One thing I love for developers to do in MMOs is utilize pre-existing content. Sure, I love new content with new lore and new mobs as much as the next guy, but I also have a soft spot for nostalgia. When big daddy Blizzard refurbishes pre-existing content and uses it as a selling point for their next expansion it must be the de rigueur. I couldn’t be happier.
There is a big difference between say Turbine’s revamping of a low level zone (which was great) and pulling the older content to the current level of play. Smoothing out some of the egregious bumps is a necessary thing in MMOs, which depend on new blood. Yet, it doesn’t really help the old players. It is nice to see a revised area when passing through with an alt, but it is more meaningful to me if the revision affects my main character.
Lord of the Rings Online Skirmish system is one of the best, recent methods that developers have been using old content. From the skirmish tutorial players saw Bree-town, a central hub for the lower levels, but covered with snow. The other non-Mirkwood skirmishes also revisited old, familiar places, and the upcoming Book update will bring players to the Rift. This was a great decision, in my opinion, because the 12-man Rift instance was only in vogue prior to the Mines of Moria expansion. Nowadays the fan favorite rarely sees any action except for level 65 tourist groups.
The skirmish system is not just about revisiting old areas. For instance, I have been unexpectedly working on kill count deeds in some skirmishes. I don’t really have the gumption to go to the Shire and kill 90 single-digit level goblins, which will really amount to me running by and screaming at them and then more running. However, by doing a Shire-based skirmish I can easily knock out 20 or so kills per skirmish and double the benefit by receiving max level rewards. Players will also be getting reputation for the Rift’s Eldgang by doing the new skirmish set to launch with the Volume 3 update (although, damn are they stingy).
I want Turbine to continue this route and continue to give us more options to revisit old places and complete old achievements with the currently active level band (i.e., max level). I still like the brand new skirmishes that give me a new place to visit and a new achievement to complete, and I think so far a good balance has been struck. Now, if only they weren’t so ultraconservative with Eldgang rep. You guys are in Boston, you know!
you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?