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Disingenuous: 'content is never done' = players can't expect a finished new product from SSG


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From the Bullroarer thread for Update 32, end January 2022:


Player response: Just to be blunt about the Reward Track as it currently looks regardless of where it might be Design-wise for it's possible Update 32 Launch: It currently is Pathetic.

Looks pathetic and feels like no really work has been done. Really, after 3 Public Delays for the Reward Track where has the main amount of work been done? And yes, I know work has been done but it doesn't SHOW.

And if it hadn't been Delayed 3 times on a Scale of 1 to 10 & 10 being a Complete System, it honestly seems like it would have been a 1 for how much Work had been done & close to SSG's Idea of it being a Complete System.

UI Design should be something that has an initial focus that is just as important as all the Technical Designs of any System.

First impressions are everything.

SSG has already admitted with this Bullroarer Test that it'll take time for the Reward Track to improve anyway, so why bother putting it in as is which will give the impression of a Not Ready & Rushed System?

Take that time it's going to need anyway and get to a far better State and really just aim for a Complete State for being a System.

Otherwise what time frame are we looking at for the Reward Track to be fully fleshed out for SSG current Gameplan and goal to see it at for a Post-Update 32 Reward Track going Live with no Issues occurring to delay it?

6 Months? 1 Year? Longer?

Raninia: I wanna push back on this idea that you can release a "Complete System" ever - there's no such thing, and you should be extremely skeptical of anyone who goes around saying they're going to launch a complete system. The reality is all development, but especially development on a live product, like LOTRO, is iterative. We're always learning from feedback and adjusting things, creating new things, etc. No live product is ever completed, and no new additions to it are ever "complete" in any sense of that term.

Our specific goal here with releasing the Reward Track in Bullroarer is to gather feedback so we can better shape development. It wasn't that long ago that you and others were saying that we should be using the community more to solicit this exact feedback, and we've been doing it with Bullroarers for 32 for almost a month, and we have more Bullroarers to come. And even once it releases, we know there will be more feedback to take in and learn from for future iterations.

LOTRO is never complete, and it never will be complete. There's always more cool stuff to add


There's degrees of iterative though, right? You could push a car onto a sales floor without doors and say it's done, just the release is iterative. To be fair, I logged into BR to take a look at the reward track, couldn't make heads or tails of it, there was no explanation to it, I tried to do something with my old LI runes and I couldn't and the impression I got from the whole affair was that this a) wasn't ready and b) wasn't any different than hobbit presents. I logged out.

If this thing is in a state ready for release, it sure doesn't look like it. And you've got to start explaining things in game, man. Quests that walk the user through what these features do. Tool tips with text that explain how they work and how you use them. In game mails that tell us of the new system's arrival. And then at launch or even in beta, dev diaries that we can reference back to that will take us through all the features and nuances of the new system.


Certainly, but it kinda feels like you're creating and extending a system that isn't fun purely because we had a bad system before and you had to get rid of that.

A ton of dev time is being poured into this and the result is just a long RNG grind to slightly modify skills that winds up being fairly alt-unfriendly because there's no catch-up mechanics (and progress on the track is account-wide so all your alts combined barely produce enough materials to kit out your main in one role). The system itself is probably a net negative in regards to game balance, some classes gain a lot from the LI's, some gain very little, and it works out to be a massive powerspike in early game rendering most of the early content even more trivial than it already was. Traceries also don't really do anything new to enhance your characters, it just makes skill scaling a bit wonky as some skills get buffed a ton via traceries whilst others get absolutely nothing. It may be a bit of a buzzword but the system genuinely lacks meaningful choice, you're not really choosing between gameplay styles when you pick your traceries you're choosing between more or less power; someone with all the "wrong" traceries for a spec is still going to be doing more or less the same rotation, they'll just be less effective with it. The system itself is fiddly, the UX isn't great at there's the weird choice to keep LI's as two separate equippable objects despite the conflict this results in with unique traceries blocking one another. It's unnecessarily confusing for people with the multiple different tracery types, rarities, upgrade items, IXP awards, and so many slots for things. It's a mess.

