4 Months, 5 Dungeons, 13 Bosses

I have leveled to 65 in no particular hurry, and I am almost done with the new quests in Mirkwood. Lots of solo content, lots of little stories, and I have toured the zone. “Now what?” as the players always ask.

The current end-game for The Lord of the Rings Online™ is three three-person dungeons, one six-person dungeon, and one twelve-person raid. The three-person dungeons have one, two, and three bosses, and the three-boss dungeon lets you summon them all at once for a big fight. The six-person dungeon has three boss fights plus a bonus boss if you complete hard mode. The raid again has three boss fights.

Not to seem ungrateful for the new content, but that is 13 fights to learn in the four-ish months until the next content patch. From that, we should subtract any bosses that are tank and spank plus adds and/or one special ability, and remember that you will learn most or all of a (non-raid) dungeon in one run. You will complete all the three-person dungeons on your first try with any reasonable group, although probably not the hard mode. The quests were lovely, but this is not a lot of Explorer content to keep us mentally occupied for months.

(I came to “four-ish months” by looking at the Mines of Moria™ updates. There were two big releases, then an expansion pack, in a year. I will not think of it as “more” if the same amount of content is released in smaller pieces with PR about how many content updates were released this year. On another popular game PR trend, calling normal updates “expansions” does not make them so either.)

It looks like the intended end-game is grinding legendary items. Again. Those five Dol Guldur dungeons give you talismans to exchange for LI upgrades. Run a dungeon two to eight times to upgrade one LI legacy one tier. Repeat about 20 times for each LI. Repeat whenever you switch LIs. Alternately, you can repeat skirmishes to get those scrolls.

Oh, and you need to upgrade your armor. Run the dungeons quite a few times to get those talismans your 25-radiance pieces or keep hitting the Book 8 raid until you have 120 radiance, then repeat the new raid to upgrade to 180 radiance once you have its hard mode on farm status.

Back to your legendary items, you already know that you will need to replace them. You probably will not spend your LI upgrades on a 3rd Age weapon, because you will eventually craft a 2nd Age that you like, but there are no level 65 1st Age items yet. Those will arrive someday. Do you want to save up and muddle through, or have the best now knowing it will be trash in a few months?

We are all enjoying the first month of the new expansion. I am wondering how big the backlash is going to be a month from now when even the most casual players have been able to hit the level cap.

: Zubon

On the “trash in a few months” point, it has become a ritual to announce when you destroy your previous main weapon. Variations on the ritual include mentioning how many months you had it, how many hundred LIs you went through to get it, or how much gold you spent for it on the auction house.

15 thoughts on “4 Months, 5 Dungeons, 13 Bosses”

  1. The announcement of main weapon destruction would make a fun running gag on a leveling character. I shall have to give LotRO another shot when I’m done exploring FE.

  2. I quite liked the Mirkwood, but I think it is not enough to keep people occupied.

    I can’t get to love Skirmishes that much. They are a nice addition to the content, but they can’t keep people occupied over and over. Ravious was already talking about that. IMO they show the bare and mmo typical rather primitive mechanics of the system too much, which makes them less enjoyable for me.

    They are firmly established in the grind system we will have in the next few months. And you explained it nicely, we got more and still intentionally very grindy ways to fiddle around eternally with the legacies of our legendary weapons.

    Unfortunately, neither raiding Dol Guldur nor pimping my weapon with scrolls through tons of skirmishes or instance runs is cool enough for me!

    I will rather do some still unfinished Mirkwood quests, I just love the world of LOTRO. And I will hope for more upgraded festivals, though I must say solo horse racing is not really cool. The beer arena is quite good on the other hand.

    If I run out of content, I will play King’s Bounty: Armored Princess. This was a shameless plug, and I don’t even get paid for it. ;)

  3. They’re clearly counting on randomized skirmishes to substitute for human-designed content, which is and always has been LOTRO’s most significant shortcoming. Time will tell whether they are vindicated.

  4. Skirmishes are everything I feared they would be. The devs spent a HUGE amount of time getting the skirmish tech up and running, and developing “content” for it, and the rest of the “expansion” suffered for it.

    Maybe it’s just me, but from the very first skirmish run I saw how incredibly boring and repetitive they are: several waves of mobs with a 50/50 chance of a random lieutenant, and a boss at the end. It’s just barely controlled chaos of grinding mobs at a high rate.

