Weekend of the Rings

So we played quite a bit this weekend.  I have to say I am enjoying the fundamentals of the game, questing, crafting, exploring etc..

We completed every quest in Erud Luin and at the very end of the evening last night, made the journey to Bree, and set our binds outside the Prancing Pony.

The setting is fantastic, the  has a great pace, and I really don’t see the complaints about slow or boring combat.  In fact, I find LoTRO combat to be more reactive, and a well played spell cycle is much more skill based then the same cycle in WoW.

With the casting delays, and the ability to que spells and to interrupt your own spells with the next, you simply can not fall into the WoW, spell spam.  You have to carefully monitor the progress of your cast, and to maximize DPS or HPS, time your follow-up maneuver precisely, lest you risk cancelling your previous cast, or simply losing time on the next.

Just now having gotten to Bree, we only briefly looked through the Monster Play options, but we both love PvP and plan to spend a considerable amount of time questing with the forces of Angmar, and feasting on the flesh of the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth.  I enjoy the concept immensely, especially as a Minstrel, because I have options for play that do not revolve around healing.

One of my biggest complaints about the holy Priest or holy Paladin in Warcraft, is that when spec’d for raid healing, they simply could not experience other aspects of the game in a meaningful way.  Farming, soloing, world PvP, Battlegrounds all required the same healing focus or they were gimped classes.   Thus, a raid healer found themselves healing nearly every moment in-game.   As a Minstrel, I can choose a damage dealer in Monster Play, and find a reprieve from life-bar watching.

Tonight we continue the epic quest, now with Strider in the Prancing Pony, perhaps try a bit of Monster Play, and more questing and exploring, but in the new region of the Bree-lands and Barrow-Downs.

Did I mention that I love the setting?

 ~Cyndre

18 thoughts on “Weekend of the Rings”

  1. It’s mainly people that level fast and want to get to the “end game” that are dissatisfied. They complain about lack of late level content, pvp, etc. Maybe they shouldn’t have raced to the end. Hell even in WoW Naxx was bugged when it was released.

    It’s not a game for achievers, more for explorers and socializers. The last patch added 30-40 content and more solo content, and the next patch is adding more 40-50 content. But right now there’s not nearly as much, apparently. I don’t really know since I haven’t hit 40. I’m not making the same mistake.

    But I also find minstrels a lot more fun than healers in WoW. Except, of course, druids. But that goes without saying!:)

  2. The setting is the main reason I’m still forging onward. I can’t wait until Moria is unveiled, and even further down the road, Gondor, Mirkwood, Lothlorien, etc. Even if I’m not subbed for the whole time, I’ll be checking in regularly and hopefully keeping pace in level to see all the sights of Middle-earth.

    Just be careful, Cyndre. The questing gets very group heavy in the mid-late 20s. But I suppose if you’re with your spouse, you’ll be fine. It’s only us lonely Dwarves that have to beg for groups. :P

  3. Glad you enjoy it so much, I myself canceled after my free month, maybe I did not have a backup of great friends as you seem to have. But the thing that really made me not renew was basically that the game in its core is just like any other. Pick your Race pick you Class, get to Level X by taking numerous quests. Yes Lotro can shine in some aspects and the quests are often well done but then again you get yet another kill 20 wargs quest and I feel if they had only made questlines as cool and as unique as the epic chains it would be so much better. And yet then you would still be stuck with the mainframe that has become the most common approach to mmos these days.
    I just wish someday somebody manages to pick up UO’s concept or DAoC’s pvp system and expands on it, evolves it a little further with up to date tech.
    Anyway hope you enjoy your stay as long as possible.

  4. I agree with Ever on this one. there are definitely some things to like there, but there’s not a whole lot that’s innovative. I do like the class design, particularly that the primary damage dealer is a heavily armored character and the rogue is a debuffer; I think that’s some good outside the box thinking, and it “Feels” more right than the way WoW and most other MMOs handle it. I like a lot of the little refinements in the game, too. Ultimately, though, it ends up being much like the other current crop of MMOs.

