Vraeden doesn’t like disposable Legendary Items in #LOTRO

February 3, 2014

LOTRO, Opinions

I am not someone who hates the Legendary Item system in LOTRO, nor do I want it taken out of the game.  However, like instant replay in sports, it’s not perfect, but a couple of things about it could be fixed relatively easily.

In this article, I’d like to address one issue in particular:

Who else is tired of blowing up their LIs every 10 levels?

Did Bilbo break down Sting and make a new LI when the company got out of Mirkwood and entered Lake-town?  Did Thorin and Gandalf reduce Orcrist and Glamding to inventory filler when they out-leveled a zone?

Of course not.  Part of the background story behind LIs is that they are weapons or artifacts of a bygone age that have their own history and bring with them their own gravitas and power to their current wielder.

At the same time, I fully understand that the LOTRO devs need to pay attention to things that have no place in the novels or the movies, namely arbitrary level caps, MMO mechanics and game balance.

Generally speaking, I am not a sentimental person.  However, when LOTRO was a level 65 game, like a lot of players, I spent a lot of time, energy and (fake) money in getting my set of LIs just right.  Remember, this was before you could move legacies from one LI to another, so it might take several (dozen) tries to get your LIs set up exactly the way you wanted.

When Rise of Isengard came out, I leveled up and started grinding up a new set of level 75 LIs.  Since you only have a limited amount of LI slots, it soon came time to blow up my old level 65 LIs, and I actually felt kind of bad deconstructing the weapons and class items that had served me so well for so long.

Then, when they raised the level cap from 75 to 85 and again from 85 to 95, I’ve done the exact same thing to my LIs.

If the item is truly “legendary”, then why do I need to deconstruct them into fragments every 10 levels and start over?

The cynic in me responds that Turbine has a vested interest in making players blow up their LIs every 10 levels.  After all, how many relic removal and legacy scrolls do you think they sell through the store?

Also, by making players grind up a new set of LIs, they get people to run the raids and buy Scrolls of Delving and Empowerment, either with some sort of in-game currency (marks/medallions/seals) or real currency (Turbine Points or Mithril Coins).

At the same time, isn’t it in the spirit of the lore in the game for truly legendary items to last longer than the time it takes to advance from a lower-level zone to a higher-level one?

So how would I fix it?

If I were dev for a day, I’d implement a system like this:

Any class can upgrade their LI by taking it to a Forge-Master along with the ___ Symbol of _____ that is appropriate to the next LI level break and some other crafting materials.  This way, you don’t have to have a weaponsmith/woodworker/jeweler/tailor/scholar make you a new sword/bow/rune-stone/satchel/songbook, and you can’t give someone else an item that is bound to you.

The Forge-Master takes your existing LI, the components you need to increase the level of the item, does some Forge-Masterish mumbo-jumbo and imbues your existing LI with greater power.

So I’ve go my level 65 Second Age minstrel songbook.  When I get to the next major LI break, level 75, I take my songbook to the Forge-Master along with a Worn Symbol of Celebrimbor, 4 Tomes of Wisdom, a Cracked Rhi Helvarch Sigil and some arbitrary amount of money.  Anyone wanting to upgrade a Third Age LI would just need a stack of Legendary Fragments and the appropriate crafting materials.

The Forge-Master upgrades my songbook to a level 75 minstrel’s songbook, resets the LI points, and leaves my legacies, titles and relics  intact.  Star-Lit crystals remain, but Small Star-Lit crystals have lesser effect than Star-Lit Crystals, which are less powerful than Riddermark Star-Lit Crystals and so on.

The same thing would happen as I level up to level 85, 95 and beyond.  Each LI would require crafting mats that are appropriate, so swords would require high-quality ingots, bows would need reinforced wood boards, etc.

This way, I get to preserve my tried and true LIs without having to turn over a whole new set.

Similarly, if I have a level 60 First Age LI I bartered with Bright Emblems of Nimrodel from the Moria vendors, in order to level it up to a level 65 LI, I need to a Symbol of the Elder King to upgrade it. Then, to upgrade it again, I would need a Worn Symbol of the Elder King to get it to level 75, and a Tarnished Symbol of the Elder King for it to have level 85 DPS/tactical healing/et al.

To keep people from ranking up level 60 LIs that drop in Turtle or other raids straight to the new level cap, you’d have to progress through each stage to get to level 95  (or whatever the new level cap is).  Or if you got a higher level Symbol to drop in a raid and you have the necessary craft materials, the appropriate crafters could still make a Crafted/Reforged/Reshaped LI from scratch at level 75, 85, 95 or whatever.

