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  1. #1

    My Views of LoTRO So Far [Semi Review]

    Before I start this mini review, in the interest of full disclosure (yes I'm showing off my vocabulary, shut up) I haven't actually reached the end-game yet. My highest level character is 36, though I have played a considerable amount of monster play... and based on what I'm being told by others, that "is" the end-game.

    So, I find the best way I review games is in sections! That way I can be pretentious about it.


    PvE Gameplay

    This part is obviously Turbine's strong point. The PvE is well structured and there's a metric ton of it. Many quests have a hint of humor to them instead of the usual fantasy-genre kill X monsters because Y wants a new dress that they will somehow fashion from X. But even with this in their favor, there's a serious problem with the quests. Turbine just cannot seem to decide what they want the player to be.

    Am I a hero going on an epic journey to save middle earth or am I just a support hero, part of something bigger than myself? Either one of those roles are perfectly fine for the genre but Turbine keeps tossing you between them like you're the tennis ball in the middle of a match. The player can't be both the sole hero and part of something bigger than themselves, those two roles are contradictory!

    Speaking of quests (since it's pretty much 95% of what you can talk about in a PvE section) although the structure and variety is nice I just can't feel encouraged to go to the next questing area. I pondered why this was for a while... until one day on my rogue I just jumped up, said "screw your quests", and ran around the entirety of the shire and ered luin until I'd explored every single nook and cranny of it. At some point during this random exploration binge the thought came to mind, "if a side quest sent me here I'd be having a lot more fun with them!", and then it all made sense.

    Main quests drive plotline, side quests drive exploration, mapping out, and as support for the main quest. There are too many fluff quests that send you to the same place to kill the same monster for another arbitrarily made up reason that doesn't do any of this. I'm sure someone did a lot of work on Ost Barandor in Bree-Land, and that person has every right to take a 2x4 and smack around the rest of the dev team for not sending me there sooner. The game wouldn't stop complaining at me to go to the next area so it could shout at me that I also needed to purchase that area. And no I'm not purchasing an experience lock, I buy things when I'm having fun instead of when I just want something, sort of like a donation for making something I enjoy... I was not having fun being poked with a stick every time I entered an area I hadn't grinded enough TP for yet.


    PvP Gameplay

    I don't even know what to say here. I could come up with any number of criticisms to the lack of balance, lack of optimization (lag spikes, yes I'm showing off vocab again!), and general repetitiveness of it all. I've said it before though, Turbine developers have no talent at PvP. It's like making a teenager with the voice of a chipmunk sing a rendition of Bluesuade shoes in Elvis Presley's voice, not gonna happen if not just plain cruel.

    However, if you gave that kid 7 years to work on it he might get a brain-wave, go outside and find someone who sounds like Elvis, and hire that person to come sing the rendition for him. So I have to count Turbine off for keeping the entirety of the Ettenmoors team to a single part-timer who probably wants to beat their colleagues with a 2x4 right about now. Seriously just go to EA's slave pits and find a developer who's good at PvP. You get bonus points for rescuing a tortured soul from the depths of hell itself. But I digress.

    I'm not upset at Turbine for having no talent at PvP, I'm upset about them either being unable to realize their shortcoming or realizing it and doing nothing to make up for it in 7 sodding years. Their claim that they don't see any money in PvP rings hollow when it's what most people pay the VIP fee for at level 95. In fact it's likely the only reason having outlevelled and completed all previous quests.


    Soundtrack

    Me like it. What? It's a good soundtrack.



    Overall

    I can't really give an overall summary opinion of the game because I haven't finished the free peoples quests, but I'll do my best for as far as I've gotten.

    If you strip away the Lord of the Rings brand recognition from this game and instead named it, uh, The Quest for the New Age... or something... what does it really have left? If I replaced all recognition for the Lord of the Rings in this game with something else, nobody would play it.

