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  1. #1
    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
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    Dev Diary: Trait Trees in Helm's Deep

    by Hoarsedev

    Hey all. Let’s take some time to understand the class trait changes coming with Helm’s Deep. The biggest question I get about the class changes is… Why? It’s a pretty big question so I’ll try to break down a few of the reasons here.

    http://www.lotro.com/en/game/article...ees-helms-deep
    Last edited by Sapience; Oct 09 2013 at 04:35 PM.

  2. #2
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    Nice ! So this is the reason why and how. I like this.
    Happy to be here :D!

  3. #3
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    Very nice. As a Hunter and Mini at level cap, I can honestly agree with there being skills that go unused most of the time (PvE), and are never placed in rotation due to long animations/inductions or abhorrent cooldowns that just don't make sense to have as a go-to skill.

    I do look forward to seeing these trees. I will not be making any biased opinions off of other people's pre-release thoughts that may or may not be wrong.
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  4. #4
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    Really liked the "punch in the end" making all skills worth while while also able to make rotations depending on the role, streamlineed and fit for the future.

    Excellent Turbine keep it up!

  5. #5
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    Nice to find out hte reason behind it all.

    Unfortunately, both sides do not get the same care and love they deserve in this game and it has once again shown its head with this developement of the trait trees.

    Creeps yet again fail to get anything other then another 6 corruption slots (whoooooppie doooooo) when we should've got the same treatment and the same type of trait trees but we cant can we, Devs? Why not is due to how we were originally built and how they failed to see that PvMP would actually be a huge part of this game and one that could've brought in more money then they even dream off.

    Creeps are only glorified NPC's as a build and therefore can't be given any proper upgrades but only stupid little tinkerings that do nothing but make things worse.
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  6. #6
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    I think that HoarseDev's diary is hitting a lot of good points in the justification for making the change to trait trees.

    I don't want to play a "we can't call it brown because brown isn't this ugly" class of blurred responsibilities and weak opportunities.

    I don't want more skills that only existed to fit everyone's idea of what leveling up should be. I want skills that I can use and I can improve.

    I don't want to wonder where I'll find the screen landscape to pile on more hotbars. I'm tired of having so many skills that I can't find another good place for the ones I want to use the most.

    I don't want slow skills just because we have to animate them somehow.


    I'm still worried about this because I don't think mounted combat works particularly well with the trait trees. I'm one of the people who is very nervous about seeing skills be gated behind other skills and so I need to see real trait trees. I'm still worried about classes that were supposed to be hybrids and how they'll retain their nature through these changes.

    Plagiarizing another post I wrote elsewhere on this topic... I'm still nervous but I'm more curious than terrified now. I really want to see what's behind the curtain.

  7. #7
    The title of the thread makes it seem like your traits are dependent on or reflected by you hair style! (Tongue firmly in cheek!)
    Officer and elder member of the Claws of Abigail kin.

  8. #8
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    Seems like sound reasoning to me.

    *Eyeballs her 4 full quickslot bars*

    Some of you guys got to go!!!

    Still a bit anxious, but I do think the reason here is along the lines I expected. More skills = more things to balance/break...
    LilyRose of Gladden, Mistress of the Rangers of the West Kinship. Come check out our kin at rangerswest.guildlaunch.com.

  9. #9
    I want designers to have the freedom to focus on making really cool skills, even if that means we have to keep the count down.
    Well--as someone who found a use for all his skills, even accounting for the SA time, and used them effectively, I completely disagree with this statement. I don't WANT or NEED new skills or "really cool skills"....I just want what I've got, and the flexibility it gives me to uniquely play my class the way I want, and without overlap with other classes.

    Give us 10 new levels, but no new skills or restrictive trait trees... If I hear that, I'll pre-order HD today...otherwise--no purchase. I don't want a "specialized" (ie. dumbed down) version of my current, complex characters.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaberman View Post
    Well--as someone who found a use for all his skills, even accounting for the SA time, and used them effectively, I completely disagree with this statement. I don't WANT or NEED new skills or "really cool skills"....I just want what I've got, and the flexibility it gives me to uniquely play my class the way I want, and without overlap with other classes.

