LOTRO: Stat Updates Coming for Isengard

I’m not really sure how to start this, Graalx2 released quite the bombshell on the community today as he posted a new Developer Diary on all the upcoming stat changes with Isengard.

First let’s hop into what’s changing:

  1. Cap Changes
    1. Base ability (Might, Agility, etc) stat caps will no longer exist
    2. Things like Block, Parry, and Evade (BPE) will have their caps raised to 25% from the current 15%.
    3. Finally, Offence ratings, Outgoing Healing, and Resistances are all increasing to 50% from the current 30%.
    4. Granted, there will be some diminishing returns here such that you’ll really have to work to get to those values.
  2. New Stat – Finesse
    1. Two way stat (both monsters and players) that reduces resistances and BPE values.  This will primarily be used in raid and group instances but might also be in random landscape monsters as well.
  3. Stat Consolidation
    1. Resistances now lump all Fear, Disease, Poison, and Wound into one composite stat as opposed to all four as separate ones.
    2. Tactical Mitigation lumps Fire, Lightning, Frost, Acid, and Shadow into one composite stat in much the same way as the new Resistance stat.
    3. Critical Hit Rating becomes a generic stat that replaces the individual Melee, Ranged, and Tactical crit values.
  4. New Primary Stat Contributions
    1. No more secondary stats contributing to various other abilities as everything will be derived from your primary stat.
    2. Offensive ratings will be purely derived from your primary stat as well and will roughly be that stat times 10.
      1. Lore-masters, Runekeepers, and Minstrels will use WIll for all their Offense ratings (including melee)
      2. Hunters use Agility for everything (including melee)
      3. Guardians, Wardens, and Champions will use Might (including ranged)
      4. Captains remain unchanged
      5. Burglars will be based off of Agility as opposed to Might

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So that’s what changed, now my thoughts.  This appears to me to be a step backwards (in time) to how things were before Moria launched.  And many people didn’t like the Moria changes, so I’m sure many will be quite happy about these changes.  For the most part I like the concept of making things simpler and reducing the number crunching needed to figure out what gear is best.  I’m all for making the game more accessible and lowering the barrier for entry, just like what they did with removing Radiance.  These changes to me are clearly aimed at making the game easier to pick up and help attract newer players without overwhelming them.  This also really makes the Virtue grinding much easier as there will be clear choices as what are best for your class.  I will be curious to see if in addition to seeing the Virtue Cap grow to 12 if we’ll see re-works of them as many of the Virtues will become virtually identical.  Finally, I do have a LOT of confidence in Graalx2 based on the work he’s done with the Warden class, so I am giving Turbine the benefit of doubt that this will work out for the best.

However, I will also state that this does concern me a little bit.  I know that with any MMO expansion there will be changes and when the level cap changes you’ll have to go and get new gear, but I see these changes as removing itemization choices.  There will now be very clear set of items that will be the best for a particular class no matter what you’re doing.  Part of the fun many of us have once you hit end game (which will be a matter of days for most of the people I’m referring to) is maximizing your character to solve various encounters.  Currently you can tweak your gear, class traits, and virtues to come up with a customized build for what encounter you’re trying to complete.  These changes will effectively limit the gear choices and virtue choices really only leaving your class traits as ways to customize your class.

Now, the silver lining for all this is that it puts a LOT of pressure on the developers to make truly challenging and diverse content to keep people in the game.  These changes have made things much simpler and removed many of the tricks the devs could use.  But based what we’ve seen so far from the “In Their Absence” instances and the “Lost Legends of Eriador” content Turbine has shown they can put out challenging content.  When you couple that with the delay of the big new Dragon raid, we might be looking at a shift from a itemization focus to a skill/preparation focus.  This would really make people look at their class traits (which are all getting huge overhauls) and think about what options these could bring to the encounters.  If they could pull that off, I think that would be a huge shift for the game as it would allow people to experience and play the content that really fits their play style with minimal barriers and less things to grind for.

I’m really intrigued by these changes and I’m hoping this works out well as I think it could be a great change for Turbine.  But, this will certainly be a hotly debated subject and I can a way this could go bad as well.

Make sure you check out the full post and let us know what you guys think.

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written by Doc Holiday

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