Daily Archives: May 23, 2007

Five Minor LOTRO Gripes

1. Quests mis-labeled as solo – I do not mind having fellowship quests, but I have had a few solo quests that really should have been fellowship quests.  I am specifically reminded of the level 15 class quests for my guardian (defeat groups of four to six level 15 attackers) and my champion (find and defeat three level 15 elites).  Those are both flagged as level 15 and solo, but you would have to be pretty sharp, or a couple levels higher, to solo them.

And then there is my favorite, one of the epic prologue quests in the Bree area.  You get the quest, which is solo.  You enter an instance, talk to an NPC, and the quest is still solo.  But the next NPC you speak to updates the quest and it changes to a fellowship quest.  So there I was, solo, in the instance, wondering if I should continue.  Now, luckily, I was 5 levels above the quest level, so I was able to defeat the elite mob and his minions.  But if I had been there at the right level, it would have been very sticky indeed.

2. Ping Pong Quests – I’ve seen a couple of these time wasters.  These are the quests where NPC A sends you off to talk to NPC B.  These two NPCs are, of course, halfway across the zone from each other.  So you run to NPC B.  NPC B sends you back to NPC A.  NPC A then sends you back to NPC B, who in turn sends you right back to NPC A.  You never kill anything, harvest anything, or do anything besides run back and forth a few times.  If you’re lucky, you might be done after two round trips.  Some times you are not that lucky.  And you are hopeful and now have time invested in the quest, so you want to see it through.

Now, I do not mind a quest with some travel in it.  It helps you see the world and find even more quests.  On the other hand, after one round trip, the quest had better have a really compelling narrative reason to send me around again.

3. UI – There is already a great post up on Plaguelands about the icon art issue.  It is pretty bad.  I hope that a series of hard to distinguish images with identical red background were not part of the design specification.  (The end user must never be sure which combat skill is which without consulting the contextual help.)  

The rest of the UI is usable, but could be improved in my opinion.  So I was delighted to see that the site that hosts EQ/EQ2/WoW/VG Interface also has a LOTRO Interface page.  I went there with high hopes of finding improvements to the current UI and maybe some nice extensions to it.  I would really like a clock, one that shows both in-game and RL time. (I know, in-game time would imply an in-game date, and we know that is a touchy subject.  But if you’re going to give me quests that I can only finish at night you’d better give me some indication of how long I have to wait for night to show up.)

So imagine my dismay when I found out that all Turbine lets you do currently is re-skin SOME of the current UI.  To somebody who comes from the world of EQ2, where you can rework the whole UI,this was a particularly hard blow.  But then, EQ started off the same way, and now you can completely modify the UI, so maybe Turbine will see the light.

4. Combat Mechanics – No so much how things work as how they behave when you are trying to make them work.  I seem to “lose” targeting of my foe at random points in battle for no obvious reason.  This is doubly annoying as one side effect seems to be to turn off auto-attack.  There is nothing like being in a fight and finding out you’ve reacquired the target, but aren’t actually doing anything.

Then there is target forwarding.  It sort of works, most of the time.  Of course, when it isn’t working, it is probably because the tank has lost his target.  Still, I would like to have some display that shows what my target is targeting.  Currently it only shows the player I have targeted, not the actual MOB.  Annoying.

And do not set auto target (which does not work very well) and move to target at the same time.  That has gotten me defeated a couple of times. 

5. Cost of travel – While I went on about that I felt that the economy in general was pretty normal for the early days of a virtual world, there are a couple of items that stand out as out of balance.  The price of using the travel system between locations is one of the big ones.  Turbine backed off a bit on their pricing in beta, making the cost of travel between major hubs (Celondim, Michel Delving, Thorin’s Hall, and Bree) 1 silver piece.  But travel between lesser locations is outrageously priced.  I don’t mind having to “run to the flight point” as it is done in WoW, but I have seen travel between points in the same general area listed as high as 200 silver!  While that is an extreme example, finding 60 silver routes is no problem.  Who can afford that kind of travel?  Not me.