    Give us 10 new levels, but no new skills or restrictive trait trees... If I hear that, I'll pre-order HD today...otherwise--no purchase. I don't want a "specialized" (ie. dumbed down) version of my current, complex characters.
    Well it looks like you won't be purchasing...
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaberman View Post
    Well--as someone who found a use for all his skills, even accounting for the SA time, and used them effectively, I completely disagree with this statement. I don't WANT or NEED new skills or "really cool skills"....I just want what I've got, and the flexibility it gives me to uniquely play my class the way I want, and without overlap with other classes.

    Give us 10 new levels, but no new skills or restrictive trait trees... If I hear that, I'll pre-order HD today...otherwise--no purchase. I don't want a "specialized" (ie. dumbed down) version of my current, complex characters.
    You're certainly entitled to your opinion and preferences. But I don't think the current state of affairs is good for the game, and Turbine apparently thinks the same. Having so many skills and traits that can all be used at the same time with almost full potency isn't good. Contrary to what you suggest I think it just makes everyone play a particular class the same way, not in unique ways. Real specializations with trade-offs are more likely to produce uniquely-played classes.

    The current system also contributes to godmode characters. And this is coming from a player with a godmoded level 85 Lore-master, who can dish out *really* good AoE DPS, heal a 3-man run on Tier 2 Challenge settings, debuff the blazes out of the opposition, AND provide wound & disease removal and power bar top-offs... all at the same time. Why would anyone with a LM currently play it any different?

    And I’m not even addressing future development, which as the Dev Diary says is a major reason for reducing skill bloat. While it is fun sometimes to run around with my godmoded Lore-master, I am really looking forward to the specializations and trade-offs these trees will force. I think it will make groups have to work together as teams better, which is what I most enjoy about this game. These changes make me, for one, MORE likely to pre-order HD.

  12. #12
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    Sooner, or later...
    Time will tell.

    So stop complaining before you've actually played the new system. Changes are good. Big changes are better than just good.

    PS. I wouldn't mind a game engine update (graphics/instance scripting) at some point in the future though, because it's sadly getting very, very old
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/0b20c000000296b2b/01008/signature.png]undefined[/charsig]

  13. #13
    For my personal tastes I'll agree that most classes had far too many skills, many of which are seldom if ever used (YMMV of course). My Minstrel's hotbars look like a game of Tetris gone horribly horribly wrong. I do like the idea of streamlining things down a bit, PROVIDED that it doesn't go too far and dumb down any class or role (e.g. playing a Champ in DPS mode shouldn't be 'press 1-2-1-2-1-2 until it's dead', etc.).

    That said, I'm not a fan of skill trees, and there's nothing about trimming the fat from the class' skills which actually requires skill trees. I enjoy the current system where, save for the legendary capstones, you're able to use any skill you want regardless of how you're traited, you just might not have the best synergy to be optimally effective with them. Gating skills in a tree system does away with that freedom.

    Obviously I've not seen how many skills are thus gated or how deep you need to go down any given line, so it might end up not being a big deal. I'll reserve judgement until I actually see how things turn out. But for my 2 pyreals I wish they'd have simply revisited the skills and associated traits, but kept the underlying trait system as-is (gloriously tree-less).

    When the huge Minstrel revamp was announced I was sure it was going to Ruin Things Forever(tm) but I was happy to eat my words when I saw how awesome playing a Mini had become. When I saw the more recent changes to the alert box and addition of the Hobbit slot machine I detested those changes passionately. Only time will tell which side of things the trait tree system ends up landing on for me.
    I had
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  14. #14
    "The new trait system that comes in u12 is really just the start of a conversation about how our classes work and how we can continue to make them better. As always, we look forward to your feedback."


