Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm Not As Tough As Frodo.

I can't do it alone. And that means, I likely won't do it at all. I'm talking about leveling to 50 in LotRO, and enjoying some Monster Play as a Freep once I get there. I, apparently, am not meant to reach my main goal in this game.

Let me preface this by saying, "I love LotRO." As a game, it's wonderful. The world is intricately detailed. The story is extremely well-written. And many of the game's features are things a lot of MMOs don't have for years after launch. Even Housing is coming later this fall. But with all of the positives, for me, comes one big overwhelming negative.

It's not a solo-friendly game in the later levels. Not really at all.

I have 35 quests in my log right now. Some of which, after last night, are reputation grind quests which don't give XP, but at least they're goals to reach for. Out of the 35 quests, there are I believe 9 which are marked solo. Out of those 9, I am able to complete 6 by my self. The other 3 are very inappropriately marked. 1 of the 3 is gray con to me now, and I still have trouble solo-ing it. If I want to keep dying until I get lucky, I might be able to complete it and get the 500 out of 73,000 xp I need to reach level 38.

What I'm saying, is that the higher you level in LotRO, and the farther you travel from home, the more important it becomes to have a group. This is all well and good for a good number of players out there. But not me. I am AFK a lot. I often play in 20 minute spurts. I also, above all else, prefer to solo my PvE, and group mainly for dungeons and of course PvP. LotRO then, is a great game for me until the mid 30s, but not so much thereafter.

The Evendim patch, and now Book 10 have helped a bit, but I still have this weighing feeling that I'm a black guy at a clan rally. That soloers need not apply. Perhaps if I had more friends and a more active Kinship on my server I'd be fine. Then I'd be able to complete the masses of group quests I have. But that's simply not the case. And so, I feel like my time in Middle-earth is up for now.

I'll be losing my Founder's status and all, but ultimately... and you've no idea how much this pains me to say, World of Warcraft is still the best game on the market for a player like me. Good god, I almost vomited.

I swore back in February when I left WoW to focus on LotRO, that I'd probably never return to WoW. I swore that LotRO was the game for me for a good long while. But ultimately, I decided not to go lifetime membership, and eventually I discovered that there's no real place in Middle-earth for Begud Firestone of the Lonely Mountain. Not yet, anyway. Maybe one day, I'll find it more appealing. I've no doubt I'll return in a fit of boredom like I so often do with EQ2. But I'm sad to say that my main stay in LotRO is done.

I got my money's worth. I played the heck out of the game since release. But now, I'm just left with the feeling that I should have let myself play more in Beta, so I could have seen how rough around the edges the mid-high level game really is. Because I would have saved my money until later on, when I wouldn't have felt like I needed a break after 5 months of playing.

Good luck with the Ring, Frodo. I'll be camping in Evendim with my Ranger homies for a few months at least. If you need anything, just send me a mail with some COD for my services.


Phil said...

I can't honestly agree with your knee-jerk reaction to a long-standing MMO problem.

First, have you atleast taken the time to examine the new content area added...YESTERDAY...that Turbine has specifically said is for your (and my) demographic? (higher level solo-centric people)

Second, can you honestly believe that WoW is better for a person who only wants to play in 20 minute chunks? WoW's content pre-70 (soon to be 80! Time-wastingly Awesome!) is designed primarily to slam you to max level in the simplest, easiest way possible - so that you can sit around and twiddle your thumbs hoping for a group. Yes, you can reputation grind - but you could be doing that in LOTRO too.

Instead of cancelling accounts and spending more money, take a few days off, play a couple of single player demo's, and I bet you'll be right back "on message" with the LOTRO content.

Bildo said...

Actually, my idea of end-game in most MMOs I play Phil is one of two things:

PvP and Alt-building.

That's what I like to do.

Now in LotRO I could do both, if I could get there. I spent the greater part of my evening, around 3 hours, running around hunting down the new reputation quests, and trying to find things to do. I managed to level to 37. And indeed, if I wanted to work on reputation I could probably work my way to 38 and venture into the Misty Mountains and then Angmar to work towards 50, very slowly, and still have far more group content than solo content.

It's not a kneejerk reaction. I've been playing this game since last August, and this is my final impression.

I'm not saying it's bad, just not for me. I'll likely be back, maybe even sooner rather than later. But for now it's really time to take that break. Before I end up hating the game and not wanting to come back.

Bildo said...

And as for WoW, it is indeed better. Travelling is faster. There are soloable quests ABOUND from level 1-70 and beyond. And, for me, the PvP in the BGs and Arenas is hop on and play content, then log off.

LotRO starts off much more casually paced, and tapers into the more group-centric hardcore mode the higher you get.