Another issue of game balance is that you could increase the tier of each legacy at low levels, when Scrolls of Empowerment are cheap, and then when you got your LI up to level 95, you’d have all tier 6 legacies.  To keep this from being too much of an issue, I’d say that each time you reforged an item to imbue it with a higher level’s power, either all of your legacy tiers are randomly scrambled, or they all reset to tier 3.  Then the player would still have to spend some resources and effort to max out their legacies again.  If you wanted to swap out legacies (maybe because they changed nearly every one in the most recent update . . . ::cough:: captain ::cough::), then you’d have to use legacy scrolls that are appropriate to the current level of the LI.

If Turbine wants to (unnecessarily) add another layer of complexity to this system (which they are wont to do), introduce new layers of legendary fragments to the game.  Just as Legendary Fragments drop when you decon an LI, you will get these randomly, with the added twist that you only get Second Age fragments from deconning Second Age LIs and First Age fragments from deconning First Age LIs.

This way, in order to increase a Third Age LI from a level 75 to 85 LI, you’d need to have 10 Legendary Fragments.  In order to increase a Second Age LI, you’d need to have 15 Shiney Legendary Fragments, and to increase First Age LI, you’d have to have 20 Mithril Legendary Fragments.  This would keep people grinding up LIs for their next reforge (and keep people buying all of those extra LI slots from the LOTRO Store).

I think a lore-based precedent for a process like this is where Narsil was reforged (“reshaped” in LOTRO terms, since Narsil was forged during the First Age) into Andúril.  Although an imperfect analogy (because Narsil was shattered by Sauron, not a Forge-Master), this is an example where one item was re-made into a more powerful incarnation without having to break it down into generic “legendary fragments” and then make a completely new weapon.

I’m just thinking out loud, and this certainly isn’t a perfect solution, but I’m just tired of getting attached to the sword/rune-stone/axe that got me through Moria, only to blow it up when I get to Dol Guldur, then melt that one down on the steps of Isengard, then break another one down in Snowbourn, only to turn my LIs over again at the Hornburg, thinking that in another year, I’m going to start this whole process over again again when the next expansion opens.

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Avatar of Vræden

About Vræden

I was suckered into playing an MMO by some friends and have been stuck around ever since. My "main" is a minstrel on the Elendilmir server, but I'm a pretty casual player who likes a good raid every now and then. My healing skills are spectacularly average, and I am known as the Elf Queen of Lousy Healing to my friends. I like long walks on the beach, puppies and mowing down orcs by the dozen. If you see me in-game, say hi or send me a tell. You can also email me or follow me on the Twitter.

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20 Responses to “Vraeden doesn’t like disposable Legendary Items in #LOTRO”

  1. Amoe Says:

    Applause

    Couldn’t agreee more. Have been feeling the same way and your suggestions would fix this problem nicely.

    Reply

  2. Gareth Says:

    First class suggestion, covered all the bases and allows us to hang onto something that we happen to like and sweated hard to get right.

    Would also allow for customisable LI appearances which might rack in a few extra $$ for Turbine through the TP store

    Reply

  3. Aeladriel Says:

    I agree with a lot of this, it would make sense to allow you to keep a LI and there is a mechanism in place already with the Forge Masters. The bit you didn’t mention is the quantity of LI’s that drop from combat all over the place that clog up my bags for no good reason, seriously when I am grinding deeds in lvl 45+ zones every other drop seems to be a LI.

    Not so legendary after all – I think LI’s should have very finite number of locations that you can get them, ie. the epic questline. Multiple ways of improving them should be possible as they are now, from some epic quests/bartering and raid rewards – except each tier can only be reforged to the next tier and should have a progression to 3rd age, 2nd age and then 1st age. It never makes sense to me that you can’t get a 1st age LI until the next expansion comes out that levels you past it being useful…

    This would leave an issue with LI’s levelling in power of course, I would propose that instead of the myriad of LI drops, a currency such as Khudzul tablets could drop that you would trade for a symbol to reforge your LI at your characters’ level, which would be capped so that only a lvl 72 or higher character could actually use the item to make your LI lvl 72.

    You made me think, I would like Turbine to do the same because none of this would be a massive amount of re-programming, relatively speaking (except the loot tables for drops of course, not difficult but time consuming!)

    Reply

  4. téaparty Says:

    The jump in LI levels from 85 to 86 made it so I deconned my 2A 85 LIs as soon as I hit 86. I really hope they don’t do that again.

