"Live and Let Die"
Also, I don't think the list you gave above is accurate to the state of affairs with LotRO. But only time will tell.
And Belnavar, yes LM dps will suffer with Master of the Staff being removed. Melee dps at this moment is still strong on LM. I think it may have one of the strongest autoattacks? Unless there is some huge aoe coming from a boss, a LM should be in melee whacking the mobs with their staff. Why? Because of the melee auto attack. The skills/traits we've gotten added on instead? Quite lackluster imo.
It's getting pretty annoying hearing all these polarizing opinions without getting to see actual data so we can form our own opinions. Can anyone be a champ and post a screen of a completed trait tree at 95 or something? Describe to us what builds they have made with all available trait points?
“Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.”
? Pravin Lal
in the guides linked here. As I said earlier, there is enough variety in the trees that most players will not want to max out every trait in a single tree. It's totally do-able to fill out the traits you want, grab the bonuses and capstone, and still have enough points to dip into other lines for versatility.
Moreover, if any game should spend more time exploring the idea that the battle can be won with or without you, and that what you do matters only in relatively small ways, it's this game. As much as I appreciate the idea of "We can't leave Rivendell to take the Ring south unless you go and make sure the Nazgul aren't around!" I also appreciate that the Fellowship is really saving the day, while we are only making sure that the residents of the North Downs survive to see the Fourth Age.
Heck, it's entirely thematically appropriate, too. Half the book is spent with Aragorn trying to save towns and people and lives, yet evil is defeated even if he does nothing, because Frodo's destroying the ring. If the orcs wipe out everyone at Helm's Deep, Frodo can still destroy the ring and save the day. All Aragorn does is save Theoden and his people. Similarly, all we do is save individual soldiers and such.
Now, if the reward structure is skewed, it's a problem. If I get 5 points for standing in the corner until the end of the battle and 10 points for accomplishing every optional objective, then that needs to be realigned to make participation more rewarding (I haven't been in the beta, so I don't know how the rewards work). But the idea that the story proceeds in a certain way regardless of what I do? I don't have a problem with that. It's thematically appropriate.
Development and the ability to create challenging balanced content each expansion
Challenging to whom? Which content? Currently gear impacts upon 'challenge' far more than skills when dps and hps are in permanent hyperinflation in spite of repeated attempts to try and curb that.
Progression and the ability to give the classes "somewhere to go from here" and a sense of progression each level cap increase
If we push the logic to its absurd extreme, instead of extending the level cap by 10, why not decrease everyone's level by 10? Progression isn't going backwards to move to precisely the same spot. Consider what happens next expansion and the one next. Is that progression for someone playing at level cap right now? Maybe if I forget I guess.
Roles and the fact that there was so much crossover and potency that group content became a joke, landscape content even more pathetic
The potency is clearly an issue. How much did 'roles' play a part in that? Obviously and clearly some. But there are other factors. Not least the emphasis on things being soloable and thus having to provide all classes with solo capabilities. You could have limited roles by more heavy penalties under the existing system. This isn't an argument for this particular system, it's an argument to bite the bullet and open players up to the possibilities that sometimes devs get things wrong and nerf the blue blazes out of stuff. This does not mean trait trees.
Skillbars that had a lot of repetition or ho-hum skills that didn't meaningfully add to the equation as much as they should
So remove those skills. Funny thing was that was what I was expecting to happen. Beta 1. Open up UI, and there to my amazement was Call to the Fellowship. So. Oversights happen, and I'm sure that was one - or was it a deliberate troll (conspiracy! edit: yes, I am joking.). But this does not mean trait trees, it means remove the ho-hum skills which don't meaningfully contribute. Though I guess there'd be a lot of pushback over whether 'meaningful' is objective or subjective here.