    But whats going to happen if this makes some/alot of the classes worse? Are they prepared for this eventuality? Seemed this guy has a lot of positive spin but if it doesn't work then what? Will they go back to the functioning system we have now or will the eventually break more classes trying to fix damage done by the switch? I have a lot of questions regarding these changes. I can only hope my class is implemented correctly.
    Mean what you say and say what you mean! If you don't there are always consequences!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaberman View Post
    If I hear that, I'll pre-order HD today...otherwise--no purchase. I don't want a "specialized" (ie. dumbed down) version of my current, complex characters.
    Don't forget that that the trait tree changes are a part of Update 12, so they will be coming whether you pre-purchase the HD expansion or not.
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  16. #16
    I think that this is the most comprehensive dev diary about HD changes hehe. After i readed all, i realised that now i tend to agree with Turbine from some points of view and i tend to not be so more grumpy about changes.
    Indeed some classes was GOD and in hands of good old players, that made them lethal weapons. *Sniff, i remembered now again about multitasking of classes in Lotro.* No more solo with my mini through most of low level instances. (Thx god i did my deeds). No more LM healing, CC and debuff. No more healing, tanking and buffing on cappy. *Ok, now i will gonna cry for sure.* Indeed i will regret all these for sure. But maybe indeed was time for an change. This way, ppl will not take an cappy as healer anymore in an 6 man instance with 5 dps. You WILL need one proper healer and one tank. The only not ok thing is that maybe we are heading toward holly trinity again in all instances, who is ok in 6/12 man but in 3 man, this will seriously impact the class you bring there. Please think about this and either rething the content acordingly, either dont *dumb us* too hard.

    And is no chance to adopt the new changes but give up to skill tree? It make me sick when i see it only in photos.
    Andracy - Mns; Andrady - RK; Andrac - Hnt; Andracya - Brg; Gabytza - LM; Anduta - Warden
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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby_Crocker View Post
    That said, I'm not a fan of skill trees, and there's nothing about trimming the fat from the class' skills which actually requires skill trees. I enjoy the current system where, save for the legendary capstones, you're able to use any skill you want regardless of how you're traited, you just might not have the best synergy to be optimally effective with them. Gating skills in a tree system does away with that freedom.
    Yes, but Turbine has clearly stated that skill bloat is not the only thing they're trying to fix. They're also trying to fix blandness and homogenous builds that can do everything. The only way to do this is to create real specializations that are markedly better at something (the very definition of "specialization") which means they have to be markedly worse at other things. And then allow us to choose and even swap between specializations. And skill trees seem to be a pretty obvious way to do this. Whether we all end up thinking the change is for the better is a matter that only time will tell of course, but at least from their stated goals the inclusion of skill trees makes a lot of sense to me.

  18. #18
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    Excellent dev diary, though when I first saw the title I thought it would be more about how the trait trees will be laid out and whatnot (and nope, didn't even see the misspelling -- my eyes tend to auto-correct that stuff).
    R5 100 GRD Marevayave - Leader of Riddermarked For Death
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  19. #19
    Look, here's the bottom line for all the haters. It's a casual solo game. It's built on the fundamental illusion of "character advancement". You are killing the same wolves in Rohan that you killed in Bree but the Rohan wolves are so much more 1337 than those wussies in Bree. You wouldn't stand a chance against them unless you were 85 because they create an artificial level difference function that enforces leveling up. But again, it's all an illusion. You don't have to be any better at playing your class. The only requirement is simply that you've played.

    Well, eventually people catch on to this illusion and Turbine needs a way to make people believe they are advancing even though they aren't. The game was designed for this by periodically giving away skills and earning traits. As the Developers point out there is a design limitation on continuously placating the casual illusion with new skills every couple of levels.

