Time marches on, and with it, progress. Sure, we can get cynical in MMOs and say that everything’s gone downhill since “the good ol’ days,” but past that sophmoric statement is the truth that these games do improve and we become accustomed to these improvements to the point where we don’t even remember how it used to be.
The other day I was thinking of how far Lord of the Rings Online has come and how I’m really glad that we’ve gotten rid of some of the older systems and features to make gameplay more enjoyable. So here are five featues that I’m glad we no longer suffer in LOTRO!
1. Manual looting
One of the best and most recent changes to the game (well, recent as of a year ago?) is that all defeated mob loot goes straight into our backpack without needing to manually loot it. It wasn’t that this was a huge pain to do, but sometimes the subtle sparkles of a lootable corpse got lost amid the clutter, not to mention that you would always have to go to that corpse if you were a long-range DPS class.
I love this now; it’s better than even AOE looting, which is the norm in most MMOs now. I love it so much that playing other MMOs annoys me when it comes time to loot, because I keep thinking of how LOTRO does it and realizing how little manually clicking for loot adds to the experience.
2. Radiance gear
How quickly we forget the travesty of radiance gear, one of Turbine’s most ill-thought-out notions. Having to gun for specific gear just to allow us to enjoy dungeons was remarkably dumb and not popular in the least, and there was much rejoicing when that whole system was trashed.
3. No cosmetic outfits
For about a year following the launch of the game, players did not have any choice regarding their appearance. And because LOTRO’s gear could look — how do I put this? — super-duper goofy, it made for a lot of super-duper goofy people running around Middle-earth.
That all changed on February 13th, 2008, with the addition of the cosmetic system, which was subsequently expanded with a wardrobe later on. I truly believe we take for granted now the ability to not look like some court jester reject unless we choose to be that.
Some day we will tell our astounded children of an era where we couldn’t actually get through the entire epic storyline without hitting hard walls requiring a group of other players to overcome. While it may have been social and befitting the genre to have such moments in the game, in practice it made it nearly impossible to progress unless you could find a bunch of other people who were at the exact same stage of the quest chain — or who took pity on you. So glad that this was revamped to make the epic story soloable.
5. A mapless Old Forest
Getting completely lost in the maze of the mapless Old Forest was a genuine LOTRO rite of passage, and the only entry on this list that makes me a little sad to see gone. Oh, I’m glad it’s gone nonetheless, because that area was stupid hard without printing off a map to use (and you’d have to go in the Old Forest for several deeds). But… yeah, it made for one of those memories that’s fun to talk about how much we hated it years later.