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Lotro: adding diffuclty slider to open world content.

DragnelusDragnelus Member EpicPosts: 3,312
Standing Stone Games is introducing a rather unique optional system in Update 30: a difficulty slider. This won’t affect dungeons and raids, but rather allow individual players the ability to set the landscape difficulty higher. With 10 levels of difficulty (from “normal” through “deadly +6”), there are more than enough options to crank up the challenge and give your next run through the game some bite. But what does this do, exactly? And how could this benefit the game?

https://massivelyop.com/2021/05/29/lotro-legendarium-how-the-landscape-difficulty-slider-is-changing-the-rules-of-the-game/


FTrunks21BruceYee
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Comments

  • Asm0deusAsm0deus Member EpicPosts: 3,464
    Pretty meh IMO.
    FrodoFraginsMendelTimukasGdemamiTokken

    Brenics ~ Just to point out I do believe Chris Roberts is going down as the man who cheated backers and took down crowdfunding for gaming.





  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,660
    edited May 31
    I was wondering when it'll be covered, since it's on Bullroarer for a few days now...
    (nice MOP article btw.)

    Dragnelus said:
    But what does this do, exactly? And how could this benefit the game?
    It's nothing new, and it'll benefit the game as a QoL feature, as I see it.

    The landscape is easy, no question about it, and it's easy for years now. I believe we've started to dance around this question with @delete 6-7 years ago, and ever since it's got even more easy at least two times after updates...

    And as I always say in this matter, there's already a workaround for it, the turtle stone. Entire kinships on most servers are playing with adjusting the landscape difficulty to their own preferences, thanks to its xp disabling feature. It's even called the slowtro method after the first kinship's name.

    But it has drawbacks, one of it's being "under the radar", so to speak. I've been promoting it since years, and still I'd wager the majority of the playerbase doesn't even know they could play underleveled/higher difficulty.

    Another "drawback" is, it's kinda difficult to utilise. Must know the game really well, must plan ahead on what path to chose, how and when raise the character level a bit before move on to next areas, etc.
    (easier with joining to a slow-level kinship, where they do the planning, and also there are several players around at the same level to group up)


    This new feature is in effect the user-friendly version of the slowtro method - hence my "QoL feature" comment above.
    No need planning, fussing around zones, spend a bunch of time to set the difficulty to the point it's the best for the players... just flip a toggle and it's done.

    For the players (and there are many) complaining about the lack of difficulty, but unaware/uninterested in the turtle stone way, this will offer an easy and straightforward solution. Too easy? Just set it to deadly and be squashed :)

    Was surprised though on the article's "rather unique" remark. It's the very same method CoH (and later CO) used, you talk to an NPC and set the required difficulty there.
    (With CO Cryptic went even more user-friendly, and the NPC was ditched, the toggle is available any time by a simple right-click on the character's portrait)

    What's unique though is the added challenge part. While the different slow-leveling kinships play that way since years, now the players will be rewarded when they switch the tougher difficulties at low level, and reach level 50 and 100 without switching back to normal.
    I too used to play 1-2 levels under the content all the time, so I might try this challenge on a new character when the system goes live...
  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 19,085
    It is a really dumb idea.

    For one the devs could spawn mobs with variable levels ,in FFXI we had around a 3-4 level difference from which the mobs could spawn.

    Secondly ,if you want a tougher challenge just go fight a tougher mob lol,i mean geesh,it's not rocket science.


    FTrunks21Timukas

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • GorweGorwe Member Posts: 636
    A nice idea, more customizability is always good.
  • ScorchienScorchien Member LegendaryPosts: 7,879
    Ive played LOTRO 16 years now , with Names off and remove the mobs(red dots) from Mini map , game becomes much more challenging and immersive right away ..

     I do not understand the mentallity of wanting names up and radar of mobs ..

