Riders of Rohan – The Good, The Bad and The Lazy

A month after the launch of Riders of Rohan, there are already people in my kinship who have reached level cap and obtained a set of Hytbold armour. I’m sure you have similar people in your circle of LOTRO friends as well. As for me, I’m taking a more leisurely approach to the expansion although I have recently reached level 81. By and large I am enjoying the new content which is written to  an extremely high standard. It would seem even the most minor quest have an interesting back story to them. However, despite having much to offer, Riders of Rohan still has some negative points. There are still issues with the games performance within the new area and  I’ve also noticed some interesting by products as a result of the changes to the game mechanics.

It is Turbines continued inventive exploration of the lore which is for me one of the best aspects about Riders of Rohan. I have enjoyed the narrative of both the epic and sundry quest lines. They are engaging and creative. I especially enjoyed my time in Cliving. What is going on with Reeve Athelward? I also like the half-assed botched investigation I carried out into the murder of a local apothecary. A sort of Middle-Earth CSI. I loved the way I contaminated the crime scene, jumped to erroneous conclusions and contributed to throwing the wrong person in jail. The way in which the real culprit tipped their hand was about as subtle as a Rhinoceros horn up the backside but it was still immensely enjoyable.

So far levelling and clearing content has been relatively easy. I have not changed any of my armour or jewellery so far and simply replaced my legendary weapons at level 80. My only major acquisition has been a new one handed sword. So far I have done the minimum amount of reading on the subject of Warsteeds and have managed to spec my legendary bridle and my skills tree through common sense. Mounted combat has been manageable so far and I have developed a technique that suits me and delivers the results. Every now and then I will encounter a warband that does prove too difficult but I have often been fortunate in chancing upon others who have the same goals.

So in many respects Riders of Rohan is proving very entertaining. It is refreshingly new and after the drudgery of Rise of Isengard a welcome change. Unfortunately many of the bugs and flaws that were apparent in the beta have ended up in the final release. To be fair Turbine have already released several hot-fixes and are looking into the known issues regarding lag, rubber banding and client crashes but it doesn’t alter the fact that such problems spoil the game-play  The other day I became aware that OOC was constantly displaying variations on a common question. Is such and such a quest bugged? The answer was more often than not “yes”. Quests that can’t be completed can then have a knock on effect on the completion of deeds. Is it a deal breaker? No. Is it a pain in the butt? Yes.

The one thing that looms on the horizon that I am not looking forward to is the rebuilding of Hytbold. There is no other way to reach kindred rep with all the factions and it is that mandatory element coupled with the forty day plus grind that leaves me distinctly underwhelmed. I have been advised by kinmates that when undertaking this content it is best to purchase rep boosters from the in-game store . That in itself is worrying to hear. To be confronted by content so tedious even the most hardcore players are recommend spending money to avoid it is not a good thing. I would also simply like to mention The Beacon Of Eaworth daily repeatable quest. That is certainly not going to be a crowd pleaser.

Finally, I have written in the past of how the move towards solo friendly content reduces the necessity to group. LOTRO to a degree seems to have a community that bucks that trend. However the introduction of open tapping despite its benefits seems to contribute to this issue. What I have found recently is a tendency among some players to simply slipstream others and then leech off their hardwork.  Recently I ventured into Wyrmdelf and was offered a standard selection of kill quota quests. As I made my way round the cave system I became aware of another player hovering behind me. It quickly became clear that they were not really contributing to the fight and were simply tagging my targets so they could benefit from my endeavours. The fact that it was a Dwarf is neither here nor there. Now the good thing is for every lazy player like this there are those who genuinely help and pitch in. Sometimes polite words are even exchanged. However, the idea of grouping up is now even less of a consideration.

I have always played other games than LOTRO and therefore always have the option of moving on to something else when I either run out of content or am confronted with something I do not wish to do. Overall I think the Riders of Rohan is a good expansion and I do not regret its purchase. I even bought a cosmetic set or armour for my Warsteed, although it was mainly so I could checkout the associated cash grab that Turbine has turned this aspect of the game into. It is things like this along with the bugs and glitches that takes the edge of the expansion for me. I am fortunate that I have managed to adapt to mounted combat but not everyone has been so fortunate. I still see a lot of people riding regular mounts and fighting on foot. It will be very interesting to see what will be on offer in the next raid cluster and how much mounted combat will be involved.


9 thoughts on “Riders of Rohan – The Good, The Bad and The Lazy

  1. Adam says:

    Your Dwarf hate will find you out Sir, we are on to you, one of these days your pyjama wearing Loremaster, will need a proper class and race to save his bacon, and they won’t be there! We are counting these dwarf jibes up, and putting them in a little khuzdul book, be wary! Ha!

    On a more serious note, we have noticed a reverse effect with the open tapping, people are being really good with the mobs. Even down to people tagging warbands, then kiting them whilst calling other folks in to tap them too, before they killed them. Even on quests, people have been great at working together. No one was more shocked than me, I perhaps underestimated the good folks on Eldar, but I didn’t have them down as hippy types., Perhaps I was wrong.

