Daily Archives: November 3, 2010

Please, Turbine, Never Again

Let me preface this post with a few facts. One, I am something of a freak about mounts. It has long been my goal to own every mount in the game, even if I never use many of them, or have no way to show off said accomplishment; I had set myself this goal long before the introduction of this year’s Harvest Festival. Two, I think that, overall, this year’s Harvest Festival is the best festival yet. Hand’s down. With one exception.

Dear Turbine,

On behalf of the many players, showing monumental persistence and patience, who have not been graced with good fortune this Harvest Festival, I would like to request the delivery, at your immediate convenience, of one (1) Skeleton Mount. We’ve certainly worked hard enough for it, and considering that effort in LotRO has nearly always paid off in the past, we don’t find this to be an unusual request.

No?

Barring that option, I would request that the mechanic used to “reward” this coveted item, a limited-time-only random draw based purely on luck, never be used again. Never.

Perhaps, in their zealous pursuit of designing something new and exciting, the Design Team failed to realize the impact that this particular decision would have on their players. Let me describe to you what I have been seeing, and personally experiencing, over attempts to obtain the Skeleton Mount.

There is a ton of frustration, and even some despair. I know. I’ve felt it; I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I will not achieve one of these mounts. This doesn’t stop me from checking the chest every day at 6:04 AM EST, like clockwork. But it’s a little painful every day, to feel my hopes rise just that little bit as I watch the progress bar fill and wonder, “Is today the day?”. And every day is one less day we have a chance.

Are these the feelings you want to create in your players? Frustration? Resignation? Jealousy? These feelings aren’t fun. They rob us of our enjoyment.

It’s not that it’s a rare drop. We, the players, have shown that we will endure nearly anything for a chance at a rare drop, running instances time and time again, ad nauseum. The odds don’t matter to us. One-in-one-hundred or one-in-one-thousand; we don’t really care.

There are two factors that make this particular lottery so tortuous (and I call it that because that is what it is). One, it’s a limited-time offer; we have 30-some chances at this, and that’s it. We will face down any other odds with a smile and hearts filled to the brim with sunshine because we know, for any particular item we want or need, that no matter how rare it is to see one, we can always try again tomorrow, or next week. Or whatever. The only limit to our chances is our determination and the effort we put forth.

Which brings me to factor two – that our effort has no bearing on our chance of success. It doesn’t matter if we log in once or once a day. As far as we know, our chances are the same every day. For someone who has dedicated years to playing in your virtual world, this is something of a slap in the face. LotRO is supposed to be fun – it’s a game, remember? Like a sport. And while any sport will have winners or losers, part of the reason it’s fun is because our effort counts. With a lot of determination (and, yes, sometimes a little luck), we can try for victory, and even if we lose we know that we tried our hardest, and that our effort made a difference.

The Skeleton Mount isn’t fun. It’s not a game, it’s a lottery.

Perhaps I’m the only one (but I don’t think so), but I’m beginning to sense real jealousy over these mounts. Not the coveting-what-I’ve-yet-to-achieve kind of feeling so typical in an MMO that is gear-centric and achievement-driven. But the real jealousy that comes from another attaining something we desire out of sheer good fortune. Not because they worked for it, or deserved it for some reason, but because the numbers just fell in their favor that day. I get enough of that in Real Life; I don’t want it in my entertainment of choice. In a world where our effort is always rewarded, this one thing is a glaring blight.

I’m not asking for the mount; I’ll keep trying on my own and, hopefully, I’ll get lucky. I’m not asking that the mount be given to everyone. What’s done is done. I’m asking that those with the power to do so decide to never implement this kind of system again. It’s not fun. It taints our enjoyment.

Thank you for your time.
Drannos Tannaren, Vilya Server