Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Top 11 things I would change when I rule Middle Earth

In the place of a Dark Lord you would have a Queen! Not dark but beautiful and terrible as the Morn! Treacherous as the Seas! Stronger than the foundations of the Earth! All shall love me and despair!

Rarely in my blog or in my game will you see me complain. I love that GMs and Turbine employees come to read my articles and I have only nice things to say about life in Middle Earth. I optimize the system as it is given and make the most out of it and have a grand time doing it! However, I jot down things that I would like to see differently and have made a list over the years.

Today, I present the “Top 11 things I would change when I rule Middle Earth”Oh sure, there could be more things to say like… I would rather not have wide-sweeping class revamps each year, and I would rather quests and details be fixed rather than releasing content at the fast-pace it has felt like it has been coming. However, these 11 things are ones that seem very easy to change.

(1) Runekeepers need an In-combat rez. This one is my greatest peeve in the game; I have written about it before (rune-keeper-dev-diary-riders-of-rohan). The RK is supposed to be able to be traited and built to be either a squishy strong DPS class or squishy strong Healing class, but not at the same time.

Not that I begrudge Captains as they are one of the coolest classes in the game, but even Captains have an in-combat and out of combat rez. A Captain is effective enough to be the tank… has the best buffs… good damage… heals well enough to be main healer in many situations… AND has a rez. But a RK, one of the main two Healer classes, has no combat rez. If I group with a Captain now in a group smaller than a Raid, it is implied that he is in charge of Healing and I am going DPS. 

The only defense for not having a combat rez is that RKs must “see the future” and use “Do not fall this day” skill. It has a 10 minute CD. On a break in combat, it is gone and you wait for another 10 minutes. It has a very narrow use. To be successful with it… either you expect that at some point you will lose the tank or the healer (not you) and you have applied this Pre-Rez, or you have in an instant, foreseen that someone else in group was about to die and chose to let them die versus healing them. As is more often the case, someone got agro for a moment, got one-shotted, and the group is headed for a wipe… unless there happens to be a Captain with you to do what any Healer should be able to do.

So yes, Healing class needs a Combat Rez. Make it a trait, legendary, long CD, whatever. Just make it playable.

(2) More Housing hook flexibility and Evictions: This is a two-part peeve involving Housing. Thankfully, these issues are scheduled to be worked this year. Here’s hoping.

Housing Hook flexibility and storage: The hook system for laying out items is very limited. There are so many housing items in-game but so few places to put them. Between the lildanas and myself, we have a kin house and a deluxe house. We have filled every hook in both houses, filled every housing chest, and DanaOnar’s vault is filled with 120 more housing items. Most every one of these items are items that are either Bound, Unique, or only found at Festivals. I don’t keep around anything that I can go get from a vendor out in the world. That said, I can’t go see any new barter housing items in Great River, Rohan, etc… I have no where to put it or even hold it in the vault. Further, the lotro store has some very cool housing items to Buy, but I have no place to put anything new because of hook limitations.

See some very cool Property Guards I bought (u10-virtues-and-property-guards) and would totally spend more money on more if the hook and housing system was improved.

If I want my yard to look like a festival threw up on it, that should be my prerogative. I play a game called “Webkinz” with the lil hobbits and just as an example of what a simple game like that does with housing, I can literally put anything anywhere (and expand the house to as big as I have coin to afford). If I want to line every space on the floor with trophies I can. If in lotro, I want to pit two Draigoch statues facing one another or have 32 snowmen standing in phalanx formation out in the yard, that should be doable.

Housing Evictions: That is silly to leave a house abandoned for years and have it not be available to other players. I surveyed the lildanas’ neighborhood and found that 80% of the houses were locked due to non-payment. Around where I live (Lorien), you cannot abandon a house and not pay taxes on it. I read that this portion of my pet peeve is scheduled to be addressed in Update 11, which will be sometime “soon”. Preliminary indication is that houses that have been abandoned for more than 6 months will be foreclosed.

