do is comment on any non-giveaway post to be entered. If you don't have your email in your profile, please post it here after you've posted somewhere else. You should feel free to comment on more than one post; however, you will still only get one entry per person.

This giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. CDT on Saturday, 9/11/10. A winner will be randomly chosen from a list of all entrants and contacted via email.

While you're at it, you might want to check out my other giveaway that ends on Sunday for a $10 Wal-Mart gift card, Godiva Hot Cocoa and more!

MMORPG.com is Giving Away 10 copies of Star Trek Online!

"A dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars"

~ James T. Kirk

I accidentally bumped into this giveaway and thought it was too good to keep to myself! MMORPG.com is giving away 10 free copies of Star Trek Online.

In Star Trek Online you are part of an ever-expanding universe where you are an officer with command of your own ship. There are both space missions and missions that take place on planet surfaces. There is an in-game trading system and economy; you can even raise and breed tribbles!

I downloaded the free demo about a month ago and tried it out. The gameplay is a bit different from some other MMORPGs I've tried; it would probably take me a while to get 100% comfortable with the controls when I'm fighting on the ground as my Trill captain Mnemosyne. That being said, I was able to complete all the demo missions without much difficulty.

The biggest draw for me was the time I spent flying my ship (The Operetta). This was much easier to control than my personal character and the freedom of motion in all three dimensions was wonderful. It's also gorgeous - I kept finding myself commenting out loud how pretty everything was! I could honestly enjoy just flying around enjoying the in-game view (and did for a while). I'm keeping my fingers crossed to win the full version!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Scientists have invented an actual Tractor Beam Thing

"We're caught in a tractor beam!"

~ Han Solo, Star Wars

Scientists have developed a "tractor beam" that uses lasers to heat up the air around an object. This temperature difference is the key to directing the object's movement. Since it needs air to work it won't be viable in space, but they're already coming up with ideas for using the technology. Check out in this article for more info.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Twitterdämerung - A Twitter Opera Thing

"Wagner's music is better than it sounds"

~ Mark Twain

I remember reading about Twitterdämerung (a play on Götterdämmerung, the last installment of Wagner's Ring Cycle) about a year ago when it was first released. The Royal Opera House asked people to tweet lines for a new opera and forged the music out of the 140-characters-or-less ideas of 900 people. Apparently, the opera oddity wasn't all that bad. I'd be interested in seeing a video of the whole thing, but alas, all ROH has uploaded is this short clip.

Nerd Art Thing

These fun images are by Lee Bretschneider of AdventuringCompany.com. You can get prints of these and more at his online store.