  5. @ Yunk: We dinged 14 after just three days of playing, so to some extent we will always be achievers. We approach the game from a casual standpoint, but after years of executing on a rigid raid schedule at the top of content, anything involving questing and exploration just feels casual and exciting. As you say, the game could grow tiresome, lack content or cease to excite, but we are not there yet so I can’t complain yet.

    @Bildo: We love to group. We /LFF early in Erud Luin and led a fellowship hacking and slashing through about 20 Quests on Saturday evening. We finished the Epic Prolouge long before we completed the requisite quests for the region. My only wish, is that more quests revolved around teh central storyline, as the instance adventures and fellowship quests are exponentially more exciting content.

    @Ever: At the present time, LoTRO delivers the exact experience we were seeking, thus our excitement, that it does those types of things well. I am not tired of the Diku MMO. I enjoy fantasy setting, and Kill Ten Rats quests. LoTRO has some unique spins on PvP and some flavor to the questing which is nice but you are correct, in the end, the crafting, questing and general gameplay is far from revolutionary. We weren’t looking for revolutionary, just a fresh start with no commitments, no raid schedules and new scenery.

    I plan to do a comprehensive review of the game after I feel I have experienced enough diverse gameplay to formulate an educated opinion on it. I know its a few months post-release, but most games don’t reach maturity for six months or more.

  6. @Ever and BitterCupOJoe: Keep in mind that through the development cycle, Turbine always said LOTRO would be a very traditional fantasy MMO, they were not pushing the genre to the next level with it. They made some nice refinements of a couple systems seen in other titles, and the game is very smooth and polished.

    Because of the Tolkien IP, LOTRO is forcibly more down to (Middle) Earth than you’d get in any other fantasy game so players whine about no crazy high fantasy classes and armor. Primarily, though, they whine about the lack of variety in the mobs. Just like WoW had murlocs and spiders in nearly every zone, LOTRO has the same bandits, bears, boars and wolves in nearly every zone so it gets old. At least WoW could give more variety on top of murlocs and spiders. Assuming EA’s LOTR games based on the movie franchise was also keeping strict with the IP, I think Turbine has plenty of wiggle-room to add new types of mobs and honestly I wouldn’t mind a patch that retrofitted some of the existing zones with new mobs and quests. In the end though, it’s still Kill Ten Rats quests.

    The uber achievers (I guess I fail to see how rushing to level cap and missing the content is achieving anything?) will always be disappointed in any new game, and frankly if they don’t realize in a freshly launched game there will be limited content, they deserve what they get.

  7. I do not meant o say the game is bad or flawedd, i think for what they created it all turned out pretty well. Just not my cup of tea anymore, I dont want to create resentment or make anyone have less fun :)

    I had a blast the first 3 weeks as well. I never reached the level cap btw my Minstrel got to 46 in the end.

  8. I spent many hours over the past few weeks in Monster Play and I am having a great time. There are no shortage of players and monsters and it seems like the battles are good fun. I think you both will like it. There are actually many quests you can do outside of the PvP as well so check it out soon.

  9. “It’s not a game for achievers, more for explorers and socializers.”

    That is such a load of crap. The game has levels. The game has loot. The game has end game raids. A game for explorers and socializers does not build around this structure.

  10. Have to disagree with it mainly being the fast levelers experiencing dissatisfaction. I’m more the explorer/socializer type and knew pretty much early on the game was missing something for me. It’s well made with lots of beautiful scenery but things keep popping up that I find myself annoyed with.

    I’m still subscribed since I have the founders’ rate in hopes that my interest picks up later and continue to quest with my husband every so often. But getting him to quest with me is like pulling teeth. He hates questing.

    Glad you are enjoying it and hope you continue to do so.

  11. In the end this game did not offer enough of anything new to keep me hooked (classes are terrible), but I did poke my head back into City of Heroes (on the evil side) this weekend during those brief times I managed to turn off my Xbox

  12. “A game for explorers and socializers does not build around this structure.”