    Without the brand recognition we're left with a rather cut down MMO. Very little end-game, quests that don't really encourage you to explore (and end in the other devs meeting mr. 2x4), and a nice soundtrack. The entire game needs several coats of polish and I can think of many areas within the first 30 levels that needs a nice, hard buffing... and that could really be misinterpreted badly. I generally rank MMOs based on how long I can stick with them without getting bored, in which case this game ranks in at 3 months. That soars above weaker games like Neverwinter Online (1 month) but pales when compared to games like guild wars (4 years).

    Some might say that it's enough that it's a Lord of the Rings game. Some might say that being Lord of the Rings makes up for the lack of imagination in other areas. Those people can meet mr. 2x4 too. Being lord of the rings isn't an excuse to do less work, it's a hurdle to work harder. The game has to carry the brand, not the other way around.




    Overall I rate this game so far as Average. It's not very good but it's not outright terrible either. In two words, feels incomplete.
    Last edited by hiddenfate; Apr 09 2014 at 12:05 AM.
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  2. #2
    That is a well written review but I will say a few things about LOTRO's PvE

    It is THE BEST PvE that I have seen in any game, and I have played a lot of games. The quest text is superb and it generally flows very well, however if you do not read quest text, I can see why you do not like it. The North Downs, and Trollshwas are the two areas that I do not think flow very well, but they are both getting revamps to quest flow in the coming update.

    And to your impressions of PvMP, I agree, it is not very good as it is now. However, the balancing that is being done to it with U13 finally fixes it's balance problems, I and many others think that they have made it even again. But even with the balance, it is still below the par of other games PvP, but I am a excited to see what the developers will do with it later this year, because what they have said earlier has really given me hope that they are adding something.
    Withywindle characters-Caesaran (warden), Dernudan (Lore master)
    Brandywine characters- Dernudan (champion), Denthur (guardian), Delphinianic(captain)

  3. #3
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    Most of the issues you have with the game are dealt with in U13, coming out in just a couple weeks. Revamp of 3 major low level areas, rebalancing and readjusting of PvP, improvement of the flow between the revamped regions.

    This game is 7 years old, so it's bound to have some issues that need addressing as time wears on. Revamps have been gradually making a huge difference to the older areas (which are the lower level areas), but I agree with Dernudan, LotRO does have the best PvE I've played, and I've played a ton of games.

  4. #4
    Thanks for replying you two.

    Although it is reassuring that the flow of quests will be revamped they still need to set a proper tone and place for this game. Making us feel like the lone hero at some points and then part of a group at others is just schizophrenic.

    Also, as Dernudan said, even with the updates to Monster Play the PvP will still be severely lacking. More importantly though I don't see anything in their notes about them changing the line-up for PvMP. If, after the update, there's still just one part-timer on monster play and the rest of the devs are over in the PvE section, history will repeat itself and monster play will be completely ridiculous again in no time.

    The major issue I have is that a lot of things they're putting in U13 are things people have been shouting at them to fix for upwards of 3 years (7 years for monster player shouters). That's World of Warcraft level customer support...... oh god I just mentioned the unholy one...
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by hiddenfate View Post
    Thanks for replying you two.

    Although it is reassuring that the flow of quests will be revamped they still need to set a proper tone and place for this game. Making us feel like the lone hero at some points and then part of a group at others is just schizophrenic.

    Also, as Dernudan said, even with the updates to Monster Play the PvP will still be severely lacking. More importantly though I don't see anything in their notes about them changing the line-up for PvMP. If, after the update, there's still just one part-timer on monster play and the rest of the devs are over in the PvE section, history will repeat itself and monster play will be completely ridiculous again in no time.

    The major issue I have is that a lot of things they're putting in U13 are things people have been shouting at them to fix for upwards of 3 years (7 years for monster player shouters). That's World of Warcraft level customer support...... oh god I just mentioned the unholy one...
    Well you're absolutely right about pvmp and something no one else seems to have admitted is that this will only ever be a temporary fix. As soon as there is a level cap raise, it will be broken again. Simply because it's not a priority, the scaling to the monsters vs the new freep goodies are hurriedly tested if at all.

