Warden

LOTRO Developer Chat Thoughts

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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.

 

LOTRO Update 9 Patch Notes and Known Issues

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As you wait for the servers to come up from today’s game updates, you can check out the Patch Notes as well as the Known Issues post.

I’m not going to repost the patch notes, and much of it we have already seen through all the postings over on Bullroarer.  But certainly some good stuff coming with Update 9:

  • 3 new 3-man instances
  • Scaling Mirkwood instances and raid all the way to 85
  • Finishing of the Moria Revamp
  • Yule Festival
  • And last but not least, some pretty big Combat changes.

Some other nice things:

  • no more dismounting to hop on use the travel system!
  • Fixed durability of the Heavy Hytbold sets
  • Hytbold sets can now be placed into shared storage
  • Open tapping and remote looting throughout Middle-Earth
  • New instance chest mechanic

In the known issues, a bunch of small things, but a couple did jump out:

  • Because of the Bree revamp, you may be stuck inside a building with no doors – map out.
  • Pets can’t walk out of the main Bree gate
  • Level 85 Dol Guldur sets have the wrong armor values
  • Remote chest looting doesn’t work in Skirmishes
    • I have no clue what happens then Sad smile

No mention of the Hytbold dailies, but they were supposed to be fixed with this update – we shall see once the servers pop up.

 

2 New LOTRO Update 9 Developer Diaries

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We got a couple new diaries today, although in all honesty there wasn’t really anything new in these nor was there that much depth.  I read these as just PR pieces to advertise the new Update as opposed to giving players an insight into what’s going on.  Said another way, I didn’t gain anything more out of these diaries then I did from reading the patch notes.

The first diary covers the new Instance cluster and is labeled as just Part one of the instance diaries.  Essentially this diary lays out the stories behind the 3 Hobbit themed 3-man instance spaces.  I do like the ideas behind them and look forward to running them, but this diary really didn’t change anything on that aspect.

We also do get a bit more information on the new loot mechanic, but this seems to be just a re-hashing of what we’re already seen.  Essentially every character in an instance will have their own loot table and their own chance to get loot, including the option to get some of the new Legendary equipment.  I do like the idea, and appreciate Turbine’s efforts to not only make improvements on the system but also a continued focus on making sure there are attainable goals for people to accomplish by running these spaces.

The other diary we saw today was regarding the upcoming Combat Revisions.  There are some pretty significant changes coming for the combat system.  I’m not 100% sure what’s driving these system changes, but they’re not trivial changes at all and they’ll make significant changes to how folks play the game.

  • Interrupt Changes
    • In PvMP if an induction skill is interrupted the induction will be cancelled and put on a 4 second cooldown.
    • In PvE any interrupt skill with less then a 10 second cooldown, that cooldown will be increased
      • Lots of tweaks here for pretty much every class
      • Wardens get hit hard as all our inductions are removed from gambits
        • Now we have a non-gambit skill Shield Slam which is an interrupt on a 15 second cooldown
  • Critical Defense Changes
    • The system changes from reducing the chance of a critical hit to reducing the magnitude of said hit.
  • Miss Chance Revision
    • we can’t miss anymore Smile
    • However, attacks can still be deflected
    • Many traits have been tweaked to do other stuff based on this

I haven’t had much of a chance to really check out all these changes but I’m not 100% sold on them.  The whole Interrupt thing sounds like a HUGE change for both PvMP and PvE and will really impact how champs and wardens are used in instances.  This will also change lots of fight strategies as you can no longer assume you’ll be able to interrupt when you need to.  I also hate the change for Wardens as it just seems like they don’t know how to handle gambits and need to put in other class mechanics to fit their game designs.

As for the critical defense, I think this will be a good thing for Wardens, but probably bad for Guardians and Champions.  Wardens should now be able to better stand up against bigger hitting boss fights and not get ripped to shreds by big critting bosses.  However, this has also been a big advantage for Guardians and Champs just don’t have the same options for boosting critical defense.

As for misses, I really just see this is a renaming and not really anything of much consequence.

I’m guessing tomorrow we’ll have the other part of the Instance Diary, as Update 9 is scheduled to hit the servers on Monday.

 

LOTRO Bullroarer 3rd Round of Patch Notes for Update 9

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These are pretty short and sweet, but in addition to these there have been two posts clarifying the Hobby Horse fiasco, and I have to admit I’m not sure I like their response any better.

First xRaina comes out with the following post, where she also confirms the horse will not be live AT THIS PRICE, so I expect 1995 TPs:

From what you appear to be saying, something with a high price would have to have more of a use to it.

So this to me indicates the uber mounts or better gear is now on the table.  I’m really not sure how you can possibly add more use to an item without breaking that concept.  We shall wait and see, but comments like this from the Community Team will not go over very well.

