Friday, February 6, 2009

High end crafting in LoTRO is borked

From level 1-50 (the first five tiers of crafting), the crafting in LoTRO is more fun and usefull than it has ever been. Crafting guilds are a brilliant addition.

Unfortunately, as it currently stands, the crafting pretty much falls on it's face in tier 6. As an example, I'm going to focus on tailoring. In tailoring, tier 6 is gear isn't as good as gear from 6 man content for two reasons. One that can't easily be fixed (and I accept) and another that certainly should:

1. High end armor sets tailored to specific classes are available at 60. Tailored armor has always been a hit or miss proposition, as it is "one size fits all" for every class that uses it. For example, Burgs, Wardens, Hunters, and Minsterals can all use leather. There is no way one set of recipes is going to serve all of those classes equally well. For this reason it's inevitable that (for example) a level 60 hunter set is going to be a bit better for a hunter than what a tailor can make. I accept that, and can live with it.

2. The stat allocation on the crafted level 58 armor stinks. The level 50 one shot recipes had logical stat allocation for a generic armor set. Each piece added to two primary stats, and then had a big morale or power bonus. That makes sense, and is about as good as you are going to do with generic recipes. However, the level 58 recipes have for the most part replaced the morale and power bonuses with random ones I can't imagine anyone wanting. For example one piece has large amounts of poison resistance (!?). Even if you can't just cure poison outright (i.e., hunter), poison cures are cheap and available in unlimited quantities from vendors.

When you stack up a set that has points wasted on a lot of funky resistances against a set that is easy to get and tailored to your class, the crafted gear doesn't just seem "not quite as good." The crafted gear starts to look pretty stupid in comparison. So far, it looks as if I will be wearing a crafted cloak at 60, and the rest of my gear will be quest rewards.

It's not just tailors, most of the production proffessions have serious issues in tier 6. For example metalworkers are pretty much reduced to making crafting tools in tier 6, and weaponsmiths have been relegated to offhand-weapon crafters due to the new legendary items.

To readers not familiar with LoTRO, that might not seem like a big deal. However, it is a big deal because it's not the LoTRO I've been playing for nearly two years. One of the best things about LoTRO has always been that you could get gear that is roughly on par doing whatever you like:


-six man party content



You pick!

That freedom is one of the big reasons that I've been happy as a clam in LoTRO since it launched. I am never railroaded into doing one thing. Unlike some games ("cough" WoW "cough"), the designers decided at the outset to support a variety of playstyles in their end game. Unfortunately, the gear from 6 man party content currently makes the gear you can get doing anything else look pretty stupid. That's not what I signed up for.

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