    Athelward is a weirdo isn’t he, I found the Norcrofts at bit long, but I liked the Wold, and loved Entwash Vale. We are also taking our time, about 83 at the moment, and just a few hubs ahead of you by the sound of things. We haven’t found anything bugged yet, but there are a few quests and deeds, that have some specific requirements, or require specific prerequisites, which it does not mention, and a lot of folks seem to keep saying these are bugs when they are not, just badly structured content… the loremaster in East Wall can be like that, if you enter from a different direction.

    The rubberbanding, lag, and general engine performance really wants sorting though, its bloody stupid quite frankly, They really need to take stock and opimise their engine, but I can’t see it to be honest.

  2. roselindea says:

    There is an alternative to the in-game store for the reputation acceleration (which DOES help cut the grind of all four reputation factions). Visit a local skirmish camp (there is one in snowborne) then the curiosities barterer. That person has reputation acceleration that does not require any monetary investment. You can get the same type of thing in game for a handful of skirmish marks.

  3. Kris Fruin says:

    I have enjoyed Rohan immensely. I admittedly blew through a bunch of the content and abused a couple of 100% EXP gain times, task resets and some AH task purchases to accelerate the levelling to reach 85. Along the way, however, I still was very engaged in the are story quests and Epic.

    I have two more characters that I will level through, but at a more leisurely pace. Right now I advanced their Epics to the Merry and Pippin instance and they have their warsteds.

    My main is now doing Hybolt and does have 4/6 of one Hybolt set. This was obtained over ~9 days after hitting level 84. I am not too fussed about getting my rep up too quickly now with rep accelerators as I am planning on building all of Hybolt. This means that I have plenty of time to get my rep and collect the tokens required.

    The skirmish camp rep accelerator is a nice tip, however

  4. Jonathan Baron says:

    LOTRO presents such a challenge to its developers because it has two tough to please core audiences: the people who believe the source material is on par with either the Iliad or even the Bible, and people who want a challenging online game.

    The former have seen the story line played out in their minds (if they read) or in a movie series – created to the highest production standards we know – more times than they’d readily admit. Yet they’re emotionally moved to see scenes played out yet again by tiny animated figures – often with rings hovering over their heads – on a computer screen.

    The latter – more and more a minority – enjoy (or endure) the extremely choreographed gaming scenarios (kill these bad guys first, those bad guys second, stand here, use this skill but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD don’t use *that* skill on *this* monster) that have become the accepted standard of so-called endgame content in the genre.

    Nonetheless I have thoroughly enjoyed Riders of Rohan, And I consider the LOTRO community the best in online gaming today. Turbine is not Blizzard. It has some first rate developers but is not – given its new “alien masters” – likely to become a first rate one. That it shipped with so many critical and fatal bugs despite having the most experienced and competent had of QA in the industry speaks to their limitations and the pressures they were under.

    Good thing they were granted an extra five weeks at the end.

    Mounted Combat was a risk. Developers in the genre rarely take risks. But once people learned to level (yes, even the horses level in RoR) their war steeds, and if they had high end computers with solid network connections, many have found it nothing but fun. It would BEG for a PvP arena if not for the technical issues.

    Open tapping – a fancy term for how every online game worked when the genre was new – has had, as you noted, it’s good and ugly moments. As anyone playing Guild Wars 2 has experienced, to their dismay in many cases, the group that fights together does not stay together usually. Group combat was once the trigger and the glue of online gaming communities. Yet LOTRO, with its multiple and often tedious layers of courtship and consent prior to any group play in the past, needed something with less friction.

    It’s a fine game. Yet the moment some fool coined the term, MMO, they couldn’t have known they’d placed the genre in a peculiar and frustrating prison. I think it’s served it time and needs to be paroled and soon.

    Thank you for your thoughtful analysis.

  5. Roger Edwards says:

    “Turbine is not Blizzard. It has some first rate developers but is not – given its new “alien masters” – likely to become a first rate one.”

    I think you have hit the nail squarely on the head with that point.

    Thanks for an interesting and measured reply.

  6. Jonathan Baron says:

    Sorry for the wall of text. I included line breaks but they were deleted, alas.

  7. Rinvan says:

    I got to 85 on my RK last week & did the Hytbold dailies just once. There is no way I will grind out the tokens needed to rebuild the town. My endgame will be in the “new” Moors.

  8. Jonathan Baron says:

    I was of your opinion, Rinvan, as it’s so completely backward for a multiplayer game. Only the people who conduct the rebuilding get to see their handiwork. So what’s the point?

    1. Some people simply enjoy the notion. In a game that presents perhaps the thickest firewall of any between players and the world, this is the one influence they can have on it…..for them 😉

    2. There are some deeds involved which give large Hybolt token bonuses and many are buying armor for multiple characters.

    3. And, as strange as this sounds, some of even the saner and rational of people really think having the title Thane of Hybolt is cool.

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