Why LOTRO Could Use Dynamic Content (and why it won’t get it)

May 30, 2012

Opinions

A Ranger in need

I haven’t played Rift yet. I mean to at some point, as it has one of those endless free trial type deals, I just haven’t had the time. What appeals to me about Rift is not the “souls” aspect which allows you to basically swap classes at any point, nor the character design (which I’m not crazy about, honestly), but the main selling point: rifts. These planar rifts provide, I’m told, waves of bad NPCs to enter into the game world proper, at random intervals, and attempt to take over the world. This is very cool because it puts some element of dynamism into the game: you don’t know where the bad guys are going to be at any point in time, it’s always different, always creating new challenges.

LOTRO had a chance at this kind of exciting content. The first reason is obvious: in the Middle-earth of the books, Orcs and other baddies are constantly and consistently trying to ruin the civilization of Free People in the world. The great task of the Rangers for centuries was tending to the bounds of the free lands of Bree and the Shire which, as Strider said of Barliman Butterbur of the Prancing Pony, “live within a day’s march of foes that would freeze his heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly”. I doubt very much that these forces spent their time standing in place, babbling at each other, instead of actively pursuing the deaths of their sworn enemies.

In occupied territory (such as Angmar, Dunland, Moria, Mirkwood and the like) it is hard to imagine there not being patrol groups roving around, looking for all these adventurers who are out causing trouble. But, no, they’re just kind of sitting around, with a few exceptions.

Besides all of this, it appears Turbine attempted to add some dynamic moments to the landscape in past updates. First, there is the example of the Ranger in the North Downs, just south of Esteldin on the Rhunenlad side, who seems to be injured. He yells at you to “Stay away! Stay away!” but of course you go to help the poor soul, only to be ambushed by Earth-kin giants. It’s an unexpected encounter and one, I think, that’s fairly unique within LOTRO. In Forochel and Annuminas there are ‘Battlegrounds’, small bits of the landscape that can be taken from the enemy, similar to control points, like Keeps, in the Ettenmoors. Once you clear out all of the enemies the icon the map turns blue and friendly NPCs come out and give you quests. It’s nice but far from essential; there is no motivation to free the area save for a little extra experience and minor quest rewards. Oh, and if Annuminas is free then players across the Evendim zone get some kind of experience booster, which is nice. Still, there is the thrill of battle and conquest but it seems most of us players don’t see the need to go out of our way for this, unless it moves our XP bar. Understandably so.

What if this was expanded? What if actual quest hubs and other areas could be captured and occupied by the Enemy, forcing players to work together to expel the ever-present darkness that seeks to consume our Middle-earth? Imagine, if left undefended for a good while, a place like the Chamber of the Crossroads, or Adso’s Camp in Bree-land or Echad Eregion being overrun by Orcs and Wild Men, with a level 75 elite boss there overseeing it all? High level players would have to swoop in and save the day so the rest of us could go on questing; it would inspire greater movement and interaction amongst players, create some potential high level reward opportunities or a new game system in-and-of itself (remember Bounties?). All it would take is an expansion of the current system that is in Forochel and Evendim. Put it on the landscape, randomize the attack times, allow it to get progressively more severe when left unchecked by the playerbase. Of course, keeping it level-appropriate would be agreeable too; think of level 15-ish players banding together to retake the Old Greenway Fort.

Now, why will we not get this? Why not have such dynamic and lore appropriate encounters? Because that’s just not the kind of game LOTRO is. Much of the more dangerous aspects of LOTRO have been muted since the initial release of Shadows of Angmar. Think of the fate of the Old Forest and much of the group content of the Lone-lands; the ‘soloification’ of the epic books and Legendary Trait quests; and multiple other examples. LOTRO has, largely to appease its fan base, become a very easy and solo friendly game. Is there anything intrinsically wrong with this? Of course not. Many people who come to LOTRO, like myself, simply want to experience Middle-earth and that is a fine thing. We don’t often have time to really sink our teeth into lengthy quests and instances, so it is a boon to be able to pop in, say “Hullo” to Middle-earth, and log out.

