Tag Archive for Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

Amazon vs Lord of the Rings Online

At the last possible moment… okay, not the last moment, but close… Saturday, I decided the wife and I would play Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. So, I threw a copy into the Amazon shopping cart, changed the quantity to two and placed my order. The reason I started by saying it was a close call was that the game released on Tuesday, and you had to order it before then as a pre-order to get the super cool Founder’s bonus stuff, most importantly the $9.99 a month rate. Since the normal rate would be $14.99, $5 a month times 2 is $120 a year savings.

If we end up playing for two years, I might kick myself for not taking the Lifetime subscription, but then again, if I paid $200 and then canceled after six month I’d kick myself. Damned if you do…

Back to my point though… we ordered our two copies of the game and then I went to the digital download section to claim our pre-order key… wait. Key? Singular? Shouldn’t I have two keys?

Why yes, yes I should.

So I call Amazon Customer Service… or rather, I go to the web page, enter my phone number and click the button to have their help desk (helpfully located in India) call me. The woman is nice enough, at least the broken formal English she is reading from her CS manual is nice enough. After many unsuccessful attempts to explain how the pre-order, account registration and all that is supposed to work, and trying to point out that I ordered two copies of the game but only got one key… to give a quick example, it went sorta like this:

Me: “I ordered two copies of the game, only got one pre-order key.”
Her: “Order shows one item.”
Me: “With a quantity of two.”
Her: “Not two, just one item on order.”
Me: “There is one item, with a quantity of two.”
Her: “Sir, your order has only one item. Digital downloads are given one per item.”
Me: “The item cost $50, my invoice is for $100 because I bought two.”
Her: “But there is only one line item.”
Me: “With a quantity of two.”

Finally, she grasps the concept… one item, quantity of two… and determines that she is not capable of resolving my issue. She says that I should have ordered the items at separate lines, then forwards my problem to another department, says they will email me the resolution, and hangs up.

Now, there are many things I am not, but one thing I am is a Web Programmer. You would think, if Amazon has an issue with providing digital content on multiple quantity single line items someone over there might be able to trap a flag and issue a warning to the user, or even not allow multiple quantities for items with digital content. A nice little pop up that says, “This item includes a digital download and product key, please add multiples to the cart separately.”

In any event, we are now waiting to hear from Amazon. They owe us a pre-order key, or they owe us $5 a month. Let’s see how long this takes to resolve…

Update: As bad as the first call was, my follow up 48 hours later was good. The woman was pleasant, contacted the department needed, got us all on the phone, got the issue reviewed and resolved, and she apologized for it taking a second call to get the work done. Apparently the first woman hadn’t actually forwarded my issue to the other department. All is good now.

Frodo`s New Shoes

I played in the Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar beta for a bit, but I stopped once I realized I really didn’t have much interest in the game.

I have always loved the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings books, and the Peter Jackson movies were fantastic. But what makes those things great is the story, the lore. And while some of that is captured in the MMO, there were some things that were just out of place. Much like with Vangard, their attempts at trying to attain a “realistic” look and feel for the game is destroyed by floating question marks and exclamation points. Over in this thread for the problem in Vanguard, Destral proposes what I think is an excellent idea:

I would have thought it wouldn’t be too hard to have NPC’s react to the proximity of a character that can perform a quest for them by having them call out to the player (and only to the player, so that other players don’t see it).
So a character could be walking around in Leth Nurae, when they might see ‘Flavian Vel’selth calls out to you, “Good day, Soandso, would you have a moment?”‘. If the player is interested in accepting a quest, he could then walk over to the character and hail them, initiating the quest dialog.
Of course, this should only happen with some NPC’s in any case, else all quests would be discovered all too soon.
That should take care of the floating question marks, imo.

That is one seriously good idea, and while there are issues brought up in the following discussion, I’m sure most of them could be worked out rather easily.

The other really huge problem I have with Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar is the title to this post. Yes, hobbits wear shoes. Sure, you can disable the graphics much like turning off helms and cloaks in World of Warcraft, but seriously… in the original lore Tolkien spends entire chapters (well, not really all at once, but over the course of the tales) talking about hobbits and their feet. Their leathery soles and hairy toes are arguably an integral part of the world. Even giving them a shoe/boot equipment slot is abandoning the lore. Of course, the designers were probably worried about equality in equipment… but why? Why does there have to be equality? Why not give the hobbits an anklet slot instead and allow them to wear ankle jewelry that no one else gets to wear in place of the shoes that they don’t wear.

Overall, it is things like this that keep me playing WoW. I want to play an MMO, but so far no new game has really shown me anything I want that isn’t in WoW that is good enough for me to put up with the stuff that is wrong with those games.