Brackish Waters

how my gaming and life coalesce.

Hearts and minds

Sethanon over at Wife-Aggro.com, brought up a really good point about reputation rewards in his newest podcast episode. He and Ragemore were talking about the recent addition to Lord of the Rings Online of the regional reputations. They cited a note made by the developers stating that they did not intend for their system to exclude players from grouping together but instead offer an alternate avenue for players to explore.

This idea that reputation advancement should net actual in game rewards like armor or trinkets always bothered me but I don’t know why. I never found myself itching to grind out boring quests or kill counts for factions in WoW, and I probably won’t be doing in LotRO. However, it really sounds like this isn’t where Turbine is taking the game anyway.

What I would like to see is reputation somehow coupled with the deed system they have in place. As of right now, LotRO has NPC’s that do hail you differently when you complete quests in their zone or town. For example, when starting out in the small town of Aughaire in the zone Angmar, the locals there are in despair about their conditions and if they do hail you at all its usually some snipe. They call you “southron” and ask you what you are doing in their town. After completing 6-7 of the quests in the town, I now hear from atleast two NPCs that they are happy to see me and they are thankful for my help. My assistance in the town has given me a couple of other rewards in terms of money, loot and access to a new title, but none of this really changes the world and how much of an impact I have made except the way NPC’s react to my presence.

Kill on sight (KOS) has been the traditional way to show an impact on the world, but this is fairly basic now and I am starting to expect more from my game play. Some of the things Sethanon would like to see, and I am going to echo these points, are

  • Vendor privileges
    Give me better pricing and make me want to come back to that town. Offer increased turn in prices and cheaper provisional goods.
  • Regeneration Buff
    Why not make my overnight stay better in towns where I am most welcome. If I stay in an inn there, wouldn’t my time there be more enjoyable? Give me doubled rest experience for my logout periods. This could possibly be countered with a decreased rest experience reward in areas where I am loathed.
  • Crafting Assistance
    Especially in a game like LotRO where crafting is performed by groups of races, it would be exciting to hear that because of my experience, I receive assistance from local crafters to enhance my abilities. This could be increased critical chances in LOTRO or raised statistics in Vanguard. Could you imagine seeing a NPC crafter following you around, giving you buffs and working beside you?
  • Hearts and Minds
    Show me the people are happy for my work, bring the NPCs to life! I believe there was an emote in beta where you could have people /cheer, /mock, or /scold your character and after a number of times you would receive an actual title for this. Why not bring this back and involve the NPCs? If I have done 30 quests in Bree, lets make some of the NPCs give me a /cheer when I walk by and maybe silently contribute this to a new title.
  • Travel and more…
    There are a number of ways to make a reputation system more enjoyable to the player and encourage them to return to areas that they might otherwise not find beneficial. Offer decreased travel costs, lower auction costs for posting or buying, decreased training costs, free beverages at the taverns, armor marking or cloak tinting, adjusted repair costs. Argh, I could go on and on.

I await the day when a developer can take a town of NPCs and change them into more than a vault of scripted, quest dumping pez dispensers. When this does happen, that company would have not only have won my continued subscription to their game, but also the hearts and minds of the hundreds of players I have grouped with over the years.

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August 21, 2007 - Posted by | Brainstorms, LOTRO, Rants, Vanguard

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