Returning to WAR

See, one trouble with LotRO is that it’s good. Not outstandingly good, or even very good. Just good. And it’s solid good, so while any given player can come up with things they’d like to see tweaked, the title is practically free of things that need to be fixed. There’s a ton of space for the game to expand, but not really much room for it to improve.

In isolation, there aren’t very many reasons why anyone wouldn’t want to play LotRO. The problem is that there are actually other games on the market. In comparison to at least a few of them, LotRO offers a more polished and full-featured experience. But what you have in LotRO today is pretty much what you will have next year, or the year after. You’ll just have more of it. Stability appeals to some people, including myself. But I want to be surprised now and then, or even impressed, and I have a very strong feeling that any subsequent content release for LotRO will be good but not surprising or impressive.

Now imagine, say, Vanguard. But imagine it polished to the level of LotRO. When you play Vanguard you can see that game in your mind’s eye, even if you know intellectually that Vanguard will never be that polished. Same with Warhammer and Age of Conan. LotRO set its targets modestly and hit them almost dead on. Vanguard, AoC and WAR set theirs higher, and missed the marks (in Vanguard’s case by quite a lot,) but all three manage to be more fun than Turbine’s otherwise admirable effort.

WAR was one of the titles I had been looking at getting back into. (So was WoW, for the record, although I managed to stab that thought in the face before it sunk its claws into me.) So when earlier this week I signed up for a new trial, I picked LotRO because I could do it for free. But when the idea of a sort-of-free 60 days of WAR hits me, there’s not much of a contest… WAR comes out on top, because LotRO is good, but WAR could be better, and out of the box it’s flatly more fun.

Now the questions are limited to wondering whether the server population and activity balance issues are worked out. I know that CoW relocated to a different server a while back, and I moved my main there (but I don’t recall the name of the server.) Hopefully there is some actual game taking place there. And hopefully the situation where scenarios were the only viable method of character advancement short of pure PvE grinding has resolved itself – there have been a wave of incentives to get people doing open RvR instead of scenarios.

I do have faith that the other major problem in the month after launch, the dire shortage of Order tanks, has resolved itself with the introduction of the Knight of the Blazing Sun. Itemization I always felt was comparatively solid, no matter how many people were whining about it. If all of these issues are indeed resolved, that leaves the failure of city sieges and general endgame RvR as the game’s major issue, and I suspect I can live with that, since I’m nowhere near participating in those anyway, and probably wouldn’t be for a good month or two.

So… tonight I will be installing and patching WAR fresh from disc. I’m not sure I’ll get to play until tomorrow, but I should be back in the saddle pretty shortly.

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4 responses to “Returning to WAR

  1. Two new classes, the new legendary weapons system, the Darkness-Falls-esque PvP dungeon, the revamped trait system. I don’t think you’re looking very hard if you don’t see LOTRO changing.

    But, fun is what is fun to you. 🙂 No one can convince another person that something is fun. I hope you enjoy your time back in Warhammer!

  2. I didn’t say that LotRO isn’t changing – I said that it wasn’t changing in ways that surprised or impressed me. In today’s later post, I called it one of ‘the best-supported, best-developed and most highly regarded titles in the hobby,’ which is the position I’ve maintained on the issue from the very beginning. I do think that the game’s structure and the nature of the licensed source material limits the game in ways that do not affect other titles, but that shouldn’t be taken to mean that I think it’s not an extremely solid title in its own right.

    More importantly, the recent experience has kind of shined up LotRO for me, but I still think it’s fundamentally less fun than WAR, WoW, EQ2 or Vanguard. Mileage may vary, and all that.

  3. As TAGN says, LotRO is ‘nice’.

    Are you going to be playing Order or Destro. CoW Destro is on Monolith, and we are having a damn good time. I think CoW Order are on Badlands, but check the site to make sure.

  4. I haven’t really made the Order/Destro decision yet for this new crack at WAR – but I’ll likely play both to a certain extent. My previous round with WAR was spend mostly on the Order side – I have a character at 22 there, whereas I only got my Destro main to 9. My preference would probably be for Destro, but last time I got frustrated (back on Thorgrim) with scenarios never firing and there being essentially no open RvR going on, even in the RvR PQ that you hit in (I think) Chapter 4. That same PQ was a HUGE amount of fun back in beta, but got totally depopulated in the live game.

    Orderside, my current main is a Bright Wizard, with Ironbreaker and KotBS alts (I will probably pick one or the other of these latter two to push upward with.) Destro-side, I will probably go with Black Orc or Marauder – or possibly Chosen. But I can be counted on to have a lot of additional alts as well.