One of LOTRO's biggest problems is that it just doesn't know when to give up on stuff and trim it away for a more coherent system. Each time you revamp the LI system you make it bigger and messier and honestly I think we'd prefer to just have regular weapons back at this point.


Absolutely! Having no Lis would make balancing so much better and easier as well. And if you want to keep the grind and LI powers - make it another virtue like system: a list of powers with ranks, number of slots to equip powers of your choice and so on.



You're 100% right. Development is never done and an Agile release process is what you should be following.

The problem is, we don't see things being iterated on despite you telling us that this is just the first pass for something. Has the new LI system been improved since you released it? The UI still looks the same. Sure, you've added a few items here and there that can be deconstructed into AS. But fundamentally, it's the same system you originally released. Now sure, we can go with the idea that the reward track is related to the feedback on the new LI system. But other things where we've asked for improvement on haven't seen any change.

We don't need more cool stuff added at the moment. We need improvements to what we already have. So pulling out this spiel about that no one ever releases a complete system and development for LOTRO is iterative is just something convenient for you to say. We've been through this song and dance with Cord, Sev and Sapience. So show us that things are going to change.


That's not following Agile project management. Agile means that you have a stated end result, and you release in waves to get there. The key is the end result is defined and you have defined releases building to that end result. The misconception version of the process allows you to simply release things incompletely confident in the knowledge that you will continually improve it. The trap being that other priorities get in the way and then you don't complete the iterative cycle through to the projected final scope and it's left in an incomplete but semi-functioning state.



Would it not be an option to make all essences BtA rather than having some BtC and some BtA? It would be a better experience for players as it gives more options for alting without worrying about binding certain pieces to only one character. This may also help your developers, as following a unified rule leaves little room for mistakes or ambiguity in coding new essences.


There's your problem. Please fix the numerous issues with the old cool stuff that has been added before adding more half-finished new cool stuff.


It seems strange that almost all the gear you get in Gundabad is BtA, but some essences, from the same source as the gear, are BtC and also make the gear BtC.
So just do as Rimurin suggested and get rid of BtC essences and you will make many players with multiple characters very happy.


Are boxes for heraldry, word of power, and word of craft going to be added at any point? Currently the only traceries rewarded are word of mastery. (And I will add my voice to the many others saying these should allow you to choose)


Specificially which essences are intended to be bind to character? At the moment rarer essences boxes from T2+ instances give bind to character essences. Is it intended that only the crafted essences will enable bind to account gear? I know someone who currently plays 4 level cap loremasters and relies on gear being account shared.


The question is not should bind to character essences bind gear to character. The question is what essences are supposed to be bind to character in the first place.

What will happen to gear that currently has one of those essences in it? Will it suddenly bind to the character its on?


Current situation on BR is this:

Essences from lootboxes that are either crafted or bartered are BtA

Essences from lootboxes that dropped are BtC

Items that use essences from previously obtained lootboxes from drops are still BtA (i.e. they did not convert)

This is of course WIP so I cannot tell you what the final result will look like once this patch hits LIVE...


I'm looking for the intent, not the current state.

Additionally. Runekeepers need access to a better rez for the raid. Putting the +48% rez option from the old LIs back into a tracery would work, another option is to make that part of the passives when traited blue.


Allow me to rephrase:

The intent, reflected by the current situation on BR, is this:

*Essences from lootboxes that are either crafted or bartered are BtA

*Essences from lootboxes that dropped are BtC

*Items that use essences from previously obtained lootboxes from drops are still BtA (i.e. they did not convert)





Yeah, I think anyone who knows enough about the Video Game Industry understands or has to come to understand that any Live Service that keeps receiving Updates to either add New Content and/or Fixes, etc never stops growing & never is in a "Complete State" for anything. Only when said Live Service declares it no longer is getting Updates is it "Complete".

Mostly its coming down to lets just say the Reward Track had 10 Elements to it for being fully ready to go for the initial idea for the "This is where we want it to be" ahead of adding onto it, the First Reward Track Reset, how it'll grow in 2022, 2023 & beyond, so on and so on. SSG has admitted it won't have X amount of those Elements ready anytime soon and no real time table for when those initial elements that were targeted for the Reward Track System to be ready.