(3) Shared Coin: We now have a Barter Wallet that can share barter items that are Bound to Account, yet if you want to share coin between characters, you have to send it through hobbit mail. That is ridiculous and needs to be fixed. Two ways to fix it are to either make coin a shared feature in the Barter Wallet or to make a portion of the “Shared Storage” of items a shared bank.

The best reason I have been given as to a downside to shared coin is that the limit for coinage is 9999 gold, 999 silver, 99 copper. Yeah… I am sure that affects a large population (she says sarcastically). Fine, fix the upper limit cap if it stands in the way of implementing a better shared coin bank.

(4) Longer friend list, notes section: The friend list in lotro allows only 50 names. It should be much longer; I would propose that 2000 is a more reasonable number. The 50 limitation cuts the list so short it is almost not usable at all. Finding people with alts is an even more difficult problem. Further, the friend list needs a good notes section.

Forgive me if we spoke more than a week ago and I forgot who you are. A better friend list would help bring people together… which is kind of the point of an MMO.

(5) More Dances: There need to be more dancing emotes in the game. There are currently 10 dances (plus the basic four); 8 are from festival, 1 is an Inn League Jig, and 1 is from Enedwaith. I think that 30 is a good target for the game. Oh, before you choke on your breakfast coffee, let me suggest to roll them out periodically. Festival is a great time and place to introduce more dances. Target releasing 1 per festival or 4 per year. That isn’t too much to ask.

(6) Permanently Unlocked Battle instances: The 3 Angmar Battle instances and the Battle of Lorien need to be unlocked and accessible via the Instance Finder. Bonus points to Turbine if the battles are actually scalable with suitable Mark rewards; however, I would accept just unlocking the instances so that people could see them. Right now, these are four instances that most people never see which make them a wasted resource.

(Update 05/12/13: Rats, each instance must be unlocked 20 times before the next opens, not the 10 that I wrote in this paragraph on first edition.) The 3 Angmar instances are The Battle of Aughaire, The Battle before Rammas Deluon, and The Battle of Rhunendin. They are accessible only in Gath Forthnir in northern Angmar and are staged that Aughaire must be beaten 20 times “per server” before Rammas is opened, then Rammas must be beaten 20 times before Rhunendin is unlocked. However, the counter resets frequently and sporadically. I would bet a gold that 99.99% of players have never seen the final battle Rhunendin. I have been looking for 3 years and have never seen it unlocked on Arkenstone. (In case you wondered why I don’t just go slam through this level 50 fellowship instance repeatedly until I personally unlocked Rhunendin, additionally, it has a 3 day Cooldown before it can be accessed again… the counter will reset before I could get through that many Cooldowns.)

The Battle of Lorien is accessible from the city of Caras Galadhon in LothLorien. It is also a locked instance requiring the “Preparations” quests to be done a certain number of times per server, and the counter resets periodically. Fortunately on Arkenstone, Lorien rep and passage is often desirable and this Battle stays open about half the time, although it is hard to access as one must travel to Caras Galadhon and accept the quest to be able to enter the instance. It also has a 24 hour CD.

(7) Shorter and uncoupled Festival Consumable timer: The festivals allow for some new emotes to be bartered. You consume a certain number of “emote consumables” and learn to do this emote as a skill. When the consumables were first released, they had a reasonable Cooldown timer, around 1 - 2 minutes. That made it feasible to actually get through 300 consumables in a reasonable amount of time.

During Yule fest 2011, the consumable CD timers were tied together and the timer was lengthened to 5 minutes (youll-yule-festival).  Therefore, 300 uses for deed completion now takes 1500 minutes (25 hours), or to do six deeds, you are looking at 150 hours, not counting any lost seconds between the 5 minute CD resets. With exception to very few difficult deeds, almost no deed in the game takes 25 - 150 hours to complete. The long timer that is tied to other consumable uses is completely unreasonable.

(8) No Moors multi-boxing: Here is the problem as I see it. When a multi-boxer appears in the moors, the entire focus and game changes. (how-to-cheat-in-moors) Instead of thinking about raids and outposts, all activity becomes focused on one person, “where is the Multi-boxer?” As a lone entity, no one is going to stand up to a foe that is doling out 6 times the damage with the push of a button. It will take a group to coral the one multi-boxer. (Update: BTW, I have no qualms with people multi-boxing, just don't do it in the Moors where it is negatively impacting other players.)

