The Daily Grind: When should MMO devs just stop tweaking?


Yesterday’s reveal of Lord of the Rings Online’s legendary item imbuing system struck me as a promising show of faith from the devs but nevertheless a truly terrible idea because they’re just building a new house on top of a shaky foundation (LIs, not the game). It reminded me of something I once read from a very clever Ultima Online player a few years ago on the news that the veteran game was getting yet another item-fussing system intended to balance the last one:

“Why stop with Enhancing, Imbuing, Reforging, and Refining? They should add Improving, Spiffing, Refracting, Adjusting, Tweaking, and Twerking too, each with one or two hundred random items and math problems to solve. Just keep piling on crap until the system collapses under its own weight and we all end up in GM-crafted armor again because no one knows what’s good anymore.”

I am glad Turbine is doing something about LIs, I really am. But if LOTRO’s legendary item system is so broken, why not just gut it or delete it? Why create yet another potentially flawed system to patch its problems? Why do MMO devs, especially the ones working on older games, keep falling into that trap — why can’t they just stop touching it?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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