Posts tagged ‘lotro’

Looking Back at 2011

Xbox

Last January, I wan’t looking forward to much on the Xbox. In fact, there were just two games: Mass Effect 3 and Batman: Akham City. Unfortunately Mass Effect 3 was delayed, but Akham City more than made up for that. The game had everything I loved about the first Batman game but added improvements, and even though I’ve finished the game, I still pop it into my console occasionally to beat on some thugs.

Outside of Arkham City, my Xbox didn’t get much playtime, which I guess is why it decided to red-ring on me in December. I had hoped by waiting through the first few manufacturing runs and getting an Elite, that I had dogged all of the overheating problems with Microsoft’s console. I was wrong. The repair process was relatively painless: go online and submit a repair request, print out a label, box and ship it out. I just wish it hadn’t cost me $99.

PC

The PC had a few more titles I was excited about: Minecraft, Portal 2, Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War 2 – Retribution (could the title be any longer?), and Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. Well okay, Minecraft was a bit of a cheat since it was pretty much already released. Portal 2 was as good as I hoped it would be, and I got to have some extra fun by playing through the co-op version with MMOGamerChickDoW Retribution I’ve barely touched. I really really loved the original Dawn of War games, but the shift in focus from base building to boss battles has soured me a bit on the franchise. Space Marine made up for my disappointment in Retribution though, the game was over the top gory fun. Some people may try to tell you that using a chainsword on an Ork get’s old, but they’re lying to you.

Unlike with Xbox, this last year also had two big surprises for me on the PC platform. First there was the colossal disappointment of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. This was a game I was not anticipating in the slightest, but ended up buying because of the wave of good press and excitement from friends. Unfortunately, I only put five hours into it before running headlong into a boss battle geared for the exact opposite type of character that I was playing. I realize I’m in the minority opinion on this game, but I still strongly believe that you don’t build a game around choice and then take it away during the central moments of the game.

The second big surprise happened in exactly the same way, but with opposite results. Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim was another game that I wasn’t anticipating at all. Like DXHR, I hadn’t played any of the earlier games in the series, and even though the screenshots looked good and I thought I might like it, I was wary of letting myself get sucked along with the ground again. In the end, I did end up going ahead and getting it, and I’m so glad I did. Skyrim has been a Minecraft-like experience for me (which is ironic given the legal battle between the companies). Just like I got sucked completely into Minecraft last year and played nothing else for months, my gaming time was wholly subsumed by Skyrim. Today, I’ve put 117 hours into just one single-player game. One hundred and seventeen hours. That is incredible, considering a good single-player game usually lasts me no more than 40 (like Red Dead Redemption or Arkham City). But even more incredible is that after more than a hundred hours, I’m not even halfway through the main story line.

PC was much more exciting this year than I thought it would be. I’m not sure that 2012 will be though, but I’ll save that for later.

MMOs

Rift

Trion had the perfect situation this year. From January to November, they had the only new major MMO title. I think they capitalized in it very well too. They’ve been continually releasing new content and making tuning changes. Honestly if anything, I think Trion’s proved it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. They’ve been updating the game so much, that when I came back after a month away, it felt like I’d been gone for six months or more.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

BioWare ended up releasing much later in the year than I expected. This ended up being a good thing both because they had more time to get things right, but also because they managed to get through the hype backlash I was expecting before release (or even beta). There’s not too much more I can say about TOR as far as 2011 goes beyond I got in at launch, had no problems, have seen no queues, and am immensely enjoying the Jedi Knight story line.

Champions Online

Champions has been a fun game to hop into of f and on over the year, especially the few times I’ve gotten to play with Scott. The game had a successful F2P launch and has released some good story content with their first Comic Series and a third Adventure Pack. While I haven’t had that original love of the game rekindle, I’m sure I’ll continue to login anytime I get an urge to play superheroes.

Lord of the Rings Online

Last year, I was feeling pretty down on LotRO. The F2P conversion caused an explosion of gold store buttons in the interface that just got under my skin. My disinterest continued for most of the year, including well into the development cycle for Rise of Isengard. It wasn’t until I saw a developer diary with some video about the making of Orthanc for the game, that I had any interest in returning to Middle-Earth.

