For me, it’s been a great month of easing back into Lord of the Rings Online after taking a sabbatical from Middle-earth. With the improved flow of information, more money being invested in SSG, and the expansion on the way this fall, 2021 is becoming a fairly exciting year for this MMO. It’s a good time to be back here, is what I’m saying.
#1: Opt-in kinship deed announcements
While LOTRO has a pretty robust achievement system in the form of deeds, there’s no way for us to share those accomplishments with our friends unless our ego compels us to write it in chat. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but WoW’s automatic achievement notifications in guild chat would be something I’d genuinely like to have here as well. I want to know what my kinnies are up to!
My only suggestion with this? Make it an opt-in feature rather than automatic.
#2: Smaller premium houses
The Rohan and Gondor premium houses are pretty awesome, especially with their specialty hooks and features, but they are also ridiculously huge and expensive. I’d love to see a smaller or mid-sized premium house that boasted some of these same designs, specialty settings, and hook density — at a more affordable price point.
#3: Expanded quest and deed tracker
We all can agree that only five line items for a combined tracker that covers both deeds and quests is far too few, especially with modern monitors and larger resolutions. I have no idea how hard this would be to do, but getting that number, well, anywhere above “five” would be tremendously welcome.
#4: Stable master map
Let’s talk travel for a little bit here! I absolutely love the stable master map that’s tucked away — for some reason — in the collections UI, but I’m puzzled why the game still hasn’t incorporated that into interactions with any stable master. LOTRO has a massive list of hard-to-remember names of places, and it’s not always easy to remember the name of the next place you need to go when talking to this NPC. Having a map that clearly shows your current location and all available destinations would be marvelous.
#5: Stable travel anywhere
And while I’m dreaming big here, why not simply let us go from any stable master to any other unlocked one, much the way that other MMOs handle waypoints and the like? LOTRO’s been out for a decade-and-a-half, and the world (and transport network) has grown considerably. It’s time to simply let us go where we need to go without all of the hassle of fiddling with travel hubs and dead-ends.
#6: World switching from character select
It was kind of cool for LOTRO to keep your login credential for eight hours so you didn’t have to keep putting them in, so I guess we know that there is room for improvement in the login screen. One thing that’s bugged me, as a player who has characters across multiple worlds, is that I always have to completely back out of the game and restart it to switch to a different server. Why not change that so that it can be toggled on the character select screen instead?
#7: Bigger buff/debuff icons (with timers!)
One of my constant pet peeves with this game’s UI is how incredibly tiny and unhelpful its buff and debuff icons are. This MMO already has more detailed icon graphics than your average game, and it does no service keeping them tiny and unreadable. Sure, you can scale up the UI, but by the time you have the icons big enough to see clearly, your character portrait is as big as the Death Star.
SSG needs to increase the size of these graphics, give them visible timers to know when buffs and debuffs expire, and have them very responsive to tooltip mouseovers.
#8: Random dungeon finder button
An even bigger pet peeve of mine is how unnecessarily difficult and awkward this game makes getting into dungeons. The instance finder works to a degree, mostly for groups coming together from the LFF channel, but it’s terrible for anyone who wants to queue up for a specific or random dungeons. At the very least, LOTRO should have one no-nonsense button you can hit to jump into random dungeons and experience the many, many dungeons this game has.
Honestly, I’ve played this game from launch and have seen so few of these dungeons because of how the UI neglects this common sense tool you find in most MMOs these days.
#9: An improved Beorning bear model
Completely selfish line item, this one, but I’m including it anyway because I’ve been running around as a bear over the past few weeks. It’s a ton of fun (again, more on that later), but I do wish that we were able to shape change into a bear model that didn’t look like it came right from the Sears 2007 MMORPG creature catalogue. Bear up!
#10: Fireworks collections tab
Considering how many different types of fireworks that LOTRO throws at you – usually during the anniversary period – I’d love to have them somewhere other than clogging up vault space. I think the collections UI would be perfect to unlock and use fireworks, much in the same way that we handle pets. It’s small, it’s silly, but… why not?