But how many opportunities have been sacrificed on the altar of friendly gameplay, making a very dangerous world into a mildly challenging one? An interruption to the questing process and casual play for casual players by dynamic orc raids would go far in upsetting an excitable community. There will be those who laud it, but exponentially more people will find it irritating at best. To those people, I would say think of the adventure! How much more exciting would our play sessions be, to log in and not know what new developments have happened with the war? The current state of these types of battles is piteous: Fearn, that large hill in southern Dunland, for example, is apparently where a large battle between the Rohirrim and Dunlendings is taking place. But this “battle” has been reduced to little more than a few NPCs whacking one another with swords. We need an injection of something new into the fearsome places of Middle-earth, even it means the creation of a new server type (unlikely).

There has been some speculation that we will see dynamic encounters in Rohan with the implementation of mounted combat. It was said in an interview that a player can expect to be out riding on the vast green plains and see smoke on the horizon. Lo, a settlement of Rohirrim is under attack by warg riders! And off we go to stop the fiends. How dynamic this will be remains to be seen but it is a promising notion and one that will hopefully be put into other parts of Middle-earth.

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About shipwreck

shipwreck is a family man, reader, writer, and gamesman. He can be found in LOTRO on the Elendilmir server and keeps a personal blog at The Last Ship where the words are always guaranteed.

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40 Responses to “Why LOTRO Could Use Dynamic Content (and why it won’t get it)”

  1. Nyrydin Says:

    I am quite in agreement that adding more dynamic content, more surprises would add another dimension to the adventure. Heck, even just having some ambushes along the roads at the boundary between free lands and occupied places would be good. You are riding on a supposedly secure road between two locations held by the free people when BAM a party of orcs attacks you and you must fight for your life.

    But there was one question that you left out of your article: the lore. Turbine has been doing a nice job trying to keep as close than possible to the lore, considering that this is a game. If scores of servants of the Eye or Agmar suddenly overran Bree-Town, or burned down the Old Forest or even began invading the Elven cities of Ered Luin, that would go against the lore, thus piss off a large part of the playerbase.

    The respect that Turbine has of the lore more or less prevents them from adding much, if any, dynamic content in the regions described in detail by the Professor.

    Places like Rohan or Forochel, whom haven’t been described in as much detail that Bree Town or the Shire, give them more freedom, thus would allow for more dynamic content, more surprises. Rohan is said to have been udner the attacks of the Enemy and Saruman’s troops for a while, and it hasn’t been described that extensively. Thus why they could easily have random encounters in the vast plains, with parties of adventurers going against groups of Wargs, Orcs and the like, bearing the symbol of the White Hand or the Eye.

    I hope, as Turbine works on the ‘peripheral’ regions, that they will make good use of dynamic content tehre, to improve the player’s experience without breaking the lore.

    Reply

    • shipwreck Says:

      Yes, that’s a good point and kind of what I meant when mentioning places like Moria, Eregion, and the North Downs; these are places that, in Turbine’s lore, are under constant threat and it would not upset the lore to make them the sites of battles.

      Thanks!

      Reply

  2. Suzhran (Landroval) Says:

    I Like the idea in principle, but I would concentrate it on the higher level areas, and those were there is a lot of ‘strive’ already, like Mirkwood, Dunland etc. Especially the new River area for instance, everyone is more or less on level cap, so that would be nice and quite possible.

    Reply

  3. DocHoliday Says:

    I’m wondering if the new Rohan content will be similar to this concept – it kinda sounds like it from the initial descriptions and certainly would fit the lore. Here’s hoping as it would be quite fun!

    Reply

  4. susan Says:

    I thought in the next upgrade they were implementing dynamic swarms of mobs, hence the need for a mount and soldier. Did I read that wrong? I think surprises can be a good idea to break up the grind of an area.

    I have played rift and it has many promising aspects including beautiful graphics. The unexpected dynamic events were hair raising and spectacular fun…. at first. I mean, only one day old and I was in more raids then my years at LoTR. It also made grouping a breeze and there was hardly any snobbery, you just joined in, were expected to join in and everyone worked together to kill the mobs. Then disbanded with a handshake.

    It eventually began to pall when you realize that that is basically the game and there was no..home or soul to it like in LoTR. Daily events eventually became normal and no longer surprising or fun.

    I do wish LoTR would incorporate the dynamic events (roaming swarms of elites that need upwards of 50 people to take down) and ease of joining/leaving raids like rift has.

    Reply

  5. Belamanth Says:

    Much as I like the concept, there are points to consider:

    - Today’s high-level areas are your midrange areas (with a much lower player concentration) of tomorrow. Will enough people band together to free a control point, hub, whatever, once the stampede has moved on?

