A Guide for the Student on the Ways and Means of the Warg and the Stalking of Prey

Rank Farming

There has been quite a bit of discussion on the official forums concerning rank farming recently so I thought I’d wade in and give my tuppence worth. For those of you who don’t know what rank farming is it can be summed up as basically killing an opposing player over and over again with no resistance in order to gain as much infamy/renown within a short period of time as possible. Some people will use multiple accounts to farm themselves whilst others will get friends to control a second character that can be killed repeatedly.

What’s The Problem?

There are basically two issues here. The first is that some people don’t like it if someone gets their ranks easily through farming because it effectively bypasses PvMP. They may feel that this cheapens their own achievements or lessens the impact of the rewards gained through acquiring new ranks.

The second issue concerns the fact that some people believe rank farming to be a violation of Turbine’s terms and conditions, an exploit or to put it in general terms, cheating. Thus they want Turbine to clamp down such behaviour.

Why The Debate?

If rank farming is cheating and devalues gameplay then why is there even a debate? Surely Turbine take action against those doing it and that’s the end of the matter? Well it isn’t that simple because Turbine don’t do anything about it. “Why not?!” you may ask. The reason for that actually is simple: rank farming isn’t against LOTRO’s rules.

Yes that’s right, farming for ranks is not considered an exploit, a violation of the terms and conditions or cheating by the people who actually make the rules. Thus we have a debate.

The Debate

You can break the issue down into two parts: a) is rank farming bad for the game and b) is it wrong to do it?

Bad For The Game – Let’s deal with the first question first. The idea here is that farming for ranks cheapens the achievements gained by other players who actually fought their way up the ranks. This is a perfectly valid point, but it is also a subjective one. Some high ranked players may feel that way whilst others may not. I, for example, couldn’t care less if someone attained my rank (rank 12) through farming or traditional gameplay. It simply doesn’t bother me. Other people may hold an opposite view.

A similar point is that rank farming trivialises the rewards gained at various ranks because anyone can farm their way up to whatever rank they want and gain said reward. Again this is a valid point and arguably a stronger one than the above point concerning debasing achievements. In short the argument here is that rank farming is an easy route to rewards. The main problem with this line of argument though is that the rank farmer isn’t actually gaining anything that anyone else cannot. They may gain it faster, but it is still the same reward. In that vein it isn’t really any different from purchasing creep skills from the store. Both offer a fast track to a reward that would otherwise take a significant amount of time to acquire and both are accepted by Turbine as valid methods of obtaining the reward.

Is It Wrong? – The short and canonical answer is no. Farming for ranks is not a violation of LOTRO’s terms and conditions and it is not considered to be an exploit. Thus it is considered by Turbine to be as acceptable a playstyle as any other they approve of.

Community manager Celestrata explicitly stated Turbine’s position regarding rank farming in this thread:

As others have already pointed out, our GMs have stated that this activity is not a violation of the rules. Therefore, that is the answer. We’ll pass everyone’s feedback along to the appropriate teams, as we usually do, but that’s the answer for right now.

That’s the official position of Turbine, but what about right and wrong in an ethical sense? That is an entirely different question. Since rank farming is considered acceptable by Turbine then it is really down to each individual player to decide for themselves whether it is a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to play.

Personally I don’t farm for ranks, instead preferring to play in the more traditional manner to again my infamy. True to form though I will not judge those who do farm for ranks. It isn’t for me to tell others how to play whether I agree or disagree with how they choose to play. I’m not forced to do it myself and that is enough for me.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day farming for ranks is something that Turbine finds acceptable. That means that players are free to play that way if they wish. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea (mine included), but nevertheless they are free to do it.  Some people do seem to get very bent out of shape about it though and my advice to them would be to let it go. This is just a game after all and if the way someone else plays bothers you that much perhaps it’s time to go do something else for a little bit.

Rank farming is here to stay folks, like it or loathe it, and the best course of action in my opinion is to accept that fact. That doesn’t mean that one cannot suggest to Turbine that the rules should be changed and set out appropriate arguments for such a change, but if you don’t like rank farming don’t let it ruin your gameplay by letting it bother you. People are going to do it and until such time as Turbine changes their rules it is a fact of life in the Ettenmoors.

4 responses

  1. Nice post! And one I find I agree with.

    The thing I’ve noticed on my server (Arkenstone) is there seems to be a struggle among our PvMP community on the “real” definition of rank farming. Some are of the belief that *any* sort of “farming” is rank farming, while others share similar views that you have stated here. It’s created a lot of heat and tension on the server from time to time, always seeming to go up and down as opinions sway or fresh faces and opinions join the community.

    I’ve found, personally, it’s all a matter of perspective. It’s all what we make of it. And if some people find enjoyment in dedicating hours upon hours to farming themselves or their friends, then so be it.

    15/11/2012 at 11:00 pm

  2. I agree with the ideas in the post. How others get their ranks doesn’t affect my gameplay at all.

    But there is one thing that completely change everyone’s game: GV camping.
    I thinks it is a type of “farming” that is bad for the game. It is a pew-pew action exclusively. What can a warg do there?

    GV camping make freeps stay in one place only and leaves the rest of moors empty and uninteresting.

    It is not farming in the strict sense since no one is willingly dieing for the benefit of others but it is farming in the sense there are always the same players at it.

    My idea: remove the one-shooters and place a non-combat area around GV and Grams where no freeps or creeps can use any skills. This would make people leave the area to combat but no help from one-shooters and still creates a safe zone to rest, go afk or log.

    16/11/2012 at 4:01 pm

    • That’s a really interesting idea, and one I’m sure is possible considering the “new tech” they’ve implemented to turn off all MC functions within the bounds of a city/outside Rohan. I still believe the NPCs should be reactive to the opposing side being in the area, but perhaps not have quite the range they currently have. I’m sure it could have it’s own downsides, but I think that’s the most creative solution I’ve seen to the GV (and Grams) camping problems servers seem to be seeing (not that it’s really anything new, just a more current problem people are aware of following the expansion).

      16/11/2012 at 8:56 pm

  3. Yeah, I don’t know some times I can believe them and soieemmts its hard. Lately I’ve been grinding rep so I’ve been all over the map and most places are pretty crowded, and if nothing else more crowded then they used to be.

    26/07/2014 at 11:07 am

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