Monday, December 08, 2008

Lotro: Thought about End Game Progression

Several members of Throg's kin have hit the level cap and more are fast approaching it. At level 54 it seems that I am among the most casual of the active players in this casual friendly kinship. In kin chat I can see that much of the talk has turned to those instances that must be run in order to gear up for the "Watcher" raid instance. My understanding of the Watcher is that an extension of the hope/dread mechanic is being applied to create a gear check. Effectively a special "radiance" armour set is required to prvent your character from constantly cowering in fear. Radiance armour is got from repeated runs of a set of preparatory instances in so called "hard mode".

This is the first real gear check in Lotro. Previously end game raiding (in the Rift and Helegorod) was open to any max level character and it was quite possible for a very casual player to go along on an occasional Raid as a tourist. Turbine's new approach offers advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side it offers a real sense of end-game progression - the ever tempting carrot on a stick that will help to keep more dedicated players motivated for the long haul. On the down side it will create a barrier between raiders and non raiders, perhaps splitting kinships into casual and hardcore groups.

To Turbine's credit the use of the radiance mechanic instead of a more traditional stats based gear check should help ensure that raiders are not completely overpowered in comparison to non raiders outside of raid instances.

Speaking personally I have never been particularly motivated by loot, I am happy to keep playing the game at my own pace as long as I find enjoyable things to do. It will be interesting to watch how the new "progression" based end game impacts players and Kinships. I suspect it will create new strains for very casual Kinships but Throg is lucky enough to be in a kinship that is both casual friendly and well organised. I am hopeful that this combination will see us through the changes to come. A very positive indication is that the Kin's raid planning tool is already being used to schedule low level instance and quest runs alongside end game events, this augurs well for us being to handle a mix of players at different steps on the end game progression ladder later on.

4 comments:

Green Armadillo said...

Warhammer is using a similar system to enforce participation in either the earlier dungeons or the earlier PVP objectives before allowing access to the next stage. It's not a bad idea due to the power balance issues you mention, but it's also potentially a huge source of frustration - now a player who doesn't get loot (either because they lost the roll, or because they aren't at the top of their guild's loot priority for whatever reason) might actually not be able to attend events.

mbp said...

Hello again GA. In general I am against barriers that prevent people playing together but I will hold off judgment to see how it all works out in Lotro.

Mark said...

Well, this gear is a slight notch above some of the quest gear. I haven't worked on my tailor or metalsmith enough to bother looking at the top tier crafting armours though. It just seems that this gear (3-4 pieces of which are easy to get with the instances being 30 mins or less a run), is tailored for the watcher instance. Very few have completed this run so far from the sounds of it. So if you look at it that way, grabbing the gear itself in short instances isn't all that bad, or hard to do. However, the Dark Delving for the shoulders(?) is a bloody nightmare...

mbp said...

Hi Mark, I am still only level 58 and so far I have only attempted the Forges in hard mode but several of my kinship are well on their way to completing their sets. I like the fact that a run can be done in about an hour. It is a manageable chunk of time.