There is a new poll on the forums of Throg's kinship.It asks whether or not the kinship should organise a weekly "serious raid". The Kinship has already undertaken some "easy" raiding eg the slaying of Bogbereth but the poll refers to the more serious raid instances of Helegorod and the Rift of Nurz Ghashu. These instances will require serious commitment and organisation. The raid composition will have to be just right and everyone will have to learn their role through multiple wipes. Of course they will offer those involved the opportunity to participate in the game at the highest level and to equip themselves (through repeated raids) with the best gear in the game.
At level 48 Throg is fast approaching the level cap (50). Part of me quite fancies the idea of raiding, honing my character's abilities and personal playing skills.
But ... I don't know whether or not I will be able to commit to a raid schedule. Even if it is only once a week my family will always be more important than any video game. I doubt if I will be too popular as the guy who AFK's in the middle of a difficult encounter in order to tend to a crying child. I am also nervous about the impact raiding will have on our kinship. Will it split the kinship into raiders and casuals? Will it result in a move away from the normal friendly helpfulness. Will raiders become focussed solely on their own "gear" progression. Will we have disputes over loot distribution etc. etc. Is this the spectre of World of Raidcraft all over again?
I guess that a transition to raiding is inevitable. Many of the kin are at or near the level cap and what else are we going to do? We could just grind reputation / traits / gold but that sounds terribly tedious in comparison to tackling the toughest challenges in the game. I think I would like to try it - providing I can square it with my real life commitments. I am happy to report the kin leadership seem very aware of the possible conflicts that this development could cause and are planning ahead to try and manage the change while remaining true to the kinships casual friendly ethos.
Where this goes longer term depends on Turbine and how they develop the game. If they continue to introduce new content regularly - perhaps with an increase in the level cap early next year then I think that raiders and non raiders will not drift too far apart. If Turbine follows the example set by Blizzard where by for over two years the only real way for end game players to progress was through an ever more difficult sequence of raids then I think our friendly casual kinship is scuppered. As Tobold says Game Design Causes Guild Behaviour. Thankfully all the signs are that Turbine will continue to regularly release new content that is accessible to all players, not just raiders. We have only got a small region of Middle Earth so far (Eriador) and I find it unthinkable that Turbine would make the new regions only accessible to raiders when they are released.
The wonderful website Visions of the Ring has a great interactive Speculative Expansion Schedule. It is speculation as they say but it is fun to play with anyway. I will make my own prediction: I predict that the next content patch for Lotro will be a paid expansion, will introduce significant new territory and will increase the level cap. Since they have already filled in all of the quest gaps between level 1 and 50 plus introduced player housing I don't see any other way it could go. Unless of course they decide to introduce another level 50 raid instance but I really don't see that happening.