      Weak player crutches


  • Jean-Luc_PicardJean-Luc_Picard Member LegendaryPosts: 8,783
    Interesting idea... but what I would be interested in is usage stats.
    How many people are really going to increase that slider ?
    GorweScot
    "The ability to speak doesn't make you intelligent" - Qui-gon Jinn in Star Wars.
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  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,998
    I'm all for more challenging content, and LotRO used to be a great game with some very challenging world content.

    But, they started removing and revamping that challenging content within the first year of release. I can't see how a difficulty slider is going to improve things, the content will still be easy from a gameplay point of view, it's just the stat-check will be more obvious.

    I am quite removed from the game these days, so I may well be wrong and this slider could be a really great thing. If the difficulty is pushed up to the point where you actually have to start using some tactics and special abilities at the right time in order to succeed (instead of just blasting ur rotation) then it could be fun.
    Gdemami
  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 4,542
    I don't particularly like difficulty sliders.  There's too much potential for characters gaming the system.  For instance, in the event that higher difficulty scores earns some future status or benefit, it would be pretty simple to imagine a group of one normal difficulty character 'carrying' 3-4 high difficulty characters along.  Benefit (if any) without risk -- the normal difficulty character does all the work.

    A difficulty slider might work for a solo character.  Groups might not work so well.  I'll jump in an investigate it a bit when 30 goes live.



    Gdemami

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,660
    edited May 31
    If the difficulty is pushed up to the point where you actually have to start using some tactics and special abilities at the right time in order to succeed (instead of just blasting ur rotation) then it could be fun.
    Both yes and nope.

    Nope in the sense of, as I called it, it's basically a user-friendly version of the turtle stone way, so mostly it's like going against a mob 3-4-5 etc. levels above you, without the hassle of actually keeping yourself below the content, underleveled.

    It surely needs to pay extra attention, but that's already the case since launch as well, it's built into LotRO's default mechanics when level differences happen. Mobs have higher mitigation, hit like a truck, take less damage, while you also miss more and proc less.

    But the answer is yes in the sense there will be additional extras to handle, beyond those mentioned above.
    It's still in the works, but the enrage buff was discussed for example: random corruptions which you need to look out for and remove quickly, otherwise you'll get wiped... on higher difficulties that alone could push you towards a build change for simple landscape questing.

    There's also the grouping, Vastin said somewhere around deadly will be the "bar" for solo (maybe that's why the rest have only "deadly +n"), beyond that groups will be highly encouraged.
    It falls into your "where you actually have to start using some tactics and special abilities at the right time", in practice landscape will turn into dungeon/fellowship content - for you and your fellows, on said difficulty.
    Tuor7
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,660
    Mendel said:
    I don't particularly like difficulty sliders.  There's too much potential for characters gaming the system.  For instance, in the event that higher difficulty scores earns some future status or benefit, it would be pretty simple to imagine a group of one normal difficulty character 'carrying' 3-4 high difficulty characters along.  Benefit (if any) without risk -- the normal difficulty character does all the work.
    That's correct, maybe that's why they don't put too much effort into the rewards section, besides the titles.

    Especially with your idea of carrying other players is way too generous and kind towards the players :)  (since it'd take actual work)
    It was already tested and the Valar works as well... so just create a new character, set it to deadly, use the Valar to bump the character to level 120, run through the last 10 levels, titles are yours.
  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 8,331
    The XP you get from mobs stinks anyway unless they have changed that....I remember grnding trolls one time for about an hour and when I looked at my XP bar it had barely budged...You'd get more XP running a pie across the street in Hobbiton than you would killing trolls for an hour....
  • UtinniUtinni Member EpicPosts: 2,043
    Increasing damage/hp of mobs isn't increasing difficulty.
    Gdemami
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,118
    The fundamental problem is that trivial games are boring.  And playing boring games is boring.

    The real question is how it will be implemented.  LotRO is hardly the first game to implement difficulty options, but some implementations have been a lot better than others.

