by: Tony “RadarX” Jones
The first major content release, Shores of Evendim, is right around the corner and one of the more interesting features they are adding is a 24 man raid. In the Misty Mountains you and tons of your friends will be able to take on the dragon Thorog. Now having done a little bit of raiding myself (no I don't raid 6 nights a week) this subject interests me to no end.
What stands out immediately is there are no large scale raids in game right now, which means there weren't many in development. I do understand Turbine is trying to distance themselves from the norm as much as they possibly can but no serious raid content? Does that mean there is no raiding end game? Is it just instances? I'm scared...hold me.
Jeff Steefel, Executive Producer of Lord of the Rings Online, was recently asked by Eurogamer what he thought about raiding as a mechanic. He stated:
“You always have to have challenges, and we talk about the concept of "elder-game" all the time in the MMO business, and what it's going to be. All it means is that I really want to keep having fun. Whatever level I'm at and no matter how much stuff I've acquired, I want to go in and I want to have fun. So our focus is on making sure we're thinking about every person in the game and giving them cool stuff to do, and raids are always going to be a part of that.”
The elder game (which isn't a trendy term by the way) is at least being acknowledged as a necessary component but this statement doesn't provide specifics of what it means. Who is going to be hurt this most if this play style is ignored?
Some people just have to excel. The Lex Luthor's of the Massive Multiplayer Online world, these folks have to squeeze every last drop of efficiency out of their characters. Concerned about DPS (damage per second) to the point a 5% drop will have them throwing a Paris Hilton tantrum about a nerf, they know every aspect of their class. I don't fit into this category myself, I go to these type of people when I want to get better. They give advice after ridiculing me for referring to my weapons as “pokey things” and abilities as “clickies.”
Raid content in every MMO tends to drop the best equipment available. This means any and everyone wants it, but min/maxers want it just that more. The additional healing, the extra damage, more criticals, the POWER! *cue lightning and thunder* You can't just give away the best gear, it has to be earned through difficult encounters or a number of challenges.
A much large demorgraphic of players consist of the end gamers. These are people who have either leveled quickly or have been playing since launch and dedicated themselves to seeing everything Lord of the Rings Online has to offer. They want the continual challenges raiding can provide and will tire of the same old single group instances over and over.
Raid content also provides another level of play for those close to burn out. They've done all the instances, completed all the quests, gotten all the gear they need, what is left? What is keeping them from boredom? Raids. Banding together with mobs of people in order to take down a large encounter. To some it's intoxicating, to others it beats sitting around looking for a fellowship to make an instance run.
The actual size of player demographic who claim raiding as their primary play style is unknown. What we do know is every game has it, and most people expect it. I look forward to how Turbine will handle this delicate mechanic and what raid content will be developed in the future. Keep an eye out for Shores of Evendim and the first 24 man raid coming this month and I look forward to the first Champion to be slapped for screaming “More dots.”
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Lord of the Rings Online Game Page.