LotRO: Helm’s Deep nixes versatility
If you’re looking for an indepth post on what all is new in Helm’s Deep this isn’t it. Sorry.
One of my biggest concerns with Helm’s Deep was the upcoming ‘class revamps’. I felt this way when Orion (?) announced he was reworking the Lonelands zone and found myself pleasantly surprised at the revamp. No, I take that back. I went from loathing the Lonelands to absolutely enjoying the heck out of it. It flowed well, the stories made more sense … I actually had fun on that map for the first time ever! Same with the Moria revamp. It blew me away how much better the revamp was than the original. The class revamps? Here’s where I absolutely MUST say there are people who do LOVE the class changes. I am not one of them, however, because, in my opinion, they killed my Captain.
I should also add that the only class I put on Bullroarer for the beta was my Captain, Condi.
Captains have always been a class of utility, so versatile we can fill several roles in one fight if the need calls. I’ve never traited specifically for tanking on my Captain but that never stopped me from tanking bosses in (Moria) dungeons. Matter of fact, when I first started running group content with my Captain I thought the reason I was asked was my buffing ability only. Turns out they’d seen me play and thought I’d complement the rough-and-tumble-charge-in-and-see-what-happens group play style they had. It worked and we rocked. I ran red line on Condi but had no problems being a back up healer, buffer, dpser, tank when I had to … All that’s different now. The trait tree system forces us (all classes) into one of three specialised roles. The Captain can choose from Tank, DPS or Healer. I wasn’t able to attend the last couple of beta events but as of the last beta I was in, you’re penalized if you try and cross-spec, or in other words, slot any traits outside of the tree you’re working on. I really hope this is something that changes but if I’m understanding things correctly, that’s not an intended focus?
If I want to just DPS I’ll roll a champ.
Another thing I didn’t like was the power drain. I always keep pots on Condi but she doesn’t use many power pots unless it’s a super long drawn out fight. I used several on Bullroarer and, in all honesty, I didn’t do a ton of fighting. There’s a new skill for Captains where you can target someone for a buff that looks like the LM disco floor skill with a tornado-like animation thrown in for good measure. I don’t remember the name of this skill, just that I honestly thought about unslotting it so I’d never accidentally use it. The animations for that skill from the great big colored circle on the ground to the tornado looking effect borders on the obscene for me. I don’t want more flashes and glowy bits. Leave that to the Rune-Keeper class, please. What about that screams Captain?? Captains are leaders of men, not circus acts.
I feel my versatility is gone. Captains, as leaders of men, should wear many hats. Not be forced into a ‘one size fits all’ job. Some are saying the new trait system will open up numerous builds and give MORE versatility. If there isn’t already a post somewhere telling folks how to slot for the best build for each tree, betting there will be soon. I think a lot of folks will gravitate towards that ‘best build’, too. My favorite two classes to play are Captain and Lore-Master, two classes built on utility and versatility. That’s out the window as we know it now.
What did I like? The scenery is gorgeous! The artwork continues to astound and Helm’s Deep has the most beautiful sky I’ve ever seen in game. I did some of the Epic (working on helping the townsfolk prepare to leave as of my last beta visit) and it felt very LotRO-ish. Watching Gandalf break Grima’s hold over King Theoden was cool. The side or landscape questing I did also fit in well with what we’ve come to expect from LotRO. There are details in the landscape of Helm’s Deep we haven’t had before and they go far to add to the ambience of area.
Nothing I experienced in the betas made me feel like a hero. I didn’t feel as a part of the epic story as I have in years past. I haven’t tried out the Big Battle System so I can’t comment on those other than to say I have serious concerns about the length of the beta being far too short. Not just for the BBS but for the expansion as a whole. There just wasn’t a lot of time dedicated to testing as beta events ran for a few hours on a few days (the server was open for a few days after each beta but that still doesn’t give for a lot of time to test much on a large scale as there have, IIRC, only been five beta events).
What’s my bottom line?
I honestly don’t know yet. I’ve deleted every single character I have except for Condi my Captain, Ollena my Guardian (both level 85) and my new Lore-Master, a level 12 I think. *queque the dramatic crying here —->* I have Condi standing as near to the spot where Boromir died as I can get her (it’s actually instanced so I’m in the Orc Glade area) and when HD goes live, I think I’m going to drop her in a kneel, log her out and delete her. If I stay in LotRO then I will roll new characters and start them from scratch so I can learn this new class trait-tree system. I don’t see any other way for me to continue playing. I’ve even deleted everything I had in inventories (except on my LM, she wasn’t near a vault and I didn’t want to move her from her spot). I want to see the story through. I want to get to Mordor. I want to see the ring dropped into the fires of Mt. Doom. I want to be standing in Rivendell when the fellowship returns. I’m trying to convince myself that the new system won’t be so bad, that I can get used to it. I’ve been trying to come to terms with this for almost two months now and I’m still struggling with it.
I guess I’ll have to wait and see. I will not be pre-ordering Helm’s Deep nor will I be buying it with TP. IF, and I stress that *if* strongly, I find I can get used to the class changes and enjoy playing, when I get a character leveled up to the content, then ok.
Anyone know if they’ve fixed it so that when you change trait-tree specs you’re skills aren’t just dumped willy-nilly into your skill bars? And have they lowered the cost of housing storage? I had 50-60 gold on Condi (best I recall) and couldn’t afford to buy the amount of storage I’d had previously in my deluxe houses …. in_freaking_sane.