    The LI system continues to be an enormously obvious grind as well. The only consolation is that PVE content in LOTRO is not difficult and you don’t need the absolute best gear to complete it. Trying to remember that while you’re playing can be difficult though.

  5. I’m finding that I no longer have the desire to repeat content in MMOs more than a couple times at most. I’m currently taking a break from WoW, and playing dragon age, but I’ve been following what they added in 3.3.

    One thing that sounded interesting was a new quest line to reforge an ancient weapon. This seems like the kind of explorer/story content we don’t see much of in patches, which are usually just new daily quests and dungeons. Unfortunately the item which starts the quest seems to be a rare drop in a group dungeon. This means that to see this content you need to repeat these dungeons over and over and hope to get lucky, both with the drop and with the roll for the item afterward.

    Reading that, I just kind of lost all interest. I really enjoy the leveling portion of modern MMOs. I like seeing the story unfold, exploring the world, trying new abilities, but the end game just leaves me cold. It’s mostly about repeating the exact same content over and over again in hopes of getting lucky and gaining a 1% increase to some meaningless number. Playing with friends is fun, achieving something hard (for the first time) is fun. But the mind numbing grind… I’d rather be doing something else.

  6. /fingerscrossed that they’re working on making Legendary Items work and progress much more like our Skirmish Soldiers do. (especially since that’s essentially how they advertised them working over a year ago!)

    Oh and fwiw there’s still wayyyy more than enough content for me. Heh. But that’s probably because like Zub, I’m and E first, however unlike Zub, my A is probably a distant 4th. ;-}

  7. The LI grind does need to be reconsidered. Additional LI levels suffer from pretty severe diminishing returns. Does anyone have a LI that will really significantly improve by leveling from 60 to 70? Your best legacies will be capped (especially when they can all upgrade to tier 6) well before 60. The additional 10 levels of grind will cap your fourth or fifth best legacy on a LI – does anyone other than a hardcore achiever care?

    The story is really a double edged sword for LOTRO. The narrative really gives the game its flavor and makes it a great game for explorers but demands huge regular inputs of new content. I agree with Moondog – the end game needs to be fun. Unfortunately, I think skirmishes get predictable and stale very quickly so the end game is going to be thin for a while.

  8. LOTRO has quite the issue in that they don’t provide enough end-game content, but I’m willing to bet a large portion of their subscribers still haven’t reached that end-game yet. Now granted, that could be due to them not having the required equipment (MUCH easier with SoM) – but I’d also be willing to suggest they don’t have the required patience and/or skill to complete said content.

    They have to launch with tough content, but then once the top raiders beat it, drop it down to something that the casual folks have a prayer to complete. I believe the current raid has taken the longest to beat (I could be wrong) but certainly it isn’t trivial. And even when the “dumb it down”, I’m willing to bet that only 25% of the LOTRO player base have ever killed the watcher in any of its forms. And that may even be high – we’re probably talking maybe 50% that have cleared the rift.

    So while you’re asking for end-game content, such a small percentage will actually see it that they focus their time/energy on things like skirmishes that a HUGE percentage of their base will LOVE! I think skirmishes have the potential to really help solve this problem in that there’s a scalable size and difficulty for all future content – which could potentially solve all these issues.

    As for legendary items, I don’t think anyone would disagree that the system is flawed and that it has room to improve. I’m not sure how to fix it honestly, but maybe (I’m hoping) SoM was an attempt to wipe the slate clean and get a zero point to start fresh with a new system come volume 3.

    1. “So while you’re asking for end-game content, such a small percentage will actually see it that they focus their time/energy on things like skirmishes that a HUGE percentage of their base will LOVE!”

      Claiming that the majority of the playerbase will love skirmishes because they can’t get to the good content is a ridiculous argument. If your subscribers can’t see the best of what you have to offer, make it available to them; don’t throw them a consolation prize. If anything is to blame for a low population fighting the Watcher, it’s radiance gating. Turbine needs to take a note from Blizzard’s book and simply remove raid attunements after a period of time (if they’re necessary at all).

  9. Zubon, maybe you ought find some experienced friends and head out to the ettenmoors. The oldest zone in LOTRO where the content is always fresh.

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