European Dev Chat

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I only ran across this yesterday, right before the dev chat was to start. I don't attend dev chats so that wasn't a big deal, but I wish that I could have found out about it on the main US site rather than through a third party and by sheer luck.

There are few items of note I'd like to talk about that have come out of this dev chat. First is about raid content and the following comment from Jalessa:

"Our progress in our raid sets in the future is something that we are continually discuss[ing] and plan[ing] out. We will continue to use radiance as a requirement for future raids, as you have seen with our current Moria sets. We also plan to improve set bonuses and item bonus amounts."

I made a post a while back about gear checks, and why I like LOTRO because there's not really a gear check in the game. Sure better gear means you do things faster etc, but it wasn't required. Decent gear for level 50 meant you could viably complete the Rift or Helegrod. Requiring radiance gear for raids here on out is a gear check of the purest form. You will absolutely die without the radiance gear because the dread is too much. Yes, this is already in the game with The Vile Maw watcher fight. Raiding wasn't precisely casual before, but it's significantly less now. At the very least you have to complete six instances six times each. That's 36 instance runs, 36 times you have to find a fellowship, 36 times you have to commit. All for six pieces of gear.

Of course, one might argue that casual players don't need to experience this content. It's not casual content and there's plenty of casual content in the game already. That's absolutely true, but what made LOTRO different than, say WoW was it's embracing of all content for all players (within reason of course). Perhaps that was a pipe dream, impossible to achieve. I thought they managed fairly well with Shadows of Angmar content, notably raids. Add this to some of the other changes in Book 7 and I feel like LOTRO is going the route of WoW on a few things that might not be the best way of going about it. Just because WoW has 11 million players doesn't mean it does everything right.

I'm probably being unfair to say the devs are coping WoW consciously. They more than likely came up with the ideas on their own. But I'd like to see this game go a little bit of a different direction. Something a little bit unique. The casual friendliness, even in upper level content, was one of those somethings.

The second item is a comment about the XP curve change by Jalessa:

"The change was primarily focused towards our low-mid level players, in an effort to make our game more approachable to the casual user."

There's that word casual again. But that's not what I want to comment on this time - more the abstract level range mentioned here. I put up a post about the level 30 wall the other day (along with links to other blogs talking about the subject) and I think that the xp change could address this problem. Furthermore, it was mentioned Orion is looking over the mid-range content to see how to make it less linear. Honestly, I think the best solution is a new set of zones to duplicate the progression. I'm not sure how redesigning the content at the lower levels will make it any less linear. You still go from the same zone to the same zone.

Lastly is a lighter comment about festivals by Keth:

"In addition to another horse to try and win, there will be a hedge maze for you to try and find your way through. This hedge maze will be instanced, so you'll never see more than a handful of people in the maze at a time."

I love hedge mazes in real life. I'm probably overly excited about this feature of the festival. But I love that they're coming up with new "light" activities to do for these. It's a lot of fun and a good change of pace from the normal questing/deeds/instances. Oh, and yet another horse? We'll need our own stables at this rate. Give us a horse ring! Ya know, like our key ring. I suppose you could call it a stable. A horse rings sounds... odd.

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