    - If you implement a switch of control of quest hubs – what do you do with people who log out in a seemingly safe area, and control has switched when they log back in?

    You can’t make the “switch point” too important (like a quest hub), because it could turn out to be a frustrating experience for a player who wants to turn in a quest, and can’t summon enough help to take it back. On the other hand, if the “switch point” does not offer any advantage at all, nobody will be interested in them. A good example would be the “switch point” by the gate near the harbour of Annuminas. You can try to take it back, but you can still work your way around it, if you know your way round.

    Turbine has hidden some nice dynamic elements in instances, but has not expanded them, or even enabled level scaling in the existing ones. Battlefield instances in Angmar, Lorien under attack come to mind. I loved those. More of that would be a good thing. The skirmishes, which came later, are much less dynamic, with the only dynamic being the switching of lieutenants, but the rest of the fight being the same every time.

    Reply

    • shipwreck Says:

      Those are some good points to consider. Maybe, if you log off in a place that becomes occupied before you log back in, it could either take you to a retreat circle (without the dread penalty) or some other area outside the camp.

      And that is an issue I’m still thinking about: what if you really must turn in a quest somewhere but can’t get a group together to reclaim the area, especially in off hours? I reckon I’ll leave that to the better qualified game designers :)

      Reply

      • Dragonwitch Says:

        There are certain quests in the Moors that ask you to turn them in to a specific person; however, the quest also offers an alternate NPC to accept your quest should the original location be captured by the enemy. Turbine could enact this as a solution in areas across Eriador and Rhovanion (The camp at the entrance to Limlight Gorge has been overrun? Report to Stangard! Brigands have captured the Dwarven outposts in the Misty Mountains, causing a retreat to Rivendell? Report to Elrond!)

        Reply

  6. Black Llama Says:

    Ultima Online used to do this WAY back in the day. It was great. During random intervals cities and towns would be attacked. Usually at the “bank” which was the main player hub. If everyone banded together and killed off the spawn, nothing happened. However, if they let them sit, they would stay there. Woe be a newbie adventurer that was on at like 3am during the week when a Gazer spawned at Brit. bank and there were no players around to help.

    I would love to see this happen as you described, but it never will. MMO’s have turned from content like this to fashion/title parades. I still enjoy playing, as I like the RPG aspect but the massive/multiplayer portion has been nerfed right out.

    Reply

  7. Andy Says:

    It’s an interesting idea for mmo’s to have dynamic content but the major (for me at least) problem that can arise is that if your server doesnt have a certain population level then the invading force takes over and the game quickly loses any enjoyment from a playability viewpoint.

    I found rift’s invasions to be quite fun, until the first month’s sub ran out for the baying masses who were by then bored of the new shiny and moved on. At that point trying to level became more hassle than it was worth with quest npc’s having been killed by a rampaging horde they were either unwilling or unable to do anything about.

    It was very similar to trying to level anywhere near westfall or the barrens on a wet weekend when all the “uber” kiddies were out needing their epeen stroked by killing npc’s and players 30 odd levels lower than them. To this day I still have very little respect for rogues of either undead or nelf races whether they are any good or not.

    Yes you could have levelled purely off the event mobs but if I wanted to grind I’d be playing more the pure asian mmo types where grinding is king, queen and very probably on a par with whatever deity happens to exists in that particular games universe.

    I think GW2′s events have been handled far far better. Yes there are outposts that can be under attack and contested but you at least have a chance to turn things about if it’s just you as you can “res” the npc’s who will then get stuck back in. Simple yet effective mechanic that helps with the enjoyment factor. It also seems that the npc’s are tied a bit more to locations so aren’t likely to be running wild across the entire map. Could be wrong but I think server hopping might be a lot easier come release as well.

    Dynamic events can be fun and enjoyable but they shouldnt detract from the gameplay or prevent people from enjoying the game. Making them the key mechanic was rifts problem for me. Lotro has them in a way with anuminas and forochel control points but there’s nothing really to gain from having the points, seems like most people dont seem to care much about the fate of forochel.

    I’m not against the idea of having more of these in lotro as long as they have checks in place so that lower population servers arent hammered as a result. Yes you can always transfer servers to a higher pop one but you shouldnt have to swap due to a poorly thought out mechanic. The base is there for quite a few, dourhands striking at thorins hall for example, but in lower areas they couldnt just have the armies of sarnur pour out at sarnur’s level and not expect some sort of player backlash.