    Kritika Online is an instructive example, I think.  The En Masse version had four difficulty levels, and they ranged from really easy to actually quite challenging.  The Steam version also has four difficulty levels, and they range from really easy to, well, still really easy.  The Steam version of difficulty is pointless.  Actually, the Steam version of the entire game is pointless.  And I really liked the En Masse version.

    Even if you want to scale up difficulty, there are good and bad ways to do it.  What made the En Masse version of Kritika work is that different bosses had substantially different mechanics, so that different fights felt very different.  On the "insane" difficulty, you had the best boss battles I've ever seen in a game.  In the Steam version, the same mechanics are all there, but not much happens if you get hit, and the boss dies almost instantly if you attack, which makes the boss mechanics not matter.

    Po_gg mentioned Champions Online's difficulty options above.  The problem there is that it's only available for instanced content, and Champions Online is predominantly an open-world game.

    And that leads to another issue:  it's easy to adjust difficulty levels for instanced content, but much harder in an open world.  In Vanilla WoW, I once tried to see how far above level of a mob I could kill.  I managed to kill one that was seven levels above me, and it took 7 minutes to wear it down while mostly trading hits.  I tried to go for one eight levels above me, and it looked like I could do it and was on pace to take 17 minutes.  So of course some random person who was much higher level ran over and killed the mob for me, probably thinking he was helping me.

    Ideally, you'd have different instanced versions of a zone for different difficulty levels.  That would make it impossible for a "normal" player to step in and make everything trivial for people playing on higher difficulties.  LotRO has a number of servers.  Does it have enough of a player base to keep a decently populated zone on each of a few different difficulty levels?  I don't know, but it might.
    Hawkaya399
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,660
    Quizzical said:
    Po_gg mentioned Champions Online's difficulty options above.  The problem there is that it's only available for instanced content, and Champions Online is predominantly an open-world game.
    That's a good point, and CoH's worked the same way before that. It was fine there (CoH had most missions in instanced areas), and works ok-ish for CO as well.
    Sure, CO has larger open zones, but most missions still have at least some parts within instanced places (usually the bosses), where the difficulty option's effect can step into action.


    LotRO's will indeed affect the landscape (since for the dungeons you already have the option to adjust them anywhere you want), but as I've said it ain't something new, just a user-friendly version of something's already here.

    And with it, the "problems" are also here, like the random person example: even now when you with your 3 friends all using the turtle stone are in the middle of a mission bossfight on the landscape, a proper battle to death since you're 5 levels below, there can be a "helpful random bypasser" looking at your struggle and kills the boss off.

    The slider won't change or prevent that, since it's only an easier method for you to set your own difficulty, if that's your preference.
    Sure, it brings something new to the table like the aforementioned "enraged" corruption, but that won't hurt too much a normal player on the same level, at most it'll give them a bit of a nasty surprise and some extra damage.
    Quizzical said:
    That would make it impossible for a "normal" player to step in and make everything trivial for people playing on higher difficulties.
    It ain't the goal of it, normal players can still step in any time they want... it seems people think too much into this new system, while it's only a personal preference option with a few flavour titles for the "too easy" players.

    Sliders in a nutshell  :)
    - (lots of players)  Game is too easy, do something!
    - But... you can already use the turtle stone.
    - (lots of players)  Never heard of it / Don't want to stop my xp / Too cumbersome to use
    - Fine... here's some easy-to-understand difficulty slider to do the same.
  • DibdabsDibdabs Member RarePosts: 2,978
    Tired, worn-out game...
    Tokken
  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,998
    @po_gg i saw they mentioned enrage timers in the announcement, do you know any specifics about how they'll work?


    I have limited experience with enrage timers, mostly from SWTOR, and they absolutely sucked balls. They didn't ever add difficulty, they just put a soft cap on your DPS, basically a gear and rotation check.

    The enrage timers also dramatically reduced tactical options. You couldn't mix up group formation, e.g. you couldn't stack healers and just take your time. You couldn't go for something risky like kiting the boss while you recovered. You were just forced to use a basic tank'n'spank tactic, because anything else had too low dps.



