If you have taken a stroll around the various communities as I have it would appear that way. Lately LOTRO has been receiving a lot of heat for everything from chicken play to lack of content both group and solo, and for reasons that seem to be made up on the fly. For me Lord of the Rings Online was not very different from the normal fantasy MMORPG’s out there that focus on leveling, questing, and loot. Why then are people so upset?
I have begun to feel the burn myself. I log in each day and pvp a little, maybe raid a little if I’m invited, and I kill a few spiders to try and move that experience bar closer to 50. Right now I have full rest exp for the remainder of 49 and I know that if I were to stay online and grind mobs in Angmar I could hit 50 tonight. But why am I losing this urge to log in? I think the answer to my burnout is that I have seen and done it all.
LOTRO from the get-go decided that it wanted to cater to all forms of gameplay. Solo, grouping, raiding, pvp, casual fluffers… they all have their piece of the pie. That’s the mistake! Turbine has stretched themselves too thin. To borrow the analogy, “Like butter scraped over too much bread”. There is solo content but it’s lacking and there is far too little. There is grouping content but it’s far too tedious in both time and requirement.
To expand on the grouping content Turbine has made the 3-4 end-game 6 man group instances take 4-5 hours each. This is too long! Unless you have a guild that will take advantage of the “stage” system you will never be able to do a pick-up group and never have a fulfilling experience. In terms of quests, Turbine has made them far too group oriented as well in the 40-50 game. You spend most of your time trying to find a group just to get one quest done and have someone leave thus starting the avalanche.
Raiding is run of the mill in LOTRO. There’s nothign that sets it apart from any other boring raiding except that right now… it’s not even worth it! The gear that drops is not better than 90% of the gear you can get outside from quests (albeit the quests are nasty as described in the previous paragraph). I guess this is considered by some a “Good thing” because you don’t have to raid to get your gear but if people would stop and realize for a second what that’s caused perhaps they would think differently. What am I referring to? I’m referring to underdeveloped content. The reason we are not seeing raids developed as they should be is because they are trying to balance things far too much. They’re worried about the groupers, the soloers, the questers, and now let me start on the fluffers.
The fluffers in LOTRO are more vocal that the groupers and raiders combined. They want chicken play, *cough* oh excuse me you prefer “Session play”, and other unessential fluff added to the game. Now normally I am absolutely fine with this because one man’s fluff is another’s content. But please try and see the other side of the coin for just one minute. Regardless of the claims that separate devs are working on separate things we are not seeing crucial game elements fixed that are causing the woes upon the other play styles.
Turbine definitely has their work cut out for them. LOTRO is far from being cast into the fiery depths of Mount Doom but it’s no beacon of hope right now either. As for me I will likely continue playing until something better comes along. My advice for Turbine is pick one or maybe two things and focus on them. Make SOMETHING in the game feel fleshed out and fulfilling or you will leave everyone hungry.