Something in the air
Struggling to exist a bit this morning. Yesterday evening we had a series of storms and something blew in with them that is pissing my asthma off. So at the moment I am taking a breathing treatment while doing this mornings post. It sucks when my lungs conspire against me, but after almost four decades of this you get used to it. That seems weird to type that out, but I dinged 38 last week… and as my wife puts it I am officially in my “late” thirties now. I don’t really feel any older most of the time, but there are moments when it catches up with me… like when I am talking to a teenager and I realize they were not alive when I graduated high school.
Age is one of those things that sneaks up on you. You assume everyone has the same experiences you had until you try and make a cultural reference that only really works well for folks born in the same decade as you. Rae that cohosts the podcast with me is literally a full decade younger than me, and I am constantly reminded of the gulf of time between us. Being a teacher my wife occasionally brings home of the the famous Mindset Lists for the incoming class of high schoolers. Nothing is guaranteed to make you feel old like reading through one of those, and seeing it peppered with events you think are “recent” history.
So in contrast when I find something that makes me feel eternally youthful, I latch onto it with both hands. I think that is one of the things I love most about Lego’s, they bring me back to an earlier time when I was sitting in the floor building 1980s era insane space ships. It is awesome to see that Lego Minifigures Online captures this optimism and bottles it into a Diablo like form. I spent a good chunk of the weekend playing and I have to say I find it both adorable and infectious. The gameplay is simple, but at the same time nuanced when you add in the way the different characters behave in the setting. Right now I have settled on a team of the Roman Soldier, Forest Maiden and oddly enough the Waiter.
I have to admit, when I got a pack of minifigures to drop and I pulled the Waiter from it… I was more than a little disappointed. I had hoped for the Cyclops or the Knight… or even the Space Invader… but got a guy in a suit with a wine bottle. The awesome thing about the waiter is he exactly represents the ludicrousness of this game. Who would have thought that a waiter would be a badass combat character. All characters come in one of three basic types: Defender, Striker and Builder. Defenders have more survival at the cost of slightly weaker attacks. Strikers have extremely powerful offense at the loss of survival. Builders are odd things, because they can complete building objectives extremely quickly, but otherwise are pretty useless. Essentially my lineup is a melee defender, ranged defender and a melee striker and it seems to be working pretty well.
Over the weekend I decided to take the plunge and become a member, as there are quite a number of features paywalled. Most importantly you cannot really complete any dungeons unless you are a member, and the world is scattered with these little offshoot areas full of treasure and minibosses… aka exactly the sort of thing I love doing. Additionally as a member you get a pack of minifigures a month as well as a batch of their cash shop currency. For the most part the game uses a league like structure where instead of buying individual champions you buy packs that contain a random champion. Here is where my only sticking point comes in. If you purchase or win a pack… there is a chance of getting a minifigure you already own. Instead of giving you back the diamonds for your purchase… they give you the other in game currency stars, like 1000 of them. The problem is… that 1000 stars is in no way worth as much as the diamonds that went into purchasing. Especially since as a member you have a massively increased rate of star drops.
That said I feel like this is a game where you could play it completely free if you so chose. Essentially by the end of completing the introduction to the game you have four different minifigures. The first three you choose upon creating your character, and are doled out your team through the series of a few quests. The starter team I chose was the Roman Commander, Bee Girl and Fortune Teller, but there are three different sets you have to choose from and they are designed to be a “balanced” team with a defender, striker and a builder on them. At the end of the tutorial you get a single random minifigure pack. This is where I picked up my waiter, and while I was disappointed at first he has become one of my favorite characters to play. So having four minifigures is a good start at playing the game, and I am sure you could complete almost all of the content with only these four.
The only other barriers seem to be level based. The big thing I have noticed since switching to being a member is that the drop rates in general are far better. You get both a significantly larger amount of stars from breaking apart structures and diamonds from completing quests. So this is going to make progression without payment significantly slower. Honestly though I feel that is pretty much how it should be. Free to play games have to make a profit somehow, and after watching Lego Universe crash and burn, I would love to see this one end up far more successful. Funcom has made an extremely fun game, and it is the perfect… I want to play something, but I don’t want to think too hard game. Seeing the Lego universe recreated flawlessly in online game form, is sure to be the source of hours of enjoyment.
#Lego #Minifigures #FreetoPlay