Monday, March 2, 2009

Thoughts on book seven

Major changes coming down the pipe in book seven. Not going to do anything like a comprehensive review, but there are a few highlights that stick out in my mind.

1. Lothlorian.

All I can really say is hell yes. I also think that this content will be an important test case for Turbine. Until some time next fall we are all going to be sitting at 60. Even slow ass casuals like me that started when MoM launched have at least one 60 by now. Will this area be fun for us even though we won't be getting any XP? Since I went through Foreschel for the first time at 50 and had a blast, signs point to yes for me. However, I'll be interested in seeing how the community reacts.

2. Faster leveling.

To me the current pace of leveling in LoTRO seems to be about right, with the exception of the 30-42 or so doldrums. I have two alts that have stalled out in the mid 30s, one of which I actually enjoy playing quite a bit. If this will help me get over that hump with alts, I'm all for it.

I just hope that Turbine hasn't overdone things in other level ranges. Leveling to 25 or so flies by as it is, I don't think it needs to be any faster. For me 42-50 also seems to fly. 50 to 60 was a lot slower, but since that's the last ten levels I think it should happen at a measured pace. In addition, after hitting 60 with my first toon over the weekend I seem to have done far fewer than half of the quests in MoM. Especially with Lothlorian coming in, there really will be a lot more 50-60 content than any three characters could do and get Xp from.

3. Quest radar.

Some commentators are enthused about this feature. In other communities, it's less popular. I have to admit, I'm having a cranky old man reaction to this feature. One of the great things about LoTRO is the stories that emerge from the quest chains. If you simply follow little arrows around your map, you are going to completely miss out on that. Further, the kinds of players that a feature like this will appeal to are also players that I simply don't think are patient enough to get LoTRO. I'd really just assume most of them lose patience and move on by level ten or so. I'm enjoying the (by and large) mature and helpful community that inhabits LoTRO.

That said, clearly I am in the minority on this issue. The red blobs in WAR absolutely hammered my sense of immersion (of course the fact that most of the quet text was so poorly written didn't help much either), but most players seemed to like them. Quest Helper, which adds the same feature to WoW, is an extremely popular add-on.

And don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we should go back to the dark days of launch EQ. However, I personally feel that LoTRO has always nailed the balance between a sense of discovery and lack of frustration. Clearly Turbine does not agree, and has decided to move things more in the direction of WAR and WoW.

4. Creep enhancements.

The final big news as far as I was concerned is that creeps are starting stronger, it will now be easier to level them, and cheaper to buy new abilities. I think this is absolutely a needed change. It is currently a serious six month grind to max out a creep. There is no way it should take longer to max out a creep than it takes to run a new freep from one to the cap. Considering that the entire horrific grind has to be done in the same zone, the current requirements are insane. If Turbine really wants creep play to be a fun "RvR light" experience, then they need to make it easier to progress. Easier progression lures more players to try creeps, which leads to much more fun for all involved (warm bodies on the field makes PvP happen).

Now if only the PvP gear were on par with the Radiance gear, Turbine would have something really great going. The exact same stats, save without radiance, would be a good start. PvMP has always been a hell of a lot of fun. The problem with it currently is that you earn rewards steadily for about a month, and then your progress completely stalls out. Over and over again I have seen players lose their minds in the moors for around a month, and then get completely burned out on it when they stop making reasonable progress for the time they put in.


  1. My feelings are mixed on the experience changes and quest radar. I think a lot of current players enjoy the game because it didn't have those things. But it may bring more players in.

    When I left a couple years ago, every single one of my alts was in the 32-39 range. I think if they just addressed those levels, it would have been enough.

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  3. I'm right there with you. Faster leveling in the 30s was absolutely needed. However quest arrows seem to go against the spirit of the game.

    That said, everyone I know in game thinks I'm crazy. Even fellow lore grognards I've talked to seem to be happy that they can turn it on when they get stuck. It seems I'm in a cranky minority about it.