    The insight into the role conflict our characters suffer is also quite a sharp one. This continues on and off throughout the game. From following in the fellowship's footsteps and nuking everything in your path that they fled from.

    All that said you can still enjoy it. There's some truly great story lines, the reforging of narsil in evendim, Volume 1 had a great flavour of helping the fellowship set if from rivendell whilst saving eriador. There's some awesome dungeons on the way too, flashbacks to some real lore gems too many to mention but a few ( watching the Lord of the gifts corrupt a nemesis, saving Bill the pony, defeating the watcher in the water thrice and the whole khazhad dum story really. Lastly discovering some long lost hobbit village prior to their exodus to the shire!).
    Elendilmir - 95 Hunter Berenthalion - 80ish Burg Berendybuck - baby warden Berenion.

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  6. #6
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    I think that the main thing with PvP in LotRO, regardless of whether or not Turbine have any talent for developing it, (I am not qualified to judge), is that t never has been, and most likely never will be, a significant focus for the game. PvMP was added late in the original development, and was strongly argued against by many beta testers. The particular limitations of PvMP, (as opposed to "proper" PvP), are said to be due to restrictions imposed by the IP rights holder.

    In many respects, if it had never been added in the firstplace, things would be much simpler and less rancourous today. As it stands, it exists and provides just sufficient of a base for its devotees to agitate for more. (Understandably so). If it was not providing the thin end of a wedge, it would be a much more unassailable position to maintain the original line that PvP will never be part of the game.
    TANSTAAFL

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hiddenfate View Post
    Although it is reassuring that the flow of quests will be revamped they still need to set a proper tone and place for this game. Making us feel like the lone hero at some points and then part of a group at others is just schizophrenic.
    Interesting. I've never really noticed that or thought about it that way. I've done most low to mid-level content upwards of a couple dozen times, so I think it's easy for me to miss any of the nuances in how other players might experience the zones. As a result it's really hard for me to comment on that besides just saying that since it's a MMO, people have a choice about how they experience things - they can decide to group up (and many do) for PvE content, or they can solo, or a mix of both. If you're talking about how the epic blends with PvE, I've always seen those as separate anyway.

    What I do like is that we're coming behind the Fellowship, helping those affected by the situations surrounding the storyline, rather than being in the center of it all. To me being central to the Fellowship - that would be extremely lore-breaking.

    Quote Originally Posted by hiddenfate View Post
    The major issue I have is that a lot of things they're putting in U13 are things people have been shouting at them to fix for upwards of 3 years (7 years for monster player shouters).
    This is why I'm OK with them taking some time for areas such as housing, PvMP, etc., and why you won't hear me complaining about no group instances for the next year or so. Because we've had multiple types of new group content added within the past year or two, and housing and PvMP have not seen any love at all pretty much since they were launched. If I have to wait a bit so that other playstyles get some attention, that's fine for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldarian_Grace View Post
    Well you're absolutely right about pvmp and something no one else seems to have admitted is that this will only ever be a temporary fix. As soon as there is a level cap raise, it will be broken again. Simply because it's not a priority, the scaling to the monsters vs the new freep goodies are hurriedly tested if at all.
    I think extensive beta-style testing of Moors scaling would be pointless. Besides, there's probably been what - a month of testing it so far? Maybe more? You're never going to know how it actually works until it gets to live, and people really hammer the tar out of the system. I think the benefits of the system far outweigh the likely extended period of tweaking after launch. As for whether the balancing will be temporary, the devs have already stated that they're actively working on making things a lot simpler and smarter to adjust moving forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by frickinmuck View Post
    • Can creeps get LIs to help balance out the apparent overpowerdness of Freeps, and why do creeps have no mail
      Jinjaah – There’s a bunch of reasons why there’s no mail or LIs for creeps, but there has been a problem in the past where creeps have not been properly scaled with each expansion, or with rolling out of each new Third, Second or First Age LI. So one of the things they’ve been doing behind the scenes with PvMP is working on ways to make it more sustainable, so that when they reach points of balance that they’re happy with they can sustain them past level bumps and First Ages coming out and things like that. So will we be getting First Agers or LI, no, but hopefully we will be getting a system that will properly scale once an increase in potency comes to one side.
    Quote Originally Posted by mjk47 View Post
    I think that the main thing with PvP in LotRO, regardless of whether or not Turbine have any talent for developing it, (I am not qualified to judge), is that t never has been, and most likely never will be, a significant focus for the game.
    This is something that I think has been definitely changing a lot in recent months. I think that Turbine are finally realizing that PvMP is currently - and probably always will be - the most challenging end-game content, and that by giving it love, they have the opportunity to bring some joy to a lot of the end-game players who tend to be very vocal when bored and angry.

