The news about Trion’s sale and mass layoffs on Monday left me with a sad, numb feeling. I genuinely liked that studio and loved how it championed MMOs through and through. While there’s always the possibility that it will be business as usual for RIFT and the rest, there are no guarantees but there is plenty of worry to be had.
That’s why yesterday’s surprise news of LOTRO’s progression servers was very welcome indeed. Sometimes you need good news to counter the bad, even if they aren’t related, you know? Skipping quickly past the shaky wisdom of calling these servers “Legendary Worlds” — why in the world LOTRO would want to draw comparisons to the maligned legendary item system is beyond me — the gist of this is that a fresh start server is coming this fall that will initially cap at the end of Shadows of Angmar content and then expand at a rate of every four months. It’s very much like what Daybreak does with EQ and EQ2, which is undoubtedly where LOTRO got this idea.
I am really thrilled at this news. I’ll look at the larger picture this weekend in my LOTRO column at Massively OP, but today I want to just look at me. Man, I am dashing! In all seriousness, I really have been championing the idea of a progression server for this game for years now. I think there’s so much content here that it was a perfect candidate for this, and considering how popular recent classic and progression servers have been, I would say it’s a good move.
Not everyone’s happy with it, but I am. The main appeal here is to level up through the game from start to finish with the whole community. That’s something you can’t get on the live servers, as everyone is strung out across their long leveling journey or bunched up at the level cap. If you start over, you tend to start alone unless you can find a “Slowtro” leveling group to be with. It’s as good of an excuse as any to roll up an alt, which is something I actually did Monday night with the intent of finally getting a Hobbit up to the cap.
A fresh start server has other appeal. It’s a clean slate where progression can be measured in more than just levels, but outfits, houses, toys, mounts, deeds, and so on. It’s a massive mountain of content, but one that everyone will climb together and at roughly the same pace.
I’m keeping in mind the initial excitement of the RIFT Prime server experiment and my eventual drifting away from that, and I can’t deny that possibility. Life is busy and there are always other games vying for attention. But LOTRO has a few advantages over RIFT with me, such as a more cohesive world, a more dedicated history, a main personal story, and shrews.
As we wait for more concrete details about the server, including an actual start date, I will be formulating my plan. For starters, I have a few ideas as to a class and race, but I’m not 100% committed just yet. Human Captain and Hobbit Hunter are duking it out in my psyche, but we’ll see. Then there is some investigation into seeing if my guild will form a progression server chapter, and if not, what I’ll do for an immediate community.
In any case, this announcement has ratcheted up my already blooming excitement for LOTRO as I’ve been playing more lately. We’ll see what SSG has to say and go forward from there.