It is true that some occasions of this abuse of fair play might pass any policing, but sometimes it is too obvious to be ignored. When I was asked how this might be policed, the easiest answer is to write it into the code of conduct and have it as a reportable offence. It is easy enough to report Gold Spammers and Vulgar Harrassers. In my opinion, since it is directly interfering with others game play, it is a worse offense than those and should be easy enough to at least report and have some followup. Fortunately, like gold spammers, this issue doesn't arise often.

(9) Fix Broken festivals: 2012 went through the dark time of seemingly not being able to release a festival without problems. The one that comes to mind at the moment has to be “Farmer’s Faire” where half of the quests were broken (faire-hobbits-dont-get-drunk). 

The Faire eventually got the hobbit quest to work, but ended with the “Golden Egg” and “Fishy, Very Fishy” still basically broken. It was estimated that 1 in 10,000 eggs were Golden Eggs; I think there were 6 golden egg winners in Arkenstone for the entire festival, which is stupidly bad odds. “Fishy, very fishy” was indeed very fishy also. No one in Arkenstone claimed to have beaten that quest, which was to pull out 50 good fish before pulling a bad fish, with the quest available once per day. As far as I understand, no one on any server actually did win this quest, which trumps the Golden Egg on stupidly bad odds and poor festival design.

(10) Include older festival horses and random luck horses in the lotro store: During most festivals, the current horse and last year’s horse are available for barter; you can visit them at Hengstacer Farm before you buy and undoubtedly I have included them here on danania.net in All the Steeds. Occasionally, you can also buy the previous horse (the one from 2 years prior from the lotro store). One horse that has never been in the lotro store is the “2008 Yule Horse”, since he pre-dated the store startup. He is one of my lost sheep that I would buy if it were available. I recommend putting all applicable festival horses in the store each festival (those older than the previous year).

Also, horses that are based on luck should periodically go to the store. A few that I see in the stable (All the Steeds) that people might want include 

(a) “Skeleton Painted Horse” random drop in the fall festival, 
(b) “Hobby Horse” random drop at the Yule festival, 
(c) “Red Painted Skeleton Horse” random drop from lootboxes, 
(d) “Treasure laden goat” random drop at treasure hunt, 
(e) “Treasure Laden Horse” random drop at treasure hunt, 
(f) “Cave-claw Masked Horse” random drop at treasure hunt, 
(g) “Steed of the Duskwatch” random drop at 5th anniversary, 
(h) “Lossoth Steed” random drop at the 5th anniversary, 
(i) “Steed of the Jester” random drop spring festival 2012.

These steeds are beloved by those who have them. However, none of these are extremely special steeds like any of the Meta deed steeds that really mean something. People who have them just got lucky at whatever slot machine was offering them. I am thankful to have 7 of these I listed but would totally buy the Hobby Horse and Red Painted Skeleton Horse (at typical store prices).

(11) Weapon slot and Class item slot cosmetics: A common complaint I see is that if one gets a stupid looking weapon, they just have to suck it up because you cannot change the way it looks. I don’t need technical explanations as to how clothes can look different but weapons cannot look different, just fix it.

More direct to me though, my cosmetic pet peeve is that I do not want to see my RK bag, ever. Just make it invisible. I do not have that option and I should. Either give me an “invisible” bag I can equip cosmetically or a check box that I can hide its visibility (similar to the other cosmetic slots that have a show/hide check box).

(Update 05/10/13: If you made it this far, follow onward to Silent-podcaster-1st-age-li-changes which gives a list of links where this article was reviewed by famous Podcasters!)


Ravanel said...

I like that it says "when I rule Middle-earth", not "if I would rule Middle-earth" in the title. Aspirations? :D

Anonymous said...

RK, in combat rez... YES!!! I have been mourning this forever! Mini's have Rally, Cappy's can in-combat rez, WE ARE A MAIN HEALER CLASS!!!
I also agree with the rest of your requests, but this is my personal pet peeve.

