Expendable Minions, and other musings

October 3, 2009 at 11:50 am | Posted in LotRO | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

Having read the official releases about Siege of Mirkwood, I’ve been thinking about this new Skirmish system, and how it might work.  Yes, sometimes I get bored.  And then I start to ponder the unponderable, with no real information to back it up.  Random speculation and suchlike.  This is one of those times.

I like the idea of having an Expendable Minion whom I can mould to my satisfaction, but don’t need to worry about controlling in the heat of the action.  If I want to be smug and have something else do all the work, I’ll get Herewerd out of his box and be all Loremaster-y.

Making up the numbers is good, but I think the customisation is a work of genius.  I love my expendable minions.  Because I can sacrifice them to achieve my aims.  I don’t *care* about them, though.  I almost, almost cared about my World of Warcraft Hunter pet, but mainly because I had to be all special snowflakey and get a Ghost Sabre.  Cue an hour of stupid statue-fiddling amongst various angry naga because I didn’t want wait until I was at a decent survivable level.

And this was when Warcraft Hunter Pets had the loyalty mechanic, so you *had* to be nice to them.  Well, nice-ish.  I’d feed it after having it brutally slaughtered to save my repair bills.

But if I get to customise my new Expendable Minion, yet not control him, then maybe he stands a chance.  Because he would be less of a Minion, he might end up being less Expendable.  I might even care about the little chap.

Replayability=good.  We spend so much time repeating ourselves, in online gaming.  Daily quests.  Repeatable reputation quests.  Levelling alts.  Running raids and instances for rare-drop phat-lewtz.

And the result?  Burnout.  Not fun.

If the skirmish system is kept deliberately simple; “Defend the Prancing Pony”, then you can safely allow random elements to creep in.  Change the type/make-up of the attacking mobs.  Change where and when they attack from.  Change the duration of the fight.  Some will be easy, some will be difficult.  Random chance can be a harsh mistress.  But it will make them less of a formula-following trez-gathering exercise, and more of a fun, fast and frantic experience.

I want that.  It makes a skirmish more replayable.  More of a challenge.  And less likely to become just another repeatable bore.

I think it’s the skirmish system, more than anything else, that excites me about Siege of Mirkwood.  I have a few alts languishing in the doldrums, as I’ve no interest in running through the same content again and again.  However, the opportunity to get on, blast through a few skirmishes, and move on, seems like a great way to level at leisure, without feeling like I’m grinding my way through levels.



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