Posts tagged skirmishes

Turbine with an Interesting News Day

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I’ve been waiting a little bit to absorb and digest the releases yesterday as there are certain things that just don’t make sense to me.  We saw 3 main pieces of news that I wanted to go a little deeper into.

After a delay hit last week, Update 11 finally makes its way over to Bullroarer for public testing.  I will admit that I’ve only popped on the server for a little bit, so this isn’t any sort of thorough review of the update.  For the most part, we knew much of what is in this update but I wanted to touch on a couple of things.  I was a bit underwhelmed by the changes to mounted combat, as Rowan made it out to be a pretty significant change to the mechanics as well as giving the mount trees more options.  At first glance, it really just seemed like the removed many of the basic traits and rolled them into the base mount.  While I appreciate the change, I was hoping for more of an evolution.  But, I will reserve full judgment until I play with it more and see the new content in case they added something spiffy there.  I am (as always) happy to see new zones and am VERY curious to see where the story continues, and visually it appears that the new zone doesn’t disappoint.  I did check out the new Hobbit Presents, and I really don’t have any personal issues with it – but at least now we should be able to get confirmation regarding non-VIPs and gold boxes.  On my first roll I did win 50 Mithril Tokens, so I used those up for research purposes.  The main thing that jumped out to me is that the gear in there maxes out at level 80, but there are Teal and Orange drops.  Below are some shots of what’s possible to get, notice the orange item is not that far off from my Hytbold gear. In addition to this use of coins, there are new ways to spend them, which is all well and good but I’m just not entirely sure the rationale behind the change.  We shall see how much of this build stays the way it currently exists and how many BR builds we get before live, but for the most part I’m liking the Update for what it is.

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The announcement that shouldn’t have shocked anyone was the “official” announcement of the Helm’s Deep expansion.  My biggest issue with this is that there’s NOTHING new in the announcement that we didn’t already hear last year from Rowan or earlier this year from Kate Paiz.  Why make such a big deal about a “huge” announcement around the anniversary that you’ve already made?  This announcement is almost identical to the ones for Isengard and Rohan, (Isengard Release & Rohan Release) but those were both a few months earlier in the calendar year.  I was thinking possibly they might announce pre-orders and beta, but for each of those last 2 expansions (Isengard and Rohan) those announcements didn’t come until July – so this would certainly be early for that.  I’m not sure what else I would have wanted to know, but this announcement just didn’t excite me much at all.  Getting to the few details they did announce, I’ve mentioned before that I”m not a big fan of level cap increases so I’m not excited that they included one, but it probably is best with all the class revamp stuff going on.  Probably the most confusing part of the announcement is the mention of Helm’s Deep content available starting at level 10!  I’m not sure how this will actually work, but it smacks of a money grab that just wants to give everyone a reason to get the expansion and not just those at level cap.  However, I can see this happening in a number of ways, but here’s my speculation.  For those who’ve been around for a while, you may remember Book 14 of Epic Volume 1 (thanks to twitter for helping jog my memory) had a server wide quest turn-in gate on finishing the rest of the book.  Essentially once enough people did enough of a certain group of quests you were able to tip the scales of the battle enough to un-lock the rest of the story.  I’m reading into what’s in the release in that Turbine is doing something similar here with this expansion.  Notice, no where in the release do we see the mention of instances, raid, skirmishes, etc. which I do NOT expect to be part of the expansion just like they haven’t been for the past 2 expansions.  However, this server wide un-lock, could provide a neat tie-in to better “explain” the time gap between the content.  They’ll know when the instance cluster should be ready, so they can just adjust the math such that it isn’t possible to unlock the content until it is ready.  This would provide a way in which everyone could participate in some way without tossing level 10 players way out into Rohan.  Another possibility would be to include session plays in some form, but I’m just not sure how they’d introduce those for folks that early on in the story.

The piece of news that’s probably getting the least amount of publicity is the changes coming to the forums.  They’ve been hinting and talking about the change, even going so far as to tell people to export any blogs, but we’re now getting details of what’s coming.  Long story short, everything not on the forums is going away.  This includes My.lotro blogs, character data, programmatic access to the item and character databases, PvMP and skirmish leaderboards, the Lorebook, and probably a few other things that I’m forgetting.  Everyone realizes that the whole system has issues, but this seems like a pretty drastic step.  Sapience does reveal that the merging of NA and EU systems has caused a huge assortment of problems so it seems like this is a necessary evil.  However, the more concerning part about the announcement is there’s no mention of any sort of upside for players, or any mention of doing something to address players concern over security.

One thing that these 3 announcements all have in common is a very confusing PR strategy that Turbine has embraced.  Why roll out the bad news together with the two pieces of good positive stuff?  Why wait all this time to “officially” announce the expansion?  Why nothing addressing huge security holes that have already been compromised once as part of this forum apocalypse?  I think many of the issues the community has stems directly from this lack of quality communication.  I don’t know what specifically has changed, but I don’t remember them coming this frequently.  Hopefully the Player Council can shake something loose, but only time will tell.

