Lord of the Rings Online tests landscape difficulty slider, ‘significant’ skill adjustments


The on-again, off-again testing of Lord of the Rings Online’s Update 30 is back on, and this time Bullroarer has a special surprise preview: a first look at a difficulty slider for the game’s landscape content.

SSG teased this feature a few months ago, leaving players curious about how it will function in practice. Now’s that time. The slider comes alongside a new raid, area, and interlude stories.

But that’s not all: The studio is also testing out “significant balance changes” to many class skills: “With our emphasis on challenging end-game content, we’ve had to reconsider the balance of certain major group buffs and debuffs that were overpowered in the context of large fellowships. This has led to the reduction of several of these effects in order to hopefully allow for a wider breadth of class compositions in such content. We are balancing this work by not just focusing on nerfs, but DPS increases and other buffs as well.”


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Ardra Diva

I play with a friend so we are just a duo and rarely in a full Fellowship, and almost never Solo. But we seem to find that the content is often too easy, or it’s just too hard. That sweet spot where you “almost die, but won” is probably difficult to balance and I don’t mind if they are constantly trying to achieve that.

It’s hard for me to be overly critical of a game that’s given me literally 14 years of fun and immersion in Middle Earth. I try to keep things in perspective. They aren’t curing cancer here, and I’m grateful the game is still going. I’ll cry like a baby when it closes, it’s been part of my life and my chief game and hobby for so long.

Stormsong Minstrel
Stormsong Minstrel

Another useless nerfg nobody asked for. Another “me big dev, me balance da classes, trust me, me is pro” yelling. Game suffers from lag, from over-grind, legendary items becoming legendary nonsenses, taking almost year to level up…
And they do care about nerfing because…because they can do it.
I could share one secrets to Lotro “developers”. For free, since I am good person: “over-powering” never existed and with our technology won’t exist for neariest millenia. If Ratmaster has huge DPS – ok, you designed, so keep them, you are one responsible. Instead of increasing Ratmaster’s DPS in future – keep it stable, increase DPS of other classes. But well, better to nerf everything.
If only our developers played their own game occasionally (like – once in a month for 2 hours?) – they would see there are lots of things in need of balancing. Almot all mmo community ask for Legendary items revamp…
And while house burns, wise house owner cares about makeup and nice selfie.


Actually that could be a good idea, i enjoyed the difficulty of Mordor and Mobs beeing a real threat. I hope they implement it well and that you get an incentive for taking higher risks. Could be fun.

Kickstarter Donor

I got excited for a second, thinking skill adjustments meant changes to rate of getting skills rather than just balancing. I love LOTRO, but it probably has some of the least meaningful leveling of any themepark MMO I’ve played. Leveling serves no purpose other than numbers. I haven’t gotten a new ability since level 50-60 I’m pretty sure, and the cap is 130. That’s so many hours of not getting anything new to play with.

Sorry about the vent. I’m interested in seeing how the landscape difficulty slider ends up being implemented. And if the game can reach some semblance of balance.

Alexis de la Rosa

Still waiting for questing streamlining then I’ll come back.

Bruno Brito

I can’t really talk about end-game because i never played it, but isn’t the issue with lack of class versatility basically because most classes that were dropped are in dire need of reworks? Guardian isn’t the main pick for tanking ( Captain is ) because it works like dogshit and most of it’s traits and skills scale terribly.

It would be nice if they actually updated the classes that need it, instead of all these bandaid fixes.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

You know things are wacky when Lore-masters are the most requested class in LFF, a thing that hasn’t happened since Moria.

That Guardians aren’t the premier tanking class is . . . rude.

Expect incoming major nerfs to Lore-master buffs, so that they fall off the requested/needed class list in favor of the classes getting a DPS buff, one would assume Rune-keeper.

Captain, while a top tank, sucks DPS-wise.

Warden is just nowhere, atm. No longer a top tank, DPS is just adequate.

SSG has just made a mess of things.

From my perspective, if you’re not a raider and chasing trigger essences, all power is in virtues. I’ve turtled all my alts and just grind virtues because that’s the real way to get more power and better survivability.

I still have my panties in a wad about having to chase class traits by doing content I’m terminally bored of. At this point, I’d pay real money to just buy them so I can get on with the new content.

(I laugh when some guy asks for a power level. I’m like, My Dude, getting to 130 is not the problem . . . .)

OMG, does this qualify as a rant? I think it does!

Bruno Brito

I don’t know the minutiae of Guardian tanking but i think their issue is lack of mitigation for the new content, and their scaling is completely busted.

I think for open world content, all classes are fine. The issue is endgame. I do think tho, that the way some classes play are beyond boring.

Unrelated but i leveled a hunter to 15 these days and a minstrel to 15. Light and day. Hunter is ungodly overpowered for deeding, and my minstrel felt like trudging through water. If i’m remembering correctly, Minstrels had a change a while ago that made them not oneshot everything anymore and you don’t know how bad your class design is until you need to use your skills more.

That being said, i did like the minstrel more. I’m a idiot like that.


I like the concept on paper, but as others have pointed out there needs to be a risk vs reward thing here. I’ve looked around and the only thing I see are a few extra titles that will be awarded. Which is pretty basic and not something I really care about.

Roger Edwards

I see gaming very much as a quid pro quo. An increase in difficulty should yield superior rewards. Not more vendor trash or cosmetics. Something for something. If that’s what it does in this case, I’ll happily ramp up the difficulty. If not, then I see no reason to do so.



Kickstarter Donor

Will increasing the landscape difficulty also increase anything like XP, loot, etc?