U20 is the 2nd jubilee of some kind for LOTRO – a twentieth update. Yet the team has never announced it as being significant as such, other than saying we are getting to a very important part in the story. The first one, the more important one for LOTRO, is the tenth anniversary and we are impatiently waiting to see what it brings.
Before I set out on a journey to criticize SSG, I would like to say that I like the items they have added and I do hope they will last for longer than 2 months. I also did like the “regular” quests in the new region, but not the epic ones. I do like that some sort of reputation is great to have to get these items, unlike the gold rings in North Ithilien, but having 4 reputations, almost 500.000 to finish it all and reputation accelerators going up in price, that was a bad combination.
On the other hand I can’t say I am pleased that the offhand, which was dropping from T1 raid, isn’t an upgrade with an item different than the Ornate Inlay. Like it is the case with gold jewelry being upgraded to even “golder”.
For a refference you can check here the U20.0.1 changes.
But let’s start…
Epic quests and rewards
I usually do not like session plays. The one with Gollum was amazing. This amazement quickly dropped after the book was done in a matter of minutes if you chose to only do the epic first. I was expecting it to be a bit longer and a bit more epic. The cloak was a nice tought, since SSG expected that people won’t have the gold one for a long time and they wanted to give us a good placeholder for it, but it turned out to be a waste. And I’m sorry it did. For the epic reward I was hoping for something more unique, but then again we didn’t move far. Maybe in U21 we can get a unique ring and some decent cosmetics and housing items.
I also see nothing epic in talking to someone, killing 4 mobs, talking, killing 2 mobs, talking… Done, here’s your cloak and point. Much more epic is the tale of Eladan and Elrohir and it’s not the part of the epic quest line. I have now taken already three characters through the quests and every time I like it and I’m not bored of it. The other three won’t be either.
First thing I noticed is that the area has no stables. Now, I am not a lore buff, so I can not give you some Tolkien-ish reason why the horses couldn’t go into that region, but we did deal with that in Moria. And if our own horses could go there I do not see why the Stable Master ones would be so scared.
Vault, mailbox, vendor
Since this is a new region I am amazed by the lack of vault, mailbox or anything a region should have. Yes, you can’t actually send a letter to the doorsteps of Sauron, but it just feels like another way of prolonging the game time of players or making them go VIP. Vault would have been a must, though, since we have 6 different reputation items and several main task items used for Host of the West reputation increase. The summoning horn and milestone make the travel to the fellowship area a little bit easier, but the cooldown is a bit much.
Now that I mention fellowship instances, one fellowship instance can fill up your pending loot. Given that there is no vendor there, this makes you travel back and forth to deal with that if you don’t want to destroy everything you wouldn’t use.
3rd age Legendary Items and green items
Which brings me neatly to 3rd age LIs and green items which are of no use even for people questing. I do not think that anyone is actually using those for anything. So if SSG is not capable of making a “destroy all” button, then we could at least get less unneeded loot. Also, the Eorlingas level drops in a 105 area are getting annoying.
So, since the bags are already overcrowded we could possibly have the boxes in the solo and fellowship crafting instances remove 40 flowers (20 each) instead of us carrying the lock-picks we need, eventually forgetting them or having issues opening boxes or finishing quests due to not having enough room in our bags.
Nodes in crafting instances
I can understand that the nodes in the crafting instances are most likely shared with the landscape and for solo ones that seems OK. But for the fellowship ones this seems to be very bad, since there could be more than 1 prospector in an instance or more than one scholar and if there is no agreement on who gets what, it could actually cause some annoyance. Rather, give a certain amount of materials per one instance, combined with one box to select a type of journal we wish. This way we do not waste time on an instance with a timer and do not fight our fellowship members over it.
And since there are only two towers and two instances then maybe there is a way to combine ore with wood and scholar with cooking. The current state is beyond sad.
Drop rates and farming time
I am the first one to say that you do not need to have something the day it is introduces, which is the reason I was a proponent of the LI legacies increase. The fact that it is there does not mean you have to have it. But because we all know how much LOTRO loves grind some players have decided that they will take the opportunity to do everything they can to reduce it and I don’t blame them.
But please do not restart the servers every other day “dealing with lag” saying that some area wasn’t intended to drop reputation items. We all know that the mobs have always dropped reputation items. The players only had more incentive with 6 gold items coming from that grind to farm it in larger groups. I just do not know why it had to be a group of 24. Is the fellowship area too hard for 12 people?! Some people on Arkenstone were even asking for a 24-man raid for questing in Lang Rhuven for hours, thinking they are protecting themselves from the ban, in case the team decides to act on it.
