State Of The Ettens Part II
In this part i’m going to be looking at the state of PvMP in general since ROI was launched. I’ll be covering different topics here, some related to wargs specifically, others more generalised for all creeps and still other affecting PvMP on both sides. Again this these are my personal views, you are free to disagree with them if you like and whether you agree or disagree feel free to post a comment (I don’t censor comments here, even the ones criticising me!).
With ROI creeps were able to purchase skills and traits from the LOTRO Store. More than any other change to PvMP over the history of the game this has probably been the most controversial. Some loved the idea, some were indifferent, and some were against. For some people this signified the final nail in the coffin and represented a ‘pay to win’ scenario. I personally don’t subscribe to that view and welcome the store bought skills because I think they are a great equaliser, especially in the case of previously very high ranked skills that were, for all intents and purposes, beyond the reach all but a very small number of players.
So how has it turned out? Pretty well as far as I am concerned. Some skills have proven more popular than other of course and for wargs that is undoubtedly the case with both Shadow Howler and especially Sense Prey and Enhanced Skill: Sense Prey.
Because low ranked creeps now have access to high ranked skills some freeps have become a bit … upset, shall we say. Some find it terribly unfair that they can now be tracked by rank 1 wargs or that rank 1 defilers can break up their zerg balls with Blight. To that I say the following: ‘Tough shit!”. These skills were put in the game to be used, but owing to the high ranking curve very few creeps ever managed to actually gain and use some of the more powerful skills. That left creeps at a decided disadvantage because freeps, at level 75, have all their abilities. Creeps were effectively fighting with one arm tied behind their back.
More to the point I haven’t seen the predicted end of the game from the usual crowd of naysayers who predict doom and gloom whenever something comes along that they don’t personally approve of. I haven’t seen hordes of rich kids running around at rank 0 with all their skills. I haven’t seen people stopping trying to gain new ranks because they have already bought all their skills. Quite the contrary, I have seen most people buy one or two skills they are interested in and actually playing more because they are enjoying using those skills.
On the whole i think offering skills through the store has been a success for both players and Turbine.
Freep PvMP Armour
On the one hand it is great to see the freeps getting some meaningful reward for ranking. The PvMP armour sets are pretty decent and definitely worth getting if you are a regular freep. it gives you a little more impetus to gain your next rank so you can wear your next piece.
Unfortunately the mechanism for obtaining these armour sets is, to put it mildly, completely daft. The armour sets are bartered for by doing quests and killing tyrants. What this has led to on some servers, my own included, is huge freep ‘zeros’, which simply steamroll the map taking the keeps before vanishing into thin air with no actual PvMP having taken place.
Why not fight them and try to prevent the keep taking? A valid question with a simple answer: the creeps often can’t. A zerg is usually a huge collection of freeps that vastly outnumber the creeps and I have personally seen this time and time again since ROI came out. I remember one night in particular when there were upwards of 30 freeps rampaging across the map and all we could muster up to defend the keeps were 8 creeps, some of which were barely out of the character creation screen. Not much of a fight that!
The problem here is in giving a PvMP reward through PVE content. PvMP rewards should either be granted through actual PvMP or simply be able to be bought from a vendor for coin. Doing it any other way ends up reducing the PvMP activity. Why not just allow freeps to buy their armour when they reach the appropriate ranks? That would give a good incentive to actually go and gain those ranks. Better yet make the armour a reward for deeds in PvMP or for killing X number of creeps. Basically anything other than the current system would be preferable.
Lock Outs Or A Lack Thereof
Seriously? No lock outs? This is nuts! Freely switching from side to side tends not to produce anything of much value. Some of the uses for this lack of lock out I have seen include:
- Freeps switching to creep to retake keeps so they can then zerg the map and gain more poxy crests and brooches
- Players switching to moan and QQ and players on the other side who have killed them
- Players jumping ship and instantly switching to whichever side is currently doing well
In short the lack of a lockout doesn’t really lead to much good. Why not have an equal lock out for the Ettenmoors for both sides? It can’t be that difficult to implement surely? A one hour lock out for both freeps and creeps would stop switching, instant moaning and QQ, and help prevent keep retakes for zeroing purposes. It would also help to foster a better allegiance to each side from players in my opinion.
I can’t finish without mentioning the lack of extra functionality on the new Enhanced Skill: Disappear trait. This is one trait that I know many wargs, myself included, were very much looking forward to. Sadly that extra functionality didn’t make it into the expansion and there has been no word of it appearing in Update 5 if the last set of patch notes from Bullroarer are anything to go by. This is exacerbated by the fact that the trait was nerved before it even went live, going from reducing Disappear’s cool down to 5min to 7min. I’m still hopeful that we will see some extra functionality for this trait (I’m an optimist!).
One last thing, no new map. This was a real disappointment for just about everyone who participates in PvMP. We have had the Ettenmoors map for the better part of five years now. It’s a great map, but it’s worn now. We know every square inch of it. We have fought all over it. It’s time for fresh pastures.
Sadly Turbine haven’t uttered a word on the possibility of this project being resurrected. I know that the PvMP community won’t let it rest, the genie is out of the bottle now.