    Reply

  5. Thundertrain Says:

    I’ve seen this topic discussed on the forums more times than I can count. Everytime it gets brought up, I see TONS of good ideas like these on how to revamp the LI system. Make the weapon level up with the player (when you hit level 86, so does your sword), allow an appearance selection on reforge so that the weapon at least LOOKS like it did when you first got it, combining the IXP relics into one number that stacks in your wallet, going to some form of rusted dwarf tools / khazad tablets that can be exchanged for a legendary weapon instead of 60% of the orcs in a given area dropping them like so much pocket lint, and so forth. The conclusions that I’ve drawn are this:

    1.) There are A LOT of players who dislike the LI system in its current form. For all of the reasons Vraeden listed above (and several others) it’s a lore-mangling bunch of nonsense.

    2.) Turbine isn’t interested in changing ANYTHING about it. Despite the massive number of forum posts on the topic, you will hardly ever see a “blue-name” respond. Seems that the system is doing what they want it to do (encouraging grinding and store spending), and they’re perfectly happy with that.

    -Thundertrain of Windfola

    Reply

  6. kanzid Says:

    The current LI system is basically the reason I don’t play LOTRO any more.
    Making my LI’s for the first time during Mirkwood was enjoyable, and the revamp they did to the LI system looked like a step in the right direction. Rebuilding them in Isenguard was annoying but I did it. However seeing the direction things were headed I stopped at that point before needing to grind out the system again for RoR.
    While ideally I’d like a less linear powerlevel type system, at least with this proposal there is less grinding if you already have the LI’s you want. XP runes and the relics also need to be looked at though.

    Reply

  7. Avatar of Sullo
    Sullo Says:

    I think a neat idea would be to allow players to covert their LI into a cosmetic housing item. Like a sword mounted above the fireplace, or a pair of axes on the wall. Maybe even with a tooltip showing what the basic stats were at the time it was “retired”.

    Reply

    • Avatar of Tsu
      Tsu Says:

      Less LI more Antiques Roadshow!

      I like a lot of these suggestions but would settle on almost anything rather than what we have.

      Really the present LI system is plain silly and as it plainly needs reworking should be done soon!

      Surely they couldn’t do it worse…

      Reply

  8. Avatar of andyb
    andyb Says:

    The LI system when it was first conceived worked well on paper but as with a lot of systems added into games they didnt bother applying any kind of thought to the longevity and what would happen if… Almost as though they werent expecting the game to exist beyond mirkwood and therefore wouldnt need to have an expandable system.

    The result has been every time they increase the cap they are faced with the choice of manning up and actually making legendaries that level up with you (as promised in the moria box blurb) or fumbling about and leaving it on the back burner until release is due and just going “ah well it’ll give people something to do!”

    All LI’s are are a customisable bit of gear that looks pretty much the same as everyone elses and with the shelf life of week old milk. Say what you like about that other game but at least thunderfury had the looks are rarity to be called legendary.

    Similar thinking has been applied to the skills where you have ten levels but barely any new skills. Or a “revamp” where the existing skills are culled, spread out across more levels than they already were as well as reducing the options by locking stuff away behind different spec trees.

    Reply

  9. Sigela Says:

    Sapience actually mentioned parts of this during one of his Hobbits to Isengard Q&As that accompany the run. Can’t remember which one it was because I’ve watched several.

    Basically, for brevity, there is room for improvement to the LI system but it needs to find a proper priority level in their planning since developers don’t just grow on trees. Necessary changes will always trump LI changes.

    As for cosmetic appearances for LIs, he indicated that the way that the LI code is written make it pretty hard to grant that request.

    Which ends up meaning to me that we players need to make a bigger case for changing this system if we want it to climb up the priority ladder.

    Reply

    • Avatar of Vræden
      Vræden Says:

      For many people, the LOTRO cosmetic system is one of the highlights of the game. It’s also a tremendous source of cash for Turbine. It’s always puzzled me as to why there’s no way to enable cosmetic weapons and shields (and make them dyeable!), but I don’t know anything about the coding side.

      Reply

      • Sigela Says:

        I agree completely that giving cosmetics more priority is ultimately giving Turbine more profit.

        ++ Yes, SHIELDS should be dyeable. For a shield-wearing class, it’s completely part of the look and cannot be eliminated as easily as something like a cloak.

        ++ I’d love to see TWO dye channels on cosmetics. If not that we can dye both of them, at least let us choose which one we do dye. It’s not really dyeing an item if the dye only changes the color of a single pixel wide strip on the cuff of a glove. There’s a lot of really lovely gear out there that I simply won’t use because it won’t clear the design bar when it dyes.