Anonymous said...

While I am not familiar with everything in this list as I am still very young in the game, I do totally agree with everything that you said that I am familiar with... including that I do not want to see my ugly RK bag! Gha! :) (Siphoney / Rethai)

Ravanel said...

You guys do realize you can dye your RK bags and pick a cosmetic you like, right? I have quite a few in my wardrobe so I can change them depending on the outfit.

Besides, there's no denying that you guys uses those stones, where would you else wear them when not in combat, in your underwear? I guess the bra would be a suitable place for female RKs. Should come with a special debuff on the enemy ("distraction").

Okay, I'm just messing with you guys. I had no idea people had such strong feelings about this! :)

Anonymous said...

Bravo, bravo! All in all Good list. In combat rez is a must. Bag disappearing great. Cosmetically carrying me axe priceless.

Master Dwarf

Rakuno said...

Excellent ideas! When you become Empress of All Middle-Earth I will move there and never leave again.

Ok, I will admit I will do occasionally travel to other worlds. Because everyone needs to take a vacation in exotic and dangerous places from time to time even if they are living in a utopia.

@Ravanel: If I were a Rune Keeper without a bag I would personally keep my rune stones under my hat. Then when someone threatens me I just offer to show them a neat magic trick before they kill me. Then while they are distracted I just pull the rune stone out of my hat and BANG! Dead enemies!

Ah, I would make such a good rune keeper...

Mursu said...

Hear hear! Completely agree with these suggestions. Hopefully Turbine will also...

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see war steed cosmetics of the meta deed steeds. It takes alot of effort to get these, they tend to look fantastic, and I'd love to be able to show them off.

Unknown said...

@Ravanel ... "When I rule Middle Earth" seemed more appropriate. Logical progression, right? lol!

Unknown said...

@Rhonda ... Rhonda's #1 pet peeve is the lack of RK in-combat rez. Glad I am not alone in this one as a #1. If I got nothing else, I would be happier (well, true too, I could then focus annoyance on the other 10). :D

Unknown said...

@Siphoney ... Given time, you can grow your own list of annoyances, lol. Glad we share that one with the RK bag needs to have an invisible option.

Unknown said...

@ Ravanel 2:10 ... Thanks for mentioning the RK bag cosmetic as I am sure there are visitors who didn't know you could cosmetically equip bags.

When I was young, I thought, oh, look at that, an RK bag on my hip. But, the novelty wore off quickly. I dye mine to match my leggings to try to blend it in a bit, but still it is sooo annoying taking what I think might be good screenshots only to see afterward a gaudy bag.

I consider my "good side" for pictures to be my right side... no visible bag. :)

Unknown said...

@Master Dwarf ... Spoken like a true Runekeeper. We want RK bag hide and need an in-combat rez.

While personally, I would hurt myself trying to carry around an axe, it is so appropriate to see you with one.

Unknown said...

@Rakuno ... you would make an excellent runekeeper and are welcome to live in my utopian Middle Earth anytime. :)

Unknown said...

@ Mursu ... Thanks Mursu! I'm encouraged that housing fixes is on the short-term list. I'm not sure how to give good feedback to Turbine in such a way that it will be received and acted. :) Mebbe, someone with decision-making will wander by. lol.

Unknown said...

@ Anonymous WS ... Yeah, that would be a good one, meta-deed steeds as Warsteed cosmetics. Totally agree. And, some of them are so beautiful. I was going to give an example of my favorites, then realized that many of my go-to steeds are Meta-deed steeds. :)

Ketani said...

There actually *is* an invisible RK bag that can be put in the wardrobe and equipped cosmetically. It is the starter LI bag that you get from doing the Moria intro. Yeah, it's a pain to get considering you have to level an RK to at least 45 to get one, but it can be shared via wardrobe for any older RKs not still hanging on to that very first LI satchel. If you plan on keeping the extra RK around for more than just the invisible satchel, I recommend not equipping that one as it will then be permanently in their inventory and LI panel until you decon it.

Anonymous said...