Basically to me this is the New Legendary Item System type release all over again where the "bare minimum" is working, SSG will take X amount of time to eventually get their initial ideas for this System in and the Community is just going to have to soldier on for an unknown & likely large amount of time for such.

On a Scale of 1 to 10 for this System seeming to be ready regardless of what is added between now & Update 32, this feels like a 4. Lets get that up to a 7 or 8 for the initial first Launch of the Reward Track. With having all the initial SSG ideas for the System being all in & working would be a *chef's kiss* but highly unlikely. Folks such as myself want to see SSG improve when it comes to receiving & considering Feedback is what is seen here with Bullroarer Tests and if Feedback is showing pretty easily that something should take longer if not outright Delayed it would be nice to start seeing such Decisions occurring here in 2022 & beyond.

Regardless of any Decision on anything SSG brings to the table there will always be Negative Comments & Sentiments but those are only enhanced when time & again we see Unready & Unfinished Products being brought down the Development Pipeline & pushed into the Live Game. Initial Impressions are everything.

Here are 3 Youtube Videos about the Reward Track for it's first Public Appearance from Andang, Bludborn & Ghynghyn. With Andang & Bludborn talking & giving their opinions about the Reward Track, UI, Slider Bar and all the elements known about it and Ghynghyn basically just showing it off, giving the known current Data on it, etc:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfsc6XgpDdM - Andang's Reward Track Video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ef8SNswu1U&t=1s - Bludborn's Reward Track Video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgULC-3vbNY - Ghynghyn's Reward Track Video.

One key element that folks in the Comment Sections all have is: Move away from the RNG given Traceries. This is Feedback that is also on the LOTRO Forums & seen plenty in-game since the New Legendary Item System Launched. Let folks choose what they are getting, it's far more Rewarding & engaging to feel like you WILL get what you are aiming for than HOPING you'll get what you need. This change alone would go a long way to improving the New Legendary Item System.

Another Element about the Reward Track's first appearance is that the UI for the Reward Track & Slider Bar especially aren't looking good.

The XP Bar for the Reward Track per Reward has no Numbers and you have stated: "This is intentional. We'll see how this plays out in the first season, and decide on the future from there." and folks want to know what they are dealing with, how much it'll take and what Rewards they will receive. SSG are calling it a "Reward Track" not a "Mystery Track".

- Here I personally know the Reward Track's initial launch is about trying to get Players to use up as many if not all their Item Experience Runes between now & a possible May 2022 Reward Track Reset and with the goal of having what Sources for them being more Limited & possibly could down the line see the IXP Runes removed fully.

- As you have stated about IXP Runes: "We'll be removing the heritage rune grants from Gundabad quests with this update, and we'll be thinking about more broadly reducing the number of runes and their correlated drops throughout the game, but there's a lot of sources of them in almost fourteen years, so it'll take some time to find all of the ones we want to change."

- Which to me is perfectly fine, I have no issues with dealing with IXP Runes and folks will be overjoyed to finally get rid of likely all they have been hoarding especially in 2021 & so far in 2022. This removes a lot of Items that don't need to be "hoarded", helps open Inventory Space and likely will see a Data Footprint here in 2022 for IXP Runes become far less.

And much more could be said but Feedback has been rolling in for months about the New Legendary Item System and the Reward Track especially this week. This would be a key moment to take a "You guys are right, it's not as ready as it could be, we are going to delay it further, keep bringing it to more Bullroarers and really flesh it out". It doesn't have to be fully in a "Complete State" akin to SSG's initial vision of the Reward Track but it can & should be far closer to such than it is now & likely will be in February.


To add onto this Louey7 also posted their Reward Track Video, talking about it, unboxing the Rewards and First Impressions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo8ibN9d9Ic



You say you fixed a "BtC essences didn't properly update binding of the gear", but you're not saying what it will mean for the players, who uses such essences and now using items with that kind of essences across different characters?
If you just put that bugfix online with U32 and players get each and every item with one of those essences bound to a random character ... you would need to move SSG to the Antarctic to hid it from the s**-storm.
After the essence is slotted, no one can see what type it was.

