Brackish Waters

how my gaming and life coalesce.

The One Ring to fool them all?

Over at MMO-Gamer, there is a second part of the review for Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online. This review covers the post level 25 game and goes into a lot of detail as to how Turbine does not deliver. The writer is blunt, honest and in some cases quite funny about the disappointment both he and his guild feels. However, is this truly a fair assesment of the state of the game of LotRO?

Lets just fire right off and nail his first point that he is level 50. He is in an established guild and has obviously been putting in more time than the larger portion of the player base. Turbine appealed to the crowd who were more akin to a casual style gameplay and I attribute this to the large amount of quests that remain uniform in difficulty throughout the levels. When he said this in the first paragraph, I just got the feeling he was going to be hard to appease.

Blasting your way to 50 before a majority of other players is no reason for Turbine to have poorly made content in the game. He has a legitimate gripe and this is echoed by folks over at Ring Cast. Both stated that the book quests and instances have issues in the latter part of the game, some with work arounds, some without. The last thing I want to be doing when playing is researching a work-around for an in-game bug.

He then goes on to talk about the Legendary Traits and the amount of time needed to gather the items to unlock these slots. While I have yet to unlock one of these trait slots or research how much the components are going for on the Firefoot server, I’m suprised he is upset about the amount of time needed for the gathering of materials.

A friend of mine obtained one of the aforementioned books on her Burglar, and a quick check of Allakhazam revealed that half of the pages she needed dropped from a certain type of elite spider in North Trollshaws. As we all had quests for these spiders anyway, we selflessly volunteered to assist her.
Over the next six hours of farming, our team got the deeds Spider Slayer for 120 kills, Spider Slayer Advanced for 240 kills, and finished five Fellowship quests.
The Burglar got one page.

6 hours…. 6 hours. Come on man. Even I play about 5 hours a night and have spent many a night just camping one spot. What he fails to mention is how much money the group gained during that time period in both drops and vendor trash. I have no doubt that he could have afforded at-least one other page from that farm-fest.

Next on the platter is deeds and this is another place Steven Crews and I disagree. He echoes my comment that LotRO is a game marketed to the casual player. Stating that the game turns into a grindfest for minimal character development seems to be fair assessment of these high level deeds. 720 kills is a lot. The way I figure it, this would be around 4 days for me and only 12 -14 hours for him if you take the above example of farming for pages.

What I am wondering is what could take the place of this system and still appeal to the crowd that doesnt like to quest all of the time? If it wasn’t minimal advancement for this grind and instead some great skills or stat bonuses, people would be crying about how the game doesn’t appeal to the casual player. I think the casual player will disregard these traits if they are out of his reach and rationalize it by saying they can live without the 0.5% power regeneration in combat. I am about 10 kills from 30 today and may see this differently when I do start to see the level 40 game.

I do agree with him on the Monster Play. Its sad that this and crafting were his smaller sections in the review as I would especially have liked to hear more about the higher tiered crafting. Across all of my characters, I have about 25% of the material they are using as crafted. Just two days ago I purchased two one-handed swords for my burglar. These had a buyout of 450 silver and were easily justified by the +16 Agility per blade. I could not bring myself to buy the “Mastered” version of those blades for the additional +.5 dps and a whopping 1.4 gold buyout.

I was especially suprised by this statement and crafting:

As it is now, my Armorer friend can see a suit he crafted be sold in perpetuity… not exactly good for repeat business.

I have yet to see an item that was crafted and not actually bound to me when equipped.  Even my harvesting tools were binding to me.  If this is a one time thing and a bug I can see his concern, but it surely cannot be intentional… I hope.

His last point and last straw for his guildmates was the raid content. This may kill Turbines chances of retaining a very finicky crowd. This crowd does not take kindly to loss of time or waste of effort and is very vocal about it. All of the effort in the world can be made to make beautiful dungeons and landscapes, but if the content there is as lacking as he says it is, its just a sandbox with action figures.

I really hope they clean this content up as the updates are what drew me here and give me hope on the future of this game.

In some of the cases here I do agree with Steven Crews in his assessment, and I am not sure if it is the difference between the core and casual player that are clashing here or the fact that Turbine is indeed doing a poor job. The feeling I get is that he expected this game to be easy and to be able to fly through this before the release of some other game. It seems that he was stopped by poor content implementation on the end game and in his opinion, bad design on multiple fronts.



June 28, 2007 - Posted by | LOTRO

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