Re-Emergence

Yesterday afternoon I was in a pretty bad mood.  I had destroyed a part of my main character in Lord of the Rings Online.  It wasn’t until later that evening when I could apply a salve to my character’s gaping wound that I felt better.  It wasn’t my fault, but the change needed to happen.  I had to switch crafting professions. 

My go to crafting in most MMOs are always consumables.  In early World of Warcraft days I was a herbalist potion-maker, and in Lord of the Rings Online I easily chose the Historian profession, which gives access to the Scholar skills.  Scholars make all sorts of wonderful consumables like potions of every color, battle scrolls, and bow chants.  They can also make dyes for clothing, books for hunters, and legendary items for loremasters and minstrels.  They are a fun profession to have, but Turbine made me change (and I am only slightly being facetious).

There are many tiers of potions, which mostly follow the leveling curve.  With Siege of Mirkwood expanding the game, there is yet another tier with the codeword “Steeped.”  The new faction of goldie elves loves Steeped potions, and for basically nothing in terms of the barter items any player can be fully stocked with potions.  So the Scholar’s bread and butter for the Auction Hall is gone to an NPC vendor.  This basically left me with black dye for a way to meaningfully make money because the rate of return on the other items was so pitifully low.

On the other hand, Turbine gave the weapon crafters a huge boon since level 65 legendary items are either only dropped by mobs or crafted.  The choice was obvious to me.  I was no longer gaining what I felt were meaningful benefits to the Scholar profession, and I decided that making my own legendary items was a better fit.

So, I clicked through the multiple warnings telling me that I would lose all knowledge and rank of my Scholarly self.  I knew this full well, but it did not make it any easier.  I still felt like a year of thick memories and achievements were dumped down the drain.  Hopefully I would re-emerge from the harsh chrysalis stronger and more sure of my character, but something truer than what can be found on a stat page was lost.

There is a reason, developers, that I don’t like alt’ing.  I don’t like your decisions to insulate my characters from one another save for a pittance like legacy items or a shared bank account.  I have achieved something already, and I don’t want to grind through veritably everything all over again to prove myself again.  It’s bad enough that you make me level an alt as some compensatory passtime when my main is at the end game ready to rock’n’roll.  If you were happy to acknowledge some of my hard won accomplishments like killing 450 wargs in Angmar or gaining Kindred reputation with Rivendell to any degree, I would be happier to alt.

To my knowledge, Guild Wars is the only MMO that even comes close with their account-based Hall of Monuments. Even then I feel that working on my main is more meaningful than distributing the workload throughout the various other characters because progress is not shared for the majority of accomplishments.  And, that’s the bottom line.  What is meaningful to me.  Some people love re-creating the journey through another pair of eyes.  Some people love the challenge of killing another 450 wargs to get a trait on their new character.  I do not.

So, I will miss the Scholar profession, but it was an educated choice I made.  I am excited about my new profession cranking out hundreds of swords and prospecting metals instead of pillaging artifacts of the past.  What pains me is that except for a few stock piled black dyes and a ton of potions which were made on the eve of the change, I have no acknowledgment of my time as a master Scholar.  This clean slate business, either alt’ing on a fresh, clean character or choosing a new crafting profession, just feels anathema to the persistence we hold so dear in our genre.  The persistence of me.

–Ravious
well, maybe towards those other… jokers, but not you

21 thoughts on “Re-Emergence”

  1. *comfort*

    Would be nice if the game simply reduced your ability to craft things in your old profession without actually removing the recipes you worked so hard to learn. Your skills may have gotten rusty from doing other things, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed over time.

    Do you at least keep the Scholar titles you earned?

    As for dyes, check out Mabinogi sometime and see how much time/money people spend on random/fixed color dyes. Black/white dyes were all the rage back when I played.

  2. For someone like me, that plays at a slower pace, granting things to my lower level alts would be hugely beneficial. I do not want to go through “blocks” for each alt. If I open up the ability to get a mount – don’t make my alts run the same quest – just grant it to me. Instead, I will most likely stop playing when I finally do hit the level cap. I don’t want to do the boring parts again. Boring parts are things I call “blocks” which are quests or grinds you must go through to open up an area or an ability.

