Update 21.3. Almost.

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Missed me?

 

As you possibly know, I usually cover the Bullroarer, but this time I wanted to try a different approach and see how that works out instead of writing critique after critique to some issues that might get changed and it seems like this was a good decision this time. For example, a nice feature was introduced to raid loot at first, but it wasn’t really sustainable. There were tradeable items that had a one-hour cooldown before they became tied to a character (or account, I don’t remember). But after the cooldown expired sadly we could not click those to add them to our wallet. I did not waste much time in later builds, so I’m not sure how everything was changed other than following the forum. It seems that the separate items have been replaced with boxes to be opened and select items. So, let’s go directly to the Update notes for the 21.3.

Content

 

Since the High Elf was introduced earlier in November, the main reason for this update is the new raid. Which, according to the new information, we are actually not getting yet. The issue has arisen with the Original challenger title, which isn’t available in the game right now for this raid. At first, the option was to introduce the raid but without the title. So, players could eventually beat the raid, but not get the title and would need to play for it again at a later date. So, after some thoughts from the players and probably a meeting at SSG, it has been decided that the raid won’t be introduced until the title issue has been fixed. Which is a very good decision by SSG.

Cordovan

As we took a look at the Abyss of Mordath over the weekend on Bullroarer and read your feedback, we uncovered a couple of issues that we do not want present when the raid opens to the public. We have decided to temporarily make the Abyss of Mordath raid inaccessible when Update 21.3 goes live on Monday, to give us time to correct these issues. This also allows players to compete for the Original Challenge title when the raid is first opened to the public. We will have more information about the raid’s opening soon. Additionally, the new raid Barter Vendors will not provide their services until the new raid opens to the public.

It remains to be seen how long this wait is going to take, but as per Cordovan, it should be measured in days and not longer.

Cordovan

I don’t want to commit until people get into the office on Monday and do the work on it, but the likely scenario is in the realm of days rather than anything longer.

A good thing is that they have actually changed some of the armour sets for some classes, but sadly a majority of them seem to not be addressed and remain to be not as useful as some previous ones.

There is a variety of other updates available, but I won’t be covering them all. Instead, I’ll just go into several more important ones for those who like to play the cap content. These issues are with the so-called instance cluster and the Ash of Gorgoroth system.

The issue with the instances is that SSG has supposedly fixed the drop rate on these instances so much that they had to introduce daily locks to them, similar to the featured instances. The locks are not transferable and are tied to boxes. So, a player could have a lock on the box for boss one, but not for boss two and three. Also, there are different locks for tier one and two. Similarly, this has been explained by Tybur.

Tybur

Chest locks are NOT inherited and are specific to a given chest. So for example, opening the Naerband boss 1 chest on tier 1 will give your character personal locks for that single chest. That daily cooldown will not transfer to any other character and will not affect the Naerband boss 1 chest on tier 2, or any other chest. Note that chest locks can be applied either when a boss is defeated and the chest spawns, or when the chest is opened, depending on the logic behind the specific chest. The ‘/raid locks’ command will give cooldown information for every currently locked chest on your character.

The chances of receiving an incomparable piece of gear instead of a rare piece of gear in tier 2 Naerband and tier 2 Seregost was increased.
Independently, the chance of receiving a piece of gear at all from any and all Naerband and Seregost chests (tier 1 and tier 2) was greatly increased.

It remains to be seen what ‘greatly’ really means, but it is certain that it will be an issue for people who used Court of Seregost to get scrolls of empowerment for their legendary items. These locks are further accentuating the issue that only now, with the raid coming out, has the instance Dungeons of Naerband been fixed. With the raid coming out and the issues the instance has had in the past, Dungeons of Naerband will probably remain unplayed or at least barely played. Court of Seregost also had some minor details added to remove confusion around resetting the fight with Lhaereth.

