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I've been playing online games for over 15 years now starting with MUDs and most currently playing primarily LOTRO and Rift. I tend to focus more on the end-game aspects and can get pretty involved in games that grab my attention.

Posts by DocHoliday

LOTRO Update 10 2nd Bullroarer Patch and Armor Screenshots


The second build hit Bullroarer today and it included quite a few additions that were not there previously.  You can find the full patch notes here, but there aren’t too many changes mainly the finishing off of the changes they had already announced:

  • Fate determines out of combat power regen, not Will
  • Quests can be completed/advanced in raids
  • All sorts of class tweaks – mainly power related
  • Various Mounted combat tweaks, again mainly power related
  • All sorts of creep changes – shockingly enough, power related
  • Freeps now get Battlefield Promotions while in the Moors based on rank which boosts Power, Morale, and Damage
    • only active while in the moors
  • Various tweaks to the new instance spaces
  • New Armor sets at the skirmish vendors
  • Warden sets flipping over to Agility (even existing Hytbold sets, which is nice)

As for the sets, we get not only one set per trait line but also two tiers of those sets.  The first tier is simply deed gated by completing Tier 1 of the various raids.  The second tier is obtained by trading in the first tier piece and two separate drops from the raids.  The Tier one pieces cost:

  • 2600 – 3500 marks
  • 673 – 807 medallions
  • 31 – 92 seals

I have no clue what the drop rates for any of these will be in the new spaces, but I’m sure folks will be finding out soon.  Also, since the gear is deed gated, we don’t yet know what the level requirement is for that deed – but I’m sure someone will find out for us.

As for the stats on the gear, Tier 1 is essentially the same as the Hytbold sets with slightly different stats and bonuses but overall just as powerful.  Tier 2 is a step up, but not a significant one, although it does include an additional set bonus.  Below are some snaps of the pieces as well as some comparisons to the existing Hytbold sets I’m wearing.  I’m not sure these are final as especially the Captain one is clearly not finished.  Personally I love the looks of the sets and will probably be working towards them for that reason, but there are some nifty set bonuses that are intriguing.

Guardian Erebor SetChampion Erebor SetCaptain Erebor SetRunekeeper Erebor SetMinstrel Erebor SetLoremaster Erebor SetBurglar Erebor SetHunter Erebor SetWarden Erebor Set


LOTRO’s “New” Player Council?


Kate Paiz today released her first Producer’s letter in a while but there’s not a whole lot of new information there.  It is a pretty quick read and I appreciate that Turbine is putting out things like this in addition to similar efforts from Aaron “Rowan” Campbell.

However, I have to admit there really isn’t much content here, any specifics, or things that we hadn’t already heard from Aaron or the Dev Chat.  But there are a couple decent nuggets:

  • The new landmass has a name – WIldermore
  • There will be some sort of content (landmass) update this spring
    • However, we don’t know if that’s the previously announced and hinted at Update 11

The big piece that’s truly new in this letter is the “Player’s Council” and I’ll have to admit I’m pretty skeptical about this.  Call me jaded, but I’m just not sure what this will accomplish.  Many of the community sites (myself, CSTM, and Syp from Massively) have stated that we’re frustrated trying to talk to Turbine because they won’t open up and have meaningful conversations.  Even when Turbine does open up we get two completely different answers to the same question (yes I’m talking about mounted combat).  Couple that with the lack of change or responses to beta feedback in the past few events and I just don’t see this going anywhere.  How is this program going to be unique and separate from the various other programs Turbine already has?  Before I believe this new program will actually change anything in the game (or even benefit new content) I’ll wait for Turbine to let us know how the players will be chosen, what interaction they’ll have with the dev team, and how the rest of the community will have insight and input into the whole process.  Sapience has posted some comments on this topic, but really just saying it is a work in progress.

To me this “Player’s Council” seems like a number of other things currently going on with LOTRO in that instead of utilizing or leveraging what’s currently out there (or even understanding that) they go and do something completely different.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see it work out, but if anything, we’ve seen Turbine going the exact opposite direction with their communication.


LOTRO Update 10 hits Bullroarer


The initial build hit Bullroarer yesterday for Update 10, and we also have some patch notes.  There’s a decent amount in the notes, but also a number of things that are not in the notes, so I’m expecting not only Dev. Diaries to clear things up but also a couple other builds before it goes live.  Here are the notes, but I also wanted to discuss a few items in more detail.