Many good points with which I agree. One point though, is your arguement for RK's to have an in combat Rez. Captains do not have good damage. No one thinks of a captain for damage. Using it as a basis for your arguement only weakens your position. I'd even drop your comparisons to captains entirely. Base the need on it's own merits. Not on "Well, they have one, so I should to."

Scott said...

Regarding number 2, a couple of years ago I posted a suggestion that they add a "closet" to the houses. It would act like the wardrobe but would hold housing items. My post got a few mixed responses. You can see it at http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?377143-Housing-quot-closet-quot if you'd like to comment on it.

Unknown said...

@ Ketani ... Yay Ketani! I recalled something about that invisible starter bag glitch while I was writing the article, but it seems so wrong to level an RK to 45/50 just for the sole purpose of getting an invisible cosmetic. :)

It is a great reminder about the possibility, since it is the only option currently available. For young RKs, definitely take heed of Ketani's advice and hold onto a copy of your first RK bag as it is the only way to get this invisible bag.

Unknown said...

@ Anonymous Captain ... Noted. :) The key point was "Healing class needs a Combat Rez" with supplemental argument of "even captains get a rez". What came out was a /rant that needs to be reworded before I write it into Law.

Unknown said...

@ Scott ... Heyhey! I knew some of my peeves weren't exclusive to me or perhaps even terribly new. I see your linked article was from Jan-2011, lol. Progress at a snail's pace some times. :)

Korgrihm said...

IIRC, you can cover the bag up with the treasure hunter satchel piece. http://casualstrolltomordor.com/files/2012/02/Treasure-Hunters-Satchel1.jpg

It prevents the use of a cloak for your costume, but it can be dyed at least.

Parnassica said...

All great suggestions!

I'm pretty sure I've used the Treasure Hunter's Satchel on my RK. It is at least a smaller bag. Although honestly my RK mostly just cooks so I just leave the bag unequipped.

I would also love to see some changes in how decorations are made. Perhaps it comes from being a former Sims player, but decorating houses is one of my favorite hobbies in game. My two solutions are to leave everything possible in the barter wallet until I want it, and to "volunteer" myself to decorate other kin members' houses. Not a perfect solution, but at least let's me scratch my decorating itch.

How many people would it take to get the Angmar instances open? Count me as one who's never done them. Now you've got me interested :D

Unknown said...

@ Korgrihm ... With a name like Korgrihm, I think you must be a dwarf. lol! That is a good reminder for some RKs.

In addition to Ketani's "keep-your-starter-bag-as-a-cosmetic", Korgrihm's "cloak slotted treasure hunter satchel" hides the RK bag. That doesn't work out well for superheroes though... I NEED my cape, flight stability donchaknow. ;)

Unknown said...

@ Parnassica ... Yay! I too am excited about possible housing changes. Too funny that you try to hire yourself out as an interior decorator. :)

It doesn't take that many people to do Angmar instances! I can actually solo the first two (and haven't seen Rhunendin). Since it takes 10 Rammas Deluon's to get it open, it wouldn't take a whole lot of people to get it, just have to be slightly coordinated to get it before the arbitrary resets. :)

Unknown said...

Go Arkenstone, thanks for reading and showing up to the party... Rammas Deluon is at 9/10 and one more Rammas Deluon will get the final Rhunendin open! :D

(Yes, I atill think these Battles should be permanently open for all to see... how hard can that be to do Programmers? :D )

Anonymous said...

I agree on housing.

The problem with Shared Coin isn't the normal 9999,999,99 limit, it's with F2P and Premium players who haven't purchaced Currency Cap Removal. Imagine a 2/5 gold limit shared between 2-9 characters.

I've never had any trouble with the friends list and notes but some people might if they have a lot of friends.

The Angmar battles are worse than you said. A quick check of LotRO wiki states that they need 20 to unlock. Permamently unlocked would be good, but I'd be happy if they just removed the cooldown so that a group could just grind it open if they really wanted.

Agree on all the festival things.

I agree that Multi-boxing in the Moors is not fun but there are some non-Moors related activities for which it's more or less obligatory. Adding alt to Kinships for example. Also, there are some players who multibox raids. As those are private instances I don't see the harm.