Further issues this update introduces is regarding the Ash system. The killing of Ash has started even sooner and it continues in this update as well. First the chance of getting items has been lowered, then removed from some mobs, now it remains only in resource instances. Now, months later, Cordovan has stated that the company has never intended for Ash to be the primary way to gear.

Cordovan

We have tried to be clear that Ash of Gorgoroth is meant to be a non-primary way to get gear, with the primary method being running the content. We are working to better align with that principle in Update 21.3 through guaranteed or near-guaranteed drops depending on difficulty in the Update 21 instances.

Sadly, this statement does not hold when you consider how bad the quest gear is and that they have removed landscape drops of better gear. The only thing that remains to get gear is instances and rare boxes, some of which are behind 115 camps that pull too many mobs for leveling players and some areas are very hard to do with too much Shadow.

This is only made worse by putting the cap amount to Ashes of Gorgoroth to 10.000 Ash, similar to Commendations in the PvMP area. This way ensuring that players can not get the newest gear as soon as it hits the live servers. But most of all, ensuring that players need to spend time or preferably money to get the Gorgoroth lootboxes and keys so they can get Ash and best-in-slot items. Players who already have over 10.000 Ash will not be able to disenchant new items, so they will need extra slots in bags, vault and shared storage, this way spending more with SSG. Some countries have already started addressing this lottery system with their laws and it remains to be seen how SSG and entities behind it will react to this.

Review of 2017

 

At the start of 2017, we have been very happy to see SSG part ways from Turbine and WB, thinking that things may turn for the better now. The new old team had a big task in front of them. Or even several. Celebrate the 10-year anniversary, release a long-awaited expansion, walk into Mordor, destroy the ring and create another raid.

I also started writing for LOTRO Players this year and I have been very positive in one of my first articles when I wrote… But Lord of the Rings Online has fought against the odds and either won or drew a tie in its battles. What is keeping LOTRO alive? Is it the quality of content, design or lore? I would assume that the deep story Tolkien has provided and the developing team has even filled in at times is actually this games biggest treasure. We play and come back sometimes after years of breaks from the game just to relive some moments from the books and movies, to explore the new content, be a part of the world we so much love and possibly beat some of the newest challenges. And since we do enjoy these challenges too, we can not ignore the work that goes into content creation.

Sadly, the hopes of the players and the reality don’t always get along.  Depending on the players and the type of content they are enjoying, you could get different opinions on the state of the game and around everything else too. My opinion on some of those things is sadly almost famous, but like some of the other players, it has never been my goal to talk down on the game or the people working on it, but there has been some disappointment how some things were dealt with because I was amazed by some of the bad business decisions. So much so that I have actually bookmarked the first words of apology in years I have seen on the forum. 🙂

Cordovan

Scourges of Gorgoroth will now appear in different locations every day. Their previous behavior of being in one location was a bug, and was fixed last week when we updated our events schedule. There was a miscommunication that led us to not properly notify you after the change was made, and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Personally, I would forgive a lot if only I had more communication during the Wastes in U20, which was repeated during the announcement of Mordor expansion release date and price. Cordovan is likely doing the best CM job so far, but the company not addressing some important issues even to say something like the quoted text above was just too much for me. I am grouping this under the business model. Communication, marketing, customer support and value etc. Speaking of which, Mordor didn’t really get enough Marketing before the release and when finally the trailer was released players actually asked for it to be removed from YouTube.

The visuals of the game have gotten much better and there have been some screenshots of the same place with 10 years difference and the improvement is really great. If you can afford to play on ultra high graphics, you will certainly enjoy the view. This is also the year when a 64-bit client was announced, so it is to be hoped that the lag and other issues will be alleviated soon and we will have fewer complaints in that area. The world building is great. Apart from some falling through the actual world, it will always be great to personally revisit some places from the books and movies and be a part of the world developers created for us using and interpreting Tolkien’s words.

There have been some plans for the future of LOTRO past 2017 and Severlin mentions them in the producer’s letter.

Well, the worlds are now open and I’m off to test the drop rate if possible.

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