Monday, February 15, 2010

Turbine Asks An Obvious Question on LOTRO Legendary Items

Turbine has a "tell the community team" exercise up on their forums, with a focus on changes to the legendary item system.

It's a strange exercise for two reasons. First, usually game devs (including Turbine's, on recent podcast interviews) tell players to tell them the problem and let the devs do the job of finding the solution. Second, and more to the point, the entire questionnaire seems a bit disingenuous.

The overwhelmingly most popular complaint is that the system places more emphasis on being an unending timesink than either gameplay or lore. Middle Earth is a world where characters (both Tolkein's and Turbine originals) carry their named weapons until the day they die. Basically all of the suggestions boil down to "less randomization" and "don't require players to replace their items". Judging from the way the questions are phrased (and how Turbine has developed the system over time) an overhaul of this magnitude simply isn't on the table. It sounds like they're actually looking for "what minor and easy things, like letting you make your weapons green, can we do to make you happier about the fundamentals of our legendary timesink?"

That said, those who don't vote don't get counted, so here's my attempt at playing along with their rules.

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Question 1
You are given the opportunity to make two changes to the Legendary Item System. What are the two most important changes you would make? Please limit your answer to only two changes.

A) Deconstructing a legendary item should return most or all of the scrolls used to enhance it (level/legacy increases). The amount of player time investment returned when replacing a weapon is inappropriate given the frequency with which weapons are designed to be replaced, and serves as a disincentive to using the system.
B) Slayer Titles should have a separate slot from damage type titles. For me personally, the handicap of being stuck doing common damage against all other creatures is enough to prevent me from ever using single creature type bonus scrolls.


Question 2
Name two things about the Legendary Item System you enjoy the most.
1. The concept of making customization choices that have a meaningful impact on characters. It would be nice if the system was more about "what do you want to improve" and less about "what did you get lucky enough to get".
2. Use of barter systems for obtaining LI's and upgrades. This allows players to choose how they want to work on their LI, and provides a way of rewarding players for running dungeons with their friends.

Question 3
A two part question!

Name three things you enjoy most about LOTRO.
1. Solo questing (especially the epic book storylines!)
2. Exploration (the landscapes are excellent)
3. Skirmishes (convenience, accessibility, and variety)

Name three things you enjoy the least or do not participate in.
1. Travel times. The amount of time players are expected to non-interactively watch characters travel is unreasonably high given the frequency with which players are asked to travel, and is a big reason why I have never been interested in making alts. I didn't like the Hunter class best at launch, and always felt that I was being punished with long travel times for not finding a way to make that class work for me just for access to teleport abilities.
2. Crafting. The amount of time spent non-interactively watching the progress bar advance is unreasonable given the number of combines needed to advance your crafting, and the items that you produce in the process of doing so are virtually unsaleable because everyone else is also making dozens of the same items.
3. The fact that the last quest in the extremely lengthy solo Evendim/Anduril line requires a group. Cheers to Orion for revamping Volume 1 to allow solo players to complete the content. I hope he will finish Volume 2, and tackle this supremely irritating quest in Evendim. Mixing solo and group content in the same questline is never fun for either type of player, and it becomes especially problematic when we're talking about content at the very end of the level range for a zone - the only players ready to complete the instance don't have anything else to do in the area while they look for groups.

1 comment:

Longasc said...

I have many gripes with the system. One simple thing is of cosmetic nature: Why can't I chose the looks of my legendary item? All level 65 xth Age weapons looks the same!