Once I got back in the game, I was motivated enough to finish Volume 2 of the Epic Quests, get caught up on Volume 3 in Enedwaith, and charge on towards Isengard. I didn’t make it to level cap before Skyrim started dominating my playtime, but I was really happy with the new work Turbine has done on the game and I’ve finally trained myself to not see the store buttons.

Star Trek Online

And lastly, we come to the MMO that I’ve had both the most and least fun with during 2011.

The game started out very well. We had an anniversary event, an excellent renovation of Earth Spacedock, and then a third Featured Episode Series, Cloaked Intentions. The Series 3 was the best one so far and featured great missions, fun voice work, and the music from Amok Time.

Unfortunately, that was the high point of the year. We did get the Foundry followed by a good revamp of ground combat in Season Four, but we also got Atari selling Cryptic, Dan Stahl leaving the Executive Producer role, Free-to-Pay announced, and no new story missions.

Whether it was Dan leaving, the change in ownership from Atari to Perfect World, or the announced F2P transition, the high level of communication and transparency that I loved in 2010 has vanished. The last Engineering Report was released in August, with no word about if or when it’s coming back. The last Ask Cryptic was in September. Granted, the temporary Executive Producer Stephen D’Angelo did write a lot of blogs during the F2P development, but I found them pretty thin on details.

Overall, it’s been a disappointing year for me in STO. I guess I have to have at least one MMO to be down on at the end of every year.

E3 2011: Day 3

LotRO – I caught an exciting bit of news yesterday: phasing is coming to LotRO. Why this wasn’t mentioned at all in the Isengard announcement I can’t imagine. Possibly it’s not marketable enough or a common enough term, but I kind of doubt that given WoW’s popularization of it. These are the kinds of details that I mentioned I was going to wait for yesterday, but I hadn’t expected them to come out so quickly.

E3 Sidenote: That’s it? Seems like the E3 news really faded quickly this year. I didn’t see anything else in the news feeds yesterday that caught my attention. That could be a good thing I guess, it’s not like I don’t have a stack of games I want to play already.

E3 2011: Day 2

Nintendo – I haven’t played a Nintendo game since the NES, so yesterday’s E3 held very little of interest for me as far as the big console announcements. I did keep an eye on Twitter though and caught a couple of articles. While I’m impressed that Nintendo is finally paying some attention to graphics, I’m not sold on their new controller. It looks too large to hold comfortably for any length of time.

LotRO – Turbine announced Rise of Isengard and released a cool trailer. Unfortunately there’s not much real information yet. The level cap is going up to 75 (which we already knew) and they’re adding one new raid and three new regions: Dunland, Gap of Rohan, and Isengard. The biggest news is that you can pre-order and get an in-game mount and some cosmetics now.

My first instinct was to get the Legendary version. Then I thought about it a bit. I haven’t played in months, aside from some quick logins to make sure my housing maintenance was paid up. So, since I have until September 26th, I am going to wait a bit and see what additional information comes out. As good as the cosmetics look, I’m curious how my points the expansion would cost. Is it possible I could get it for free using my accumulated lifetime stipend? Do I really want to pay $10 extra for three colors instead of $40 for just one? I may end up spending the money, but not yet.

Interested After All

It isn’t as if I’ve been ignoring LotRO-related news, I still read the same blogs and listen to the same podcasts, but somehow I had very little interest in the coming Update, Echoes of the Dead, until I read the patch notes. I think it’s because I kept hearing about talk of the new instances and raid cluster which I didn’t care about and nothing about the Book 3 update. Guess I missed that Dev diary.

I wonder if Brynulf is locked out of his house in Bree…

More Famous than I Realized

I logged into LotRO recently because I wanted to check out these mysterious obelisks that had popped up in Eriador. I found the last obelisk in Enedwaith, which reminded me that I had unfinished business with the Grey Company. This led me to notice that my reputation with several factions had changed.

When did I become kindred with the Iron Garrison Miners?

I don’t know of something changed or I’ve just not been paying attention, but either way I headed to the Twenty-first Hall to see if there was anything new that was available to me. I bought the Jolly Hunter tome which unlocked Improved Fleet Stance, which is pretty useless to me but I wanted to unlock all of my class traits.