And ONCE MORE, I'm not saying this is a fault. It's just not what I was hoping for out of the game.

Pirates of the Burning Sea is not far off, nor is Gods and Heroes. And thereafter, Warhammer cometh. I've got a lot of options coming up, but sadly not much in the now.

PCmodem said...

Traveling is faster. Solo is faster. Of course. The 1-70 game in WoW is the MMO equivalent of training wheels.

If you like PvP, you can be happy (somewhat) at 70 in WoW as a casual solo'ers. However, you will quickly become disenfranchised as some 16 year old who has gotten into Kharazan every week all summer while you've been stuck at work is "Pwning" you with his epic spoils. The soloable quest lines will not help you with that.

If you are so PvP oriented, I'm not sure why you thought LOTRO was for you - PvP is an afterthought, the focus of the game is squarely on the multiplayer PvE experience.

I'm not so much a "Pro-LOTRO" person as an "anti-WoW" person - all the reasons you want to go back to WoW are all the reasons I left, and with the exception of the PvP bent, we seem to want the same things. Solo-ability. Alt-Ability, fun game environments, interesting game concepts that can keep our attention in our short gaming bursts.

WoW of course has its strong points, but for long-haul players like myself who dont/cant invest the time per play session, its nothing but frustration in the end. Atleast in LOTRO I can pop in on tom bombadil and enjoy some tunes.

Bildo said...

See I don't see the same problems everyone's having with WoW still. After taking a good solid 6 months plus off from it, I hopped on late last night and had a lot of fun. It was simply nice to be able to go do some BGs get 1200 honor and know I had accomplished something in an hour's time.

As for why I bought LotRO, if I'm a PvP player at heart, it's because I love the books, and it wasn't until recently that I realized my endgame experience of choice is centered around alting and PvP.

And LotRO does have it. Monster Play is hardly an after thought. It reminds me a great deal of Mythic's RvR, but the problem with it is that the Creeps aren't really "characters". They're just toys people can pick up and play around with a bit. There's no developing them like you do a Freep.

So the Monster side seemed artificial to me, and I was counting on playing my Freep at 50 out there, while I waited for more PvE content.

I'm not saying WoW's where I'll be staying for the longest time either. I just want some MMO I can play and enjoy RIGHT NOW.

The one I want to play most doesn't have a release date yet (Pirates), and seeing as I still have levels 66-70 to work on as well as BG rewards I never got in WoW, I'm taking a venture there.

Again, let me reiterate.

I'm not bashing LotRO. I'm saying I'm taking a break from it. I'm saying that the upper levels need more work for the solo-preferred PvE player. I'm also saying I love the game, aside from it's faults.

But for now, I'm taking leave from it.

stark said...

So, it's 'Pirates' (of the burning sea) the elusive MMO that you're in beta with that can't talk about yet, eh!?

(didn't think so)

Adele said...

Well you are doing a great job trying to hang in there!

sam said...

Funny and sad I left Wow for exactly the opposite problem. I got so bored with soloing, I quit. Never made it through BC. I've had friends try to suck me back in but I simply like to group. And i'm not soloing to 70 just to start grouping.

Ahh well such is life.

And Phil. If you really believe the best part of Wow is endgame. I'm sorry. Got there in Vanilla wow did my raiding had fun with it but endgame was never as much fun as that first magical adventure through Azeroth when everything was new.

End game is go to the websites memorize the strats of the two or three guilds in the lead and copy them till you get your purples. It can be fun with a good group but IMO pales to the game wow used to be.

Cyndre said...

Sorry to see you move on, Bildo, you were one of the loudest voices on my radar through Beta and early launch convincing me to take a second look at LotRO when I had given up on it midway through closed Beta.

After 40 levels with my wife, I can't say I agree with your sentiment on the game, especially since you are moving through the 30s in about the same timeframe that we have...

At 38 I have exactly 2 Fellowship quests from Evendim in my log, Hewing the Wood and Thief-Taker's Bane. The rest was easily soloable quests, that pushed us to 40 and could well carry us to 41 or 42, if we weren't rip-roaring to get to Book 4 and start the Trollshaws and eventually Angmar.

My biggest gripe right now is the lag in Evendim since basically my entire server has moved there to work on Book 10 quests, or the mid game from SoE patch.

It is no doubt true that Turbine released a rough elder game on their gold release, but in the first half year, they have made such sweeping improvements to everything from content holes to UI grievences and avatar/class balance, tyhats its hard not to think they are shaping up to be one of the most dynamic development teams ever in the industry.

Sorry your experience wasn't as fullfilling as mine, and that could be due to a very small but extrodinarily helpful Kinship, and playing 100% of the time as a Minstrel/ Champion duo to make solo quests more manageable.