    Reply

    • glop Says:

      One way to deal with low player population, would be to be able to ask some npcs not far away for help, and retake the zone with their help.

      Reply

  8. Mhairi Says:

    A suggestion: There’s always the Moors.

    Reply

    • shipwreck Says:

      You’re right on about that, but I (like others) prefer the PVE and open world aspect. I would, however, LOVE to see a PVP server where Monster Players could run free beyond the Ettenmoors.

      Reply

      • Mhairi Says:

        Im also prefer PvE, in my case it’s a game-breaker. I strongly prefer LotRO because of the restrictions to PvP on PvE servers. But I think the predictability of scripted events is part of the price I pay. We won’t get scripted events which don’t seem scripted this side of the holodeck. What isn’t scripted in PvE scripted events is teammates.

        There are scripted events and then there are scripted events. This thread gave me pause and I gave Rift a spin. Rifts are interesting, the scripts themselves are significantly inferior to skirms imho but the ability to attract an ad-hoc team is superb. The problem is the scripts don’t react to changing team composition. Rifts start as soloable, but if they attract a crowd they quickly become trivial. Writing a script to react to changing team composition might border on writing an AI, but as dynamic says, “think of the adventure!”

        Reply

  9. Tony Says:

    I think this should happen regardless of level, honestly. When the cap goes up and the older area is lower level? I just don’t see a problem there. Why not give people of all levels something interesting to do? This adds a layer on top of what’s already there that could benefit everyone… And the plus is that once those new people meet the level cap, they already “get” the system. They’re not just suddenly introduced to it.

    Rift, for example, gives people reason to be in old areas and contribute to the dynamic events. Sure, you can be over-leveled, but you still get something out of it. I think LOTRO can do the same somehow.

    I think this is necessary to make the game age gracefully and stay interesting. I think it’s especially necessary as we go closer to Mordor because the game needs to feel like there is a WAR going on. It doesn’t feel like that now.

    I’m not sure how far the next expansion will go with that… They have talked about those warband groups, but obviously none of us have seen how that’s implemented.

    I really think they should do it, either way. The positives outweigh the negatives, to me.

    Reply

    • Tony Says:

      I think one way to do this, at least with future zones, is to handle it like Limlight or how SWTOR handles it… This part of the map is clearly for groups, where as the other 7/8′s of it is not. Put the warfronts in there or something… It could potentially be enough separation that no one will have to worry about it if they don’t want to.

      Reply

  10. Andy Says:

    Thinking about this a bit more, or about how you could fit this kind of thing into the current game. SWTOR had the rakghoul invasion on tatooine, which almost looks to be their version of the festivals in lotro, and they have a lot of potential. Especially when you add in the virus which may or may not kill you at the most inoportune moment and also spread to other players when you do explode. (reminded me of the hakaar disease before they nerfed it)

    Angmar is more or less hostile territory and yet there’s not a very big threat level to anyone moving about or the camps of the free peoples.

    Moria again is in theory enemy territory and yet the various dwarf camps never feel threatened, despite being surrounded.

    Again mirkwood has camps surrounded by the forces of evil who aren’t that bothered by the enemy setting up a base with all mod cons. Those from EU servers may recall the fun we had back in the final days of codies fighting off GM trolls.

    Imagine a real battle for the 21st hall started by a player completing a random trigger quest or killing a named goblin, first thing the players know of it is the drumming sound echoing through the halls. 5-10 minutes later a warband of goblins spawn in a nearby hallway and start closing in. Outlying dwarven sentries blow warhorns to indicate a significant threat only to be overrun.

    Quest npc’s could either retreat to the bunkers or arm themselves. If injured they’d appear bloodied in a bunker or similar inside area so you could keep questing if you wanted, although escaping would be hard. Other battle based quests could open for bringing in npc reinforcements, bandaging the injured, dowsing fires etc. Relatively minor things that could turn the battle and break from pure combat.

    A lot of this is partly coming from the good old days of AV fights in wow that could last a day or more. If done badly it would end up like the rift gimmick but if thought out and actually implemented well it would be potentially very fun and enjoyable. Maybe a check for player numbers and level within moria to govern the spawn of goblins in the warband so that it doesnt become a painful waste of time, although with enough subquests in play you could turn the battle with a bit of work. If too many high level players turn up then maybe they bring out a cave troll to even things out rather than just pumping out more goblins.