As for the tone of her previous post on the feedback requested, she says:

The reason I don’t read the rants is that I can’t figure out what to tell the developers you don’t like from rants.

While I do get that point, I think the goal of the rant is to express frustration and dislike for some system, so while not directly useful they do a VERY good job of setting the tone of the community.

As for the actual patch notes themselves, a couple big things jumped out at me:

  • Race specific loot in the Ettenmoors
    • This won’t be your actual gear, but race specific trophies
    • Yay, more stuff to fit in our bags!
  • Changes to the Warden Interrupts are better but still not totally right
    • Each interrupt gambit will have their own Cooldown which ONLY applies to the interrupt portion
      • The cool-down appears to be independent of whether or not the interrupt actually works
      • while this is better, you can still put trigger your interrupt CD if you try to use Wall of Steel for defensive purposes or Onslaught for DPS.
  • No mention of the Hytbold instance issues
  • No mention of changes to the Yule festival

I’m not real sure what to take about all this, I like a lot of what’s coming with Update 9 but there are a lot of big flags there that cause me concern.

 

LOTRO Update 9 Patch 2 on Bullroarer

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Well, this certainly is an interesting update to the next LOTRO Update that’s posted to Bullroarer.  This is one of those updates that I can honestly say I have no clue what Turbine is thinking.  The actual patch notes are pretty small, but there’s a lot there that they’re not fully explaining.

I’ll start with the good part :)  The new raid gear is in game, and it appears to be the same set bonuses as the previous BG set but with scaled up stats.  I actually really enjoy the look of at least the Warden set, but the fact that it is all Might based, is not going to work for many Wardens.  I wish they would’ve done multiple sets per class like the other recent sets, so this does feel like a bit of a cop out.  I am surprised by the cost (1554 SMs, and 538 Medallions) as I was expecting it to cost Seals like the previous top tier sets.  This does make me believe that there’s another set coming with the raids, which will be nice.

Warden LooksWarden Set Bonuses

As for the source of much of the outrage, the new Yule festival is live with this patch to Bullroarer and its a bit of a dozy.  They’re redoing all the tokens and such (surprise, surprise) and as such the horses are now all deed gated. The normal Yule horse is available for a mere 20 quests (quite a significant jump from previous years, roughly 2 days of questing), but at least they’re removed the Mount Ownership Document so there’s a little bit of savings there.  But to get a similar look on your War-steed, be prepared to do a whopping 200 quests THIS YEAR to obtain the appearance (good lord how much will this be in the store?).  I just don’t understand the punishment for folks wanting to trick out their Warsteeds, I could see a doubling of the quests such that is was like a tier 2 deed, but a 10 fold increase is just ridiculous.  Not to mention, we have NO clue how long this festival will be live so you have no idea how many quest per day you need to do.  At the current rate, it is 17 days to complete which doesn’t leave a whole lot of margin unless they either get this out soon or extend it well into January.

Now while many of you might look at this as purely a cosmetic thing and not really an issue for anyone who doesn’t care how they look, I really think this shows us that Warsteeds have very little future in LOTRO.  This is looking more and more like a way to fleece customers of their money for a system that will never change from its initial release.  Let me remind you they did a stealth dye sale over the American Thanksgiving holiday of 50% off only to then include a very public 20% sale for this week.  And I’m not just complaining about the pricing here, many of the current complaints about the system (too easy to kill stuff, no variety, etc.) were all raised VERY early in Beta and have never been addressed.  As much as it pains me (I really do like Mounted Combat) I don’t expect to see anything more from the system until we get to Gondor.  I’m going to stop this part of the rant now, as I think I will save it for a whole separate post :)

All of my good feelings I had for LOTRO coming off of the Rohan expansion are VERY quickly being erased by Update 9.  Here are the current issues I have with Update 9:

  • no story progression
  • instances have nothing to do with our current story, and a shameless Hobbit tie-in
  • We have to wait almost 5 months for our full expansion, and it isn’t even fully a Rohan expansion
  • Yule festival fiasco, on top of all the other recent grinding festivals
  • Hobby horse for 5000 TP, really?
  • Interrupt nerfs
  • This smacks of another case where the instance devs are too lazy to deal with an existing mechanic and instead want to nerf classes without realizing the full impact.  Or its a PvMP nerf that is the same laziness ;)
  • little utility in the new raid set
  • VERY little new content for the next few months

I was hoping that this next update would continue all the good stuff that LOTRO had done (IMO) with Rohan, but it seems like they’ve just taken the money-grubbing mentality of the Rohan pricing and continued to figure out ways to make things worse.  I just hope Turbine realizes that they’ve made a bit of a mis-step here, but I honestly don’t think they will.

 
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