LOTRO U16 & Progression Soup

Zyngor | Thursday, May 07, 2015
After a lapse of kinda-sorta not really playing much LOTRO, other than logging in and having my character pretty much idle while I alt-tabbed to watch some Twitch streams, I decided to try and jump back into checking out what the latest Update 16: Ashes of Osgiliath had to offer. And by "check out", I mean know exactly what I was looking for, because, you know, the Internet already told me everything. *inserts obligatory high-five to all the cool people in the LOTRO community*

My guard's LI post-imbuement
Even before proceeding with the mindless automatic task of opening up the store and dishing out my "currency-de-plume", Turbine Points, to purchase the East Gondor pack (as I usually do with any new content update, proceeded by a *doh* when it immediately goes on sale), I was rather intrigued by the new Legendary Item (LI) imbuement system. The original intention when Moria came out in 2008 of having our own "Sting" that would have leveled up with us from the start (around level 50) had been replaced with a constant deconstruction and creation of a new LI every 5-10 levels, and imbuing with U16 seems like a decent attempt toward finally perhaps scratching toward that long-lost objective.

As it now stands, imbuing an LI (any kind except bridles) can only be done on level 100 items, after which some legacies may change around, and you'll basically be required to get it some levels to even up with your pre-imbued LI. Eventually it'll surpass the power of your pre-imbued LI, and you may continue to level it further. I'll spare the details, because like every LI update, it's pretty darn confusing to get the handle on exactly what you as the player should be doing. Long story short, my Magikarp turned into a Gyarados (ok, that was a little extreme, but you get the gist). Check out a nice comprehensive guide like Dadi's imbuement guide here for more info, and take note on the preparation tips for getting your non-imbued LI ready to be imbued.

Anywho, I think one of the reasons the LI imbuement first piqued my interest over the new game content may have had to do with the lack of progression we've seen in the last couple of updates. Specifically, the kind of progression that interests ME (because it's obviously all about me, fus ro duh). I'm talking about actual character progression (levels, hard-coded stat boosts, etc), over gear progression. Yes, I know I just spent two paragraphs talking about "evolved weapons", but that was more aimed toward it being a modified game system than a new gear "check". And, for the sake of not having to be using my brain cavity sponge much, I'll gracefully separate "gear progression" as a means of "character progression". 

LOTRO last saw a level cap raise from 95 to 100 in July 2014, and has since seen several new areas come out while keeping the level cap at level 100. There also does not appear to be any plans for a level cap raise this year, or at least is not "in the cards," according to EP Vyvyanne.

Fine, keep us at 100. But how about adding some form of sideways progression in LOTRO that is not merely upgrading gear through instances? I'm not exactly the instancer-type. Basically, introduce something akin to RIFT's Planar Attunement (PA) system (seen below). Once a character in RIFT hits 50, they can start filling an additional experience bar with its own juice. Fill it up, and you'll earn a point to spend on one of several element-themed trees (as long as there's somewhere to spend a point, you'll need getting PA experience). Each perk on its own is rather minuscule, but pair together the amount of earnable perks with the fact the PA experience is shared across all characters, and you have plenty of opportunities to accrue some nice horizontal character progression that will take you well beyond hitting the level cap (current 65 in RIFT), Perhaps additional character trait tree points in LOTRO, like we've seen before?

Still, I did buy the East Gondor quest pack and start questing up a bit, along with continuing the Epic story. I cannot say much about it yet, as I am only toe-deep into the new quests, It's always good to see some familiar faces, and I hear a certain Gondorian ranger might make an appearance (suck it, Boromir). Story has always been a strength of LOTRO, as you could probably figure by the IP, so I expect it'll keep the e-tale going well.

Bartle Test categorizations
I only recently found out about the Bartle Test, an analysis of various player types that exist within multiplayer games (probably most relevant to MMOs these days). You can take the test yourself here. Not surprisingly, I fall under the Explorer branch (83%). The test via that link also gave me a 53%/53% split of Achiever and Socializer, and a mere 7% Killer. I'd likely think myself as more straddling the line of Explorer and Achiever, and perhaps this is why I'd like to see more means of sideways progression in MMOs so that I may continue to delve into quests in new areas at max levels, while earning some form of credit to further my character's abilities.

Did you take the Bartle Test, or are already self-aware of which category you'd fall under? Also, does whatever respective MMO/game you play offer a means of sideways/horizontal progression to accompany the main goals of character advancement? Feel free to share! 


  1. I briefly checked up on LOTRO's new imbuement system, but I decided I wanted to know a bit more about it (and especially the legacies) before I want to transform my current first age staff - I want to make sure it'll end up better than it is now and not worse. So thanks for the link, I'll check that out and hopefully get it over with. ^^

    I did take the Bartle test ages ago, but I don't really remember what the results were for me. I thought it was a bit of a weird test anyway, because I typically enjoy all different aspects of an MMO: exploring, PvP, challenging endgame, fashion, housing etc. I don't necessarily value one higher than the other, rather, the diversity and possibilities to choose what to do are what I enjoy.

    Maybe I'll take the test again and write a post about it sometime. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

    1. Indeed - the LOTRO community may not be quite as large as some others, but as with any gaming community , there are always those passionate enough to write guides and provide whatever assistance needed. The details put into the guide by Dadi that I linked are a testament to that.

      I would imagine many people do indeed fall fairly close to the center of the Bartle scale. MMOs are a great tool for letting the player dip into multiple facets of a game world, and try out something they might not always have tried in the past (especially something like PvP).