LOTRO Legendarium: 10 features that would make LOTRO even more fun

    
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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.

And as I’ve come back, I started up a new character on Treebeard (more on that in a future column) and spent time getting to know the low-level game all over again. As I was doing that, I felt compelled to make a new wish list of 10 features that would make LOTRO more enjoyable. So why not share this today? These may not be as consequential or direly needed as, say, the legendary item revamp, but I think they should be considered for future patches. Let’s get into it!

#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?

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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MesaSage

Good list. I would love to have the world login from the character panel! Ditto to the quest list. Another thing I would like to see them do is add more vault keepers or at least put them in places where they should be. I mean, there’s no vault between Bree and Rivendale? Ost Garuth is just screaming for a vault. There are other obvious ones like Treslebridge and the Combe crafting house. I mean, how long would that take to add? Maybe I’m missing something strategic about their lack of vaults in certain places, but it sure would cut down on the teleporting.

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Ewan Cuthbertson

LOTRO needs a proper looking for group tool the one in game is the worst in any MMO.

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Paragon Lost

Good list Justin. :) Agree with all ten. Though I’d give all ten up in exchange for a revamped Legendary Item mechanics, or heck just making it go away. One can dream.

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Ardra Diva

I’m comfortable with the game and how it works. I would appreciate a graphic upgrade. I also wish “underwater” had content and wasn’t completely dead. That’s one thing I love about GW2, the game most likely to get my business if not LOTRO.

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rc13047

Recently reinstalled LOTRO (Im a lifetimer) and it just feels so *old* now, I’ve got 33 quests in my log and no idea what most of them are, no idea what currencies are current, no idea… well, no idea.

But mostly it feels antiquainted at this point, I can’t quite say why, but compared to other MMOS i drop in and out of (SWTOR, ESO) it feels like a bygone age.

Music is still amazing tho.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Better quests and quests UI.
Font in english version is atrocious. Quests are boring “kill x/gather x”. UI never changed in over decade. This is unaccaptable for the game where its all about questing

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Mike Minier

A 4k compatible UI so I can play the game again is the only feature the game needs. It’s too much of a hassle playing in fullscreen at 1080p when games that are older than this work just fine in 4k borderless windowed. I use a multi monitor setup and this makes it impossible to use the second monitor so I quit the game after like 900 hours.

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Dennis VonBeck

Right!?
I have a 1440p monitor and I can not play this game with their archaic UI. I can barely make out the inventory. It’s absolutely heinous to attempt to squint my eyeballs to see. This is the main reason I quit. It’s 2021 fix it!

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Darthbawl

Option to turn off the annoying AF legendary item level up messages. Possibly others.

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Sleepy

I’d definitely like smaller premium houses, thought the Rohan ones were really disappointing – big wooden barns of houses. The Belfalas ones are big marble tombs.

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Michael18

#1 Reincarnation

Let me start over from 1 on the same character. All quest, deed, etc. progress should be cleared.

BUT: once hitting max level again, quests, deeds, etc. from the current run should be merged with the old progress, to make sure nothing is lost.

#2 “Challenge” Modes

When creating a character or upon reincarnation, give me some options to fine tune certain mechanics. For example: all fast travel turned off; slower XP; no auction house access; harder combat (e.g. damage debuff); … Maybe even a perma death option?

While leveling, it should always be possible to opt out, but you cannot turn it back on. If you hit max level with some challenge mode active you get a small reward (e.g. a title, cosmetic gear).

In both cases #1 and #2, the reward should be symbolic, to make sure people who do not want to play that way do not feel forced to do it.

#3 Summary of the story of completed epic quests

Over time, it gets extremely hard to remember the stories, esp. after taking a break. It would be great to get a summary as a reminder, maybe even with pictures of important NPCs. It could also be implemented as a lore encyclopedia that unlocks over time.