Personally, I have canceled my VIP subscription because of the lag I have experienced for days, maybe even weeks, in North Ithilien. Taking even a minute or more to plant a seed or pick up one. But for some reason my deed accelerator or other tomes or even VIP subscription (or paying for it, as a matter of fact) does never lag. When this continued in U20 and SSG did not only not deal with it, but kept quiet about it, that was the last drop for me. For a lot of us even owning up to it and communicating would mean a lot, instead of ignoring everything on the forums, chat in game, etc.
Also, decreasing a spawn rate of certain mobs is fine by me. While finishing quests I have been ambushed by some of those, killing more than I needed. But there is no need to make it harder for people actually doing those quest to finish them because of the raids that were happening.
And if SSG wanted to prolongue the barter for the items there could have been mobs in different region giving different reputation on a kill – Skoironk armour rep, Tower of Teeth provisioner rep, Lang Rhuven weapons rep. Still dropping recipes, though. Then the barter items would need to be crafted and that would be done. Yes, there would still be a reason to go kill the mobs, but it would have been shorter lived.
A lot of dealing with lag in this update was actually dealing with reasons to farm, hence giving the people no reasons to group in such large numbers and hope the lag goes away. Which is not fixing it, only mending it a little. Please come out with a statement of some kind that isn’t one sentence long. People are prevented from playing, lag sometimes kills them, it can fail a challenge in the raid and we’re not getting anything from SSG. Not even some reward for staying with the game despite it.
We’re pretty much aware that little can be done about it, since there has been lag for years, but in the future, like someone on the forum has said, don’t treat beta like alpha testing and try to do more stress tests, giving some incentive to do that. On both occasion I was on BR there wasn’t enough people to even try out the fellowship instance, let alone something else.
Reputation from crafting instances
Crafting instances do not give any reputation with any faction. I see this as a bug, since we were always given some reputation on quests completion of the instances. Instead it gives a few tokens for the Host of the West, while the recipes we get are permanent, so we don’t actually spend those on anything. Only thing they are good for is if someone actually skipped a big part of North Ithilien and needs to make up for it.
Old useless flowers and Forager baskets
I have said in my article about the preparation for the new region that the old flowers will be good for upgrading the armour, since the progression is greater-supreme-whatever it’s called now and we can’t go from greater to the new one, without getting supreme. But other than that I see no use for these flowers that it would actually warrant their presence in such a number and through the whole map, not only around the camp of the Host.
There are 2 new Herbalist daily quests in the new region. Yet the Forager basket still only gives the old types of flowers and no new ones.
Travel icons, Deed region icons
I believe we now have 6 travel icons that are the same – Minas Tirith – Haerondir. Also, region icons in deed logs are the same. I guess it’s not the biggest issue we have, but it’s still something to work on and keep in mind. There has been time spent on mount icons, this shouldn’t be any harder.
Black Gate kill reach
While I have been testing the update on BR I have died once trying to make a screenshot of the Black Gate because I got too close. When the update hit live the distance of the kill zone has been increased. In a thread on the forum someone has complained about this it seemed to be funny to SSG staff, just like it was searching for the ent in Fangorn, only to find out he is nowhere to be found and you’re running in vain, or Bingo quests, or Evendim… Pattern? Not a fan of this kind of humor.
Skill visuals and rules for multi-boxing and macroing
If the game is in such state that a larger number of people will cause everything to freeze then please address the visuals of some skills and the rules concerning multi-box and macro. This is not only putting a strain on the server, it can prevent people from playing and finishing quests, it can be and is used for gold farming and getting an unfair advantage over other people by using more than one account for bigger chances of drops on landscape and instances that can be soloed.
I love some of my LM skills, lightning storm in particular. But at least Ring of Fire and Sic em need to be addressed to not cause the lag it does.
1 trait point
OK, I’m going too far now, but I’m pointing out something. Only one of my 6 characters who are raiding could actually use the one point. 2 have just spent it on something that wasn’t really needed and 3 have nothing to do with it. If you’re adding these keep in mind that if people are actually playing the content of this game and not staying on low levels forever we are already in our secondary tree and need 2 points for those.
Tailor and Cook crafting
My tailor is an explorer, which means he can pick up both wood and ore. While I was getting some new flowers last night and getting wood and ore in the process I have been also picking up the cooking crafting items. In the time I spent I have gotten from 130-200 crafting items through prospecting or woodworking and a total of 3 caps of evengleam. Also, in the same time, I have gotten 7 journals. How can a common crafting item be more uncommon than the journal?! The tailoring materials are nowhere to be found. I also haven’t seen one journal drop from the wood and it should be dropping for woodworker and tailor, as the old critical items were also coming from there.
With the new recipe the tailor and only the tailor has been given an output to craft 7 masterful agility essences instead of the 7 barter tokens from a single use recipe.
We will not see any 106 mobs untill U21? Well, it certainly came fast.