Raid Accessibility

Friday, June 12, 2009

I was excited, having heard about WoW's raid progression, attunement requirements, gear requirements, etc that LOTRO was going a different route with high-end content: casual is king. The Rift proved this. Anybody that was at level cap could conceivably run a successful Rift Raid (with some experienced players guiding the way, of course). As long as you weren't still wearing your level 15 armor at 50 (exaggeration) you were good to go. Like I said, that made me happy. But I never took advantage of the ease of access. I discovered that I didn't really like tuning out the rest of my world as I played. Live games cannot be paused, so when your in the thick of it and the phone rings, the dog wants out, your mother is hollering... well... that's a problem. So I like to play solo mostly, or casually grouped so I don't have to worry about the various interruptions that come from living with others and a dog.

But I liked the principle behind "easy" raid accessibility, even if I don't actually raid. It sets LOTRO apart from the pack. However, with the advent of radiance, we have a paradigm shift. Maybe that's a bit melodramatic, but Unwize's latest post gives a good rundown of the situation.

Now let's turn to a blog entry by Amlug, one of the devs over at Turbine. Posted to his MyLOTRO page, Amlug talks about raid accessibility a bit. And I see a pattern emerging. The earlier raids are getting some of the restrictions reduced (i.e. less gloom requires less radiance), and the increase in instances to get radiance gear provides more options, and a potentially easier set of instances to run for the gear (skip the harder ones). I imagine that the new raid for Book 8 will see a relaxing of requirements in 4 to 6 months as well. Why? Not because we complain about it, but because it makes good business sense. If your hardcore populatin has moved onto the next bit of content, why keep hardcore requirements for content the hardcore aren't playing? If you can extend the lifetime of your content by pushing it through stages reflected on your customer's style of play, who not? The only draw back is the rest of us are doing this "watered down" content after the rewards are relevant.

For me, the casual, I just like seeing the content. For me, the accomplisher, I just like getting the quests and deeds done. Who cares about the gear/rewards? More will come, and I suspect the causuals interested in raiding have a similar mindset.

So, let's not despair over radiance and raids. We're still going a different direction. Perhaps the effect is the same in the short term, but it could be worse - we might be playing a grindy "Asian" style MMO.

1 Responses:

Yeebo Says:

What really bothers me about the radiance system is that it restricts the endgame. PvP and crafting are n o longer viable ways to gear up for raiding. If you don't happen to like the idea of running hard mode instances until you are absolutely bored to tears with them, too bad.

The new three mans will certainly help somewhat. But if the pieces are nothing but replacements for the easiest hard mode items to obtain, they aren't going to do casual players much good.

I like to see instances. I went more than halfway through the rift just to check it out, for example. However I'm not a big fan of grinding on them for gear.