    Nice idea but there’s a lot of checks and balances needed in order to make the experience actually enjoyable and truly dynamic. And they’d probably need to tweak the npc ai a good deal to prevent them doing idiotic things as per usual.

    Reply

  11. Ian Says:

    The kind of a-bit-more-random-in-nature battles, in location as seen in Rift and in behaviour of enemy npc’s in Tera is just way too out there for Lotro.

    It is one of the things which has dated it slightly more so for me, but that’s only because I’ve experienced both games, if i didn’t i wouldn’t be affected at all.

    The main thing that dates lotro for me is not the combat but the ugly distance textures and the variation between loveingly crafted landscapes like bree and the shire, the ugly which havn’t aged well like Angmar and the bad, such as Enedwaiths and much the entire Isengard land mass, lazy, ugly and boring grey steep hills with not much detail put into the valleys.

    Reply

  12. khorgrim Says:

    City of Heroes would do this. Rikti (alien) Invasions and Zombie Appocolypses. Several other events would take place through out the game as well (Giant monster attacks etc) but the invasion/appocalypse would suit the game better I think.

    First, all invading mobs were coded to be fought at the attacking PC’s level, regardless of the level attacking. For instance, If a level 15 and a level 50 attacked an invasion mob, the 15 would hit and damage it as if the alien were level 15, but the 50 attacking it would hit and damage the mob as if it was a level 50. Vice verse as well, the mob would damage the 50 as if the mob was a 50, but the 15 as if the mob were a 15. They called it the Giant monster code, because it was introduced that way, so everyone could attack giant monsters in the game together.

    Second, these events were coded so they would congregate on the players. The more players in an area of terrain, the more mobs would spawn. If one player was solo, and no one around him, 1-2 mobs at a time would spawn near him to attack. If 50 players were near each other, then many more mobs, including bosses and lieutenant grade mobs would spawn.

    Third, if someone did not want these mobs to spawn near them, all they had to do was get under a roof. Essentially “hiding” from any view from above would the event from counting you in the area and would not spawn any near you to attack you. (If someone else was near you, but in the open, then that would still cause a mobs to spawn, and those might still attack you)

    Fourth, these attacks were of limited duration. about half an hour, if IIRC.

    Fifth , the entire event was of limited duration as well. They might say it was a Rikti attack weekend. All weekend, starting on Friday afternoon, and until Monday morning, all zones were subject to random attacks every few hours. They generally would make it so comparable zones were not under attack at the same time. As an example, and putting it into LOTRO terms: an attack would commence, Erid Luin, Lone lands, and Forochel would all be under the attack at the same time, but the Shire, North Downs and Angmar would not. An Hour later, the Shire, Misty mountains and Evendim would all be attacked, but no where else. This was so people who wanted to level , but did not want to participate in an attack could have somewhere to go at any time. It could easily be set that only one zone was attacked at a time in LOTRO. But, multiple zones at a time would be better, to divide up the number of players in a zone. (LAG)

    Sixth, landscape mobs pretty much ran and hid during the attacks. (most, but a few stayed around) The invasion mobs would kill them too. Now, obviously that won’t quite work for LOTRO (the mobs killing one another like that. They are on the same team, more or less) but having the landscape mobs lead is important. It give you room to fight without worrying about drawing too much agro. Probably could just say they all joined with the main invasion.

    If no one came to fight, then very few mobs would spawn. If many PC’s came, then there were some massive, lag inducing battles that would feel epic. 50 and more PC’s would gather together to repel the attacks and fight them off.

    That, is also one of the likely points to prevent such an occurrence in game. The lag. Many players would have to drop their graphic settings to low, or set their cameras facing the ground and just fire blindly all over the place. The amount of lag would make the game unplayable to some players. Imagine one of the big three during such an event. You’d crash a server, if not a zone. You thought Lagtrev was bad? This would be even worse. COH would have to spawn instanced zones during these events, so many PC’s would assemble. Obviously LOTRO has that capability (Erid Luin during treasure hunter events, or Bree on many a day after T2P went live)

    Sorry, got long-winded there describing it. It can be done, it would just require a lot of new code.

    Reply

    • Skrymair Says:

      Those are some of my favourite memories of CoH; that and banding together to kill the zone’s Giant Monster when it spawned… the octopus, the giant pumpkin headed monster… that’s how dynamic content should be.

