A lot of quests have to be done multiple times

A lot of quests have to be done multiple times

I spent yesterday afternoon back in Lord of the Rings Online trying to progress my way through Book 7, Leaves of Lorien. So far, the patch seems to have made some major tweaks to the gameplay, at the expense of delivering much real content. It’s clear that the devs don’t want us rushing through the patch, and it’s easy to understand why, but the first part of the patch relies on you repeating four quests again and again. That’s right, just four. And one of those is a carry quest to prolong the time it takes you to complete. All of them are reputation grinding so that you can move about Lorien without getting turned into a porcupine by the guards.

However, while the quests are frustrating me a little, the gameplay enhancements are more surprising. Firstly, the DPS: LOTRO Book 7 drastically reduces all sort of stats, including reducing damage per second by 10 DPS for bows and two handed weapons. A massive kick in the teeth for the duo of Hunter and Captain I’ve been playing. That said, it does mean you have to be more circumspect about getting involved in a big fight. Also changed, I hear, are threat reducers for Minstrels, legendary items for classes and more. Basically, Mines of Moria was too easy, but some people in game are less than happy at being downgraded.

Also added to the LOTRO Ui is a Quest Guide system, which is apparently still in beta. I was expecting something like Quest Helper from World of Warcraft, but Quest Guide is less precise. It will guide you, via an arrow on the mini-map, to the general location of quest points, but then when you are in it, you’re on your own to find the right place. Of more use is the new location co-ordinates showing top right (see the screenshot), which make it easier to go to locations given to you by friends/the internet. Chatting in-game, lots of people liked the general help of Quest Guide, feeling it didn’t do too much hand holding; others felt it spoilt the game and made it too easy, while I felt it’s a halfway house that didn’t really do one thing or the other. I figure if you are going to implement the feature, then implement it fully, like Quest Tracker. It’s an optional gameplay mechanic anyway (turn it on in the Options / UI Settings, about halfway down) so for those of us who don’t think wandering around aimlessly = gameplay, we can go to the quest, and those who want to discover things for themselves are free to do so.

It’s interesting that Turbine are continuing to add and improve the gameplay and interface though, because the fact that they are doing this themselves rather than opening the UI up to community mods does make me think that it’s highly probable that the MMO Turbine are working on for consoles, XBox 360 and PS3, is going to be Lord of the Rings Online. Its graphics are next-gen, its interface is locked down, it’s very complete and stable, it has a solid brand behind it. The only real questions would be: 1) how is the control system going to be mapped to a controller and 2) is it going to be cross-platform? (PS3 + PC + Xbox 360 on the same server seems very unlikely, but would require sustainable populations on each platform otherwise.) I, for one, would love to see LOTRO on consoles. It’d be a blast. Turbine has promised to reveal all by this summer.