Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thoguhts on a failed return, and the future of LotRO

Hey people. I had honestly totally forgotten that I had started this thing until about a week ago, when I almost came back to playing LotRO. Before, there were a couple reasons why I stopped, but the main one was school. I wanted to really focus on college, and LotRO certainly wasn't going to help me in that respect. I finished a semester of college, but decided I like teaching guitar more than exams and papers and professors. So now school's not in the way anymore.

I had heard great things about the Siege of Mirkwood expansion, and I even had the opportunity to play it for a bit on a friend's computer. I took my friend's avatar out for a few more hours the next day just to see if it would be worth it, and by the end I was totally facing the opposite direction.

Basically, everything that had been added since I left seemed like icing on the cake. To most people, that metaphor means something positive. For me, most of the time it does, but this time I'm using it the other way. Icing is sweet while it lasts, but in the long run it's insubstantial, doesn't last a long time, and can easily make you sick if you have too much. The skirmish system was OK, I guess. It's basically an easy answer to the people whining about not being able to find a fellowship (which is a legitimate complaint). There's a bunch of new items to gander at in the AH, a lot of them to facilitate the crafting of Legendary weapons (I left before that beast reared its head). Those things (and others which I won't bore you with, you've already experienced them) left me with a very "blah" feeling.

I felt myself sinking back into the mentality I had right before I quit. The game has strayed from its roots to try to entice as many people as possible. I can't blame Turbine for this (well, maybe I can), but they need to survive as a company and in this climate that's not easy. The original goal was to experience the world of Tolkien with other like-minded players. Now with glowing legendary weapons and all these flashy new systems, the game's lost its awesome simplicity that it had in the beginning. I get that stuff needs to be added and changed to keep things interesting, but there's no reason that those things have to taint what was already a solid foundation. I've said this before, but the game is becoming a WoW clone. We already have a Wow. Give us something else.

My last thought is on the future of the game as a whole. I'd be screaming this in the forums and in real life if I could, but I can't post it in the forums becuase I don't have an active subscription, and I'd look like an idiot in real life. My dad plays the stock market game, and he watches a guy on TV, Jim Cramer. The guy's a character, but also extremely brilliant. He predicted the US stock market crash that happened late in '08 before anyone else did, and he tried to warn people (to no avail) to try to prevent it, because he saw the signs that no one else did. I kind of feel like that now, but time will tell if I'm just being irrational.

This game is going to die. Maybe not soon, but eventually. I obviously don't have subscription numbers, so maybe the number of players is growing astronomically fast, but I don't think so. Ballparking it, I think that number will stop increasing within 12 months if not sooner, and it'll be a dead game within 2 years. Turbine is throwing ideas into the game in a desperate fashion so they can have more bullet points for new features when they release an expansion. I say this with all the love in the world. I adored this game. I really did. The simplicity of it, the beauty of it (in every aspect), but now there's a whole crap-ton of unneeded...crap getting in the way of that. I want to adore it again. All I have now are the books (which is enough for now).

Maybe I'm an outlier in terms of what people are looking for in this game, but I don't think so. Anyone who wants what Turbine is serving up now is going to (if they haven't already) go over to WoW, because Blizzard has been doing it longer, they're doing it better, and their numbers are still growing after almost 6 years.

In the most arrogant and tucked away corner of my brain that I keep shut up 99% of the time, I'm hoping someone will post this message of the forums for me, because (again, arrogantly), I think this needs to be said to as many people as possible as a sorely needed wake-up call. Something needs to give, and it needs to happen soon.