What is Content?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I got into a lively discussion on Twitter the other morning. And by morning I mean 5:45 AM. I like to check my overnight tweets before work (I follow quite a few people significantly outside my time zone). Anyhow, since I didn't ask permission to give out the name, this follower shall remain anonymous, but had a few gripes about Orion's post on some improvements to the rep system. The contention, if I didn't misunderstand, is that additions to the rep system, notably deeds for completing rep, doesn't constitute "content" where content is new activities for the player to partake in. Of course, we're arguing about the definition of "content." I assert that content is anything added to the game. My follower would prefer a more narrow reading of the term. I don't think this definition needs to be hard and fast. I can accept his opinion. Where the discussion became more dynamic was in the idea of too much non-content. And by non-content, I'm using the narrower definition.

Indeed, the whole of Orion's post was about improving the reputation system, in some cases with what could be termed fluff content. That is, rewards that don't directly affect your ability to combat mobs or complete content. This is not to say the improvements won't include useful rewards, but Orion wanted to also implement these fluff items as well - albeit a ways in the future. Notable in my Twitter conversation was deeds for completing reputation. Not trying to put words into my follower's mouth, but it seemed that he would prefer resources devoted to more significant content. As a completionist, I would love deeds/titles for reaching kindred in rep. But I can understand why someone would be disappointed at seeing effort devoted to this type of content.

On the whole, the reputation absolutely needs a steroids shot. It's pretty flabby now, and I think that's a relic of it being added post release, and with limited resources amidst a host of other content additions, many more significant or impacting than rep. The later rep "factions" (for lack of a better word) such as Forochel and Lothlorien implement reputation much better and more fluidly with the rest of the world - quests, deeds, gear, etc. But we're getting a piecemeal system, visible in the game. I would love to see Orion take putting all the reputation factions on the same level. This is especially important regarding rewards. Breeland and the Mathom Society, off the top of my head, have utterly useless rewards, almost entirely comprised of fluff. And this brings me to my last point: I agree with my follower that fluff is disconcerting - but only if all we're getting is fluff. Orion's post clearly points out we'll be seeing the more significant and impactful improvements first, and fluff stuff such as the deeds/titles much later on. He's got his priorities right.

Content, whether fluff or not, is always welcome so long as it's well designed. I think we've seen some hiccups lately with some content, but Orion's work on the early zone revamps gives me supreme confidence that the content improvements we see in the reputation systems will be of excellent quality.

6 Responses to "What is Content?"

Anonymous Says:

Back in the ole days of EQ, every faction had its own individual crafted set of armor. The armor was not the best in game, since it was not as challenging to gather all the resources (just more time consuming by far).

But the armor was very good, and well worth the time to get your hometown faction up to the point you could make it. You also had to construct the set at the home town with a special set of crafting tools and crafting station.

I wouldnt mind seeing this in LOTRO. Have bree faction open up a very nice set of captian only armor, and a nice hunter bow/waepon set (3/3 with range crit). Make it worth while to get up to kindred to have access to making this stuff.

Thallian Says:

I'm excited for some of the new rewards, thanks for posting on this Jaxom, I read it a bit ago but forgot to post on it.

Dodge Says:

It's... really hard for me to not droll on about this considering I saw much of the conversation; but here's what I think.

1. To complain about the addition of "Fluff" when there is a huge raid dungeon coming out at the same time seems a little silly to me.

2. His main worry is that this is the kind of thing that end-game players would focus on and I completely disagree with that as well. This may be what some people choose to grind constantly (however there is a cap to faction...) but it's not something that's even remotely close to taking the place of running dungeons in any way. How this seemed to threaten his end game is beyond me.

3. This is not Guild Wars. I don't know what happened in Guild Wars since I didn't play that long, but this game is not even close to being like that game. Again, how the hunt for titles seems threatening or a waste of time is beyond me considering my firs point.

In the end, I thought his argument was silly and a tad unfounded. It's fluff; it's stuff you'll do during your down time if you're a raider (if at all); and if you don't raid anyway why would it matter that you're doing it?

Jaxom92 Says:

I agree with you on why I think his argument is unfounded. I didn't want to rehash that in the post, so I went a bit of a different direction. Either that or I was just tired when I posted it (I really was) and didn't get to the point that I don't think adding fluff to the rep system discourages other types of play, nor is it mutually exclusive with raids and the like.

Jaxom92 Says:

And by "you" I mean Dodge. LOL. Tired tonight as well.

Anonymous Says:

Anonymous, Turbine started along that path but never traveled very far. When the factions were first introduced, they added faction-only recipes that were initially promising, but they ended up being 99% fluff.