Unfortunately that and a short crafting session wiped out the small three gold savings I’d accumulated recently. So I’m more famous than I was but much poorer.

LotRO – PC Gamer’s MMO of the Year

PC Gamer named Lord of the Rings Online their MMO of the Year. Normally, I would be happy to see a game I play and love recognized, but I can’t agree much with their reasons for awarding LotRO.

When it came to keeping us entertained all year long with small updates, plus throwing us the occasional party with huge loads of free content, LotRO treated its fans the best.

What? I’m not sure they were playing the same game I was.

They  mentioned two new regions and two new Epic Books. They must be including Mirkwood (which released at the end of 2009) in the new regions because the only new area in 2010 that I remember was Enedwaith. Did I forget a content release? Could they be including the new Yule Festival village? It is true that Books One and Two were released for Volume 3 this last year, and at the time I was pretty happy with Book 1 too. Of course that was when I thought there would be a few months before the next Book, not the six months it turned out to be before Book 2 came out with the F2P release.

One part of the article that I whole heartedly agree with though: LotRO has some of the best server communities of any MMO.

As a LotRO player 2010 was a disappointing year, I hope 2011 turns out to be an amazing year for the game.

Looking Forward to 2011 – MMOs

This will be an interesting year.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

A lot of hopes have been pinned on this game. Some people’s expectations for TOR are so high, that I don’t see how the game can match them. So there will be a lot of disappointed people when the game launches. I myself have been trying to stay away from the news and hype for the game as much as I could for most of the year.

It’s Star Wars so I know I’m going to get it and give it a shot for the first month. It’s basically KotOR 3 (only this time finished unlike 2) so I’m sure I’ll play through at least one or two of the storyline (probably light-side Jedi of some flavor and a Smuggler), but I’m also not expecting to still be playing this game in December. This is basically a single-player game with a subscription fee, it’s something I’m not particularly excited about money-wise, but it is Star Wars so what can I say.

Rift

For the longest time I had trouble differentiating between this game and Tera Online, so I’m glad that they’ve changed their name.

Unlike TOR, Rift was not an instant buy for me. I didn’t have any interest until I started see some of the news and videos about their rift system for dynamic PvE content.

I’ve been in a few of the semi-closed beta events and gotten a chance to experience the new system. It is quite a bit of fun, and in several ways rifts could be considered a more dynamic version of Warhammer public quests. The game is an evolutionary mix of WoW’s and Warhammer’s game designs with a touch of Aion’s graphical style. In short, it doesn’t break the DIKU mold common to MMOs, but it is fun.

Like TOR , I don’t foresee this being a long-term subscription for me. LotRO has been my main fantasy game for years now, and I expect that to continue, but who knows. A lot can happen in twelve months.

Guild Wars 2

Here’s the short version: excited for the game, hesitant about NCSoft.

The original Guild Wars has a lot of faithful fans, but I’m not one of them. I bought the game when it released and I’ve played it off an on over the years, but never for very long. Primarily, I think, because of the focus on private over public instancing and the number of invisible walls in the outdoor maps, the game’s just never clicked with me. So it’s been exciting to me to see that ArenaNet is addressing both of those issues in Guild Wars 2.

NCSoft though has me worried. They’ve had some real problems with their security in the last year, and their customer support hasn’t been much better. Hopefully they get their act together before GW2 launches.

MMO Wish-list

If my personal predictions turn out correct I won’t really be playing any of the new 2011 MMOs all year. Come December, I’m expecting that my core games will still be: Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and Champions.

Star Trek Online

Of all the MMOs I currently play, this is the one I’m the most happy with. Cryptic’s made a lot of improvements in the eleven months since the game launched, and I like a lot of the plans that I’ve heard Daniel Stahl talk about for the game.

Some of these are things that Cryptic has talked about and some are, but here’s some of the changes (both small and large) that I’d like to see happen this year.