      Reply

    • Knify-Riddermark Says:

      Those are really great ideas. Turbine should also include deeds to repell X number of invasions in X region or defeat X numbers of invaders and when you complete all the deeds for Erindor or what ever you would receive a horse or some other prize to get the higher levels to go back and lend a hand defending lower level areas.

      Reply

  13. krip Says:

    The ENTIRE moria and mirkwood should be dynamic events where players have to fight off mobs at the town all the time. Mainly because they do not belong to the dwarfs/elves. I was very disappointed to see mirkwood being overrun by elves with very little resistance.

    I do hope to see more dynamic event with rohan since there is suppose to be large number of uncontested orcs roaming around everywhere.

    Reply

  14. Arnor-man Says:

    Maybe a riff off of the Trolls walking the paths only at night in the Trollshaws. There could be a troop of mobs travelling from one encampment to another at random times, we head on over and defeat them with some npcs that appear out of no where, we earn tokens/rep with whatever faction is in the area. Something else would be stopping a planned invasion. NPC tells you he heard from whomever that the orc camp across from Ost Guruth is planning on sending a party out to wreak some havoc, we show up with some npcs and shut it down.

    Reply

  15. Dan Says:

    Hrm maybe there’d be a way to be able to buy dynamic content in the Store? Or when you enter a dynamic zone a big ol’ Turbine coin would pop up asking you if you wanted to purchase a dynamic encounter?
    [just teasing shipwreck :p ; I think more dynamic content would be a great idea]

    Reply

  16. bob101910 Says:

    I like the idea of having dynamic content. As soon as I found out about Annuminas (probably about a year ago) I looked up if there was more. Found Forochel and Moors. Also found a post of why they don’t let random org attacks on main cities. The rumor is they tried it once at Trestlebridge and so many people showed up that it was just a laggy nightmare

    Reply

    • shipwreck Says:

      Do you have a link for that post? I’d love to see it.

      Reply

      • Trangor Says:

        Hahaaha, I remember that! I don’t know if it was in the US too but we had it on the EU servers! :D Omg we had about 300 people all on one small spot, everyone making raids and shouting for an hour or so untill a GM told us the event was just 3 waves of low level orcs that had been killed already. It was such a disappointment, but still one of my best memories in all my years of lotro.

        I believe it was somewhere in early 2008, maybe late 2007. I still got some amazing screenies of it! ^^

        Reply

        • Ian Says:

          Think it was in may/june/july/aug 08 because i remember being there for that. But pretty stupid reasoning by Turbine, of course its going to attract players if its a one off GM type event. If you have them occurring all over the place at semi random intervals everyday its not the same thing.

          Reply

  17. Xenophit Says:

    I think that having some dynamic content at different locations would be fine. Even for the low level areas. Maybe only one or two areas per zone that would get overrun, but I think they key here for low, mid and high level areas would be to make sure the trigger or random spawn would adjust according to how many Players are nearby to help, and possibly factor in level. Although having higher level mobs in lower level zones should be rare if at all.

    So, at a place like Adso’s camp, you’d have brigands running in randomly, or have taken the camp. And when a player gets close to the camp and get close enough to see and have mobs spawn on screen, then the number and difficulty of the mobs would be determined then and there.

    Reply

  18. ladyofrohan Says:

    FWIW: I’d be open to the idea of a dynamic content “layer,” or some way to opt-in and opt-out. There might be some times when I would be open to random ambushes, but most of the time I only level so I can go explore new places. I’m happy just wandering around loose without bothering to kill anything.

    Reply

  19. roselindea Says:

    There were several more “dynamic” events in Lotro in the past. During the Volumen 1 storyline, GM’s controlled Amarthiel who would and could cause havoc to players. This event didn’t last long and was GM controlled, however it certainly caused great excitement when they were active.

    In similar GM related activities, the fasion maven and riddle master provide some interactive events from time to time.

    Additionally, Lotro has used several “dynamic” severwide events to help unlock additonal content — two spring to mind: collection of Lore bits that eventually were used to unlock access to Filikul on a server (when it was first released) and in Lothlorien, completing repeatables (collectively) were used to unlock the Lorien battlegrounds.

    Lastly, something that has been abandoned since dunland and is also absent from the great river are the “shard droppers” (or “flake droppers” in moria and they would presumably be “sigil droppers in the new areas). These were the rare elite mobs — some much more fearsome than others — that could spawn in certain places.

