Say good-bye to the bad guy. No, not Tony Montana, not Ricky,
Julian and Bubbles. The bad guy in this case is radiance, a game
mechanic introduced to the Lord of the Rings Online with the Mines of
Moria expansion in 2008, which was, according to Allan "Orion" Maki
(among others), a good idea poorly executed.
Radiance was supposed to be a statistic that had both appeal
and function for players. We wanted to not only itemize this statistic,
but also tie it into skills and deed paths. We wanted to provide
players with more character customization and differentiation as they
moved into the upper portions of the game. Further, by tying Radiance
more intimately into the progression of the character, we wanted to
remove strict gear dependencies and provide a more encompassing and
meaningful statistic for characters. In essence, the idea of Radiance
was a large and inclusive statistic that provided players with
something functional and inherently desirable to their character.
The intent was there. The desire was there. We knew what we
wanted to do and we knew that it was not a bad idea. [...] Our
intentions were good. We wanted to do something new for the game and
not create a new grind mechanic that ultimately resulted in running the
same content over and over to acquire a key.
Of course, what happened with the actual implementation of
radiance was pretty much the opposite. Radiance did not "remove strict
gear dependencies" but actually enforced them. Character customization
was nearly nil - you either had radiance gear or you didn't do the
raids, and very specific, class-restricted sets were needed for the
really challenging stuff, so all end-game characters of the same class
had more or less identical gear, with (usually) minor differences in
jewelry and legacies on legendary items. And getting the gear was
pretty much the very definition of "grind" - before Siege of Mirkwood,
players could run one of the Moria radiance instances literally dozens
of times before ever winning the roll for the piece. After SoM, the
grind was rather more pronounced - players would run the very same
instance (Grand Stairs for the Moria set, Sword-halls for the Mirkwood
set) over and over and over until enough barter tokens were accumulated
to get the needed pieces.
Well, Turbine is big enough to admit when they make mistakes.
2: Radiance Removal Developer Diary is more or less an
apology letter to players, and an explanation as to why it was ever
implemented in the first place and why it is finally being removed for
the next major update.
One thing not discussed in the dev diary - it is implied but
not stated outright - is that radiance has very simply been stripped
from the armor sets that formerly had it. The attribute is just gone,
and nothing has been put in to replace it. This dramatically changes
the relative merit of some armor sets - the Moria Great Bow set for
Hunters, for example, is pretty juicy and is better in most ways
(except for armor rating and a few other relatively minor stats) than a
lot of the newer, higher-level armor sets. With radiance no longer a
deciding factor, many Hunters will probably be switching back to the
Great Bow set for its overall superior stats.
Players can experience a radiance-free Middle Earth on the
Bullroarer beta server, which has been running since February 9 and
showcases most of the changes detailed in the latest roll-out of dev
diaries - at least, in beta form.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Lord of the Rings Online Game Page.