MMO Week in Review: Finding refuge in MMOs from WoW to LOTRO

    
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This week was both the spring equinox and St Patrick’s Day, but you wouldn’t know it from the world, which is still reeling from the pandemic. Don’t worry: If you missed out on booze and green rivers, we have our very own Star Citizen limerick just for you. We’ve also continued rounding up all the online games that are offering extra benefits to players, including LOTRO, Ship of Heroes, and WoW. Hey, staying home and playing video games actually is helping. Do your part.

Plus, we’re in the middle of two epic giveaways, so make sure you’ve entered for your chance to win a free copy of Avorion and the Pink Bean MapleStory gaming chair!

Read on to catch up with the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions today as every Sunday in Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

THIS WEEK’S TOP STORIES

The Game Archaeologist: Shenmue Online - If you ever stumble across a Dreamcast enthusiast -- and believe me, they are everywhere -- on the forefront of their diatribe about how great SEGA's final console was will…

THIS WEEK’S CASTS & STREAMS

Every week, get caught up on the MMO genre’s latest news and Massively OP’s best content in our MMO Week in Review! Want more roundups of content? Try Friday’s Betawatch for MMO testing highlights, Saturday’s Make My MMO for MMO crowdfunding updates, and Sunday’s The MOP Up, which mops up all the bits of news we didn’t cover anywhere else.

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HawkeWar

I’m living in Tamriel and The Star Trek Universe until this all blows over. The way the worlds going I may just stay there.

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Jack Pipsam

I am very tempted to just now give-in and resub so I can play WoW Classic, that is true comfort in some ways.
My current hatred towards Blizzard aside, might be good for the soul to get back into that.

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Utakata

…when Mother Nature is blitzchung’ing the world, we take comfort in our games because our sanity depends on it, regardless of their previous and current faults.

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Castagere Shaikura

I would so be playing lotro if they got rid of those quest packs.

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Fisty

Agreed.

cambruin
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cambruin

Should you ever decide to play it, the quest packs will be the least of your concern. SSG has one of the most predatory cash shop designs currently out there. A small overview;
* Legendary items: an item that grows with your character as you increase in lvl. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Except, these items require other items to be able to advance them further. An excessive amount of these items which happen to be really rare. Luckily, the cash shop has you covered. You can now even buy a pack to get them top tier. How convenient, right?!

* Virtue grind: the game had these thinds called virtues. Passives which could be unlocked through grinding deeds (slaying 90 Goblins at lvl 10 which turned to slaying 900 Goblins at lvl 100 so to speak). It was a huge grind and they luckily got rid of it. So they replaced it with a system where quests and deeds would now grant you a sort of virtue currency which you can use to unlock the virtues. Much better than the old system. Except, through regular questing, you get enough xp/currency to unlock maybe 50% of them, if you’re lucky and didn’t miss a thing. The rest of them? To be unlocked through dailies. Yup, dailies. Best thing about these dailies? As they introduce a new quest pack, the dailies of the previous pack/region disappear. So you have no way to catch up. Luckily, the store has you covered once again.

* They’re the company introducing lootboxes inside lootboxes. That’s right, lootboxes inside lootboxes.

* The store sells consumables which are on a different CD form regular consumables. So now you can pop 2 health potions whereas ‘regular’ players can pop only a single one. Thank god for the store, makes content so much easier.

There’s plenty more examples to give, but I won’t bother. People starting the game will soon find out. What continues to surprise me however, is how this game built around a cash shop (I’m a vet having played this game for 10+ years, having quit shortly after SSG became ‘independant’) continues to get so much support here. Sure, the graphics, the pre-Rohan stuff, it’s all top notch, but none of that is SSG’s doing. They’ve been lucky to be able to build upon a solid foundation laid by people long gone. Everything SSG has done is so extremely focused on forcing people towards the cash shop.
As fans of a game, it’s our responsability to let developers know when they’re out of control. Why dos MoP talk about the predatory models used by EA, questions/mocks Bethesda, …but not SSG? SSG is rotten to it’s core and it’s not even mentioned a single time. People have voiced their opinions many times over, resulting in the sad state the population is currently in and still SSG continues down this road.

Honest question; MoP staff, what level are you characters in LotRO? Do you not address or talk about these issues because you have not yet reached the level to experience it? Do you not address it because it is of no concern to you? Is it perhaps a policy to remain positive at all times?

Yes, I’m bitter, sorry. I loved this game to bits for over a decade. So while I say this in a bitter voice, I sincerely hope the game goes back to it’s roots and becomes once again the product I once loved so much.

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Robert Mann

The BIGGEST thing holding back any new player from having fun? 100% quest packs and xpacs on the store. The lack of price decreases on them, over time, makes them a giant grind or pay point for anyone who hasn’t been playing.

As for the rest: LIs aren’t really all that hard to get stuff for, although it does take a few months of fairly casual grinding to get them up there if starting at this point.

Virtues… are easier overall at this point. Yes, they too are a giant grind. As to those dailies, they don’t actually disappear. You can still go do a ton of dailies in older areas. The rewards aren’t as good, and you do need to do the current content dailies for virtue xp. They remain pretty solid until a new xpac shows up on the store for LP, at least.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike some of what LOTRO is doing with the store, certainly. Lootboxes are one of the reasons I don’t really put all that much into LOTRO, for example. They have some of the other restrictive things toward gameplay, such as inventory in the store. Etc. I find those things far less friendly than grind replacers. Heck, you can dink around in various festivals and grey level content to get LIs up, and virtues are slowly gained as long as you take your login rewards (although it’d take forever that way for virtues).

cambruin
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cambruin

To be fair, quest packs are often discounted. At various occasions even 75% so with some minor planning ahead you can save a ton on them.

I’d still advise against it though as I would hate for SSG to receive even the smallest amount of funding as long as they continue to sway people towards their ‘convenient’ cash shop in their extremely inconvenient game.

Upaya
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Upaya

I started playing LotRO like maybe 5-6 years ago at the beginnings of Gondor and at the time the business model was pretty sweet. You’d sub and do the 75% off for the xpacs. You’d use your (at the time) TP to unlock acct stuffs, etc.. You’d be awarded TP for playing the game (still are?) and their cash-shop offerings tended to lean toward the practical+cosmetic.

But gosh the lockboxes and the cash-shop items designed to just become more and more expensive. I was playing Legendary (casual) and it ended up just sort of… becoming uninteresting. A shame. LotRO used to be a pretty rational buy-in/cost but over the past few years that has really been shown to not be true. It breaks my heart.

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Castagere Shaikura

Wow, I guess I made the right choice in not playing this game again once Turbine went under. I do seem to remember how everyone was saying how great SSG was though. I had bought the first 6 expansions and hated how I was locked out of questing zones unless I paid for them.

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Bruno Brito

* Legendary items: an item that grows with your character as you increase in lvl. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Except, these items require other items to be able to advance them further. An excessive amount of these items which happen to be really rare. Luckily, the cash shop has you covered. You can now even buy a pack to get them top tier. How convenient, right?!

The last thing i would ever do in this world, is to play a game with a extremely similar system to SWL. Fuck that, and fuck this.