Cosmetic weapons may have some genuine technical issues (I don't know) but I don't see why they couldn't implement a cosmetic item slot feature. Hopefully someone will do that.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the comment, Anonymous!

You are totally right on the Angmar Battles! I was so disappointed to see that it was FINALLY at count 10 on Rammas Deluon but Rhunendin did not open. What a waste of good skirmish/instances.

Also, I totally agree with you on multi-boxing in non-Moors. People do it and more power to them. They aren't directly adversely affecting anyone else (unlike moors) so go, enjoy. :)

I have a hard time getting interested in fixing features for F2P where the cap is 2/5 gold. If one plays a game for completely free, one has to accept the limitations dealt. As you say, I couldn't imagine a 2/5g limit shared between 2-9 characters... I also wouldn't develop a business plan that allowed such open free access to core parts of my product. It is an interesting experiment they are running. :D

Unknown said...

Just want to say this was an awesome post.

Unknown said...

Thanks Rory. :)

Anonymous said...

I must say, you'd make quite the mistress if you ruled LOTR:O, but let me help you with two notes:

1. If you don't want to see your RK-bag, as I had the same problem up until 50, choose to NOT decraft/delete/whatever the FIRST epic rune satchel you get, because this is the only satchel I've come across that is completely invisable! I use it ever since, a copy in my wardrobe and keeping it in one of my pockets, just as a procaution to never have to carry a satchel again.

2. There IS an in-battle revival spell for RK's. I cannot remember the name or the level it requires, but there IS a spell, quite tricky to get since it layers the chosen player with a 30 sec 'bubble' of being able to be brought back to life if defeated. If defeated after these 30 sec, well, screw your rune-keeper life basicly. Good luck with the spell-casting!

Sestariel Aragalenas,
Laurelin [EN-RP]

Unknown said...

Thanks for the comment, Sestariel.

The starter LI bag is the same one mentioned above. Needless to say, I don't recall the cosmetic window even having a cosmetic bag option in it by the time I passed level 50 ages ago. So, I no longer have that option. I encourage all new RKs to save a cosmetic copy of this starter bag though.

The In-battle revive you mention is called Do Not Fall This Day, and it works differently than you describe (see article for more description).

Have a great day! :)

Zaianya said...

With regards to the dances: I think it would be reasonable to do one of the following:

Implement a third racial dance option, available during the festivals. That would mean four new dances, which I don't think is unreasonable for a creative team.


...what if every reputation faction also had a dance, just as they have a steed? I would love to see what an Eglain dance looks like, or how the elves of Rivendell dance (and how different that might be from a Lorien elf dance). There are a TON of rep factions, and they could simply start with the early ones (Bree, Shire) and add one per update (or two per year if that's a stretch).

Anonymous said...

A bit late maybe to say this (just saw your site (love it)) but about the dances: that faction in enedwaith, algraig or something have a /dance_man3 dance, and is actualy cool. If you do plan to get it, there are 3 repeatable quests in lhaucn...launch..lanuch... that bring 1200 reputation each and another one slightly to the north that needed a pre quest to be chosen.
About the cosmetic weapons, it might be weird to see an RK using an axe for a magic or a warden tossing bows but a possibility (that i, as one who just got his mini a shield, really wants) is cosmetic shields.
Aralus dunadain

Anonymous said...

And when you become the dark mistress of middle earth or even all of Arda, Will you have a need of a helping lord? I volunteer as long as it doesn't involve me wearing black robes, screeching all the time and stabbing people to a near death state similiar to mine with a morgul blade. Any other thing is nice.
same old Aralus

Unknown said...

Yay Aralus...

'tis a good point, /dance_man3 is a great addition; we just need more of those. Gangnam style FTW. lol

I am a just and fair overlord. All I require is complete subservience to my desires. Kidding, hehe. I am far too Rainbow Brite to be a dark lord (mebbe you could be "Red Butler" of the red sprite division). ;D

Anonymous said...

Can you add one for me? "Ignore" should ignore ALL the characters a player you're ignoring has, not just the one you are currently being harassed by.

Unknown said...

Oooohh. Boo on harassing players. :(

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