I started out pretty excited about Helms Deep expansion and have since come down from the clouds so to speak. I’ve gone through the expansion on my Lore Master and half way on my Warden and I need a break from the game. I haven’t completely written off the expansion but I’m rather underwhelmed at this point and until monster play picks up, it just might be a weekly login to see what direction the wind is blowing or more to check in with friends.
Class Changes: I welcomed this as I felt the classes could pretty much “do it all” with no consequence to heals, dps, or tanking. Now, classes are much better at any one particular area (dps, heals, tanking) and that presents the player with having to make choices. I just see it as an improvement on the old system…not to say it’s the best thing ever. The problem I have is that the actual gameplay makes your choices redundant when landscape mobs die in 2 global cool downs. Out of all the quests in HD that I can recall, 2 posed challenges and were marked as such…yet I was able to complete each on the first run. I’m just let down that Turbine spent quality dev time on these class changes but missed the boat on how it would impact the landscape and the casual questing audience. Yes, it’s too damn easy. There i said it.
Gameplay: I felt too much of a passive participant. I found myself doing way too much mouse click quests…you know, right click to clean up horse shit, pick up arrows, blah blah…I want to use my class skills and be an active participant. When I think back to the lvl 1-65 content, beyond pie/mail delivery’s in Shire, i don’t remember very much of these types of quest filling the repertoire. The exception to this are the session plays which add to the story and narrative of whats going on.
Big Battles: First, without any skill points to spend on the BB trait lines, your experience will seem lackluster at best. The experience gave me the feeling that my character’s skills were far less useful than the BB trait line skills…I think this is WAI and I’m not fond of it. There were times when I wasn’t sure where exactly I needed to be on the map and what I needed to do. Always, I had this feeling that I was wasting my time in area A when I could be contributing more in area B but I was reluctant to move b/c I was unsure of how to get there. There’s also some dead end paths with invisible “walls of death”. For me, I wasn’t exactly encouraged to explore the map. The loot system is something else that I can’t really get excited about. Even putting in a gimmickly treasure chest at the end wouldn’t change my mind. First, it’s all jewelry, all the time. Second, I keep getting the same pieces. Third, it’s all jewelry rewards.
Crafting: The drop rate for emerald shards has zapped any enthusiasm I had for crafting end level gear. AFAIK, there are 2 ways to get these shards. One is by using the barter vendor (limited ways to earn currency once you spend them) and the other is by a RNG when gathering crafting mats. I haven’t had any luck on my LM, who is an explorer and was gathering ore and wood at every opportunity.
Monster Play: No excuses here. HD launched without several PvMP breaking audacity and mitigation bugs. Sad but I’m not surprised. Moors is a ghost town until these issues are addressed.
Basically, for a casual hardcore player such as myself, once I got past the charm and appeal of HD, there’s not much to hold me there. I won’t stick around to farm BB for skill points b/c by the time I get all the skill points, I’ll be sick of the game.