But then I thought, hey, it’s tradition. And why is it a bad thing to aspire to greater things and encourage the studio to reach for those? Should we just roll over and give up on this title that we love? Far be it! So I’m dusting off some old ideas and tossing in a few new ones to give to you my list of 11 things (for 11 years) I want to see happen in 2018 for LOTRO. Let me know what some of your wish list items in the comments too!
1. Fixes to the server lag and performance
I don’t know what’s more distressing: That we have had to live with horrible lag and rubberbanding for years now, or that the studio has pretty much stopped even making lip service about fixing it. LOTRO should be running smooth as silk at this point, and this should most definitely be SSG’s top priority. Get your code monkeys in there, sort it out, and get your house in order so we can properly enjoy this game that we all love!
2. Look to other games for business model improvements
While once the free-to-play standard for the industry, LOTRO’s business model is a bizarre mess of good ideas and terrible experiments. Last year’s increased push for lockboxes and the incredibly expensive expansion editions were disturbing, more so because it gave the impression that the studio was rushing these ideas through without really thinking about them. Nobody likes a tinge of desperation! So take a long look at what successful MMOs without cringe-worthy F2P additions — like Warframe and Path of Exile — are doing, and draw in some of those ideas.
3. Consider a new server type
As an experienced MMO, LOTRO really does have a good opportunity to create some buzz and draw back players with a launch of a new server. Whether it be a progression server, a true “classic” legacy server, or simply a fresh start server, these could be promotional gold and give been-there-looted-that players a reason to start anew.
4. A revamped leveling experience
By now, Lord of the Rings Online is an absolutely massive game with days and days of leveling content and zones packed into it. While that’s a good thing, it can also be intimidating to those trying to catch up or have fun with alts. And yes, SSG’s answer here is to sell level boosts, but I would propose taking a look at the leveling process instead to see where some streamlining or revamping could be made. How about allowing all alts triple experience for doing the epic story quests so that they could level through that alone? What about reworking the deed log to make it more rewarding and noticeable, so that there feels like there are immediate goals to chase? And what about a clear, in-game guide explaining the ins and outs of the business model, possible directions to take, and what you can do when?
5. Sunshine, and lots of it
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that Mordor fatigue is real and we don’t need to be going back to that dismal land for a long time. Sure, there’s a lot more that can be added there and Minas Morgul is coming, but can we be officially done with Mordor for now? We need sunshine and beautiful zones of the variety we were getting in Rohan and Gondor, because those are the lands that boost spirits and make coming back to the game day after day a joy.
6. Overhaul the wardrobe
I don’t know about you vets, but my wardrobe is so packed full of options that to add anything else new, I have to throw something old out. And that kills me, because I don’t want to be taking away possibilities for fashion in the future. Again, LOTRO should look at what most other MMOs are doing with cosmetic outfits and start allowing us to save any armor or cosmetic item that we loot or purchase.
7. Rohan housing
I’m ready to move to a rustic log cabin-inspired abode, and Rohan has the answer for me! Lets get some honest-to-Eru Ilúvatar housing neighborhoods set in Rohan so that we can make this an option. And speaking of housing…
8. Yup, more housing improvements
I appreciate that we finally saw some neat housing options in 2017, but I don’t think that calls for a complete moratorium on housing improvement discussions. There’s more, so much more, that could and should be done with the game’s housing system, even if we’re sticking with the hook setup. More flexible hooks types, for starters, and many more of them! Some functional housing items would be appreciated — for example, I like what Guild Wars 2 is doing with its new gardening plots. I just would like fun and beneficial reasons to return to my house more often.
9. Increased communication
SSG hasn’t been lax in its communication over the past year but it hasn’t been consistent, either. Dev blogs can come in spurts and then not at all for a long time. The lead-up to Mordor was eerily silent, and often the only time we hear from the studio is when it’s addressing some problem or the other. I do like the weekly community bulletins and streams, but more communication with players would definitely be appreciated.
10. A better LFG dungeon tool
I talked about this a few weeks back, so I won’t go on and on about it here, but I really think that LOTRO could benefit from giving us better tools to access groups and get into its wide array of dungeons. The game is almost exclusively solo by design and yet has a wealth of group content that is used only by a minority. That’s a shame.
11. Another Bingo Boffin-like series
I truly hope that SSG doesn’t consider the Bingo Boffin experiment a one-off idea, because I thought it was absolutely marvelous to give us a year-long quest series that reused old zones, gave us interesting new stories, and showered us with fun rewards. Let’s see more like that!