LOTRO Legendarium: My LOTRO wishlist for 2017

Ever since I’ve been covering Lord of the Rings Online for this site (dating back to 2010!), I’ve had a tradition of kicking off every year with a wishlist of some of my greatest desires for the game. I think I missed last year, but in the years previous, I would allow myself one wish for every year the game has been operating.

This year? The 10th anniversary means 10 wishes, baby!

It’s shaping up to be quite an interesting and exciting year for LOTRO. I’ve seen friends coming back to the game thanks to the recent news and the promise of the expansion into Mordor. It’s almost like we need periodic reminders that, “Oh yeah, that game is still running! And it’s pretty darn good!”

But what would I like to see changed, added, or created for the MMO this year? Whether or not the devs ever get around to these, any of them would make my day.

1. A wardrobe overhaul

Coming back to LOTRO after playing a huge array of other MMOs, I was struck by how the cosmetic system that I used to exalt now seems archaic and fiddly. The trend over the last few years is for MMOs to “remember” any armor design that you pick up and automatically enter it into a database which you can use for future ensembles. LOTRO still requires you to manually select which pieces you want to save and drag them into the wardrobe, which is both annoying and limiting. An overhaul to bring this system up to the industry standard would be wonderful.

2. Currency streamlining

Have you even looked at your currency screen lately? It’s like a document of a hoarder, squirreling away marks and tokens and bits and kibbles for a rainy day. There are seriously dozens and dozens of currency types, most of them useless when you leave zones, and this all calls for some serious housecleaning. Unifying currency types or creating a currency trader would be a nice addition and perhaps give us a reason to spend some of these hard-earned coins.

3. Housing. Just… housing.

One of the loudest ongoing demands by the playerbase ever since I’ve been writing about this game is for a housing overhaul. The devs have promised this at various points over the years, then backed away from those promises, then claimed they were impossible to accomplish (or just too cost/time-prohibitive), then gave lip service to future possibilities. Last year we got new premium houses with more hooks, but what I want to see is a housing system that features a LOT more flexibility and design options. Maybe you can’t rewrite it all from the ground-up (although that would be grand), but something needs to be done to make this system less embarrassing.

Also? Allowing individual characters to own their own house would be just smashing. My characters don’t like sharing and they really don’t like how some housing decor is bound to another person and can’t be moved.

4. Word on post-Mordor plans

I’m keen to see what Standing Stone has to say in this month’s producer letter, but beyond any details about the Mordor expansion, I want some word of what the devs have planned once our journey to Mount Doom is finished. MMOs don’t usually have stopping points, but Lord of the Rings’ story kind of does, so where do we go from here? Even some broad hints would be appreciated.

5. Portable housing

Oh yeah, I’m returning to housing for just a second. But wouldn’t it be great if we were given the tools to set up our own temporary campsites in this huge world that the team created? I’m not talking anything more than customizable tents, campfires, and maybe a few RP tools for creative-types on the go.

6. Virtue system revamp

Along with currencies, the deed and virtue system has gotten remarkably top-heavy as years of additions have pumped into it. It’s too much side effort to gain somewhat-necessary but not “fun” stat points. I don’t have any one suggestion that would be a better solution than others here, but having some work done to streamline the system and make it more player friendly would be welcome.

7. Alternate advancement for alts

I think it’s proper that a player’s first journey through the game should take the long, scenic route, but what about alts? LOTRO is simply massive at this point and starting up or playing alts means so very, very many months of work going over the same exact ground.

What I propose is some manner of alternative advancement for your second character onward. Maybe an apprenticeship system where your main character also earns a fraction of XP for your alts, or an option to beef up epic story XP so that you only needed to run those on alts. Even better would be giving us alternate paths to the level cap with different storylines and areas. Story branches? Why not!

8. Progression server

Now that Standing Stone is on its own and has the freedom to try out some bold projects, I’d love to see a progression server added to the game. I’ve been beating on this drum for years now, but hey, I think it’d be pretty awesome to experience, especially for those of us who remember the old days and would like to go back through the experience of leveling up with a community around us, focusing on each expansion for a while¬†instead of racing to Gondor.

9. Better or more voice acting

I asked my kinship what they would like to see in the game, and more than a few mentioned the voice acting. There was an array of suggestions, from fully voicing over all of the quest text (which I admit would be a mammoth project) to re-recording some of the voices that are not quite up to par with others. Personally, I think a good compromise would be to add voice work to NPCs that say things in chat bubbles during missions.

10. More communication and promotion

Maybe the previous nine entries are flights of fancy that don’t stand a chance of making it into the game, but I sincerely hope that this one does. With the move to Standing Stone, I hope the team realizes that they need to put communication and promotion up front and keep it there from here on out. Do great things to keep the game in the spotlight. Talk with the community on a regular basis and be informative while doing so. Publish more dev diaries. Milk the 10th anniversary and Mordor expansion for all their worth, because both are huge promotional opportunities that shouldn’t be missed.

So those are my suggestions. What is your 2017 wish list?

Every two weeks, the LOTRO Legendarium goes on an adventure (horrid things, those) through the wondrous, terrifying, inspiring, and, well, legendary online world of Middle-earth. Justin has been playing LOTRO since its launch in 2007! If you have a topic for the column, send it to him at justin@massivelyop.com.
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