I’ve had a totally crappy experience this weekend with MMO’s. I’m ready to quit both LOTRO and WAR for some of the overwhelmingly annoying things the developers have designed into the game.  If you thought Windows Annoyances were frustrating, try having stupid and gratuitous game mechanics being thrown at you when your paying monthly fees to supposedly be entertained and just trying to have a good time. DENIED!

First we’ll take on Warhammer, since they’ve probably pissed me off more than LOTRO ever has. Several quests that I wanted to try and complete this weekend were thwarted due to either: “Champion” mobs blocking the way, or respawn rates that were so out of control I couldn’t make any forward progress.  My  “favorite” one was where three elven guards are guarding an urn.  These were “even con” mobs (level 19 or 20, and my character is level 19), and I could only kill two of the mobs before the first one respawned.  So I never even got to TRY and kill the third guy, let alone go pick up the objective urn. YAY! 

Frustrated, I went on to test this in several “highly mob populated” areas with the same result.  I’m only able to kill a two mobs before the first one respawns.  This is insanely ridiculous – especially when you take into account that you usually have to fight anywhere between 15-20 mobs just to get to your final objective.  No wonder so many folks just forego the return trip through hell and just “map out” to their last saved position.  It’s already frustrating as hell just to get to the damn objective, if you can even get there at all.  It’s yet another example of discouraging & punishing solo gameplay- and it’s part of the reason why WoW is so popular – you almost never have to group in WoW for character advancement, only for “extra credit” style quests/gear.

The worst part is, I remember doing all of these quests in WAR quite awhile ago on previous characters and I didn’t have these problems.  So somewhere along the line either Mythic or Electronic Arts decided to be pricks about the whole solo-gamer thing and tweaked a bunch of game mechanics just to be ANNOYING.  <RAGE QUIT>  LOL – well I haven’t done that yet, but I’m seriously considering it.

LOTRO is pretty bad about this as well.  There are whole maps of areas that absolutely cannot be traversed without a group.  One of the major reasons I keep quitting that game. On top of that, LOTRO has what I call “annoyance mobs.”  They don’t attack you, but if you get too close, they “hang around” you, following you wherever you go. If you do an “area of effect” skill while attacking something else and you happen to hit them, THEN they attack you. Some even “de-buff” you, just while they’re hanging aroud you, making it harder for you to hit the actual mobs you need to attack for whatever quest it is you’re working on (Flickering Limrafn for one). ARGH! 

Other annyances in LOTRO include: biting flies, flickering limrafn, backpacks that are too small, mobs running away and bringing back buddies, mobs that just “pop” on you either from stealth or re-spawn, “gathering” quests where there are exactly the number of items to be “gathered” so you spend hours looking for that “last one” you need to complete the quest, or you’re trying to gather something that drops only from a particular type of mob, AND only occasionally – not every time you kill them, so you mind-numbingly hunt some mob for hours on end trying to fulfill some inane numbers game.

LOTRO also added an incredibly long progression scheme before your character is able to “fast travel” (Level 35 for a horse in Lotro= ridiculous) – I could get my first horse in DAoC at level 10! And of course there are the “regular suspects:” Forced grouping by requiring impossible to solo quests: “champion mobs” blocking quest entrances, re-spawn rates that in effect block progress (Lotro and WAR are both guilty of this), rare or frustrating to gather resources (esp. for “crafting”), etc.

MMO Developers: Adding annoyances for the sake of being annoying is shallow, frustrating for players, and shows an incredible lack of imagination on the part of the game developer/designer. And it also illustrates a total lack of vision for what the game could be. Many MMO’s add this kind of garbage to their game in order to FORCE grouping.  There are a butt-load of idiots out there that think since MMO’s are multiplayer, they SHOULD FORCE grouping.  If you believe that, you are an ass.

MMO’s should ALLOW for grouping, if you really feel the NEED to be “grouped” and validated by other peoples’ opinions, go join a 12-step program, not an MMO!  Otherwise, players should almost NEVER BE FORCED to group for regular game play. Sure, maybe for a “once in a lifetime” Epic style quest, or for “extra credit” titles and gear, or for defending/taking “realm” objectives – but NEVER for casual, individual character advancement, questing, or gameplay.

So why be multiplayer at all???  The main reason is that it ALLOWS you to play with your friends or family or whoever you WANT to play with, without FORCING you to play with a bunch of jerks in a “pick-up-group” (PUG).  And it adds to the game’s immersion by allowing you to play in a persistent world where other players CAN interact with you, but they’re not FORCED to. Kind of like real life – where you can take your dog for a walk in the park, but you’re not forced to take five of your neighbors’ dogs for a walk too, in order to achieve a trip to the grocery store, or some-such nonsense.

OK, I guess I’ll go put the soapbox away for now and I hope y’all are having a more enjoyable weekend than I’ve been having!  And it was my birthday yesterday to boot! LOL!  Guess I’d better go find some cake and ice-cream or something 😀