  • Ship-wide uniforms. It’s a real pain right now to keep my bridge officer’s uniforms consistent, and there’s no to customize crewman uniforms for when walking around the spacious hallways of my ship.
  • Speaking of spacious, there’s got to be someway to bring the scale of the interior maps down at least a little bit.
  • Allow bridge officers to have multiple uniform slots just like command officers do.
  • Improve the save/load functionality in the tailor so that uniform saves are easier to distinguish from one another.
  • Make the pop-up dialog that occurs when crossing zone borders optional. I’d like to be able to leave Sol and set a course for DS9 and not have to keep an eye on the ship to approve warping from one Sector Block to the next.
  • Ability to disable ships rather than destroy them. Even if it’s only a cosmetic change where enemies pull some kind of emergency warp. It wouldn’t even have to happen all the time, but incorporating disabling ships in some fashion into the combat system would make the game feel just a bit more Trek-like.
  • Change the ground combat system to something cover-based. I would love to see Cryptic borrow some design decisions from Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 and make STO’s ground combat more about moving from cover to cover rather than standing still out in the open and depending on personal shields. Tweaking melee combat so that it’s not a Benny Hill kite-fest would be good too.
  • Keep doing the Featured Episodes! Taking a month off here and there is fine, after all TV does too, but I’d love to see a commitment from Cryptic that this is a permanent feature of the game.

Champions Online

Even with my interest trailing off in the second half of 2010, I do enjoy hopping into the game from time to time and heroing about. Of course I’m a bit concerned about how the F2P switch will turn out, but I’m not worried about the same over-commercialization happening that happened with LotRO.

First, Cryptic already has a store interface in the game and it’s not nearly as prominent as Turbine’s is.

Second, there’s no way to earn Cryptic Points in the game (or there wasn’t last time I checked), so there won’t be an annoying pop-up message anytime I finish a Perk or Adventure Pack reminding me about the store.

Third, a little commercialism fits pretty well into the Champions setting. I’m also don’t have emotional ties to the Champions property that go back to my childhood.

So aside from seeing how the F2P change works out, all I want from Cryptic’s Champions team is more. More new zones. More new mission. More new costume pieces.

A few new levels wouldn’t hurt either.

Lord of the Rings Online

Last year with LotRO was a real roller-coaster for me. A one-two punch of little to no content updates and way too much marketing of the store.

My hope is that this year Turbine turns things around, and given recent interviews where they claim to have tripled their revenues, they really have no excuse not to.

  • There needs to be a configuration option to turn off the store buttons and TP alerts. I don’t care if I’ve earned another 10 Turbine Points. I may care if I can buy a consumable to speed up crafting sometime, but I usually don’t and I’d rather not be reminded of it every time I open the crafting panel.
  • Regular content updates. They don’t have to be large and I actually prefer that Turbine keep them small and frequent rather than dropping a single large one half-way through the year.
  • Expanded cosmetic system: more costume slots, the ability to bring one’s cloak hood up or down without switching cloaks, and cosmetic weapons.
  • A total revamp of the legendary item system. Drop the lottery aspects and make LI’s work more like a person’s skirmish soldier.
  • For the love of Tolkien, find someone to make some decent hats.

I’ve always felt the Turbine did a good job of staying close to the spirit of Tolkien’s lore even if they had to bend the letter of it to fit the MMO genre, but the commercialism that’s invaded the game since it went free-to-play has gotten out of control.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed, Turbine, don’t let me down.

Looking Back at 2010

December is done and 2010 along with it. Seems like a lot of people are happy to see 2010 go, but the last twelve months of gaming here in Kae-land have been pretty good.

New MMOs in 2010

There were four MMOs scheduled or rumored for 2010 that I was keeping an eye one.

Star Trek Online

The game launched on time and pretty smoothly. At least smoothly enough that I don’t remember encountering any problems eleven months later, unlike Anarchy Online’s launch which I still rememberyears later.

The game had a larger flood of launch players than I expected, but it seemed like that initial wave passed through pretty quickly. Say what you will about Cryptic, but I do like their single world architecture. Not only do you not have to play the server-coordination game with your friends, but there’s also no drama over server queues or merges.

For such a new game, not quite a year old yet, STO has made a lot of improvements. Cryptic has added a diplomacy system (months before I expected them to), several new sectors of content, revamped the crafting system (twice, although more work needs to be done on it), updated sector space, done two month’s worth of weekly episodes, and done an excellent job of following through on their promises of transparency with their Engineering Reports. They’re also close to releasing a user-generated content system, the Foundry.