    It seems they may also have finally realized that the PvMP audience has been small for a reason. There have, for many years, been limitations on how much that audience can grow. By scaling in the Moors, they have created the opportunity for players to make it part of their playstyle rotation right from the very start. It also means a lot of fresh meat for the creeps. I think overall, between the balancing they've been doing, the revamps of creeps in general, the scaling and the Moors passes, this is a region of the game that will be revitalized after U13. All of this shows me that they're starting to take it more seriously as a region for potential growth.

    I think that we have the Players Council PvMP members to thank for some of this shift in perspective. There is a lot of discussion in the dev chats and forums from the LotRO team stating how huge a help these PC members have been. If they've had anything to do with some of these shifts, and I believe they've surely played at least some role, I think the PC has been worthwhile. For me anyway. I am really, really pleased that PvMP is getting the attention it is.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by hiddenfate View Post
    Although it is reassuring that the flow of quests will be revamped they still need to set a proper tone and place for this game. Making us feel like the lone hero at some points and then part of a group at others is just schizophrenic.
    I personally have never had a problem with the tone of the game and I'm not entirely sure what you mean by 'place' of the game. I realize that the epic quest line has you running around places that the actual fellowship never went, but it has always consistently been in support of it. The landscape quests are just that, while they are at times somewhat related to the fellowship, they are mostly just what's going on in that particular area.

    As far as the 'hero' aspect of your post, I've never felt like I was supposed to be part of the fellowship. I've always felt that our characters were indirectly involved for the most part and always after the fact. Sure there are times when we become part a group (like the Gray Company) or even interact with the fellowship (which is pretty cool, IMHO) but I never felt like I was supposed to be a part of it. Doing stuff on your own at times and then as a part of a group at others isn't schizophrenic, it's just the way life is; IRL and in LotRO.

  9. #9
    Sometimes I forget that a lot of things sound different in my head. What I meant by the whole "role of our hero" thing isn't whether or not our character should be part of the fellowship or not.

    Are we supposed to feel like we're part of a large group of other heros, all trying to help protect middle earth and support the fellowship from behind the scenes?
    Are we supposed to feel like the only hero who can help protect middle earth and support the fellowship behind the scenes?

    Some quests, see the prologue and tutorial areas, point to us being alone in our role, the only sentient hero involved in the defense of archet or thorin's hall. Other quests specifically remind us that we aren't alone and that there are other players/heroes there to help us.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by hiddenfate View Post

    Am I a hero going on an epic journey to save middle earth or am I just a support hero, part of something bigger than myself? Either one of those roles are perfectly fine for the genre but Turbine keeps tossing you between them like you're the tennis ball in the middle of a match. The player can't be both the sole hero and part of something bigger than themselves, those two roles are contradictory!
    I don't think the many, many additions to PvE over the years were planned with enough consideration for future players who could run through them all in a row without waiting for the next update or expansion pack. The transition from one area to the next was less like getting tossed around like a tennis ball when people had months after finishing the main quests to explore and deed and run the instances before starting a new area.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by hiddenfate View Post
    The player can't be both the sole hero and part of something bigger than themselves, those two roles are contradictory!

    Pretty much sumes up every single soldier that has has fought in every war long before we had sticks.

    will not comment on the pvp aspect of the review as i am to old and know better to comment on things i know nothing about as i do not play pvp,and would feel ill informed if i only took other peoples view's on it.

 

 

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