Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Two-Tailed Wargs and Other LotRO Mutants

Since my first day in Lord of the Rings Online I've grouped on and off with the same burglar. We seem to play on the same days and times. And he's a good guy and a competent player. Maybe not the ideal two classes to duo, but, we do crazy damage.

The other night we were working on Lone-lands quests. One quest had us collecting warg tails when we noticed that every dead warg had two tails. The next quest had us collecting body parts of of lynxes. Same story. Every corpse gave us both the quest items. In other words, we weren't penalized for grouping together to play the game. Compare that to other MMOs (ahem, WoW) were you are penalized for grouping on collection quests.

This got me thinking about features I'd like to see that support grouping. I've seen these in various games, but it would nice to have them all in one place. Pardon the incoherence.
  • Simple quest sharing. A little icon next to the quest that I can hover over and see who in the group has eligible to receive the quest or has already completed it.
  • Option to show your quest log to a group member. I'd love an option to just show my quest log to my group. Instead, I have to take five minutes to describe that one quest with the orcs, you know, east of the ruins south of the inn. No, the one where you collect their ears not their toes. No, not the orcs with swords. The ones with the spears... and so on and so forth.
  • Have everyone confirm before an escort or guard quest begins. Hey, game designers, how about a simple confirmation dialog before starting an escort quest when I'm grouped? For example, the other night I was busy rummaging through my bags and character inventory. My buddy assumed I was ready to start the escort. I didn't even notice they'd started. And why is that every escort quest I've seen in LotRO has the NPC running directly towards the big group of mobs instead 10 yards to the right? Now I have to fight the regular mobs plus all the triggered spawns. I digress.
  • Credit for collecting items. If the quest says to collect something, give all team members credit for it. In fact, if my friend is nearby, let him get the quest item too without having to loot the corpse. Same thing for those quests where you have to interact with X objects such as poisoning water barrels.
  • Tracking group progress on a quest. If you don't give every group member credit for collecting a quest item, then let me see at a glance where they're at so I now if we need to keep killing woozles or not.
  • Quest chains. Okay, for epic quest chains I understand not being able to share quest number 37 out of 51. But, WTF if the quest chain is I talk to person A, talk to person B, and then kill ten rats. I can't share that final quest in the chain because my buddy didn't talk to some NPC in Tanarsis.
  • Travel, summoning. Dungeon Runners had a nice feature where you could easily teleport to a team member's location. I wouldn't want something that extreme, but then again I don't want to spend 45 minutes running to meet up.
  • Level adjustment options. You know, mentoring and sidekicking.
  • Scaling challenges and rewards. Sure, why not.
  • Dynamic spawning. The more people in an area, the more mobs. Simple.
What would you like to see to support grouping?


Lars said...

I'd like to see fewer quests. I'd like the quests that remain to be something special.

Most quests are the way we grind XP now; separate those out and make a different way to do those. For example, you could go to the post office and always get a delivery quest. Or you could go to certain guards and always get a guard or escort quest. They could be mildly randomized. They feel random anyway. Make them work more like missions in City of Heroes, shareable, scalable in terms of difficulty, anyone who you bring along can benefit, no need for them to talk to anyone too.

Then with fewer fluff quests the REAL quests can be made more interesting.

Link said...

Good point. I forgot about that. LotRO has an Epic category of quests, but they should take it one step further. Make them bigger and better as you suggest. And on the flip side make the fluff quests what they are... a means to get get XP.

brackish said...

I thought it was weird that LOTRO didn't have some type of shared quest window. That kind of bothered me with the amount of quests the game has.

Also, how about quest items dont even appear in your inventory? Just a simple update or graphical addition to the log like EQ2? I used to have to spend some designated time to go through everything in my pack to see what all that 'crap' was for when it was in there too long.

You are right in that these are elements and issues that have been around for some time. Lets hope that someone is taking notice.