There’s a lot of debate on these new Mithril coins but in all honesty I don’t really care that much.  The biggest thing that bothers me about the whole is that it was the first thing they decided to talk about, really ANOTHER currency added to the game is the most exciting and pressing thing for Update 10?  But this really has very little impact on me since I don’t use those items and it will actually clear up some inventory that I was hoarding from lottery winnings, so there is that bonus.  But I am wondering what’s behind this move and if we’ll see more of this kind of consolidation going forward.

The other big “new” item in here is all the combat system revisions.  We already knew about the Warden changes, but we also get news about the Critical Effect changes, power changes as well as stat changes for Will and Fate.  I can kind of understand where they’re going with all this and the general idea behind it, but it certainly seems like a whole lot of change coming and I just don’t have all that much confidence in Turbine’s ability to do system changes like this effectively.  Every major combat revamp has taken at least another patch or two to actually get working, and I’m not even convinced the previous revision was understood since many are reporting issues with existing content.  Essentially the changes boil down to the following:

  • Wardens are now Agility based (we knew this from the dev chat)
  • Agility provides 1 point towards Critical Rating
  • Fate provide 2.5 points towards Critical Rating and is the main source of in-combat power regen
  • Will no longer determines power pool but provides 2 points towards Tactical mitigation
  • Power grows at a set rate per level
  • Champs get 6 points of Parry from Might instead of 4 parry and 2 block

However, even with all these changes there will be no changes to existing armor sets (outside of Warden Hytbold sets) as all new armor sets will be built around this model.  So I wouldn’t spend too much time or effort getting any armor (or jewelry for that matter) until after Update 10 hits.

In addition to all these changes we’re also getting the 3 raid “wings” as they’ve been described, a new 6 person instance, and scalable versions of the In Their Absence instances.

Other then that, there’s a lot of other little things here and there but I think those were the big three items I pulled from the list.  I’m always happy when we get new content, I’m just worried that the shear amount of combat changes will make either this content or other content unplayable.


The Secret World January Game Director Letter


Joel Bylos put out another Game Director Letter today and there’s a good mix of the good and bad, but one thing I love about Joel (and the whole TSW team) is that they’re not shy about admitting what’s going on.

He starts off with describing what’s going on with corporate Funcom and how it relates to The Secret World.  I really appreciate this transparency into not only what’s going on but how it has impacted the TSW team specifically.  Essentially Funcom has decided that it wants a single studio for all of its live games based in North Carolina.  This means that many of the teams supporting TSW, AoC, and others will either have to move or find other jobs.  I’m sure there will be some turnover with all of the teams but it sounds like the core of the team will continue on the game.  However, once again this is another corporate shift that will cause issues and delays in how TSW roles out content.  Hopefully this is just a small near term hurdle that they team can power through.  They’ve been through bigger and worse hurdles, so I am confident that the team will push through.

I know many will (and already have) indicate that this is a sign that TSW is in trouble and will shut down.  It is still quite early for that kind of talk since this move is just part of the restructuring that they announced back in December BEFORE TSW made its business shift.  This move is a corporate decision and has nothing to do with TSW specifically, granted it will have an impact but it isn’t a move based on the performance of any specific game.

I don’t like talking about this kind of stuff and I’ll admit it really bugs me when people jump to poor conclusions based on at best incomplete information or at worst inaccurate or stale information.  I prefer to keep things on what we actually know and what the studios are actually releasing as opposed to rumor-mongering.

On to more fun stuff, what about Issue 6 you say?  The bad news is that we are still a month out for when we’ll see it as it is slated for late February.  With all the corporate restructuring this doesn’t surprise me, but still I was hoping for an earlier release date.  I’ve loved the existing Egypt story, so the updates there and the inclusion of an “Indiana Jones” theme is great.  I’ll be curious how the Whip works as an auxiliary weapon, especially from a graphical perspective.

In addition to the new story stuff, there are also some VERY cool system changes coming too.  I love that they’re showing love to the Cabal system, and not just the standard things (logs, custom ranks, notes) but also adding a Cabal news feed which sounds quite intriguing.  Also key is that this is just the “first step” on improving the system in response to community response.  I’m consistently impressed with how well this team is able incorporate what other games have done with their community feedback and roll it into the game.

