Friday, January 9, 2009

Played Lately: Lord of the Rings Online

  • Syncaine at Hardcore Casual recently put up a post suggesting WoW abandon its endgame for a perpetual leveling game. While I'm not sure how feasible this is, there is something to his statement. Designing a game with separate leveling and endgame systems seems archaic now, but few developers have conquered the problem. Players are doing something, though. They're switching games.
  • You can find posts and podcasts at Massively, Kill Ten Rats, Gamers With Jobs, Van Hemlock, and others who have found that spark of excitement in Lord of the Rings Online. Even I am finding that leveling up in LotRO is giving me the adventure that I'm missing in WoW.
  • Thursday morning, I was sitting at my desk at home, playing LotRO, telling myself "No, working on deeds is not the same as going to work." As opposed to the not-so-revolutionary Tome of Knowledge in WAR, the Deed Logs gives a clear, clean listing of what deeds can be accomplished in a zone and what you'll be awarded with. And while they start hidden, as soon as you take the first step (by killing the right type of monster, finding a landmark, or completing a quest), the game announces that you've discovered a new deed. And once you've discovered a deed, there is nothing mysterious about it. You're presented with the details of what is expected of you and lets you get to it when you're ready.
  • What I like about it is that you can tackle deeds in a manner you'd like. If you want to grind out 180 orcs in the Lone-lands, there is nothing to stop you. At the same time, there are many quests where you have to kill orcs or perform other feats in orc-infested areas. So why not just let the deed accrue naturally. By taking the grind out of the quests and moving it to the deed system means that quests can be more story focus while keeping the old school charm intact.
  • And the rewards for completing deeds are worthwhile without feeling mandatory. The title are nice, but the virtue traits are as powerful as an additional equipment slot. They serve a similar purpose to the AA system in Everquest 2. You don't need them, but it would be like going into combat without your shoes on.
  • If you told me last year that I would enjoy tracking through low level zones to explore and kill hundreds of creatures, I would have thought you were mad. Today, I can say that it is all in the presentation.

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