Of course, Cryptic has caused a lot of drama and made a lot of mistakes this year as well, but I have to give them credit for their responsiveness. The Star Trek team has been especially good at gathering community feedback and then acting on it. Daniel Stahl has done an excellent job since taking over as Executive Producer, and I’m very optimistic about the future of the game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Even with all the new information this year, my expectations haven’t changed much.

I like the emphasis on story. Going fully voiced will be an interesting experiment to see how players react and the impact on adding content. I’m sure I’ll buy this even if I don’t subscribe past the first month just to see for myself how Bioware did. Besides the original Knights of the Old Republic was one of my favorite games on the first Xbox.

One thing has changed though, I’ve been surprised about how poorly Bioware has managed the hype for the game this year. In 2009 they’d been doing an excellent job of keeping people excited for the game without letting community expectations get unreasonable. I can’t say the same about Bioware for 2010. It seems to me like the backlash I was expecting to follow the game’s launch has already started.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

My expectations for Cataclysm were set at “wait and see.” That was where they stayed right up until the expansion launched. Despite my general lack of enthusiasm, I did end up buying it. I blame Twitter.

I played through the Dwarven starting zone again (up to level 11) to see what the old world was like now and came away pretty disappointed. It was different, but it was just streamlined a bit and not the Azeroth shattering new experience I expected.

I also started a Worgen Mage and I’m about halfway (just judging by levels) through their starter area as well. I have to say, it’s fun so far but it’s not living up to the hype. That’s the tricky part of this. There’s a lot of hyperbole out there about how amazing Cataclysm is and how fantastic the new zones are, and I don’t think that the game lives up to it’s reputation.

Who knows, maybe I’ll change my tune once I finish the starter area. December just hasn’t been a good month for me to spend enough time with any MMOs.

DC Universe Online

DCUO was supposed to release in November, but SOE pushed it to the beginning of 2011. I think this was smart for two reasons: Cataclysm was scheduled for December (duh) and they listened to the feedback from their beta testers (something more developers should do).

I said back in January that I would wait until I’d had a chance to beta the game and make a decision close to launch of whether or not I’d play it. Well both of those things have happened, and I’ve decided to give it a pass. The reasons for that decision deserves a more in-depth treatment than I want to go into just now, so let me just say that there’s nothing that DCUO does for me that I can’t already get from playing either Champions Online or Arkham Asylum.

Old MMOs

At the start of 2010, there were three MMOs that I was playing regularly and/or subscribing to: Lord of the Rings Online, EVE Online, and Champions Online. (I’m thinking of making a New Years Resolution soon to boycott the use of the word Online in MMO titles.)

Lord of the Rings Online

Whew, what a year it’s been for LotRO and Turbine. It started out as my favorite MMO. I was (and still am) in a great Kinship (which it still is) and was having lot’s of fun in the game. Then came June 4th and the Free-to-Play bombshell. I was completely blindsided by the announcement. Maybe it’s because I played on Landroval, which was always one of the most populated servers, but I had never considered the possibility that Turbine would go the DDO-route for the game. Eventually, after the shock wore off and I was able to look at the details, it really didn’t seem like the F2P change would have a huge impact on my playing experience.

Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be quite correct. My minute to minute playing experience is mostly the same as it ever was, and I’m not paying any more to play the game than I was before, but the level of store integration into the UI really started to get to me. Between the alert that shows up anytime I do something that earns Turbine Points and all of the little gold buttons that link to the store (of which there are three on the crafting panel alone), I’ve found that my interest in logging in and playing as dwindled down to nearly nothing.

EVE Online

I was doubtful that I would still be subscribed to EVE by the end of the year. I did end up stopping the subscription on my second account, and would have canceled my primary except that it renewed before I got around to it. That’s not totally a bad thing as I’ve continued to train skills (towards no particular goal) and I’ll get a chance to try out the new character portrait generator when it comes out. Regardless though, I’m definitely letting the account lapse in March when the current six month cycle is up.

Champions Online

My plans to have this be my other primary game besides LotRO turned out to be true until I go my first hero to max level in March. After that, I played with some alts and returned for the Serpent Lantern Adventure Pack, but my playtime has dwindled down quite a bit this year. I have to be in a certain (rare) mood to enjoy re-experiencing content, so once I’ve been through the game once my playtime almost always declines (which is true for me in all MMOs).

