Monday, June 04, 2007

Thoughts on Grouping in Lotro

I am writing instead of playing because my server crashed and I am frozen out. It was quite bizarre in that I was in a fellowship when each of us became frozen in place. We could chat and look at menus we just couldn't move. Once character was perpetually running on the spot. I had gotten stuck earlier today in Bree and logging out and in again solved it that time so I tried that but now I can't log back in.

A blog post from Lost in The Grind got me thinking Grouping in Lotro. Sean from LITG comments that he spends more time in fellowships than doing solo quests in Lotro. While my balance is probably more 50:50 I am definitely spending more time in groups in Lotro than I did while levelling up in World of Warcraft. There are few reasons for this:

First off the Epic quest line that everybody aspires to complete has many fellowship quests including mini-instances that are a real pleasure to do. This gets everyone used to fellowing.

Secondly even though there are still plenty of solo quests at my level (I haven't hit the dreaded level 35 black hole yet) most quest sequences end in a fellowship quest and in order to get good loot you need to do the fellowship quest.

Thirdly when a quest in Lotro is marked "fellowship" they really mean it. In WOW it was often possible to solo group quests if you levelled up a couple of times. In Lotro fellowship quests usually involve multiple elites and remember that Throg has difficulty killing an elite five levels below him. The only fellowship quests he can hope to solo are grey quests that are so far below his level they aren't worth it.

Finally it is generally easy to find a half decent pick up group in lotro to do whatever quest you need. This is not because of any Looking for Fellowship function (nobody uses the official one) but simply because the community is used to fellowing and it has become the norm. In fact the lotro community is generally very mature and helpful. I have yet to have an unpleasant pug experience.

All in all I like the mix of solo and fellowship so far. I think Turbine have got the balance just about perfect for me. Group quests are usually more fun but often the demands of real life mean you need to solo. I know there is currently a lack of solo quests from the mid 30's on but I expect that to be addressed any day now with the Shores of Evendim expansion.

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