I had another post all set for today, but it’s just going to have to wait. I’ve had a first-time experience, not just in LotRO, but in MMOs in general. I didn’t ragequit, but I logged out pretty much disgusted. I consider myself a fairly patient person, and an optimistic gamer – I can find some value in pretty much any content I come across. Or, at least, I could.
The first part of this experience came two days ago, when I tried to finish the Water-wheels 3 man instance with two kinmates. The entire instance was going very well. I thought overall it was a great design, both in layout and in the mechanics of levers and gates, and freeing the water wheels of obstruction. Until the final encounter, it was shaping up to be among my favorite areas.
Then we faced Caerlûg. And the whole thing fell apart. Between the knockback throwing us into certain death beneath the pistons, the 1k damage hits, and the stun that kept us from pulling the lever that interupts Caerlûg’s healing cycle, it was like beating our heads against a stone wall. We got frustrated enough to call it a night.
Last night it was the Dark Delvings and Gurvand. Some of you are already groaning (those who have probably already run the instance). This barely started out well, and we never made it past the first boss fight. Between the insane knockback of the Void Eater, being pushed out of the fight within minutes (either by being knocked off the platform or being caught in the Glow Worm strands), the insane number of adds leading to complete lockdown on induction-based skills, and the ridiculously punishing debuff (either for being outside the “magic circle” or just plain “taking too long”), our group was fed up in short order. There’s a reason that Dark Delvings is the least-run instance in Moria – it’s just not fun. I pity the Guardians and Wardens who need this instance for their class quest (I think).
Both of these, in my mind, represent bad design. For Water-wheels, the instance requires a specific combination of classes (or nearly enough as to not make a difference) – Minstrel and Champion. The last slot is for the lucky player. For the Dark Delvings, it’s because success seems to be entirely dependent on luck – if you’re lucky enough to avoid getting caught in the strands and triggering exponential adds, or you’re lucky enough to avoid getting knocked off the platform, or you’re lucky enough to have exactly the right classes, ad nauseum. Too much luck, not enough strategy or skill, or both.
Some people are probably thinking, “Boo-hoo. Many players have completed those instances successfully. You’re doing it wrong.” That may be; they may be “do-able”. But are they fun? Are we enjoying ourselves while running the instance? Content that is required for many players! This is why Turbine failed here; not because they made impossible content, but because they made content that is impossible to enjoy. When 6 level-capped players with decent gear drop group and collectively state, “I’m not coming back here until they patch this *%$#”, the developers are doing something wrong.