Please Balance Based on That

Last time, I suggested that The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ PvMP should not balance based on the idea that the creeps will eventually (and then forever) be high rank, since it will take most people years and years to hit rank 9. I failed to note that freeps gets their comparable abilities, and more of them, in weeks rather than years.

But you notice that the high-rank stuff is not all that much better than the low-rank stuff. +2% chance to crit is nice, but it is far from epic. An ability you can use every five minutes or only below 10% health can be interestingly powerful, but it is not a major part of your arsenal.

So we look at the freep PvMP armor and equipment. Don’t get me wrong, this stuff is pretty nice. Not all of it is as nice as level 45 quest rewards, which is kind of an issue, but it is not all trash. Many “ideal” equipment builds include a few pieces. But you again need to be rank 9 or higher to use all of it. Even when freeps get 1000 reknown per hour, level 60 equipment will be available before 100 freeps in the entire game hit rank 9. Rank 9 requires a longer grind than getting all of WoW’s raid dungeons on farm status. Affording the items requires a separate grind in the dungeon that is available only when your team is winning in PvMP (same for getting the high-rank creep stuff). That is a lot of effort for a piece that you might stick on a cosmetic armor slot.

: Zubon

6 thoughts on “Please Balance Based on That”

  1. I totally agree. My experience has been that most players that get really serious about PvMP make it to rankl 5 in around their first month, and then stall out. Few players indeed ever make it so far as rank seven. The requirements start to get silly around rank 4 and then gradually ramp up to absurd.

  2. I know this is totally off-topic, but your post reminded me of the thing that I think was the most disappointing to me about LotRO.

    I’d ding a level, and I’d get all excited, because I had been playing WoW, and dinging a level (an even one, at least, but don’t get me started on that) means you get something cool and new to do. Then I’d go to the trainer, and I’d get a new skill!

    And I’d mouse over it, and I’d say “Hey, neat! It’s a buff! It gives me… let’s see. An extra half of a percent to… some derived stat… that I have no idea what it does. Great.”

    I recall the same thing with Auto Assault (Anybody here remember Auto Assault? Is this thing on?) I don’t know if they just ran out of ideas, or if everything was balanced into oblivion pre-release, or what. AoC was slightly better, but with every class I played, I seemed to just be getting different versions of the same skill with slightly tweaked numbers and the SAME CASTING ANIMATIONS.

    It’s possible that I didn’t play far enough into it to get to the really interesting stuff, but again, I can’t help but compare every game to WoW now that somebody has gotten it right. WoW’s early game experience made me want to play through it again as every class, and other MMOs’ early game experiences make me want to go back to WoW.

  3. You didn’t play it long enough to get to the neat stuff. And you also failed to notice something really important.

    In WoW most of your new skills are upgrades to skills you already know. For example mages learn fireball rank 1-22 (or whatever) as they level. In between those upgrades your fireball does the exact same base damage.

    In LoTRO any ability you have gets better automatically every time you level. So if you have a damage ability it does a little more base damage each time you level. When you learn a new ability, it is well and truly a new ability. It stops you from having to buy the same ability 20 times as you level. It also means that you steadilly become more powerful relative to what you are fighting as you level, instead of the dips and jumps that you get in relative power level in games like EQ or WoW.

  4. I expect every game to have that “buy it once” thing now. Does Age of Conan? City of Heroes has been doing it for more than four years. It is dumb to keep re-buying Fireball every five levels.

    In fairness to Jick, the passive skills are exactly like that. Accuracy IV, great! I get an unquantified bonus to a stat I cannot see. I don’t know what class is getting those buffs, but I can see it on a low-level Minstrel or Captain. The Minstrel’s first song gives (damage and) +[level?] Vitality… so +1 Vitality is, what, +3 morale and +0.? to in-combat morale regeneration? The next song gives +something Armor… so +something to some or all resistances? And all of these are for 10 seconds? So I can see how the early life of a healer is underwhelming. Or the Guardian who gets -5% armor wear from blocks (thanks?).

  5. Age of Conan uses the ‘same skills but different ranks’ system.

    On the bright side, one pays not a single cent to train them up – they turn up free after hitting a certain level. Performing the combo also gets slightly more complex as the number of button presses tends to increase by 1.

    On the minus side, it’s god-awful trying to figure out what certain skills actually do. Reminds me of CoX without the real numbers and worse help text.

    And on the schizophrenic “designers haven’t made an obvious call yet” side, an earlier rank of skill isn’t made automatically obsolete by earning a higher ranked skill. For one, the earlier skills consume less stamina, and are performed faster, due to less combo buttons.

    And for another (which may get fixed eventually, since it only applies to some skills but not others), the different ranks of skills have different cooldowns and appear to stack on top of each other.

  6. Prolly no one will read this cept you but I just wanted to add Zubon that you keep your ranks when the expansion comes out and you never lose them sooooo you quickly have access to great gear if you are ranked up. Without re-grinding so much. That is significant. I personally think they should have some kind of perk available for having stars except that it would encourage cowardice since that is the best way to get and keep stars as a hunter, burglar, warg or whatever.

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