Imbalance among the classes, some which were extremely potent and others which had become almost an afterthought
Possibly the biggest thing in favour of just ripping the whole system and starting on a fresh page, only that's not what has happened - instead it's an attempt to push old things into new things. The previous system was not balanced in concept, nor was I think it intended to be. One didn't expect a guard to have the same functional dps as a hunter as a viable play style. Want to play dps? Play a hunter. Want to heal? Play a minstrel. Things have moved on from there, clearly, in the rest of the gaming world as eg grouping to clear just basic landscape content became less desired. So the question is whether that imbalance/variety/class distinctive features was something people played Lotro for or not. For me, it was. For others, maybe not. For others, they'll not care. Perhaps more new players will want to play something more in keeping with the rest of the gaming world? Maybe they won't have 8 alts on each server and don't want to. So it makes a lot of sense from that perspective if more new people will come in versus existing players who will leave. It's a gamble I suppose, a very cynical one in a whole host of ways because for many what ties them to here are the relationships with others which makes it much harder to make that step away. But it is what it is. That they've tried to retain as much of the old as they could over beta is actually an argument for Turbine trying to retain and carry as many as possible with them moving into HD.
Last edited by Atheling; Nov 07 2013 at 02:55 PM.
one thing that probably needs pointed out is i believe it will take them 6 months after HD launchs before the trait tree system is even anywhere near acceptable
Of course more points would be nice, I mean we all want our characters to be the best they can be. I also really have to be completely honest and say that really my character hasn't changed much since level 50. I never was a big fan of the "improved" skills either. But then I didn't express a desire for "class progression".
Turbine has been trying to get the Trait lines to mean something since MoM released, I believe they finally decided they would never make that work without a complete trait and skill revamp. I hope that it proves successful and has longevity so they can focus resources on instanced content, PvP, etc....
"Live and Let Die"
Mind I'm not trying to defend Epic Battles here, personally I find the mechanics very dull and unmotivating compared even to skirmishes and not worth the grind for the promotion tree or the rewards. But I'm not going to bash them based on unpolished beta balancing.
In all my 10 or 15 minutes I was AFK, not one NPC died that counted as a tick against me on the battle goal thing in the quest tracker. (not sure any of them died??? -- from what I've seen the basic NPC soldiers kill enemies in 2 to 4 hits it seemed they were usually dropping orcs faster than I could catch up to them after they ran past me)
Side note about 'testing broken systems': If I turned out a product like what I am currently seeing in this beta, I'd be fired.
Helm's Deep Devamp killed my long time toons. Currently bouncing around between post-HD newbie alts (a warden and champ) and other games.
Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!
1. Mounted Combat, being a ground-up design only a year ago, allows adventures to take on 5, 10 and more foes all at once with much more ease than ever before, and is something the developers are 'happy with'.
2. The Undying title, earned at a level where no one even has earned class traits, much less powerful skills, has gone from being a very difficult goal to achieve, into being something nearly impossible to miss.
3. Simplifying by the removal of the entire threat system, save for forced taunts, and enabling tanks to hold aggro merely through existence.
4. The abandoning of Fellowship Maneuvers being a useful, and sometimes vital, tactic of the Free-folk. The Overlords have said many times that they had trouble 'balancing' them, and that is because they are entirely based on those behind the looking glass performing them, unfiltered by class.
5. The goal of group content has changed from one of mere survival to, largely, one of efficiency, and how quickly instances can be conquered in order to move onto the next.
6. We earned nearly all of our skills, including our trait lines and Legendary traits by Level 60, yet adventuring has become ridiculously easy only after Level 60.
And many, many more, which I will not bother to list, but you see my point, I think. I would venture to guess that 'endgame players' or 'raiders' or however you wish to term them are the subset of players who take the most issue with these changes, for they effect that playstyle the most. Many have left before now, and there are sure to be more that leave due to these changes. Will there be enough of an interest left for 'challenging' content or warrant the time to create it?
This means that, for the entirety of an expansion, you will have earned up to 10 points to put into your specialization tree, or 5 to put in a cross-specialization tree, which will earn you maybe 1 skill with no attributes or bonuses to back it up, or maybe +70 to a stat or something similar.