You already created a lot of confusion with the essences: crafted, changed for ash, get it from a quest, get it as a drop in instances, get it with higher item level as a drop in an instance. Do you know - without asking someone at SSG! - which one of them is BtC and which one is BtA?
And not to forget, how SSG handle translations. There are countless´examples of wrong because misleading transformation. That will create a LOT of frustrated players.

May I Ask you, what is the reason that you don't do just Bind to Account essences?
You know very well, that this many essence sources with different bindings are confusing for the players.
I really hope, that this is not just another Idea from you, how to get players to buy mithril coins for essence removal.


I wanna push back on this idea that you can release a "Complete System" ever - there's no such thing, and you should be extremely skeptical of anyone who goes around saying they're going to launch a complete system. The reality is all development, but especially development on a live product, like LOTRO, is iterative. We're always learning from feedback and adjusting things, creating new things, etc. No live product is ever completed, and no new additions to it are ever "complete" in any sense of that term.

I will just comment on this one, as it this my job too to deliver working software. When you decide to refactor/reingeneer a working (no matter how badly) and full featured system, you have to replace it with another working and (at least almost) full featured system. Any failure to do so will result in a terrible backlash from your customers. Even if you deliver the first version of the new system without all the features of the previous one (which is ok, can happen), you should flesh out all the missing features in a reasonable amount of time, a month let's say, a couple sprints.

The previous system:
* was badly engineered (roughly summarizing the infamous leak post from palantir)
* resulted in performance problems (again palantir)
* was working from a player's point of view, had soe, crystals, runes, relics, all that is needed to build the weapon
* the materials were available to every playstyle, from solo to hard core raiding

The new system:
* has been in place since october, so almost four months
* has still not replaced the old system
* has no clear in game tutorial, no in depth explanation on the official web site, players must look for non official sources to understand how it works (not just how to maximize the functionalities in the current meta)
* has RNG placed all around to increase grinding (citing alts is a poor excuse given how much alt-unfriendly the game has become)
* materials are no more available to all play styles, i.e. gold traceries available as RNG only from T2+ instances, raids (yes I know there are a couple of landscape drops)
* has still no reward track on live, the RT on BR is well let's try to be polite here, is unfinished and very very stingy

This is your problem. A fully working, grindy system was replaced with an unfinished system, and even more grindy (if one wants to get teal traceries at least). It doesnt matter if it's better engineered from a dev's point of view, you have to sell it to customers, not to engineers who can appreciate the better execution.

Let's repeat this: YOU have to sell it, it's not your customers that have to buy it. YOU have to sell it to customers, not the opposite. Even if many of your customers are LOTR (not LOTRo) addicts who keep playing only because this is the only MMORPG about LOTR and they are absolutely scared of the game shutdown, so they keep fuel money in.

A final note, agile is about delivering working software, it's the only true aim of the metodology, check the agile manifesto. It's about delivering working software in an iterative fashion, working pieces that blend one after one in a whole functioning piece of software, it's about collecting feedback from your customers and changing plans according to feedback.

Again, working pieces, not beta software, not ever unfinished systems, not bug plagued products (gundabad at release, took a month to fix the major bugs, not even most of the minors).

It's about learning from feedback, not ignoring it as you do most of the times.


I last posted this some time ago when we were all complaining about the Old Legendary Item system.

Now we have a New Legendary Item system.
After fooling with it for a while (this New system) I think the sentiment still applies.

Do you remember the first time your parent allowed you to push the power mower?
That was exciting, right?
Then, on a different day, they taught you how to put more gas in it.
It was a bit stinky, but interesting, right?
Then you learned how to check the oil. Another new and interesting thing.
And how to clean the underside, and get all that old grass cleaned off…kind of interesting, right?
Then, you learned how to remove and sharpen the blade.
And how to change the spark plug. Wow. A lawn mower has electrical parts? Cool.

Now, 2 years later you learn that this in now your responsibility.
You are charged with mowing the lawn and taking care of the equipment.

Not so interesting anymore, is it?

Still hafta' cut the grass, but we have a brand new mower!
It doesn't run on gas...it is electric and somewhat robotic.
It needs to be programmed to follow a particular track...The Reward Track.


