So I’ve taken some time to read over the posts I mentioned the other day and instead of summarizing I thought I’d cherry pick a bit and talk about my thoughts on what we know and what I think might happen going forward.
So lets start with Enedwaith, which as I learn more about I’m getting pretty excited about it. The map below (from the Massively article)
does show off a pretty fun looking zone and since we know the zone is bigger then the North Downs that’s quite a bit of content. From this image (assuming its correct) not only is it a big area it is also quite diverse and should prove to be a nice change from the dreariness of Mirkwood. Sure it is level 62-65 content but there will be stuff to do for us 65s and it will also provide an alternate leveling path. Now there is some debate on the new dungeons or skirmishes, either way it should prove interesting. Honestly I’m hoping it is dungeons very similar to how they did book 8 of Volume 2 with a couple of 3-man instances as part of the epic line and maybe a skirmish or two. Especially if they can provide some good rewards for the instances such that they provide repeatable content. Shockingly I’m actually looking forward to another reputation faction to work towards as I really do enjoy the rewards they’ve been providing of late. My main hope is that there’s some more crafting options like the massive update with Mirkwood that not only provide cosmetic value but true end-game value as well.
Possibly the most exciting news from my perspective is the scaling instances as this not only gives us more content but it sheds some light on the new technology coming down the pipe. I’m not sure how this will work and am so waiting for JWBarry’s “Novel” on these changes (he was quite integral in the skirmish system). And in case you missed the update, these won’t scale by people just the level – so you’ll still need the same number of players but can scale things to different levels. So you could run Fornost scaled up to level 65, but it would still require 6 people – I’m just using Fornost as an example as I know many don’t do this instance and would personally love to go back in there. I have no clue how they’re going to handle loot from these “scaled” instances but I think there are all sorts of options. They could just pull the on-level loot table or they could employ the skirmish system in there, or they could go in a totally different direction. My only request is that for the love of god they don’t implement another barter system 😉
And finally, my thoughts on the Turbine store. I think the biggest thing here is we really don’t know too much about it yet so I’m really holding my thoughts on it until we see it for real, or at least the developer diaries on it. I’m trying to not focus on the details but the general concepts, and so far I really like what I see. Sure there’s lots to be flushed out, but that’s what beta’s for and I’m quite confident things will take shape and work out in the end. It is a little ironic that I posted on Power Leveling and they shortly afterwards mentioned virtue purchases via the store. I’m still at tad torn on the whole idea of buying advancement but I think I’m leaning towards the comments the CStM folks had on Episode 42 in that this will help make the folks we group with that much stronger. Not to mention that I really don’t want to grind valor, zeal, and innocence on my alts 🙂 So yes, the “young kids” might have it easier then use old folks who had to trudge up the hill both ways in the snow to get their deeds done, but I’m quite content to get alts raid ready quicker. And for me, that’s really what I care about – end-game content and enjoying it, which is not only me playing it but having competent folks to run that content with. Now yes, this is a bit of a slippery slope but as long as there’s nothing in the store that isn’t available in game, I think I’m ok with it. Think is probably the key word there as my perception may change as they introduce new things, but I’m basing this solely on deeds.
My final word is for those of you lucky enough to get into the beta, latch on to what you care about and be vocal on the forums. Also try to see the game from someone who’s never played before as that will really help improve the Turbine Store and all of our enjoyments of the game. This really needs to be tested from all sorts of angles and play-styles so whatever you enjoy in the game you can contribute to a successful launch. Oh and whatever you do don’t do something stupid like blab about being in beta – Turbine’s pretty serious about their NDA so don’t talk about stuff from the beta nor tell anyone you’re in the beta.