    The solution then is to do a one-time rewrite. You simply take away a bunch of skills and reduce effectiveness, but then given that effectiveness back over time as people level up to 205 or whatever. That keeps people thinking "wow, I'm much more 1337 now, hear me roar" every time their little experience bar flips. It's a good model for keeping people running cheap Kill Boar and Deliver Pie quests almost indefinitely without having to invest in more expensive / creative content.

    You could have a game that had no levels. One where people advanced based on achievements. But that doesn't fly here. Better to keep people on the koolaid.
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  20. #20
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    Very many thanks for taking the time to respond to this - it is highly appreciated.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bastiat1 View Post
    You could have a game that had no levels. One where people advanced based on achievements. But that doesn't fly here. Better to keep people on the koolaid.
    As much as I love the idea, players can barely get onboard for skill revamps. Can you imagine the outrage announcing that levels were going away would cause?

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by hey_dol_merry_dol View Post
    As much as I love the idea, players can barely get onboard for skill revamps. Can you imagine the outrage announcing that levels were going away would cause?
    The only MMO I have played that does such a thing is TSW (The Secret World), and to be honest I think it was handled appallingly bad.

    Having completed all of the quests in the first zone (Kingsmouth) at least twice I felt sure I was ready to move on to the 2nd zone (Savage Coast) but found when I got there that I was so under-powered that I needed to go back to the starter-zone and re-do all the same quests at least twice more.

    A nice idea, but horribly implemented.

    All The Best

  23. #23
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    I definitely can see the need for the skill and class revamps. There are so many factors involved:

    1. Lack of advancement (and the feeling of advancement) - this has been the case with traits since Mirkwood, and many skill upgrades have proved boring. In fact, when Mirkwood launched we only got one skill upgrade initially, which was generally very bland, with a second one for level 64 in a later update. It even got to the stage where RoR only gave us three skills/upgrades, not the usual 5, making levelling even less exciting, since there were larger gaps between a level reward.

    2. Class homogenisation - with the need for new skills and upgraded skills with every level cap rise, many classes began to gain similar skills to other classes, and instead of one or two Jack of All Trades classes, all of them effectively adopted this factor. The appearance of morale bubbles for many classes is a good example of this.

    3. Skill boat - Anyone who doesn't see this must not be playing the same game. Not only have we received new skills and upgraded skills with every level cap rise, we often received numerous new skills as part of the basic revamps of classes with expansions or updates, not tied to the new levels. A big one is Rise of Isengard, for example. Warden may be the only class where skill bloat is not so apparent, though there are certainly a ton of gambits to remember, many of which are slightly more or less powerful versions of each other.

    4. Bland or useless skills - Many of our skills are unexciting, or, in many cases, almost useless. For example, Fighting Withdrawal for Captain. Since Captain deals so little threat compared to other damage dealers and healers, this skill (which is technically an upgrade of an older, even less useful skill) is almost never used by what I assume is most Captains. Sure, it might be clicked once in 1,000 battles, in that very rare and unique situation, but otherwise it sits there taking up space, and when I level up to discover I get something so essentially useless it is quite a let down. Many classes have similar skills. In fact, some times there is almost no difference between a skill, and some only take on a greater importance when their upgraded version provides an additional functionality. Indeed, sometimes we are only using skills because our more interesting/powerful ones are on cooldown.

    5. Lack of differentiation between trait lines/builds - While Turbine has attempted to address this over the years, with more or less success, each line for each class provides only a slightly different spin on things. If I trait HoH instead of LtC, so little changes that I might as well be playing the same build. This is not exciting or engaging, and it leads to stagnation with builds, where many of us stick with the same build as soon we hit Moria and unlock all of our slots. Why trait in the CC line if you can CC almost as good in the DPS line? There was one LM in my kin who refused to trait any other way, because there wasn't enough motivation to do so. Sure, part of this is instance/raid design, but when the pro of good DPS comes with very little con, why would anyone try out the other lines? All three lines need to be viable, fun, and unique, while keeping the core gameplay of the class intact.

