LOTRO’s raiding controversy

There’s a bit of tense discussion over on LOTRO’s forum and wider blog community about the endgame and the shift away from raiding as the main challenging group content. This has been stirred up by Turbine staffer comments that raiders are a small minority of players in the game.It’s an interesting issue although not one that’s easy to answer in a simple blog post.

The comment does specify that this is a long-term issue, not a recent thing, so in theory the lack of raid-style content for over a year hasn’t caused a sudden collapse in the raid-going playerbase. So the issue behind this is should devs spend time to develop content for a minority of the players? I think there’s a danger in driving new content development solely on player activity metrics. MMORPGs as community gaming need a wide-set of activities and a varied playerbase to function. If the games over specialise I think they lose much of their appeal.

As a parallel but different example, take Blizzard dropping (heroic) dungeon development during the Mists expansion. For me over the years playing Warcraft the ‘endgame’, other than rolling a succession of characters to level, was playing dungeons with friends. Raiding isn’t the same experience at all I would argue so Blizzard’s decision to stop dungeon development in favour of “looking for raid” pug raiding was a really bad one in my opinion. It might be that I was part of a minority who preferred small group content to raiding lite but it still felt like the devs were snubbing me.

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So although I’m not a raider I can well understand the frustration of LOTRO’s raiding community that the game they have played for years has veered off in a different direction, one where challenging multi-group content doesn’t feature anymore. In another parallel the promised housing update for LOTRO was delayed yet again – this is minority content but important to a segment of players.

How much do MMO developers need to cater to the various sub-communities in their games to keep the wider community intact and happily playing the game? Can an MMO prosper just producing majority content?

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6 Responses to LOTRO’s raiding controversy

  1. couillon says:

    I don’t know why Sap responded with that comment without any context or methodology to explain the % number that he quotes. Lotro’s raiding woes is part of a more systematic problem… that is a lack of interesting dynamic content.
    **How much do MMO developers need to cater to the various sub-communities in their games to keep the wider community intact and happily playing the game?**No one should be catered too, thats just asking for atificial divisions and a hostile community. I would like to see developers asking “why” gamers participate in “X” activity and then work backwards from there to create content.

  2. PlaidElf says:

    I was with you on enjoying five man heroics and that small group content more than the LFR. I like LFR but I’d much rather have seen new heroic five mans than say Timeless Isle as a catch up mechanism. Scenarios and Heroic scenarios also haven’t been great for me since I liked tanking and nobody wants a tank. Ideally it would be nice if an MMO could at least manage a little something for every flavor of interest. I wouldn’t want them to do away with raider content to give me those 5-mans I wanted, but surely there should be some way they could bring that back? Because in general it stinks being the part of the playerbase whose favorite thing falls by the wayside.

  3. tsuhelm says:

    LOTRO veers off course and ends up being an MMOlite… I think such a lightweight beast is possible in practice but converting one of the oldest MMO’s with a famous community into one sounds a little risky… and if that is the intention then TURINE should put their cards on the table and say so…(er right!)

    I wish MMO developers did not develop to cater to their community, I wish they just produced the game they want to and see if there is a public for it…

    But I suppose real world factors such as revenue will always prevent this…

  4. taltoz says:

    You gotta love how turbine try to blind us with statistics, of course raiding accounts for only a tiny fraction of the whole gameplay experience in LOTRO.
    Especially when you factor in the 100’s of hours of questing each character goes through to be eligible to join this prestigious group of level capped stalwarts. Not to mention all the turbine points invested on quest packs and expansions on the journey to the summit.
    And then when these heady height’s are within spitting distance, there is the inevitable periods of thumb twiddling before entering because player x needs to go potty and player y wants to bring a different character.
    Then it happens , 30-40 minutes of raiding after which the content in question becomes locked away for another week.
    What then ?
    Roll another character and start all over again, which of course reduces the raiding factor even further. 😠

  5. Pasduil says:

    One thing we need to be clear about it is that in the LOTRO debate, what was being talked about were not just raids in the strictest definition, i.e. just content for 12+ players, with multiple bosses, and taking many hours to run.

    What Sapience referred to were traditional instance clusters, i.e. bunches of related instances with some for a group of 3 players, maybe some for 6, maybe one for a bigger group.

    I think the latter affects a lot of people that don’t consider themselves raiders.

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