    One of the great things about LotRO's combat was always the versatility. You could have crazy setups and tactics and if you were good enough, you'd win. Adding a difficulty slider but then reducing tactical options seems a bit self-defeating.
    BruceYeePo_ggHawkaya399AmarantharGdemami
  • BruceYeeBruceYee Member EpicPosts: 2,339
    I like the idea on paper a lot. Having more options to engage in combat that can be set by players is not a bad thing IMO. I'm thinking about how this could possibly change the entire experience from being less about getting to the destination(endgame) and going back to being more about the ride like it was many years ago.

    When brawler comes out I definitely plan to try out the harder modes with me punchy dwarf.
    SovrathPo_gg
  • BruceYeeBruceYee Member EpicPosts: 2,339
    Seeing as EG7 is changing things around to provide a new experience in games they own maybe they can do a LOTRO fresh start sandbox server. Remove all quests, daily, season rewards and stick them all in a arpg type loot system minus the part about loot only dropping from certain mobs. Make it from level 1-max a free for all sandbox loot chase while also slightly increasing mob xp and maybe inventory space. Players would be able to grind whatever zones they like for possible jackpot rewards without doing the quests they've/we've done 10x before. Just an idea.
    SovrathGdemami
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,660
    BruceYee said:
    I like the idea on paper a lot. Having more options to engage in combat that can be set by players is not a bad thing IMO. I'm thinking about how this could possibly change the entire experience [...]
    Agree, option is king as I used to say.
    The second part, not so much, and that's why I'm trying to tone down the hype here as well, too high expectations could only lead to decade-long grudges - just look at Elsa and the bar room brawling posts for AoC :) 

    This slider won't bring the huge changes people are waiting for, it's nothing new but what's already in the game (the turtle stone), just they add a more user-friendly, automated tool for it.

    The aim is not some kinda saving the world, reworking the game, etc., simply to give a straightforward tool to the "game is too easy" people, without actually changing anything with the game, since for every "it's too easy" player there's one who doesn't mind the low difficulty.
    (and actual changes would take time, effort, and money B) )

    The only new stuff coming with the sliders is the flexibility, with the turtle stone method you can't jump up and down the difficulty overnight, whilst you'll be through the sliders. Your friends are available, you set it up to Deadly+3.
    Next day you're solo, you drop it back to Hard. For the weekend with a bunch of kinmates, Deadly+6.

    That flexibility is a nice addition, and I assume the slow-level kinships will lose some players after the slider goes live...
    The kinships offer slow leveling AND high difficulty, those players who only attended for the latter now will be able to level at normal speed, while having higher difficulty still.

    The other change is the corruption, but since camel was asking about that,
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,660
    po_gg i saw they mentioned enrage timers in the announcement, do you know any specifics about how they'll work?
    As Vastin said:
    "Those are secondary effects that occur occasionally when fighting at higher difficulty. They are removable corruptions that players and fellowships need to deal with"

    While you (alone of team) are on elevated difficulty, and fight a mob, it will get random corruptions during the fight. How many times during a fight, and how strong, depends on the difficulty (probably, not confirmed, tests showed actual randomness, as in no pattern at all...), with different variations on the mob's speed, damage, and mitigation.

    In practice it's an awareness check, you (or someone in the fellowship) should always keep a corruption removal ready, and fire it when the mob gets enraged. With the damage enrage, on the deadly tiers it can one-shot players when not removed...
    (which ain't bad from a landscape mob :) )
    cameltosis
  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 15,274
    I think this is worth trying out, but I doubt much will come of it. Can you imagine asking guild members in your group to turn up their dials because we need to progress at a lower rate? While the baulk of players in my guilds would agree with that they expect it to be imposed. Also what about alts, I am not sure the baulk would agree that alts needed to play at harder levels. So unsurprisingly for any MMORPG this is designed for solo players and not groups or guilds.
    Po_gg
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,660
    Scot said:
    Can you imagine asking guild members in your group to turn up their dials because we need to progress at a lower rate?.
    That's the core idea of the slow-level kinships :) (just they use the turtle stone, since years)

    Agree with the rest, and that's why I try to pull back a bit the high expectations.
    Many players say the game is easy, but just as many have no issues with it.

