I found this an interesting point: since switching to the free-to-play model barely over a month ago, LOTRO’s revenue has doubled. That’s a pretty big increase, considering that paying at all is optional (sort of.) Apparently 53% of all players have used the in-game store, though that’s a fairly useless statistic, in terms of actual money they’re making, since you earn Turbine Points by playing. There is in fact a new-character quest that involved an NPC giving you 10 Turbine Points and making you buy an item (for 10 points, naturally) in the store to complete the quest. I’m hoping that they aren’t including that purchase in their 53% figure since if they are, it means that 47% of players never even made it to level 5…
For those who haven’t heard, Lord of the Rings Online is now free-to-play. As I’ve played the game before and found it pretty much fun (though not QUITE as much fun as World of Warcraft), I found it impossible to resist returning to the game.
As with any so-called free-to-play game, free is quite a bit of a misnomer. Sure, you can play the game for free, but at the end of the day, SOMEBODY has to pay. The company running the game (Turbine) isn’t a charity – they need to make money somehow.
In this case, the ‘free-to-play’ part of the game is pretty limited. You only have full access to part of the game, specifically three zones (Ered Luin, Bree-Land and the Shire), all of which are starting areas for lower-level characters. These zones will have enough quests to get you to level 22-24. After that – well, there are a few options.
Just thought this was pretty funny
The best part is the ‘P-p-p-p-p-p product placement’ line. The telephone video has some of the most blatant and jarring product placement since I, Robot, where the action would simply grind to a halt every once in a while so that people could compliment Will Smith’s ‘vintage’ sneakers. Telephone is less of a music video and more of a 10 minute infomercial for Virgin Mobile.
The parody of Ke$ha’s Tik Tok is nearly as good.
Petville is another facebook game by Zynga, who are also the makers of the previously-reviewed Cafe World and Farmville. In Petville, you create a humanoid furry creature and control them as they live their life, in a vaguely Sim-like way. The graphics are actually pretty impressive in this game. The number of appearance options you have when making your pet is pretty massive, and the resulting pets are generally really cute. I’ve played some other pet-type games on Facebook, and none of them come anywhere near Petville’s level of detail. As an added bonus, the (Flash-based) game runs at a respectable speed as well, just about the only Zynga-made game that does (though it frequently suffers from slow loading in the evening.)
By far the funnest part of Petville is the decorating options. You can decorate your house from a nearly overwhelming number of items that are available to purchase. There’s dozens of carpeting options, dozens more paint/wallpaper options, a huge variety of windows, furniture and electronics, kitchen appliances and even cars. Clothing options are similarly massive with just an overwhelming number of shirt, pant, dress and shoe options. There’s even a lot of costumes available, so you can dress your pet up as anything from an astronaut to Santa Claus.
He invented a new kind of fuel cell, which is like a very skinny battery that always runs. Sridhar feeds oxygen to it on one side, and fuel on the other. The two combine within the cell to create a chemical reaction that produces electricity. There’s no need for burning or combustion, and no need for power lines from an outside source.
combustion, burning (a process in which a substance reacts with oxygen to give heat and light)
Clearly, what’s going on in the Bloom Box, in which fuel and oxygen react to produce energy, is TOTALLY different from combustion, which is where fuel and oxygen react to produce energy. Completely different. Not even remotely similar. Nope, no combustion going on here. And that’s not even getting into the later part of the article where they mention that the Bloom boxes could also run on solar power. How would that even work? I mean, I guess you could use them to prop up solar panels… A giant cardboard box would work just as well, though, so that’s not much of a selling point.
Farmville is a game that’s gotten some attention lately, though, not really the positive kind. Apparently even Dr. Phil had an episode about it, dealing with people ‘addicted’ to Farmville (I know about that only from what I’ve heard. Trust me, I don’t watch Dr. Phil.) Apparently there’s 60 times more people playing Farmville than there are actual farmers in the US. So its a pretty popular game.
Without a doubt, its a pretty casual game. You plant some crops, come back later and harvest them. That’s about 90% of the game there. Like the best of casual games, ‘playing’ it doesn’t require much time investment, which is why it often winds up eating up so much time. When you play a game like World of Warcraft, you always have to ‘plan’ your playtime – you know that if you’ve anything else that needs to be done in the next hour or so, its really not worth starting the game up at all. There’s always a fairly hefty minimum time investment to get anything done. Read the rest of this entry »
Lately I’ve been playing a lot of games over on Facebook. There’s an amazing amount of games available over there. Some of them are pretty good. Some of them are amazingly bad. I’ll start by reviewing one of the first games that I started playing on Facebook, Cafe World.
I’m a big fan of cooking shows. I’ve been watching FoodTV for years, and am a fan of Top Chef Read the rest of this entry »
I finally found some of the new Mountain Dew Game Fuel the other day, at Walmart. As it combines my 2 greatest loves in life, Mountain Dew and World of Warcraft, I obviously needed it. It comes in 2 flavors, one for each side, Horde Red and Alliance Blue.
I’ll start with Alliance Blue: Alliance Blue is, not too surprisingly, blue. Its official description is “Mountain Dew with a Punch of Wild Fruit Flavor”. Basically, its a slightly citrusy fruit punch. Its not bad, but its not that great, either. I thought it tasted a lot like one of the blue flavors from last summer’s Dewmocracy promotion. I’m sure its not quite the same flavor, but similar.
Horde Red is misnamed, IMO, as its really more of an orangish color. It really should be redder to match the color of the Horde insignia. Its flavor description is “Dew with a Blast of Citrus Cherry Flavor”. I though it was pretty good, better than Alliance Blue. Not good enough to be a permanent Mountain Dew flavor by any means, though. It kind of needed a bit more of a citrus kick to be really good, I think.
You know, this blog has turned into a bit more of a soda review site than I intended. I’ll have to start posting about, you know, other things…