I don't beta test but I have seen enough to say that this reward track does not feel rewarding at the least bit.
Having this system account-wide but only one character can claim these rewards is flawed on it's own.
I've seen suggestions for individual reward tracks for each character. I also would like to agree then politely disagree with them.
What I mean by that is that every character should be able to claim their own rewards but keep the idea of every character progressing the same reward track.
I will also repeat the same thing that has been echoing around this thread, MOVE AWAY FROM THE RNG. Not only here but everywhere.
If I am rewarded a gold tracery and it ends up being useless, I'd be peeved.
Also, rewarding YELLOW and PURPLE traceries AND enhancement runes is also a waste of our time and effort!
Anyone who has been hitting up dailies for a while has accumulated more than they could possibly use on their character they ran them with.
Let alone running on multiple alts.
I have been running on 2 characters and each of them have at least 600 uncommon and rare and hardly any incomparable enhancement runes. Why?

In order for this track to feel rewarding, we need to be able to claim these rewards once per character instead of account and given at least incomparable traceries and enhancement runes.
AND the option to select the traceries we want.

This isn't related to the track but a few questions regarding the new LI system.
Why are scrolls of empowerment only disenchanted for 25 ancient script? 25 AS won't get you a level on a tracery slot. This needs to be at least 180, the price of a incomparable rune.
Why can't you disenchant unwanted enhancement runes like you can with unwanted traceries?
Why are there still no barter options for lvl 131 rare or incomparable enhancement runes at the LI npc in Rivendell?
Why are anfalas star-lit crystals still disenchanting to 2 lvl 86 rare enhancement runes? They need to be changed to disenchant for 180-200 AS.
Why are there so few options and ways to get anything outside of the reward track?


LOTRO is never complete, and it never will be complete. There's always more cool stuff to add

I want to say that I love the enthusiasm you provided here but, as it currently sits, there are plenty of older cool stuff that needs to be worked on before new cool stuff should be added.
For example, the allegiance (Mordor and Gundabad) UI, and now this horrendous reward track UI, both should be vertical.
The LI system has hardly changed at all since its release 3-4 months ago.
Past grinds are too long for what they are worth (Fangorn dailies and reputation, Herbalist dailies, MT, Felegoth, Dale and Erebor reputations, etc)
I get they were once endgame grind at a point in time but nowadays they just are too long to be considered going back to engage with.

I can create a lengthy list but I will leave it to those examples.


Raninia: I wanna push back on this idea that you can release a "Complete System" ever - there's no such thing, and you should be extremely skeptical of anyone who goes around saying they're going to launch a complete system.


It is very interesting, that someone from SSG is writing that.



The reality is all development, but especially development on a live product, like LOTRO, is iterative. We're always learning from feedback and adjusting things, creating new things, etc. No live product is ever completed, and no new additions to it are ever "complete" in any sense of that term.

Our specific goal here with releasing the Reward Track in Bullroarer is to gather feedback so we can better shape development. [...] And even once it releases, we know there will be more feedback to take in and learn from for future iterations.
LOTRO is never complete, and it never will be complete. There's always more cool stuff to add

Your posting is very interesting also, because you are writing about software development, and you are totally right with what you wrote here.
Unfortunately, we didn't see much from SSG in the past, in terms of software development skills on the scale, you are talking about here. Therefore, I am very interested to know which one of the SDLC* are you using resp. which one are you talking about here regarding SSG. Waterfall, Feature-Driven, Agile, Scrum, EP, Lean, Spiral, Rapid, DSM, else? Please excuse me that I ask so, but all the software development models include some basic principles and tools to work with them. Things like using a version management software, to avoid things that happened to SSG multiple times in the past, as to fix a bug in one patch and to re-introduce it in the next patch. Simple things like an issue or task board / tracking software. Just to name one example: the Name of the instances in Minas Morgul: first released on the German client with English names, then fixed the issue in a patch, and then 3 patches later the names were changed back to English. I am thinking it is very nice, that you are talking about software development, but if you do so, please consider that we see each time a patch is coming out from SSG how the software development process is working at SSG.

ad *) software development life cycle



Raninia View Post
It wasn't that long ago that you and others were saying that we should be using the community more to solicit this exact feedback, and we've been doing it with Bullroarers for 32 for almost a month, and we have more Bullroarers to come.



