Why PvMP Is The Way It Is: Part I
With RoR set to bring about the biggest shake-up of PvMP since … well since the game launched frankly, I started thinking about why that is the case. Why are we only now seeing changes to PvMP that, as good and welcome as they are, should have been implemented five years ago? What happened in the meantime? Are we about to see more PvMP activity after RoR launches?
The Side Game
The single most important thing to understand about PvMP is that it has always been, and will remain for the foreseeable future, a side game. Indeed it was something of an afterthought in that it wasn’t added to LOTRO until pretty much the last minute. That status has overshadowed, and underlined, PvMP ever since.
So is it simple a case of the devs not viewing PvMP as something mandating a lot of attention? Is PvMP the red headed step child of LOTRO? To truth probably reflects those views, but only in part because things are a little more complicated than that. Even so the concept of PvMP as a side game is of fundamental importance as we shall soon see.
What’s Going On In PvMP?
Contrary to what many a forum poster may say there have in fact been a number of PvMP updates over the years and we can use those updates to form a picture of how the system has developed. These are rough divisions though, I am not going to list every minor tweak or bug fix. Rather what you see below are simply the major events in the history of PvMP.
PvMP is launched alongside the launch of the game itself
The Defiler class, which couldn’t be included in the initial game launch (presumably due to time/resource constraints) is launched
The Delving of Fror is launched as a test bed for Moria / Control points are replaced by Outposts
First major overhaul of PvMP skills/advancement comes with Moria
PvMP store launches with ROI
Audacity is introduced with ROI
RoR PvMP dev diary is released promising biggest ever shake-up of PvMP
These are what I consider to be the major landmarks in PvMP. Reading through them two things become apparent: i) there is little to no use of the new tech that has made it’s way into the rest of the game and ii) the changes and revisions introduced have served to augment PvMP, but never to transform it into anything more than it already was.
Let me just explain these two points briefly. Over the past 5 or so years LOTRO as seen a lot of new systems added to the game e.g. trait lines, legendary weapons, skirmishes, housing, etc and of course we will soon have mounted combat. None of these systems have been tied into PvMP except indirectly through freeps using them e.g. Freeps have trait lines, but it isn’t a specific component of PvMP.
The second point is pretty simple too. What changes have come about in PvMP have, by and large, served to augment the existing experience. The PvMP system as a whole hasn’t expanded or changed since launch. Contrast that with instances, for example, which have gone from being set piece dungeons at specific levels to scalable dungeons with multiple difficulty levels, available at a variety of levels and with a whole new dynamic in the form of skirmishes added in. In short instances, as a game mechanic, whilst retaining their core functionality have expanded to become a lot more than they originally were. No such change has occurred in PvMP, which remains very much a sum of its parts.
Wish They Would Add Green Stripey Flying Fire Engines To PvMP
What all this boils down to is the situation I talked about at the start of this article: PvMP is a side game. That doesn’t just mean that it receives less dev attention than other parts of the game, it means that it isn’t really part of LOTRO at all. Let that last statement sink in for a moment.
Do your actions in PvMP significantly affect any other portion of LOTRO? Would it make any real difference to your PVE experience in LOTRO if you were in PvMP for an hour or playing Tetris for an hour? You see why PvMP isn’t really part of LOTRO?
That’s the real issue PvMP faces. It’s not that adding in a certain feature would take time away from other aspects of the game, it’s more that adding in a new feature to PvMP has so little impact on LOTRO as a whole that you might as well ask for a green stripey flying fire engine.
So why doesn’t PvMP have more of an impact on LOTRO? Why isn’t it a bigger part of the game? Will this ever change? Lets take a look at those questions in Part II …