  3. Aw! So much hard work lost, as well as the access to the crafting relic slot stuff! :( I hope you will soon have mastered your new craft.

    My Champion is an “explorer”. Sometimes I wish I would be a Hunter, then I would have a near perfect combo (a Hunter could make use of the tailor’s medium armors). So it is only about collecting materials and selling them. Collecting stuff like the occasional Mithril Flake or Gems in WoW is what makes me happy. I was miner/skinner in WoW most of the time, regardless of class. There must be a dwarf in me, as mining is always my favorite gathering profession.

    The only MMO where my alts were well developed – actually on level with my “main”, superior health runes for their main heroes and gold weapons and such luxuries – was Guild Wars. In MMOs I focus on my main, until I dump him for a new one. I did not really have alts in WoW e.g..

    I could not stand dropping my profession and starting from scratch. In the case of LOTRO I could imagine creating a crafting alt who levels up without doing any traits and wonder why you did not do it this way. OK, you don’t like alting, I read that. :)

    The Hall of Monuments in GW is really a great idea, and even better after it started to recognize achievements of other chars. The best idea ever was to make treasure hunter and item id erm wisdom title account based. It was already a pity that it did not count all the many gold items I farmed in the times where Ettins were the thing to kill for fun and profit. ;)

  4. I actually tried to make a crafting alt whose sole purpose was to level, farm ore, and create jewelry… but I just can’t do it. She stopped at level 30, and I couldn’t force myself to level her anymore.

  5. Aion allows you to skill up as many crafting professions as you like, but only allows you to attain the highest skill in two(?) of them. It’s a much better compromise than the LOTRO situation.

    In LOTRO you choose a vocation (made up of 3 professions) but generally only 1 or 2 are actually crafting, the other are resource gathering and processing. Furthermore, they added crafting guilds. You can only be a member of a single crafting guild at a time, and just like regular crafting, if you switch guilds you lose all the reputation you grinded out with the previous guild.

    This is one system in LOTRO where the hamster wheel is extremely obvious. Early on the devs said the intention of the system was to require interdependence between players. For example, a Historian can make weapons but can’t prospect the metals. Unfortunately, the game itself has had a very steady trend towards solo play in all aspects. You can hit the level cap easily without grouping a single time. Even in my kinship almost everyone has an alt with a cook.

    The problem with alt-ing, and this extends beyond crafting, is that as the game ages and the level cap rises, it takes more and more effort to get an alt to the level you need. They’ve adjusted the level curve and revamped early zones, but it’s never going to keep up with the new content and levels they add in.

    I don’t mind a grind, but at least try to disguise it a little or make it fun, and definitely don’t invalidate my work with an expansion, or make me discard a large chunk of effort with nothing to show for it (60->65 LIs, losing T9 relics on combine, losing crafting XP, etc).

  6. I can see a few more conveniences that would be nice to make account-wide beyond the various little perks that already are in LotRO, but overall I just cannot empathize. I actually wish sometimes that I had less to do on my main so that I can spend more time with an alt or two.

    Playing a different class in LotRO is almost like playing a completely different game, and similar with crafting professions. Hell… with the Ered Luin, Bree-land and Lone Lands revamps, it literally is a new game!

    I see the source of some minor annoyance here, but nothing that could reasonably cause such melodramatic angst.

  7. “Playing a different class in LotRO is almost like playing a completely different game, and similar with crafting professions.”

    This is a huge exaggeration especially with crafting professions.

    You clearly have more fun with alts. That’s cool. A lot of people consider their whole stable of alts their “character.” I don’t. I want my accomplishments to be less about what a character on my account does, and more about what I do.

    1. U BADRONG ACHIEVER! ;-P

      No that’s not what I’m actually getting at, I’m just pointing out that the gameplay is different on a different character. So while the little shiny you get for reaching certain milestones is the same from character to character, the actual act of reaching those milestones is significantly different.