Console Games

Mass Effect 2 was my favorite console game of the year. Great story, great graphics, and much improved combat over the previous game.

Red Dead Redemption was my second favorite console game, and one I almost missed. I hadn’t paid any attention to it at all until Scott from Pumping Irony asked me if I was getting it. I’m glad he did, because it turned out to be a really good game and the first Rockstar game I’ve ever finished.

Star Wars: Force Unleashed wasn’t new but I’d skipped it on release because of poor reviews. I ended up picking it up after news that a sequel was going to be release, and it turned out to be surprisingly good. So good, actually, that I was able to add it to my very small list of completed games. Ironically, based on several trusted sources, it seems like the sequel is a stinker. That’s too bad, but at least it got me to buy the first one.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions turned out to be a disappointment. The game was way more linear than I wanted it to be and has ended up in my limbo games stack. These are games stacked up next to my 360 that I feel I should finish but probably won’t.

Fable 3 was also a disappointment and will likely be joining Shattered Dimensions in limbo soon. It’s really too bad considering how much I loved playing Fable 2.

PC Games

Minecraft! Minecraft! Minecraft!

I’ve played and enjoyed a lot of PC games this year, most of them acquired via Steam sales, but the stand-out PC game for the year for me has been Minecraft.

I’m still surprised by how much I enjoy this game. I’m usually a shallow gamer. Good game-play is important of course, but no more so to me than the good graphics. Generally when a sequel to a game comes out I stop playing the older version, even if I don’t enjoy the new version as much, because it just looks better. What can I say.

If you qualify as a Crafter or Explorer personality type, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. If you do end up liking it, come check out the multi-player servers I’m running.

Isengard Expansion Coming

Turbine announced today that Lord of the Rings Online is getting a new expansion, Rise of Isengard. The bad news is it’s going to be released fall of 2011.

Level cap is increasing another five levels to 70. It will feature a new region, Isengard, which will include Saruman’s tower Orthanc, and continue the epic quest line. Monster play is getting a major revamp, including opening it up to non-subscribers and adding a new PvMP region.

Nothing too surprising here really. I think everyone expected the game would head to Isengard next, with Rohan following after that. The level cap change along with new skills, traits, etc. is a mirror for what we saw in Mirkwood.

The monster play updates are interesting. I knew from Turbine comments on the forums that restricting free players from joining in was temporary (because of performance concerns, if I remember right). but the fact that they are doing a full revamp of the system sounds is really good. Turbine has an excellent track record in revamping Ered Luin, Bree, and Lone Lands, so I’m sure that the new PvMP will be an improvement. I probably still won’t participate, but I know some people who enjoy it.

Despite all that, I have to say I’m disappointed. This expansion is a full year out. Hopefully we’ll continue to get small content additions between now and then. My biggest concern is the size of the expansion. With a fall 2011 release date, I’m expecting a Moria-sized release for Isengard and not a Mirkwood one. Unfortunately the announcement makes it sound more like Mirkwood.

Busy Week

It’s going to be an exciting week!

Star Trek Online has really hit it’s stride recently with their weekly episodes, so I’m very much looking forward to the third episode of the Deferi-Breen arc on Saturday.

Lord of the Rings Online free-to-play (or free-to-try as I like to think of it) launch starts on Friday, the 10th, but I’ll be in headstart on the 8th, which is for current subscribers and F2P beta players. While, I’m looking forward to getting into the new zone, I’m still ambivalent about the store and LUA changes. Still, the sooner the changes launch, the sooner we’ll see how it impacts the Landroval server community.

My Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions preorder is in the mail. Of all of the super heroes in the Marvel and DC universes, Spider-Man has always been my favorite, and I’m really hoping that this game will be more like Spider-Man 2 and not Web of Shadows.

I finally finished all of the available Mass Effect 2 DLC last week, just in time to pickup and play the Lair of the Shadow Broker which should release today. Like I mentioned last week, my excitement level tripled when I saw the trailer for the new content, it looks epic.

As if all of the gaming stuff wasn’t enough, I got an email from Amazon promising that my Kindle should arrive this week. I’m looking forward to spending some time with it and see if this whole ebook thing is for me or not.