PvP is also getting some updates, but we’ll have to wait for the upcoming Developer blog to learn more about what’s planning.  I haven’t done too much out there, but I’d really like for this system to do well in TSW as I think it could be a huge factor in overall game enjoyment.

Finally, Joel confirmed that the Veteran rewards will first appear with Issue 6 and that it will be a system they consistently add to and improve.  Personally I’m most excited about the repair consumable, the portable vendors, and of course the new cosmetics and pets.

Overall I think this is a positive letter from Joel and once they get through this corporate mess, I’m confident they’ll continue to pump out quality content.


LOTRO Developer Chat Thoughts


Yesterday’s developer twitter chat had a bit more information in it then previous ones, but I think that’s purely just because they’ve got a release ready for Bullroarer Smile  The majority of the real news was around Update 10.  I’m not going to hit on everything, just a few items that jumped out for me.  The full transcript is up on the forums if you want to check it out.

With regards to Update 10, the biggest news for me was that it will be hitting Bullroarer next week.  I’ll be curious to see how long it stays there as I hope it goes through a couple of iterations considering the new instances and armor sets that historically have issues but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some internal pressure to get it out earlier.  Here’s what was announced:

  • Fate will be boosted – we don’t know how, but it will be.
  • With the new raids, we are getting a new armor set.  No news on what will be needed to get it
  • 1st agers will start dropping, I’m assuming from the new raids
  • All existing instances will be getting new loot
  • no new epic story
  • I’ll come back to Wardens Smile

We also got some information on Update 11, although we have no clue when it will drop:

  • Large Epic Story update
  • New landmass similar in size to the Great River region
  • mix of mounted combat and non-mounted combat
    • something new in the works for mounted combat, but no other details given

I’m actually surprised by the Update 11 information mainly because of the mounted combat stuff as I had expected that to be the expansion.  I’ll be VERY curious to see what they add to mounted combat but the fact that they refuse to allow reputation mounts as warsteed cosmetics still indicates to me they feel money is still on the table for the system.  However, they did hint that after Update 10 they are adding new non-store items for warsteeds.  Hopefully there will be a deterministic way to achieve them as opposed to purely random.  I’m also curious where we go region wise and how that fits to the story since our Rohan storyline is pretty blocked off until we get the rest of Rohan.

Two other items before I jump to Wardens, they’re putting in the option to disable forced emotes and they’re giving it to everyone for free.  This is rather shocking to me actually considering the price of the XP disabler, I was really expecting this to be a character specific store item.   But kudos to Turbine for implementing this.  They also teased of a housing update later this year, but I’ll wait to be optimistic about it until we see actual information.  I’d love for them to do a total overhaul, but based on how they’ve done other system overhauls I wouldn’t bank on something that significant.  Primarily I expect changes to the cost of houses, escrow, and a closer tie to the store but I don’t think we’ll see them make changes to the hook system as that would just take too much effort.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see store options to put vendors or banks in our houses.

As for the announced Warden changes, I can see what they’re doing and why but I’m just worried about the actual implementation of it.  They’re changing our primary stat from Might over to Agility such that our main defense and attack numbers will be based on our Agility.  This basically just makes it easier for gear itemization such that each armor type has one primary stat (light is will based, medium is agility, and heavy is might).  It just seems like keeping and creating all sorts of different gear for the different classes was causing too many issues and they wanted to make it simpler.  Block and Parry will still be Might based, with Evade coming from Agility so that will even out some and for most Block has always been quite easy to cap even without our buffs.  They’ve said gear will be switched over but I’m not sure if existing items you already have will be switched.  If not, I at least hope there’s some sort of trade-in option for the Hytbold sets, but since they’re also incorporating a grace period that might be all we get.  That period would then be where we go out and either get the new sets or re-grind for new Hytbold gear.  The actual shift should’ve be that big of a deal, but with every other Warden change they’ve broken at least 2 other things and that’s what worries me.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some other issue rears its head surrounding threat, maybe the Exaltation of Battle bug returns, or the Terrible Visage one.  Here’s hoping this change isn’t the Warden version of the big class revamps we’ve been promised.

Overall a mix of good information and some softballs, but with Update 10 as close as it is I’m not surprised by what they did include.

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