Instead, if we were to continue with 'improved' skills, we would have 5 skills that have been improved in some way. Given those two choices, I definitely would say the latter has more 'progression' and 'goes further from here', wouldn't you? I would much rather have my golf bag full of clubs from Hole 1, and improve on them as I play the course, rather than start with half a bag and say, "Driver, where were you on Hole 4?!"
I can solo some Small Fellowship, Tier 3 skirmishes now. But, put me back in the days of Moria, and I would be lucky to succeed in T3 Solo skirmishes. And it cannot be because of Legendary Items, nor traits, because I would already have had them by Level 60. It would be interesting to see, if anyone had some old data logs of fighting the monsters back then to see their damage output and how much damage they took, and then make the same character and compare it to now. The difference would be shocking, I have to believe.
Reset our foes to their old potency and Champion and Hunter self-heals go from allowing them to tank Sambrog, to mainly being merely maintenance heals to lessen downtime between fights, as they were intended to be all along. I cannot make this point strongly enough. There is, without question, a casual effect between the making of our foes into wet noodles and the 'homogenization' issue that has suddenly sprung up. Fix the cause and homogenization will fade. It really will
I wrote up a walkthrough of how I used every single one of my skills to make it through the Stand of Amon Sul, and how that experience will be one of my most treasured memories of my time here. I cannot repost it here, but you can see the tale I told of it by clicking on the bottom link in my signature and starting on Page 4, Post #91. What may be 'ho-hum' skills that did not add to your equation, I assure you were awesome skills that have been an incredible part of my equation here. And I am very sad to see them, and that playstyle go.
Since Riders of Rohan came out, 16 months ago, I have not been able to get invited to a single 3-person instance from within the glyphs [GLFF ]. Not a single one. Now, I did not try every single day, especially lately, but I have tried and tried. Why is this?
Context! We Scouts are debuffers, but there is no need to debuff. We were made for an earlier time, when we did not encounter the hordes of foes at a time that we do now. We Scouts, being almost exclusively a class that can only deal with one foe at a time, are far too inefficient to be considered viable in the current context in which things are so easy, the only goal is to get through them as quickly as possible.
Champions, on the other hand, have become extremely powerful within the current context. I will never forget the day I saw in GLFF: Strolling through the Shire 1/6: Need Champs! *laughs* Because it is true. With the foes being so weak currently, there is simply no reason to not have at least 2 Champions for 3-person content or 5 Champions for 6-person content. Some of that is the touch of Orion, true. But, mostly, it is simply because, within the current context, all of their weaknesses are greatly lessened, and all of their strengths greatly increased.
Our classes were designed in an earlier time, in lands far more dangerous than now. The closer we return to those times, the more that balance will return.
Having more than 20 skills to use at any given time is what keeps me engaged in battle. Beyond "wanting to be able to do everything" and all of the other reasons, it is simply the case that some people, without adding a level of complexity to them like warden gambits, simply do not find having only 20 skills available to them very engaging. This is not meant to be a value statement in any way, but merely a matter of personal preference and what keeps each individual engaged in an activity.
It was argued during beta that all games were going toward more simplicity and that these lands are doing the same should not be a surprise, but I have to say that it is. If we were designing something from the ground up now, I could see the point of keeping things simple from the beginning.
But everything was already in place here. All the skills and design were already done. To toss it away is shocking, to me at least. Especially so since there seemed to be a niche to be filled, and those like me who enjoy more complexity really have nowhere else to go to find it anymore.
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It is true that people haven't provided really coherent arguments as to why the issues I listed were not issues enough to warrant some pretty major changes. It is also true that Turbine is going to stick to their guns on the trait trees. Not sure how either of those things really affects the other, they're just realities I've seen through this process.
Just wanted to put a few things out there.
First off, I'll make it clear that I don't like that they've taken away so many skills or gated them behind specs or tiers in another tree. I used to love runnin around on my champ dpsing like crazy and popping Sudden Defence if the mobs were hitting me too much. Used to love traiting HoH on my cappy and still putting out so many offensive buffs. Used to love firing off EoBs on my warden and have aggro the rest of the fight.