    I don’t know I guess I never read that rulebook. And apparently they are trying to. According to devs they are even allowing the “raid” armor sets to drop from world mobs so non raiding people will get them, albeit at a lesser rate. Talk about giving rewards to people for casually goofing around killing random mobs. In addition to all the content that is not even about progression at all.

  13. […Talk about giving rewards to people for casually goofing around killing random mobs. In addition to all the content that is not even about progression at all…]

    Haven’t done enough researh on that particular Dev statement to refute what you say, but my impression from it was that the ‘raid sets’ will also drop from Fellowhip level end-bosses, at a lower rate.

    Thus, non-Raid Guild level players can still get the sets, but it will still require farming the same encounters repeatedly to do so.

    I would say, don’t expect Undead#213422 to have a .000001% chance of dropping Gloves of Minstreling.

  14. These are the quotes I’ve seen on that:

    “All set pieces will soon drop outside of Helegrod! We know that there are a lot of players who feel that raiding is not for them so on a much lower percentage, we have high level monsters possibly dropping set pieces.”

    and

    “We were dropping the set pieces on a low percentage outside of Helegrod. There will now be a better chance for you to get them.”

  15. “The uber achievers (I guess I fail to see how rushing to level cap and missing the content is achieving anything?) will always be disappointed in any new game, and frankly if they don’t realize in a freshly launched game there will be limited content, they deserve what they get.”

    Yes, but not necessarily. WoW didn’t start bleeding players so early on, despite having a much (much) bigger population of uber achievers and really sparse content updates in comparison.

    It’s the game, not the players.

  16. […It’s the game, not the players…]

    I am far from an authority on the matter, but I am going to go out on a limb and disagree with you.

    It seems to me that the people who have burned out on LotRO so quickly are people who eventually burned out on WoW because they felt like they had nothing to do at 60/70 etc in WoW, and got bored. They now find themselves with little or nothing to do at 50 in Middle-Earth.

    Are these people taking advantage of the in-game community events? Do they enjoy the player create community events, and the socializing? Are they utilizing the PvMP options on both sides of the War? Did they quest fully and explore, or race to 50, and wonder what next?

    The reasons I have seen for disliking the game, in most cases, seem to be player driven rather than design driven. Once again, I could eat my words in a few months, so this is just high level observations.

    So far, there appears to be TOO much to do on the path to 50. Last night we didn’t even play our heros once while we did Monster Play, and I could see spending countless hours on the Monster Side, and then at 45 or so, spending countless more hours on the FreeP side.

  17. Man, you don’t need to be an authority to disagree with me ;)

    I’m not going to deny that there are compulsive players that very quickly identify the path of maximum reward and minimal resistance and run it all the way to level cap. There are a lot of players like that. And probably a few of the players that quit LOTRO did it on that point.

    What I contend is not that LOTRO doesn’t have enough content, so people leave. What I’m saying is that the content it has is ultimately uninteresting for many people and it fails to grasp them and keep them. We’re not talking necessarily about compulsive level cap rushers. Just a lot of normal folk, maybe.

    It’s not that it doesn’t have content, or that all the quitters tore through the content. I think it’s because the content they have is not attractive to a swath of their playerbase. Like you said: Community events, player created community events, socializing, MP… if they find it boring, or uninteresting, there’s not a good game behind all that (in their estimation) to keep them.

    Yeah, summer festivals, a new type of ale you can brew or a new deed you can get by traveling from Bree to Buckland on your knees, yeah, it’s ‘content’. But for a lot of players that’s crap and meaningless content, so they won’t touch it. (without going further, I personally despise ‘seasonal content’, regardless of the game. I don’t find it remotely fun at all. It’s nothing I like to take part in)

    We can’t easily say “stop and smell the roses”, as if we were assuming the problem is just a problem of player speed. That they’re too fast, so they get bored. Yeah, that might be true for some people, but we can’t be blind to the fact that for many others there are no roses to smell.

    “Well, in that case then it might be this is not the game for them”. Of course. We agree on that. Therefore… it’s not the players, it’s the game.

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