Thursday, December 19, 2013

Over-preparation for Lotro Helm's Deep leads to rapid burnout.

The title says it all. I spent two months levelling a character from the mid 40's to the cap of 85 just in time for Lotro's Helm's Deep expansion. Once the expansion launched I lasted 2 days. I loggeed off after two days and haven't logged in since.

I cannot even blame the expansion. From the little I have seen it looks like an excellent expansion. In my opinion actually Lotro is getting better and better with each expansion. The devs are clearly lavishing care and attention in to the world they are re-imagining and the continue to tweak and improve the game play. Yes I do have some minor niggles which I will talk about in a minute but ther are not the reason I stopped playing. I stopped playing because the eight weeks I spend preparing for Helm's Deep burned me out on the game. I simply wanted to take a long break. So much for my grand plan to finally catch up with the herd and enjoy the thrill of discovering new content along with everyone else.

As for the niggles (remembering that my overall first impression of the expansion is very positive):

- The complete overhaul of the skills and traits system created a learning barrier. I don't think the changes are bad. The little experience I had with my Lore-master indicates that there is still plenty of flexibility in the system and it is probably more straightforward that what it replaced. It is just another new thing to learn and for a burned out player that is a bridge too far.

- My character had become ridiculously overpowered. I thought my mounted character was overpowered at the end of Rohan able to solo mobs of enemies including elites and even elite masters but Helm's Deep seems to take this to another level. My once wimpy pet can now kill landscape mobs before I finish a single skill induction.  This is particularly frustrating after the major changes to the skill system. I have a bunch of new powerful looking skills that I never get to use because the mobs die so quickly. There is some initial pleasure to be had from rolling over groups of mobs but that quickly become boring.

- The quality of global chat took a nosedive immediately after the expansion. Although I am in a kinship (guild) most of the other members have left the game so I am really a solo player. I like to keep an eye on the general chat channel, it reminds me that there are other folk in the game too and occasionally I respond to requests for groups. Before the expansion general chat was usually inane, sometimes helpful and sometimes entertaining. Immediately after the expansion global chat started to fill with offensive and insulting comments. I assume these were returning players, not too numerous but certainly vocal. There wasn't that many of them and a bit of attention to the /ignore function quickly filtered out the racists, the homophobes and those who are just plain nasty but it left an unpleasant taste. Lotro has long been famous for having a friendly helpful community so it is a rude awakening to realise that there are obnoxious players too. 

1 comment:

Thallian said...

I've kinda burned out on Lotro too and I agree the game is getting better and better but the grind and fun factor balance just don't suck me in enough to want to keep playing. Its strange because every once and a while I get the urge, which I quickly quench, to go back and play WoW for a little bit. But Lotro hasn't called to me for some time now. I do play Guild Wars occasionally but it is so punishingly difficult when soling and not very well balanced for grouping that I kinda have trouble having a great time in it no matter how many people are with me. I think my brother did what you did and burned himself out on Lotro too by trying to prep for his kin since he was their main tank. I wonder what can be done to help MMO's be less grindy and less burn outy and more fun-y :)