Saturday, 25 July 2009


I mentioned in my previous post that I considered radiance gating (i.e., making raids accessible only to those who have acquired radiance gear) a very poor design decision, and added "it’s no secret most players feel the same way". That was, actually, a bit of an understatement... Gating has provoked perhaps the most extensive debate ever on the LOTRO forums, and has met with almost universal disapprobation. The "Petition against the new Raid/Radiance system" started by Cuilion on the CM forums way back in February has achieved an astonishing 32,591 views and garnered 650 replies, virtually every last one supporting the petition. This is no simple storm in a teacup.

Cuilion started his petition in response to an uncompromising official announcement from Turbine to the effect that "
Radiance will continue to be an important gameplay mechanic going forward for Raids. In other words, given the amount of time and energy gone into making the Radiance system it's safe to assume Radiance gear will be required for future Raids." Well, there's certainly no ambiguity there. Problem is, everyone hates radiance gating, and this includes dedicated end-content raiders (of which I suppose I am one, albeit not an obsessive example of the species). The question here is to what extent do, or should, the developers of an ongoing game like LOTRO pay attention to the wishes and preferences of their client base? OK, it's obvious you can't please everyone, and that whatever the developers do or don't do, some categories of players will always be outraged; the minor storms which break out after every adjustment of class skills (necessitated by a sensible desire to provide a level playing field) are a classic example. Every class of player will defend their territory to the death, and complain accordingly - that's only to be expected. The same goes for many of the lore-breaking design decisions: to coin a clumsy phrase, you simply cannot make a MMORPG omelette without breaking lore eggs.

What we have here, though, is very different from the usual forum whine-fest. Players who are serious about the game, who are experienced gamers, who wish LOTRO and Turbine the very best and who have given considerable thought to the subject have expressed their opposition clearly and unambiguously: they believe radiance gating to be a design error, a one-way-street which will harm the game and its prospects in the medium to long-term. They have done so, by and large, in a restrained fashion, explaining exactly why they believe this to be the case. Unfortunately, there has not been the slightest indication from Turbine that this wave of sober criticism is regarded as anything more than a minor irritant.

Politics teaches us that when a substantial (and vocal) percentage of any population has a serious beef which is consistently ignored by the powers that be, conspiracy theories will spring up like weeds to explain an apparently irrational situation: "If They won't even admit there's a problem, then something is rotten in the state of Denmark...". A recent post by player Mai Hon encapsulates this view perfectly: "I had two accounts, I waited for some sign that someone at Turbine was listening to the outcry against radiance, but its someone's favourite child, someone who would rather see the game damaged by the division it causes than admit it was a mistake."

And in view of Turbine's deafening silence, who's to say that Mai Hon is wrong?


unwize said...

You might be interested in the latest blog post by senior LotRO Dev, Orion:

He acknowledges that the devs are aware that radiance is currently very unpopular, and that they are planning to at least rework it.

Anonymous said...

There is also a poll in the german forums. 440 users voted, 280 left a comment.

Over 80% dislike the radiance-system.

Anonymous said...

I may be missing the argument, but to me the end game rad gear is a vastly superior system to that of the rift gear. I just want to state that for the record. I am a bit more than a casual player and with countless hours of play only managed 1 rift piece. As a pacific time zone player could rarely find a rift raid and when I did not get the coin.

As far as gear gating quests, I have no real problem with it. There is only one quest I can't do, although I did cower alot doing hall of mirrors without any rad gear, still made it. But the majority of the game is not affected by gear gates. I see gear gating as a task for those hardcore players to achieve, while still allowing others to attain teal rad gear without having to participate in a major raid. I think turbine needs to be careful how it is used and to use it sparingly, but not a major fault. I see it as akin to a 50 lvl toon not being able to do 60 lvl quests. If a toon wants to do it then they need to spend the time gear up, as they would spend the time leveling up. Just not a big deal to me.

Anyways thanks for airing the topic, and remember those who are upset about something will be vocal, those who are not upset will not be, so just outrage over something does not mean everyone does not like it.

Kairos said...

There's no question that rad gear (above all the Dar Narbugud tier 2 armour) and the Rift armour set are both very hard to get, and that's very much as it should be. The main difference is that a player has lots of different options when gearing up for the Rift; he can mix-and-match crafted, Helegrod, Annuminas, Carn Dum and other armour sets and be perfectly viable. For DN, there is just one option: radiance armour. To my mind, that is far too tight a bottleneck.

Of course you're right about people with a gripe being more vocal, and I agree that for many LOTRO players, perhaps even most, radiance gating isn't a problem at all. But all the indications are that it is precisely those for whom 12-man instances were designed in the first place who are most unhappy about the problem; after all, if the quality of car tires were to suddenly decline disastrously, tire companies could hardly defend themselves by saying that they hadn't had any complaints from pedestrians...

Degwarg, radhater said...

It ain't pretty on the forums these days, not Darkfall ugly (nothing could be that bad), but people are pretty pissed.

Turb tried to clean things up by locking all the complaint threads but one today; now a few are starting to yell about that too. The new 3-mans didn't seem to do much to calm things down either, same complaints are being made.