The Helm’s Deep NDA (Beta Non-Disclosure Agreement) dropped today. I feel like less of an over-the-top LotRO critic after seeing the storm of negative posts in the Official NDA-Drop Discussion thread.
Turbine was thoughtful to post a list of quick links to updated class guides. I looked over the Rune-Keeper guide, which noted the new addition of ground-targeting to LotRO.
Beta players are also saying the Rune-Keeper is no longer a hybrid class. I loved the hybrid Rune-Keeper, and I actually did switch attunements (from DPS to healing) and save the group from a wipe a few times.
Anyway. Reading that LotRO beta discussion is like watching an angry mob beat a horse that is sick because it ate all the mob’s cookies.
So let’s go contrarian and think positive. It’s easier since I’ve stepped back and have nothing emotionally invested in LotRO anymore, but keep in mind I haven’t been in the beta or obsessing on this topic for months.
Positives for players:
- I’ve seen a surprising number of random comments from players saying they couldn’t go back to LotRO because they looked at their skill bars and their eyes glazed over with pain and hopelessness, not joy. That problem might be solved.
- Familiarity with skill trees for new players coming from other games.
- Maybe this structuring can finally pave the way for another expansion class. People sometimes forget that devs are intelligent, creative artists and designers. They want to do new and different things too.
- Better balance and more defined group roles using the tree model. Classes being able to do multiple roles for real, and balanced well to do them. There are a few good reasons why Turbine wants to restrict cross-pollinating in the tree.
Positives for Turbine:
- Their players are really, really passionate about that game. I honestly haven’t seen that level of passion in a while, if ever.
- These skill trees will be a boon to class development for years to come. The structure will be invaluable for the class devs to rein in the mess of complications and spend less time balancing roles while doing it better.
- Monetizing the new system with the store. I can’t believe Turbine did all this work without a plan to sell scrolls or perks for convenience and/or advantage in the new system. This is something no one is talking about.*
- Furious news travels far and wide, and there are far more former LotRO players than current LotRO players who are upset. It’s possible the negatives and positives could be closer to positive than current players think.
*Actually, I’ve finally seen someone mention this, the Storm King, a member of the 2013 player council says: “If you want to make a small mod to your current build, you are out of luck. You will have to reclick an entire tree, if you want to make a single change to your build. And you will either have to overwrite your current build, or purchase another build tree. This was by design, so that your pain and inconvenience can be monetized. Huge suckfest.”