Splitting LIs

Lord of the Rings Online legendary item system has always rubbed me the wrong way.  In most other MMOs, with work and people, I can plan out my character to the pixel.  Then it becomes a budgeting process where I evaluate the estimated time per milestone accomplishment whereupon I reorder said milestones to constantly feed me some measure of accomplishment.  Afterall, I am hardcore

Give me a break, I am not that hardcore.  I play for fun and as a hobby.  If I went cold turkey on MMOs, I would be sad that I was not having fun with my hobby, but I don’t play MMOs to fill some netherling void in my life.  Still, I do like some constant drip of achievement that does not seem to cohesively exist in the legendary item system.

Oh, says the advocate, there is plenty of achievement to be had in this particular sunspot for Achievers (with a capital A).  There are item levels, inherent random attributes for zweihanders, randomly selected dual pooled legacies which buff skills, another system for tiered relics to slot for more buffs, and different tiers of weapons on top of it all.  To reach the perfect Mount Katahdin at the end of a thousands-mile trail seems like a self-defeating journey with all various side trails, pit stops, and squealing locals.

The randomness is the  true enemy of this journey.

Here’s how the legendary item system works in generalities.  I get a new unidentified halberd.  Some knowledgeable dwarf or elf checks it out and gives me 2 or 3 legacies out of Pool A.  Pool A for Captain weapons consist of 8 legacies.  Right there at identification, a brand new weapon can be absolutely flawed in a journey towards any menial perfection.  If it has 2 legacies, well its going to be only 83% as good as one with 3 legacies.  Then, which legacies did I get? The chance I will get the three I want on a 3 legacy item is 5%, and that’s with even odds for each legacy (which I am not sure exists).

Then every 10 levels for three times, which of course grow exponentially in their experience requirement, I get one more legacy.  I get to choose between two legacies, which are mostly from Pool B but sometimes Pool A.  There are 8 more legacies in the Captains weapon Pool B.  I am too stupid to figure out the rough probability of getting the 6 legacies I want, but I imagine it would cause even the most hardcore Achiever to balk.

My first answer was a stupid one.  I would become a creator of legendary weapons myself.  I easily got to kindred supreme master weaponsmith, and I am happier than I was as a scholar.  Yet, I stumbled upon a far better solution along the way: split my legendaries.  It was so shockingly obvious that I cannot believe I was not doing this since the advent of the system.  (Rather than chide me, please just put “duh” below and the words will speak for themselves.)

For my Captain, I would have a combat stick, filled with all sorts of damaging goodies, and a buff stick, for those half-hour long buffs we throw around like leaders of men.  I went from planning, balancing, time budgeting, and hair-tearing to a Zen-like calm.  I really only wanted four legacies per stick so the two extra I would get were just gravy.  Now the probabilities of getting what I wanted did not seem so bad.

The solution was in hindsight obvious, but more importantly I came to accept the truth that my legendary item I had leveled, held, named, and cherished was impermanent.  It feels like breaking an armor set buff for a single new shoulder piece, only worse because I created it.  Hopefully as the system ever evolves the developers can find a balance between achievement and permanence.  They are at least asking.

we are the wave

4 thoughts on “Splitting LIs”

  1. What rubs me about the Legendary Item system is that my weapon will sooner or later get obsolete – every third age level 65 weapon makes a level 60 first age weapon obsolete. Not so much for non-dps classes, but in general they do.

    The item does not stay with me. We have a complex pool system and in the end, now instead of relic grind, we have legendary legacy upgrade scroll grind to make the weapon legacies “perfect”. For not so much gain, it has very diminishing returns. But this is apparently the endgame besides getting Malledhrim Stars on a daily basis and raiding.

    I wish MMO designers would get the difficult idea that a “virtual world” should be interesting enough for people to want to be there without some NPC clown telling them to do this or that for this or that tangible profit.

    I sometimes feel as if many additions to games and “endgames” systems are just like hamsterwheels to keep me subscribed, without actually offering anything of value. This is not only related to LOTRO, but a general observation.

  2. Turbine should really rethink the Tier system. One of the main differences between LIs of difference ages (different starting tiers for legacies) now just means less skirmish grind. Maybe the skirmish grind will be shorter and more entertaining with higher rewards for group skirmishes; but currently, running 60 solo skirmishes to max tiers of a third age LI is pure grind. There’s not enough encounter variety in the skirmish system to call more than 3 or 4 skirmishes a week fun.

    The relic system is going to run into a wall soon as well. Do you continue to roughly triple the total relic grind by adding a new tier with every expansion? The relic grind will be a pain for any alt or new player now that the bounty ixp has been reduced. Its exponentially increasing effort for logarithmicly increasing rewards.

    I do find it hard to really view LIs as valuable. After partially leveling 20 or 30 to find one with a reasonable set of legacies, they really do seem disposable. They certainly would seem more legendary if every fifth orc didn’t drop one for me to take to the metal recycler.

    1. The constant replacing is anathema. Replace the whole thing with something like the soldiers. Choose which you want, trait, level them like that. And give some appearance options.

  3. I love the idea of a weapon that anyone can grind levels to, so that regardless of your preferred activities there’s potential for everyone to have a truly legendary weapon. I appreciate a long grind, I really do, so long as I the player am rewarded for my own time and energy without being shoved into a narrow alley of content (IE: raiding).

    Unfortunately, as Longasc points out, any given Legendary with LOTRO’s system soon becomes obsolete. They gave a range in quality / rarity to the items themselves that make it a grind-within-a-grind that ends up disappointing.

    At first I was hella enthusiastic about Turbine’s Legendary design. It was a bit flawed, but they tweaked it further and further into the replace-it formula. Worse, I was burning through numerous weapons that were very similar, just a wee bit better.

    So how does this work out any different than the usual raid-for-epics system? It’s just more work.

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