        ++ Some love to hue, saturation and intensity in the dye channels so that we actually get a predictable color. Linked to this, I’d love to see us get a white that’s really white when we select white dye.

        Back to the profit side, this is part of a comment I made to Sapience during one of the hobbit runs. That WAR STEED COLORS would probably make Turbine more money if they made two changes: make the single use steed dye much less expensive and they offer an account-wide color purchase that is a bit more expensive. I won’t pay 695 TPs to use a color once. I would not freak so much at spending 800 TP to have a favorite color apply to the war-steeds of all my toons. Alternatively, let scholars make war steed dyes but require that they use an item purchasable only from the LOTRO store at a modest cost. I don’t mind paying but I deplore price gouging.

        Reply

      • Avatar of Kanati Siquayetsga
        Kanati Siquayetsga Says:

        My only reservation about cosmetic weapons is that you would promptly get a horde of characters running around with Second Age fish as their weapon. However, since one can already adventure in a pretty dress or all gift-wrapped as a Yule present, I don’t suppose that’s a very convincing argument.

        I too wish LIs were a bigger deal. I hate making new _Legendary_ Items every ten levels. I hate how frequently the Third Agers drop and junking 1000s of LIs for the (single) tier 1 relic.

        Vraeden’s reforging/reshaping idea seems pretty good to me. It keeps the LI grind/money-sink which is more than half the reason for the current system anyway.

        Reply

        • Avatar of Vræden
          Vræden Says:

          I would be one of the yokels dual-wielding Slapper Fishes, but after You-In-A-Box and the Hobby Horse, cosmetic weapons aren’t as absurd as some of the other things already in the game.

          Reply

  10. Lauradoc Says:

    One of the reasons I deleted my character finally.

    Reply

  11. wumpus Says:

    Legendary Item newbie here! I have to admit I have no idea why Turbine felt they needed the involuntary reforging mechanic. Maybe they wanted you to keep your eyes on all those “slotted, but unused” items you are simply using for fodder. I can only assume that it is set up the way it is so to make respeccing more limited and painful. Forcing respeccing just doesn’t make sense.

    My gripes so far is the cheapness of LIs. My first character through Moria was using the “11 and deconstruct” strategy. A little more digging told me that deconstruction at 51 (or possibly 56) would be better, now I have tons of LIs that I will never use. Breaking them down for a single relic seems a waste, but otherwise the only thing I can do with them are hoard them or sell them on the AH for what seems a pittance (but more than I would pay for a single level 1 relic).

    Is hold 6 and deconstruct at 51 still optimum? I don’t think I was getting much more from my level 11 LIs than simply buying bronze fused relics instead, and it looked like my level 51 deconstruct was worth it. Now that my main is rocking a second age bow, maybe I should try to deconstruct at level 56 for heritage runes?

    Reply

  12. Avatar of Vræden
    Vræden Says:

    I always level my LI’s up to a least 30. At levels 10, 20 and 30, you get an additional random legacy, usually a minor legacy, but occasionally an additional major legacy. When you level your LI up to level 30, when you deconstruct it, you can select a legacy to take off it and add it to another LI. At levels, 40, 50, 60 and 70, when you reforge, you can increase the tier of a random legacy.

    The reason people say to wait until level 51 to decon is that at levels 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, and 61, you get the next higher loot table for your IXP rune ball and any LI relics. My vault is overflowing with rune balls from deconning LI’s and quest rewards, but now that they’re bound to account (they used to be bound to character), I use them to help out my lowbies.

    Reply

  13. Nerdan Says:

    Thanks for good suggestions and for bringing this up (again). The LI system is just painful and that you have to make new ones from scratch every time cap is raised is just silly. How many posts are there in the forums, saying they want it to change? Over a million? As Thundertrain said, there is also “TONS of good ideas like these on how to revamp the LI system.”

    Actually, it’s very simple. There is only one way to make the company change the LI system and that is to never ever use the store for anything related to Legendary Items. If a lot of people on every server decided to do this, they would change it asap.

    And it puzzles me too, Vræden. Why don’t they enable a slot for cosmetic weapons and shields. If that option were in the store, they would make lots of lots of gold :)

    Reply

  14. Palannor Says:

    I haven’t played in almost two years and my characters are stuck at level 75. I just can’t be bothered to start all over again with weapons, legacies and whatever bits are needed to upgrade them. I’ve had the same issue with every expansion since Moria.
    When they introduced gated raiding and legendary weapons, my interest in the game started to wane and the introduction of the store definitely killed it. The original LotRO, Shadows of Angmar, is still the best game I have ever played, though.

    Reply

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