 

LOTRO Developer June Q&A

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Today Clover posted a nice series of questions and answers from the LOTRO community to the Development team.  This seems like a nice way to bridge the gap between the update developer diaries as we’re in a bit of a slow period between updates.  One other aspect of this Q&A is that it gives us a little bit more of a feel for the size of the team as we here from more then just the usual suspects.

Some interesting behind the scenes questions on how they do things but there’s nothing super exciting with regards to upcoming content.  Don’t get me wrong, I like hearing from the dev staff whenever we can and I think pieces like this help us better look at them as people as opposed to programming robots ;)  There are a number of questions around the PvMP system and while folks might not like the answers, at least they’re opening themselves up to the conversation.

I didn’t see anything in there about any potential updates before Rohan or anything new about Rohan (that we didn’t already know about) but please correct me if I’m wrong.

The full article can be found here as well as the follow-up discussion thread on the forums.

 

LOTRO Update 7.1 Official Patch Notes

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In the now normal fashion, Update 7.1 spent barely a week on Bullroarer before going live this morning.   Servers are down until approximately 11AM Eastern time for this update.  Official Patch Notes are also up but in all honesty I didn’t see anything different from what hit Bullroarer.  It has me thinking that they’ve slid all their testing to the left and Bullroarer is purely a “lets make sure nothing goes boom” kinda thing.

One thing that was corrected in the comments is that the changes to the Instance loot are only for the Fornost cluster, and not all scalable instances :(

If nothing else, at least many of the hobbits will get their weight back under control!

 

Update 7.1 hits Bullroarer

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This took a little bit longer then I had expected, especially considering how quick Update 7 came and went from being announced to Live.  There isn’t a ton of excitement here with this one, primarily bug fixes.  One didn’t find its way to the patch notes, but Sapience has confirmed that the Captain Buff Bug will make it into 7.1 but it just didn’t make the notes.

As for the notes themselves, there’s quite a few but only a few jumped out at me:

  • Changes to the currency drop rate:
    • Instance challenges will provide more seals
    • Optional Instance quests will grant substantially more medallions
    • Reduced skirmish mark drops from challenge quests
  • The Gates in the Storm on Methedras Skirmish have been fixed
  • Starlit Crystals are now of Incomparable quality such that they follow “normal” loot rules.
  • Gotta love the last note, essentially the overweight hobbit graphical issue has been resolved.

Nothing super exciting, but always good to see them fixing stuff.  And of course the usual fun stuff in the notes as well Smile

Oh, and in case you missed it – the Spring Festival started today, I don’t believe there’s anything new with the events but of course the new horse and cosmetics I’m sure.

 

LOTRO Update 7 Shades of the Past Official Patch Notes

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Well I was pretty surprised we’re getting Update 7 as quickly as we are, but it does seem like Turbine is ramping up their release schedule and pushing out better quality stuff over to Bullroarer.  Today’s downtime brings us Update 7 and the Patch Notes have hit the Lorebook.  For me personally this isn’t a huge update, but I like many of the things they’re doing.  The big areas of the patch are:

  • Fornost Revamp
    • The most exciting aspect for me, I’ve missed this dungeon and am happy to see it get split up as well as made scaling
  • Moria revamp
    • Not a huge deal for me personally, but it is good to see the investment on such an important and massive area of the game.  When you have a large portion of the player base working out ways to avoid such an iconic area, you should realize you have a problem.
  • New Skirmish – Storm of Methedras
  • Starlit Crystals for your Legendary Items
    • I’m pretty torn on this one as initially I was quite against anything adding more grind and complexity to the system.
    • It does appear though that they’re pretty common and only increase the item level of the object.  So any stats (not % legacies) will get a boost, the largest one being the DPS or tactical ratings
    • The immediate inclusion at such a high price (495 TPs) in the store isn’t surprising, but it is disappointing
  • Outside of that, a whole ton of bug fixes
    • Nothing terrible earth-shattering as most classes were getting either typos fixed or tool-tips corrected
  • Two big things for Wardens amongst all the typos and bug fixes:
    • Aggression returns to its previous strength
    • Defiant Challenge Cool-down is now 210 seconds, droppable to 150 seconds with the legacy.  This is pretty significant as it becomes much more usable in group content.
  • Lots of Monster play changes
  • Changes to the Roots of Fangorn
  • There is also a post from JWBarry that the Orthanc raid changes are in, but zero mention in the patch notes.
  • More Lua changes

I can’t really complain too much about the quickness of new content, but I do have to admit this is a tad light in my opinion for a true whole number update.

 
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