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.

8 thoughts on “Five Minor LOTRO Gripes

  1. cdsorden

    “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.”

    I can see where you’re coming from with the other points, but I haven’t noticed this at all… are you sure you aren’t accidentally pressing some button? Tilde turns off auto-attack, and escape removes your target…


  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I cannot discount my own ineptitude in this. That tilda key for attack, and its proximity to the TAB key for targetting are tough to get used to.
    Still, I seem to notice it a lot with my champion, some with my guardian, and almost never with my hunter. Since it is my same fumble-fingers driving all three, I am just guessing that there is some element of melee combat that is causing this, but I have not noted anything in the combat text scroll. It would be nice if I could log all of that to a text file to examine after the battle at my leisure.


  3. Heartless_

    And this game was dubbed “the most polished MMO evah!” Turbine was wrong, we tried to tell em in beta, and they just pushed it out because it’s LORD OF THE RINGS BITCH!


  4. ericdotnet

    Definately some valid points here. Havent experienced the loosing target issue very often though. With the prices of traveling you can also add the price of crafting and repairing. Though it does get better as you get more money past lvl 20.


  5. Sente

    1. I haven’t tried the Guardian class quest, but I did not find the Champion one too bad. You might have to pop a potion though. I liked the Loremaster class quest, since you cannot really complete that by just brute force – you will be killed. But using the proper LM skills, it can be completed easily.

    2. I think many of the quests that are not part of the Epic quest lines to be pretty uninspiring. It is either ping-pong FedEx, kill ten rats, collect ten rat tails or some “escort this NPC with a death wish” quests. The escort ones are ok, but does not scale, resulting in queues for getting the NPC sometimes. I usually like to read and follow the story lines of quests, but there should be some more variations than “kill X of Y” or “collect X amount of Y from killing Z”, which kills the interest for any story line.

    4. While I have not had your particular problem with loosing targetting, I find the mechanics a bit annoying as well, partly for other reasons. The action queueing is less than optimal and I find auto attack UI element a bit silly. Some more flexibility in handling distances in melee combat would also be nicer.

    5. I think the costs are intentional to try to keep people in certain areas and create time sinks to slow people down.

    As for repair cost, the grocer in Bree town hall does that for half price compared to others, so that is where I go to polish my armor and weapons and to get some cook ingredients ;)

    I’m playing CoV/CoH in parallel and I tend to play my spandex toons more and more than I play my middle-earth ones.


  6. Genius Jones

    The real flaw with the combat sytem in LOTRO is that it doesn’t actually matter which abilities you use at what time. Basically, you target the mob, then spam all the buttons until its dead. Rinse and repeat. It’s one thing for it to be NECESSARY to use the abilties, and quite another for them all to be basically interchangeable versions of abilities with different damage and mana costs. >


  7. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    You must be playing a champion GJ. That is my impression of the class.

    My guardian, with reactive skills, and my hunter, do not play quite that mindlessly.


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