    And even among those who'd like harder difficulty, many will pass on the sliders because of they don't want to slow themselves down.
    There's an another chunk of them with the "What's innit?" banner, the reward players. "LOL, I won't use it for just two stupid titles"

    It's only for the players who seek higher difficulty for the fun/challenge itself, and want adjustable, user-friendly solution for that.
    (thus passed on the turtle stone way in the previous years, due to the hassle it requires)
    Scot
  • Hawkaya399Hawkaya399 Member UncommonPosts: 609
    edited June 4
    I have to admit LOTRO has always been about the story to me which is why I think I always avoided it. When I first tried it in 2019 my experience was much the same as what I expected. It reminds me of SWTOR. It's very solo focused and story focused. I don't think ti's a mistake most mmorpgs went the soloing route. It's friendlier for story based gaming and it's also a lot easier to play alone (and afk) than the time demands frequently seen in grouping. I think LOTRO wasn't always so solo focused, but that's just a reflection of the time period from 2005 to 2010 when the affect of first generation MMORPGs was still being felt.

    I'm a older gamer now and not the same as I used to be though. I used to be very hardcore about things, desiring challenge above most other things. I always set difficulty on high or maximum in SP because I liked to struggle to win, rather than having lots of room for error and never really feeling like there was pressure to do well.  My perspective changed. I've mellowed a lot regarding this.

    I think ddo did good by having multiple difficulties for all instances (and getting better rewards for higher difficulties, but still getting everything you need to progress in levels and story irregardless of difficulty). Perhaps open world areas could exist in different server instances for multiple difficulties, as opposed to having multiple difficulties all existing in the same space like with the difficulty slider being discussed in this thread. By separating the different difficulties into separate open world instances, this allows much more flexibility in creating a shared experience. However, having it all exist in the same space might be easier from certain perspective, like what if the player wants to change difficulty whenever, wherever? IN SP games it's common to  change the difficulty at any time, as opposed to only at character creation. It might also use less server resources for it to exist in a single space.
    Post edited by Hawkaya399 on
  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member EpicPosts: 4,421
    BruceYee said:
    Seeing as EG7 is changing things around to provide a new experience in games they own maybe they can do a LOTRO fresh start sandbox server. Remove all quests, daily, season rewards and stick them all in a arpg type loot system minus the part about loot only dropping from certain mobs. Make it from level 1-max a free for all sandbox loot chase while also slightly increasing mob xp and maybe inventory space. Players would be able to grind whatever zones they like for possible jackpot rewards without doing the quests they've/we've done 10x before. Just an idea.
    What do you propose they do about the level power gaps? 
    You're going to have high level players wiping out zones and other players not having content to play. 
    It would be a bad mix of over powered and under powered mashed together, wouldn't it?

    Once upon a time....

  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 15,274
    BruceYee said:
    Seeing as EG7 is changing things around to provide a new experience in games they own maybe they can do a LOTRO fresh start sandbox server. Remove all quests, daily, season rewards and stick them all in a arpg type loot system minus the part about loot only dropping from certain mobs. Make it from level 1-max a free for all sandbox loot chase while also slightly increasing mob xp and maybe inventory space. Players would be able to grind whatever zones they like for possible jackpot rewards without doing the quests they've/we've done 10x before. Just an idea.
    What do you propose they do about the level power gaps? 
    You're going to have high level players wiping out zones and other players not having content to play. 
    It would be a bad mix of over powered and under powered mashed together, wouldn't it?
    I was not sure if he was joking, don't we have enough of a casino mentality in MMOs as it is? I for one do not want to be going for jackpot rewards in any game.
    Gdemami
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