I was a bit nervous about the first day of Riders of Rohan. I made the decision to go against my better judgment and take the day off from work to see if I would be lucky enough to find myself able to log in. After numerous restarts of the Turbine Launcher to remedy different errors, I was able to finally patch just to find myself staring that the login screen waiting for the servers to come up. Later that day when people were sending out messages that they were finally able to log in I myself decided to try my luck and I shortly found myself heading into the new landmass.
The Bad Stuff
I’d like to start getting “The Bad Stuff” out of the way. There were a number of technical glitches that kept people from playing the game. Of all the issues several seemed to be the most prevalent:
- People received an errors when patching
- Base pre-orders were not able to do quests in Rohan
- People discovered that their Friends List was empty
- Client crashing due to a memory leak with Direct X 10 & 11 (And some with DX9)
- The 6th bag was not being delivered to those who purchased it in the store
While these errors did render the game unplayable for some, overall it seemed to me that this launch went very smoothly overall. Not to mention that a number of these issues have already been addressed while the others are being looked into as we speak. I know some may disagree with me about the launch being successful, but please know that this view is subjective and that I feel for those of you who could not play.
We talked a lot about Open Tapping ever since its announcement. Some people were worried about the social aspect of the game and how players would react. While I can’t say how it worked from a group aspect I can tell you how it affected me as a solo player.
Simply put, it was glorious.
Let me explain why. When the Beta first started I had a horrible experience with one of the first set of quests which is to kill salamanders near the town. To this day I am always boggled when a game company chooses this kind of quest to throw in a new area., Why? Because the same thing always happens. During the “land rush” phase of the game (when a ton of players are rushing into the new content) a bottleneck occurs in locations where players are tasked to kill a certain amount of mobs in order to progress in the content. The result of this bottleneck is a lot of name calling, spawn camping, and overall rage towards one another. And in the early phase of the Beta before Open Tapping was implemented the same thing occurred as players tried desperately to kill salamanders, making the experience pretty miserable.
On Monday when I reached the salamanders I was interested in seeing what the experience would be like and I was shocked to find that it was vacant of all players. My guess is that in not having to compete with one another meant that there was no spawn killing, no cursing, no camping, and no bottleneck. The players had come, killed, and left. It was a very nice surprise.
When I reached the next quest chain that sent me into a brigand camp I started seeing other players and to my joy they helping one another kill NPC’s as they began to realize that in working together with no penalties they could kill more quickly; thus completing their quests more quickly. In fact at one point when my client started freezing (due to the before mentioned memory leak) I was kept alive by players coming to help me as brigands attacked me. So in my opinion Open Tapping seems to be a great addition to the game.
I’ve often thought that looting mobs was a huge pain in the rear. I remember running around in World of WarCraft, killing a mob, and then wondering why it was really necessary to loot everything off of it one-at-a-time. I mean surely there were better ways to handle loot and corpses. For me, Remote Looting is another evolution of an MMO system that makes realize just how ancient past systems have been; especially when coupled with Open Tapping.
When I was in the brigand camp and I was assisting people killing the mobs it was great to flow from fight to fight; only stopping to let myself regenerate morale and power. It was also nice to see the billboard messages stating that my quest item counter going up while never having to skip a beat. It’s also nice to have the Pending Loot system as well, because it means that you don’t have to immediately worry about leaving items on a corpse and figuring out what you’re going to do.
Mounted Combat is a fickle beast in my opinion. It takes some adapting to get used to the mount and how it moves, but once you do it can be a lot of fun. Personally, as I spent some time on my mount I found myself learning to better time my skills and manage my speed. However, there were a couple of times that I also dismounted to kill landscape mobs because I knew it would just be faster. Unfortunately, I did not find the opportunity to go up against any mounted mobs so I can’t give any input there, but after seeing some videos I’m itching to give it a try.
Aside from all the glitches, the worry, the fervor, and the hype; Riders of Rohan has arrived. It is a visually stunning landscape that brings us new game systems, new quests, and new stories. Mounted Combat, a long-time requested feature is now possible in the world of LOTRO and while it certainly is fun only time will tell if it lives up to the hype. I for one am quite optimistic and look forward to seeing what it is that the Horse Lords will bring to us. How about you?