This is true, we have asked Turbine and then SSG for years to listen to community feedback. You are now beginning with that and I really appreciate your effort to come here read the forum and answer to issues and question.
Even EG7 CEO Ji Ham admit that LOTRO "have been underinvested under Daybreaks ownership alone" (fun fact: he was the CEO of Daybreak for the last 6 years), so we know that there are more issues with LOTRO as just some software development problems.
Just ... well, there is no time to rest on the laurels. You are in a very unfortunate position, as many things that have been ignored for years, are now escalating. The only thing what could help is to listen more than ever to the customers' feedback.
For example, one of the most shared feedback about the legendary reward track here is: removing the RNG from it. It is now up to you to prove your words.


I don't really think this works either.

A beta test realm should really be for beta testing stuff, finding the bugs and giving feedback on the tuning of things. Bullroarer doesn't do that. Look at the instances that got released with Gundabad. One of the 3-man instances was so incredibly buggy that you had to close it a few hours after release. Even when it reopened it still had so many issues with different phases bugging out and breaking and the general tuning of it is all over the place. The 6-man also released in an awful state with random unavoidable 1 shots coming in to play and a last boss that just spammed the same ability over and over and over (wasn't even a threatening ability).

Bullroarer shouldn't be the place where players are stuck trying to highlight design decisions that we don't like. Anything that comes to Bullroarer is almost certainly going to go live in some form, this stuff isn't in an early stage of development, you've probably been working on pieces of it for months now. We can't really send you back to the drawing board on something that just doesn't work because you've already invested a bunch of resources to get it this far. I suppose we shouldn't really be able to veto stuff like that as nothing would get done but SSG needs to try understand why we don't like these things in the first place and work on developing systems that do resonate with the playerbase and feel good for the overall health of the game.


If the reward track is meant to be supplemental then you need to give us a primary way through which to earn the LI stuff. Right now the best method we've worked out for doing that is to spam Sari-Surma over and over again hoping for RNGesus to grace us with one of ~90 different traceries we desire. Obviously that's led to a pretty lousy experience, farming one instance over and over like that isn't particularly enjoyable but players are making it work. It should be noted that Sari-Surma farming is currently the most tolerable way of earning gold traceries, people prefer doing this to the other routes of obtaining golds (completing Epic Story on multiple alts to funnel golds to main/opening lootboxes).

When you remove Sari-Surma gold traceries you remove the most tolerable way to earn gold traceries without providing any alternatives. That's not what you should be doing here. You should be looking at the reasons why people are farming Sari-Surma and try to remove the negative aspects of the experience instead. Running an old instance at cap on T2C is fairly enjoyable but spamming it endlessly is not. To fix this you should be making other instances more appealing and encouraging greater content diversity. Level 85 is widely regarded as one of the healthiest endgame experiences in LOTRO as it incentivised people to run a large variety of different scaling instances from various level caps in addition to the new content of the time. Take a leaf out of that book and make sure the gold traceries are guaranteed to drop from the other scaling instances. Encourage running different instances by setting each instance cluster to have a limited pool of traceries that it can give you, make it a 1/20 chance for a particular tracery rather than the current ~1/90. Could also move to make some gold traceries available outside of instance content entirely, place a limited selection on a rep barter or something to that degree. Give a pick-a-tracery token out for completing a meta-deed.

It's important to note that the LI system doesn't need to be a thing purely gated behind the highest tier of raiding, raiding already has just about every other BiS gear piece tied to it. There's room here to make LI's something that every player could max out by doing varied content.


This guy gets it! The Imbued LI System wasn't gated behind the highest tier of raiding. Why make it so that the new system has traceries that are gated behind the highest tier of raiding? If the Rewards Track is supposed to be "supplemental" to how we build our usual LIs, then by all means, what is our primary intended to be?! My boosted 135 champion has a tanking set that is VERY SLUGGISHLY coming along, and I was REALLY hoping that the Rewards Track would be the answer to the fact that I'm still missing ~20 traceries appropriate for my tanking LI build. Am I going to have to default to Ancient Script grinding/School Grinding as the default for ancient scripts and 140 purple/blue traceries? I sure hope not.

