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A Veritable Plethora

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Today is the big day, as you all know. Book 7 is released. I'm currently about half-way through the patching process. I didn't use the pre-patch method and I usually don't mind waiting for the client to patch itself on release days. There seems to be a veritable plethora of posts today. You can find many of these posts using the combined blog feed linked on my sidebar, but Kill Ten Rats has also posted some about LOTRO. Three posts to be exact. Two of them are commentary on issues they see in the game, particularly with the instances and the changes to those instances. The third is an outline of the instance progression, containing spoilers.

As I haven't played through any but one of the instances, I'm not able to comment well on the issues within them, however I did hear they were fairly buggy and had some exploits. However, as Kill Ten Rats points out, one person's exploit is another person's creative thinking. I have to err on the side of the development team however, as it is their definition that ultimately counts. They are the ones defining the game, and while the player base is experiencing that definition, everything is ultimately in their hands. I think we as players get too caught up in an entitlement mentality at times. And here's where capitalism comes into play. If we as players don't like what we're experiencing, we go elsewhere. So the development team's job is to strike that balance - guiding the game where they think it needs to go but in a way that the players like. This doesn't change who is in control, however, who sets the agenda. The developers choose to listen to the players because it's good business, but that doesn't mean they're any less responsible for the direction the game goes.

Okay, now it's time to get personal. I have a goal of getting the radiance gear from these instance runs. I haven't done many so I'm not experientially familiar with the timesinks involved. I only know that by educated guessing and second hand conversations. Despite my goal, I'm conscious that it's unlikely that I'll experience this content in full. I just don't play often enough and don't have the patience for what's involved in getting groups together. I prefer to group with my kin because it's relatively painless and I don't have to work hard to do it. But getting a static group of six players together for six hours minimum for one of six instances is hard. It's not hard because the content is necessarily hard. It's hard because it takes time. Game time is part of free time and free time is a luxury. Most of us have to ration it, myself included, despite my current unemployment. I have to face reality hear and realize I'm not the type of person this content was designed for. I'd like to be the type of person, because I'm really am a completionist, but when it really comes down to doing the deed, I just don't have the will to make that time commitment. Quite frankly, there are more entertaining and fun things I could be doing with my time, some of which don't even involve LOTRO. So while I'm a big fan of the game, I think I'll use my time to push for completing the epic storyline. I love story so that's where I should focus. Gear, instances, what does it matter? I'm experiencing Middle-Earth am I not? Is a 36+ hour gear grind really Middle-Earth or just a game mechanic for those of us with more time and the personality to push through such things?

And with this realization, I also have recognized that I'm not doing the activity that I've gotten most enjoyment from - grouping with my kinmates just because we want to do content. Many of my recent play sessions have involved solo experiences, and those are not the most memorable moments by and large. Where I find most joy is playing with my friends. So, I'll drop the goal of getting the radiance gear and put in it's place play with my kinship. If they're doing instance runs for gear - sure, that's what I'll do, but if they're doing the epic story, that's what I'll do. It's a game for goodness sake. Play it, don't work it. Right?

4 Responses to "A Veritable Plethora"

stiley Says:

Luckily, hard mode instances can be mostly completed under an hour, Some even within 30 minutes. The longest one is 16th Hall and it might take just a bit longer than an hour but it's really not too bad! :)

Jaxom92 Says:

Still, if we say 1 hour max, we're looking at at 6 hours per instance, and 36 hours total for all 6 pieces of gear. That's a lot of time and conservative, because many, many people PUG these and players rotate in and out with some never seeing a lucky roll for themselves. If it were more practical to get six people to stick together for six runs, that is a shorter run, say 30 minutes guaranteed, than it might be doable. That's 3 hours per instance, which still can push the limit, but is much more manageable.

stiley Says:

But if you divide that, even the 36 hours, to the span of say 3 months, it's 3 hours a week. Also, if you belong in a kin it should be easier as not all need the pieces. Provided that people help each other. It's a common goal really since you don't need the radiance set other then for watcher. And if you are not planning to go there, there's no hurry or even need for the set at this point.

But I don't mean to argue, just providing a different view on this :).

Jaxom92 Says:

Oh, don't apologize for stating a different view. I understand where you're coming from. Your point is valid about spreading it out over time for the more casual player. There's usually always a different way of looking at things.

I think where I'm coming from on this is that my kin, while infinitely helpful as individuals, tends to have difficulty getting groups together. We're just not that organized. So, to be fair, it's not really the fault of the content, but rather just the situation I'm in. (And if my kinmates are reading this, I'm not ragging on you guys. You're awesome, but it's just the way we are.)

Thank you for your comments, I love to hear and discuss, which is what we're doing, not arguing, LOTRO with people.