    One other dynamic event should be noted: on the Russian Lotro sever, they opened up Forochol to creep players for a special event in the past…

    All in all — more dynamic content would be greatly welcomed. At a minimum, I’d like to see the return of the rare elites from the new zones, more GM sponsored interactivity and special events. Perhaps these “roving warbands” on the plain of Rohan will offer more dyanmic interactive content!

    Reply

  20. Xica Says:

    If anyone have plaxed any event on testserver, these dinamc things very often making servercrashes…. so i think must be minimum 2or more at the same time to reduce the player poplation at 1 place.

    Reply

  21. Shutz Says:

    This was a good read, Shipwreck. Thanks. I too wish lotr0 would think a little more out of the box in terms of dynamics.

    Reply

  22. darkeye Says:

    Rift has more than just rifts, highly recommend that people try it after patch 1.9 comes out which should be soon. They have a system called Instant Adventure, that players can join, get formed up in a raid, and then romp across the landscape doing quests together, instead of the traditional questhub layout, it is much more fun. hectic but fluid. Imagine if skirmishes took place on the landscape instead of in instances, and players could freely join from the interface or by running into the skirmish raid group out in the world. Turbine should really look into that system for RoR so players can easily join (with the click of button) together in raid groups to hunt roving warbands. Rifts and Invasions are fun at first, but aren’t really that dynamic and a bit too samey. The other thing that patch 1.9 will introduce is a downscaling system, that a player can pick their level, or it can happens automatically when players join an Instant Adventure. This is just as important feature as dynamic content, players can help friends but not stomp all over the challenge.

    Then there is GW2 which is even more sophisticated than Rift when it comes to dynamic, scripted events. It also has a downscaling system but it happens automatically, so a level 75 going to the Shire is downlevelled instantly to say 5 – 10 depending on the part of the Shire. Instead of having to scale instances up, whenever a player enters an instance they are set to the level it is intended to be run. Plus the dynamic events are much more diverse than rifts, and really reward exploring and playing attention to the activities of NPCs in the world.

    The other major point that GW2 encourages is teamwork between strangers. Having played the beta and then gone back to Lotro, it is like night and day. How many threads have there been on the official forums about should players help strangers in Lotro? Lots I’d wager. GW2 has no kill stealing, all players who participate in the kill get the same rewards and XP as if they were alone in killing the mob. A few times in the last week, I’ve been near players that got defeated and could do nothing to help them, in GW2 all classes can rez and get XP to encourage people to do so. In Lotro players get ‘defeated’ why can’t everyone help each other back to their feet. This is really important for ad-hoc groups to participate in dynamic content.

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  23. susan Says:

    There is quite the snobbery in LoTR about grouping… other games have made instantaneous raiding easier and more fun… wish LoTR would

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  24. Pointy Says:

    More dynamic content would be great – rememeber the fun with that epic line where people had to collect the lore fragments for Elrond before the next section opened up? And remember the random attacks by Amarthiel? Fun times. I remember a whole server breaking because people were excited about that and rushing to fight her. :D I also remember someone telling me when I first started playing that the idea behind Trestlebridge always being smoky and ‘we’ve just put out a fire in the entre town’ish was because there were random attacks there. That sounded like fun but I never saw them.

    On the other hand, I can see it getting frustrating quite quickly if you couldn’t continue with your questing because an army was in the way. Many people log on to do some quests in a limited time. Having to kill an army with however many other people before they can get anything done? That would get annoying pretty fast.

    An exmple you gave is the Forochel area. I was down near the fishermen several times when it was under ‘evil’ control. It was VERY hard to clear the area. The requirement for reverting it was to kill all the guaredain things, but they respawn so fast that on-level you can be killing the second one and the first is already back. When you’re already in a full group, that gets old fast and people quickly give up. If they add this kind of content in more regular places, they’d need to be very careful of the balance they implement.

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  25. Orthor Says:

    It would be an excellent way to increase PVP play on Lotro by letting the Creeps with the Npcs lose on the upper level areas. Maybe even make the Creeps lvl up, start them at lvl 40 and work their way up to the Moors. At the moment there is little incentive to play PvP when you need twice the number of Creeps to have a good fight but maybe that is a balancing problem, but look at the bright side we’ll be able to own the Creeps without ever needing to dismount at lvl 80.

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  26. ViniusD Says:

    In Ultima Online they used to have GMs and Councilors who were responsible for running dynamic content. You wouldn’t need one per server, but a couple who pop around servers and drive the dynamic content by putting the events in areas that have a fair amount of activity.

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