Stepping back and thinking about it, I'm now wondering...wasn't it too easy? You never really had to worry about what your role in groups was, you had your own mechanics to dps and keep yourself alive. Sure, there were tougher battles where you needed to focus more on what you as a class needed to do, but not really that much. It was ridiculously easy healing on my RK, Writ of Health, Rousing Words, etc ad nauseum.
I've seen a lot of posts about minis not being able to dps anymore while they're healing, or hunters not being able to heal themselves (agile rejoinder?). That was my concern too, I wanna be able to bubble as a single-target/aoe dpser so I don't have to worry too much about being healed. Or I wanna be able to put in several hundred dps while I'm traited heals on my RK or cappy.
The trait trees are actually making our classes *difficult* again. We have to make tough decisions based on what our role is in a group. Some can (and have) argue(d) that they make the classes one-dimensional. You're absolutely right...that is a big setback to the utility of your class. In a way, I don't see how that will be a huge problem going forward. The group content that there is and hopefully will be often requires you to fill one role. And you have to or should be smart in that role. Make sure you're not shing-shinging too much that the mobs aggro on you. Make sure that you're not too caught up on dps that you miss out on healing that dpser that's getting aggro or that tank that just took a huge crit. Make sure you don't miss CCing that guy that's heading towards your healer. Make sure you're aware of the mobs around you and the ones spawning so they don't escape your aggro and kill your healer/dps. On the opposite side, the solo content? That's always been easy. And the small fellowship content you used to be able to solo? Shouldn't have been solo'd anyway. You were just way too OP for it.
There is some utility you can get with the points you have, so be smart and choose what else you want outside of your spec. Some skills aren't available since they're spec-gated, which does suck a lot, and I'm sad for it. I'm especially QQing over champ's Sudden Defence :/ always had that legacy maxed and the Wild Attack trait to decrease CD. I digress, but I understand where you guys are coming from.
Lastly, I was really confused about the Big Battles. I took the tutorial, which was a huge help for me to realize what's going on. There's been talk about only needing dps or just running around and clicking on commanders. Yep, that's exactly it. You can't compare the Battles to raids or any regular group content. Raids and groups are YOU trying to achieve this particular goal together. YOU against mobs that are trying to kill YOU. Think of the scale of the Helm's Deep battle. 10,000 orcs/uruks/etc against a few hundred men. How many did Legolas and Gimli end up with? Something in the 40s?
This is no longer a few heroes against a few trash pulls and a few bosses. This is, as I gleaned from Aragorn's explanation, thousands of mobs bent on the outright destruction of a people. Those thousands don't care that Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are the heroes, or that you are. They're all of them vs all of Rohan. Maybe they even have commands that they don't acknowledge someone who doesn't have long blond hair, who knows. The points is, you are not their focal point. Given that, it allows you to supervise or lead the men, like Aragorn did, issuing commands to help them defeat their enemies.
It may seem boring, and it may seem a waste that you're not using all your great skills to take down scores of enemies, but that's not what happens in war. Think of Braveheart, 1st part of Gladiator, or even 300...the people there were fighting a few people with a bunch of other people around them fighting a few other people. They're not all focused on you or your group. Now that I think of it, I don't really see the point in raid-size Big Battles, since it doesn't matter what size you are, they're ignoring you anyway.
It kind of narrows the discussion somewhat when in essence what you're saying is 'people who dislike these changes are incoherent once you disallow that what has happened might not have been the only option available'.Is there possibly a better way the list above could have been addressed by Turbine? Of course. Any problem can be approached in a broad variety of ways, and some of the alternate routes might have been more palatable to some of the players. We will never really know, because we have what we have and this approach is likely to be fine-tuned from here, not scrapped.
