Most players nowadays are fed up with the way instances have been handled in RoR. With the endless grind for gold items, the debacles with first ages (and second ages) dropping from t1 raids that took x minutes to finish and farm, the delayed instance cluster, many of the best items dropping from solo crafting instances or landscape mobs, the lack of rewards for t2 and t2c instances, and the overall feel that the developers are trending toward solo play, where does that leave me and my friends? We who love to group up and feel the camaraderie and challenge of fun content feel...well...shafted. I'd like to flesh out what I think went wrong (and right) with the way things were implemented. Relevant note: i'm only actually writing this because i'm so bored of running iorbar's peak and crafting instances that I have nothing better to do.
What went right
The instance finder was built for two purposes. The first was to allow someone with no connections to find a group to play with. However, no one that I know uses the instance finder for this purpose. The one time I tried it (a long time ago) I spent a long time in queue and never found a group. Glff (or unite for vilya) is still a much more efficient way to find a group.
The second purpose of the instance finder was to incentivize groups to play a wider range of content. The currency and morale/power bonus require people to select more instances to maximize that bonus. This was a great idea, and it's why people use the instance finder. Choice(what instances I select) coupled with a random element(which instance will be chosen by the IF) makes the instance finder a fun and powerful tool for grouping, especially when the random element increases rewards (more on this thought later).
Remote looting adds a whole slew of conundrums for landscape content. The hytbold daily farming stemmed from this change. But If we solely focus on group play, remote looting is a positive change. No longer do groups have to argue about who can/can't roll on what items. It saves a lot of time in raids not having to pass out loot. And does anyone remember the constant "roll/pass" button flooding the screen when someone would start looting before a fight was over? As one who used to lead raids on a regular basis, this change makes my life easier. People who use a ladder don't like it because it's not as easy to control. Say a person gets a first age symbol from a raid and the kin uses dkp. That person would have to give up that symbol to the group, and may feel resentment or even keep the symbol. To me this is a non-issue since it would be obvious that person probably wasn't a good fit for that kin and their style of raiding to begin with, but this is a legitimate concern for some groups. Overall, I find remote looting to be an efficient way to deal with loot, and a positive change.
-scaled instances (partially)
Having more instances and raids to play is definitely a checkmark in the positive column. So much content is wasted after the level cap rises. When these items are scaled, we get to enjoy them at all levels. Currently we have 11 3 mans, 15 6 mans, and 5 raid clusters we can play at level 85. Scaling those instances was awesome, but scale them right. Don't shame all that hard work a developer put into SG by propping it up with duct tape and calling it good.
-spreading valuable items across all instances
Giving everyone another reason to change things up and play lots of different instances and clusters. Another great change.
What went wrong
Current 3 and 6 man content does not require main healers or main tanks. For t1, it should be fine that groups can bring whatever makeup. For t2/t2c 3 mans, it actually might be good NOT to require groups to have main tanks/healers so captains and lms can have a spot in there. But 6 man t2/t2c should require groups to have a main healer, main tank, or hopefully both..and STILL be a difficult fight.
-instance drop rates
Chances for gold items are much too low. To go along with increased instance difficulty, we should have a much higher drop rate of the items we hope to acquire when we complete t2 or t2c instances. I'm thinking in the ballpark of 5-10% (might seem a bit high but keep reading) for gold items and a 30% chance for teal items (from each chest). Also, They could add another avenue for players to acquire these items, similar to the barter for first ages. Require a ridiculously high amount of seals, on top of a special currency that drops depending on the cluster. For example, If a champ wanted the annuminas bracelet he'd need 300 seals, and 10 ost elendil coins, 10 glinghant coins, and 10 haudh valandil coins. So now we'd be working toward a concrete goal or finish line. On top of that would be the exciting chance of actually winning one from a chest! The random element goes from being the dreadful "please oh please for the 300th time please be in here....sigh" feeling to "oh please let this be the one! shoot, ok....110 more seals and 5 more haudh valandil runs to go!". When people get choices built into the random element, they feel that randomness working for them.
After seeing the insane amount of farming and subsequent lack of motivation for running instances, I understand quite clearly now the need for reward locks. There must be some mechanic that bars people from burning themselves out on the same instances over and over again. I would prefer a system where there is a daily loot lock on all 3 or 6 man chests. Raids need rewards locks to be bi weekly. If you are "locked" on an instance/raid you could still play it again, but if you did you would not get a shot at a gold item, teal item, relic removal, tome, or either type of crystals. You could still get the runes/relics though.
This change makes t2 and t2c a more valuable enterprise since you have a better bang for your buck system as difficulty increases. Instead of running sambrog 10 times in 2 hours, it will force people to run sambrog, then maze, then thadur. After that they'll have to wait until tomorrow. They can then choose to group up for erebor 3 mans to try for the gold item there. This will get people to log in daily more than those ridiculous hobbit slot machines.
Put the last three topics together and you have instances that are more challenging, that have a higher chance of dropping highly sought-after items, and that aren't farmable.
-The Bells of Fail
How terrible a joke this one is on t2/t2c. not hard, not fun. Decent items drop from it I guess.
-first and second ages dropping from t1 raids...
.....that were being completed in less than 10 minutes. THEN subsequent nerfs of t1s (and in the case of BG nerfing the whole damn raid to become worthless to run).
-the best gear acquired only solo
What gives? Instead of bridging the gap between avenues to solo and group play the itemization people decided to divide these two factions of players even further by taking ancient scrollcases and only dropping them in landscape and crafting instances? Why can't you put those in the erebor chests so I can do what I enjoy doing and still have a shot at them? Throw the solo'ers a bone as well and increase the bloody chance the crafting instance bosses drop them, since they only have 3 shots a day.
All in all, there was so much potential for this to be an awesome expansion, but it required a bit more focus on the new instance cluster and scaled instance clusters, and probably a lot more testing. I feel an incredible disconnect between myself and the content, and I want so badly to have that back again.
Thanks for reading