      I don’t see what you have /lost/ here. I don’t see what is being denied to you. What I see is there are some annoying gates in place that it would be nice to have opened after the first time, but you’re talking like there’s no game anymore once you hit the cap.

      U BADWRON ACHEIVER U! >;-o

  8. Maybe I’m missing something but why did you give up Historian completely if you wanted to get into Weaponcrafting?

    I’m a Historian and Scholar is my “guilded” craft but I leveled up the Weaponcrafting side of it too. Granted, you’ll have to buy all your ingots (or get some help from prospecting guildies which I did) but the thought of dropping all that hard work and progress in Scholar just so you could level up Weaponcrafting by yourself seems like the more extreme choice.

  9. As I’ve mentioned before, I went psycho with the crafting in LotRO. I have Supreme Master crafters, Kindred in their crafting guilds, with every profession on my 7 characters.

    Here’s the kicker: I only have one character at level max. My characters’ levels are: 65, 43, 40, 30, 28, 27, 23. And, some were lower than that when I maxed out crafting. It helped that my main is a weaponsmith, so I could gather ore for the other ore-users. For woodworking, I had to run my explorer (a then level 27ish loremaster) into Misty Mountains to grab wood. For supreme level, someone in my kinship was giving away wood. Once some of my crafters made income, the AH provided some materials (especially the scholar items).

    It took a long time because I didn’t just grind through the levels. I focused on making the guild emblems which helped me get faction with the crafting guild, too.

    My problem is the opposite of Ravious. Even though some of my lower level characters aren’t all that great, I’m pretty much stuck with them; no way I’m deleting a character and going through the crafting process again. :P

    If anyone on the Firefoot server needs crafting, though, you know who to get in touch with. ;)

    1. One thing I forgot to mention, my Scholar is my highest earner overall. Red and Black dyes sold like crazy right after the expansion as most people were buying dyes for armor upgrades. I also sell the crafting journals for quite a bit. One night someone was paying my scholar 1.5 gold a pop to craft jeweller crafting journals, providing the (one-use) recipe and mithril flake, even.

      I will agree it sucks that the new potions aren’t craftable. (Although I missed out on the previous level of potions since none of my other characters are high enough to get Lothlorien faction). And, the crafted relic for the scholar is possibly the weakest (bonus power doesn’t seem to be in high demand).

      The big seller recently was the bonus morale relics. I’m even selling the minor ones for about a gold each. And Firefoot is a tiny server from most accounts, so the demand isn’t as high as it could be on other servers.

      1. Yeah, I didn’t mean to say that Scholar was still not profitable. Black dyes were still very profitable after I quit. I was just sick of it.

        I guess the bottom line is I needed for my main to change, and to do so I had to lose something. The tradeoff, while mechanically okay I guess (I am leery as to whether it actually works), made me sad.

  10. I’m a farmer/cook and I have lost interest. Been thinking about switching but I can’t bring myself to do it. Scholar is my main interest. Would it be easier or harder to start that at a higher level? Also, as a Guardian, making heavy armor appeals too.

    1. Definitely easier. You should be able to rock through the first couple tiers for a mere gold at the AH, and when collecting mats Tiers 1-5 should all be gray mobs.

    2. As I mentioned above, if you have Supreme Mastery and Kindred standing with the Cook’s guild, make the (Minor) Symbols of Morale. Those sell for a stupid amount of money on my server, at least. Crafted relics aren’t returned when you deconstruct a weapon.

      Scholar is a bear to work up when you’re low level. Being higher level means you can go scum the scholar nodes in what are more dangerous areas for on-level characters. :)

      1. I’m only Master Artisan Cook (update: Grand Master Cook [update to the update: Supreme Master Cook!]) but now you have given me something to look into before I make a change. Thanks!

  11. I see no real reasons why games seem to limit achievements. If the game encourages alts, then I believe the achievements should be passed. Maybe through family name(IE: All the characters have the same “last name” with a family achievement history.

    I think this would allow them to also broaden the achievements into class based as well, while still allowing a player to potentially achieve them all.

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