    6. The new player experience - it is easy for many of us to ignore this, especially if we've been playing for years. If we came to the game with Shadows of Angmar, we had far fewer skills to adjust to, but imagine a new player coming to the game now. It is a confusing mish-mash of skills, traits, and blurred roles. Add to this the problem of new players having to grind trait deeds to unlock traits, and we have a big problem. I see so many new players and alts with empty slots, and I ask them why they are empty, and they simply don't have anything yet to fill them. Sometimes they fill them with the only trait they get, regardless of how useless it is to their levelling experience. I have done this with many alts myself. With the new trees we will gain points from levelling, as well as those deeds, so we won't have empty slots if we are a bit slow on the deed count. Likewise, instead of getting traits we will never use (how dull it must be for a solo player to get a group-based trait, for example), or skills or bonuses that we don't want right now, we will have the freedom to pick skills and traits from the tree we want. Do you want to level quickly? Ignore all those useless healing and tanking traits, and focus on DPS. Finding an area a bit tough? Invest in survivability/tanking traits. Have you spent the first 40 levels focusing on soloing, but now want to try an instance? Try and build a group-friendly support build.

    7. Balancing difficulty and future-proofing - This is not something we think much of as players, but the class system needs to not become so unweildy that it cannot properly be balanced or expanded in the future. Sure, upgraded skills was working for a time, although some would argue it was working poorly, but we've now come to the situation where we have upgrades of upgrades. Where does this end, and when does it get to a situation where there is simply no more room for upgrades, with all classes essentially doing the same thing with different animations? With several more expansions to go in the lifetime of this game, this is a situation that badly needed to be addressed, one way or another. Not only does it make it easier to keep the classes in check - it makes it easier to make new classes, as one dev comment (in a twitter chat: https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthr...Team-July-2013)) mentioned. Imagine trying to create a new class now, with all the skills, traits, skill upgrades, and so forth required. Imagine how much easier it is with a streamlined system.

    The reality is that the game has changed a lot since it launched. The classes we play now are very different to those we played a few expansions ago, and certainly very different to Shadows of Angmar days. Even the traits and trait system we have are very different, with the system changing big time with Moria, and many traits and trait bonuses changing several times since then. An MMO is always a work in progress, and sometimes this necessitates big changes. Many of the things we enjoy about the game today would not be here were it not for the big changes of the past.

    -Bel
    Last edited by Belnavar; Oct 09 2013 at 06:38 PM.
    Belnavar - Captain - 105 - Brandywine - Leader of Keepers of the Palantiri

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Belnavar View Post
    Lots of stuff...
    Okay, so if Turbine created the system that did all this bad stuff you point out, why are we to believe that this change will fix anything and simply won't screw people over to push the same end result further down the line?

    Faith? I had faith that Turbine would do Legendary Items right, but now everyone who does some easy raid can have a First Age item. Planning? Like mounted combat that turned the Rohan landscape fighting so easy that people have been able to solo raid level bosses?

    I'm sure I could go on. This is the most contentious issue coming up for this game for me, and it worries me that so many people are just hopping on board without anything other than a "We'll do it right!" from the devs.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ValcyrVexx View Post
    Okay, so if Turbine created the system that did all this bad stuff you point out, why are we to believe that this change will fix anything and simply won't screw people over to push the same end result further down the line?

    Faith? I had faith that Turbine would do Legendary Items right, but now everyone who does some easy raid can have a First Age item. Planning? Like mounted combat that turned the Rohan landscape fighting so easy that people have been able to solo raid level bosses?

    I'm sure I could go on. This is the most contentious issue coming up for this game for me, and it worries me that so many people are just hopping on board without anything other than a "We'll do it right!" from the devs.
    Time will tell whether the change is nice or bad. And I think we already have enough Gloomtongues.

    It is pretty refreshing to have more than 3 consecutive optimistic posts when concerning the trait tree like this.
    Last edited by TKH; Oct 09 2013 at 08:49 PM.

 

 
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