I’m glad to see a pretty continual stream of information from the Turbine staff (still not the topic I really want) and the MyLotro site has seemed to provide a pretty good mechanism for them to do it.  These two were posted over on A Casual Stroll to Mordor with a pretty good breakdown of the news.  Two main pieces of information – one concerning horses which I think the CStM folks covered pretty well but it is the other piece that was more interesting to me.

This piece comes from Orion on his blog, Orion’s belt where he discussed the issue of completing the epic quests.  Previous diaries have confirmed that Volume 2 Book 9 will use the skirmish technology such that you can choose the group size (or solo) that you want to complete the book with.  When this announcement was made, I was really hoping they could apply that to the Volume 1 content as well, which was agreed might be an option down the line.  Here’s my post on that topic – Made of Lions forum comments. However, Orion’s looking at another system all together where you can basically “super-size” your toon such that you can handle group content – more power and more morale is added to your toon for that quest.  This almost strikes me as similar to some of the Moria session play sequences where we played as a dwarf who had similar skills but much higher morale and power.

So to me it seems like Skirmishes are the methodology for the future but to make them work retroactively is challenging and that’s why Orion (or whichever did the work that Orion posted) came up with their idea as the content and mobs don’t change we’re just given a boost.

Overall, I really like the concept here – catching up on book quests can be a HUGE pain.  I’m currently doing it on my warden in Volume 1 and solo’d up to 7.8, but then needed help.  I duo’d up through book 12  and I believe that’s where I needed a couple others to help out.  I’m currently at 14.1 and will probably need a few to knock out books 14 and 15.

I’d much rather them do things this way as opposed to what they did with Book 1 in that they made it super easy.  Now I understand that having book 1 be as hard as it was off the bat probably wasn’t the best idea – what I mean is that I’d prefer that they continue to have challenging content with an option to complete it on your own if that’s your preferred style.  For on level and on-time content I don’t think these changes should apply but for content that’s a book or two (or in this case an expansion or 2) behind it should be modified such that it is easier to catch up.  They’ve done a good job of allowing “catch-up” points such that you could start a current book without completion of the previous one in many cases, but you’re still missing out on content.  And in most of these cases, we’re not doing the quests for the loot – we’re doing it to get caught up on the story so there’s really not any gameplay impact to others that did the content right off the bat.

So kudos to Turbine for not only looking at this problem but providing a few ways to help mitigate it.  I don’t want a solo MMO, but if you’re rolling an alt, or just get behind, these methods will make it much easier to catch back up with friends or just other players.