Seriously reconsider making the Rewards Track NOT account wide, but on a per character basis. It will increase the value of the Bind-on-Account Heritage Runes tremendously. Or at the very least make the repeatable Rewards Track level that comes after level 99/100 provide consistent and generous rewards for the purpose of gearing alts (blue and purple tracery, plus blue and purple enhancement runes per iteration of the repeat level).



Level 85 is widely regarded as one of the healthiest endgame experiences in LOTRO as it incentivised people to run a large variety of different scaling instances from various level caps in addition to the new content of the time. Take a leaf out of that book and [...]

Hold it right there, Satan !

I'm usually on board with what you write, but this had me fall off my chair.
It's quite the opposite, as far as endgame goes lvl 85 was the worst. Makes one wonder if you were there at the time !
- Remember farming t1/t2 instances for abysmal chances of getting gold gear ? Ask any champion that never managed to get his Malledhrim boots (+16% critical multiplier) what he thinks about it. Remember, there was no other way than RNG to get those.
- Remember the farm trains to drop Horse-Lords recipes off of random mobs ?
- Remember it was so horrendous and led to so many raiders quitting the game that French kins got world first and second of Flight to the Lonely Mountain ?

Lvl 85 was the epitome of unhealthy abysmal RNG-driven bullc**p.

I agree that current iteration on how to get gold traceries is terrible. If you want my take on it, which likely none does, the current RNG path should contribute to a non-RNG path. Say that you drop a gold (respectively teal) tracery that is useless to you, then disenchanting it should give you (on top of the Ancient Scripts) a token. When you have 3 tokens, you can trade those for a Cracked (resp. Shattered) tracery.


Healthiest in terms of the activities people did. Whilst it did somewhat suck to never get my damn +5% healing cloak on Warden (was a tank main at the time) I still remember 85 cap as having way more content variety because it made the move of putting something good in pretty much every aspect of the game and it made solid use of old content. The weakest points of that cap honestly had more to do with the initial launch (Hytbold being the only endgame content for months and Warsteeds....being Warsteeds). Raiders didn't quit the game because the Horse-Lords recipes, they quit because the raid content they were promised was massively delayed and wound up being 3 mediocre encounters rather than the follow up to Tower of Orthanc that they had hoped for.

To look at the bigger picture, 85 cap gave us:

Landscape dailies to build our own town and gain access to pretty good set-bonus gear.

A second tier of set-bonus gear from the raids.

Rare drops in old and new scaling instance clusters.

Rare gems from the new instances that could be used to tier up fancy rings obtained from Warbands.

Rare craft recipes to produce 1 or 2 gold pieces (these recipes were eventually added to a barter).

Reputation locked Wildermore jewellery pieces.

Whilst some of the drop rates were a little awkward in places the spread of things was pretty ideal. Now I'm not suggesting they do the gold class item thing and put exceptionally rare drops into random instances but the general concept of giving each scaling instance cluster its own unique pool of gold traceries is fairly solid. The main drawback of SS right now is that it's 1 gold tracery from a pool of ~90. It honestly wouldn't be that bad if it was a pool of 20 traceries as you'd have a much easier time of targeting a specific tracery. The reward track is your bad luck protection here, should you be particularly unlucky on a few traceries it should give you the universal trade-in token. As mentioned there's also the option of making some traceries available via other means such as rep barters/deed completions.

The key thing here is that you want to push players towards actually doing stuff and you want that stuff to be as varied as possible.



When I go see a movie I expect it to have gone through the editing process, not show in the order it's filmed and all the post processes complete and gotten the approval of early viewers. A "box" set will have complete episodic content to tell it's story and keep you entertained to see it through to it's conclusion.

How is it that Lotro gets away delivering the day's rushes? I caught the latest Bond film; I didn't have to plough through 10 iterations over the last couple of years. Seeing the second unit's pyrotechnics on the first look might have turned me away from the whole brand.




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