Just my views. Sorry if it jars to point that out to you or wasn't your intention by posting that list of things, which are all open to challenge, as some sort of 'this has never been disputed' when we both know that when attempts were made they were closed down with 'it ain't changing, deal with it' or words to those effect. Fun fact is that while the debate on 'skill bloat' wages, it was arguably made worse in this expansion for some classes in some builds. Which made me chuckle, at least. Oh, point of level regression was to highlight that your idea of progression is very linear but it's all irrelevant in the end. I'm done here
The only solution as I see it now is to cross my heart and go into meh yellow line up until the bottom, with an very small increase of healing line. I can gain full buffing and also some critt or some OGH from blue as well. Shame that still is not an true buffing line since lot of traits are just meh, and i keep asking my self if will worth loosing LOT of healing in the favour of those buffs. Though, the CtG being full fellowship now is superior to the older one, and also we got 2 more inventory slots free since we dont need the old OD 2 pieces set for the fellowship wide bonus.
I always thinking at my minstrel as superior buffer and awesome AoE healer, decent single target healing and my RK as superior single target healing and decent AoE healer. Now it seem that minstrels lost the buffing part and became just as RK. RK lost his superiority in single target healing imo, because the new bubbles and *bombastic* stuff is just NOT good as before and gained some AoE as well. Need further tests to check RK vs minstrel but i am too bored of beta now ...
But the issue of challenging content is only part of the problem I listed above. In reality, the greater issue Turbine faces is in developing content that is balanced given the chaos of the various classes. Look at PvP. There are classes that are god-mode there, and classes that are a struggle. If we want more maps, that needs to be addressed. Ditto for any other content, particularly group content.
I accept that Turbine wants the game to be fun for casual players, I really do. But I don't accept that it has to be at the expense of the enjoyment of those of us who've been around for a long time, who enjoy raids and big challenges. That is a huge issue that I want addressed as badly as the next person. But I fully believe a lot of the problems they are having with satisfying both categories of player are a direct result of the rats nest of a class system they were working with.
One of the things I've suggested before, and which I really want to see happen, is an adjustment in the difficulty curve for when players go above-level. Sure, leave everything Fisher Price at and just below level for all the casual players, but then make the difficulty level raise SHARPLY above yellow. Make it so that only the most seasoned, skilled players can solo above-level content. That's a compromise I could live with.
Nothing would make me happier than for there to be a way for all of the deeper issues with the game to be resolvable while retaining the complexity of rotations, the strategy and trickery possible via the breadth of skills we currently have. But I genuinely believe that something has got to give if we're going to be able to progress beyond Moria (which it feels we never really have). And I have found that the fun of rediscovering the roles of the different lines really boosted and streamlined to a new intensity, has been a joy to me through beta. The challenge of finding new rotations and tricks that excite me has been a joy to me through beta. Especially at higher levels where I have more points to spend in off-trees. I've found that the excitement of leveling my end-game characters and planning out where I want to go with them from here has been a joy for me through beta.
Is it the same as what it was on live? Could it ever be the same? No, I don't know. It's really different. REALLY different. But I'm starting to really enjoy it. And my alts, that's a whole other story. All my low level alts are so much fun to play now in beta. So no, it's not the same, it's something new that I really enjoy.
I also agree with you that the rotations and the go-to options outside the rotations are not nearly as engaging or exciting as they used to be. That is definitely an issue that still bugs me. But that also really improves a lot through to the new level cap. It will only continue to improve over time. The big improvements to the specializations I like are totally worth it to me for now. The ability to swap builds also helps with that. It's freakin' awesome and makes my gameplay much more fun. The ability to get excited about where my characters will be going from here in future updates makes all the pain of transition worth it to me. There is so much great content in this expansion, I don't think I will have any trouble at all distracting myself through the growing pains.
I fully respect that some others don't feel the same. All I can say is, I'm glad I feel the way I do, because the alternative to me is unthinkable. LotRO is something that's been close to my heart for nearly 6 years. Moving to another game is not an option for me.
Last edited by frickinmuck; Nov 07 2013 at 05:15 PM.
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