Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Loosing heart

I must confess that I'm slowly but surely loosing heart for this game.
For me, the downfall started with Mines of Moria and the unsettling changes that the Devs decided to make to what seems the fundamentals of the game for me.
I have a hard time accepting the amount of grind that sneaked into Middle-Earth Online; in some cases grind with very non-optimistic odds...

The Journey, as leveling is often described in LotRO, is still worth playing, but I personally am all but an alter, so once I've finished mine, what's left out there?

Raiding has been compromised by instancing and the enforcement of radiance gathering. You can not anymore simply gather with friends and go have some high-end gameplay time, first you have to farm the instances to death to equip all those friends and only than you can have a go at boring and badly designed fights - or encounters - that Devs try to make pass as raids. I simply can't imagine why they keep on rejecting the fact that this approach is far too limiting for most players as too time-consuming and in the end simply boring.

Lets do some math to picture the situation better assuming that we have a dedicated static group of 12 people. This means 6 instance runs per player providing that they are all great players that never suffer from fkups and thus each and every run is succesful. This will give us:
Grand Stair: 6x30min = 3h
Skumfil: 6x20min = 2h + 1h to get the key
Forges: 6x40min = 4h
Fil Gashan: 6x1.5h = 9h
16th Hall: 6x1.5h = 9h
Dark Delvings: 6x1h = 6h
This gives 34 hours of initial instance grind per raid member to even get close to Sushi!!!

Turtle Encounter, promised as an encounter that's supposed to help people get geared up for Watcher, fails miserably as such. In this stupid damage race against time and huge acid dot, players that are already geared up have an insane advantage with their better weapons and radiance set offering big acid defense bonus along with all the other bonus stats. Those players don't need the Turtle anymore in the promised sense, they will just farm him for LIs.

And now, with b8 patch we will get more raids where we must counter more dread, which means we have to farm radiance gear anew. I'm thrilled.

I've played many games, starting with asian grindcore and slowly mowing to something more player-friendly. I'm an experienced MMO games, I even graduated and recieved my Master of Arts title for a work on ethics in MMOs. I've always read about declining numbers of players after some unfortunate nerfs, but truth be told I've never seen anything to support that observation: people on forums would write about how their kins are turning into ghost-kins. But in LotRO for the first time I've seen it with my own eyes: forget even my Kin (two actually). But our Raiding Alliance (RrU) used to have 30+ members on channel in the evenings! For few days already, I don't see much more than 10. Same for globallff which I remember scoring around 500 members in the evenings - it's around 200 recently as well.

I hoped to see LotRO as last step in my MMO journey, or at least one of the last. And I always rejected WoW as an ugly, 'jelly' game. But the insanely stupid movements Turbine are doing finally got me to try some WoWing, because I simply can't make myself log into lotRO anymore. What for? Doing 16th Hall for the 50th time? Or reading a book while grinding Fil Gashan for 30th time?


  1. There seems to be a general dissatisfaction amongst the LOTRO blogs about the direction of development for end-game content. I think bloggers feel some obligation to continue to play the game they're writing about and if the game puts up barriers to that, we're distraught over the dilemma. I don't see taking a break from the game as antithetical to blogging about it. Just means the blog goes on hiatus for a while. Or you keep up with the news and commentate that while playing something else. I know I sometimes spend more time blogging and reading blogs than actually playing the game.

  2. I still have plenty of material to blog about...
    My problem is that I am a Gamer. I love playing games, especially MMOs. And I loved LotRO - that's why I'm so angry and dissapointed with the way the developement goes.

    I tried some WoW yesterday, but it doesn''t feel as good as LotRO did. I might stay there for a while tho, just because I can't stand logging to LotRO anymore :/

  3. A lot is riding on Book 8. If, as the first comments to come out from the testers seem to suggest, Turbine have finally scripted another Rift-type multiple boss raid, much may be forgiven. And I can foresee a situation where many serious, high-end players may elect to simply ignore the Vile Maw and go straight on to more interesting things.

  4. This move to gated content is frustrating. Neither Helegrod or The Rift were gated and the game never suffered for it. In fact I remember reading many articles and blogs stating this accessibility was one of the games many strengths. The 'free content' of late has simply been content free, a nasty hollow grind.

  5. Kairos, I also have high hopes for b8, but as much as I have gathered, it will still be restricted by radiance, unfortunatelly.
    Along with the book and there raid, new instances will come (3- and 6-man) which will provide new radiance pieces with higher stats and one will need those new pieces (there will be 3 of them I think) and rest of current radiance armor to cope with the dread. Good thing about it is that we won't have to grind all 6 pieces again, bad is that it is still gated... because - well, read chadmago's post, I agree with it totally.

    I mean, it's enough to check out radiance gear discusions on codemasters forum: most of the (vocal) community seems to despite the radiance requirement..!

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  7. 100% agree. Turbine needs to give us a raid that does not require radiance gear. Like the rift. I was disappointed when I learned that after all my farming of the current radiance runs, I will have to get even more just to participate to a minimal level (with 40 dread no less!) in the new book 8 raid. I dont mind the raids being difficult, its just that I hate the damn grindfest required to get to the fun raid. And watcher and turtle dont count as a raid. They are sad examples of filler content. I'm sure the new raid will be fun, It's just that it will take forever for me to get to it (70 radiance required to not cower!). Maybe I should go back to halo...