Monday, February 6, 2012

[Lotro] Warden Overdone?

There is a revamp to the warden class scheduled for the next update, and what has been revealed so far it seems the class is about to get a whole lot more complexity added, the bad complexity not the good kind. 

My warden is 67 and has effectively been mothballed, I was waiting for this update to breathe some new life back into the class. My opinions on the class are sort of love/hate, and it comes down to the gambit system. I'd prefer a system of three length gambits maximum, and stronger, more diverse, reactive effects for gambits.

It starts off as fun but inputting the same sequences get tiring for me when the class is played for extended periods. It's not helped by adding new mechanics such as with the power attack line for Rise of Isengard: Power Attack bleed has to be applied first, then Mighty Blow hits for bonus damage because of the PA bleed, then using Unerring Strike does bonus damage because of MB. It really locks in the rotation where it was more open before.

Another similar mechanic is one of the changes coming with the update, variable buffs tied to a gambit line like so:

** Weak buff, Long duration
*** Moderate buff, Moderate duration
**** Strong buff, Short duration

If applying ** first, when *** is applied a moderate buff but long duration is applied, and again when **** is used a strong buff and long duration is applied. Thankfully it shouldn't be as rigid as all that, using **** twice is supposed to have the same effect, i.e. end up with a strong buff, long duration. It's moving in a direction that I dislike about the warden, stacking near identical buffs and keeping them rolling, and it also leaves the warden fairly fragile at the beginning of a fight trying to get up all these buffs when things are usually hairier.

However, this is not the upcoming change I'm most worried about, and it is something I feel will drive away a lot of players not heavily invested in the class. Wardens are getting a ranged traitline, the Fist traitline is completely redone and with that change comes three stances that lock the warden into three distinct roles: melee dps, ranged dps and tanking. I hate stances, especially getting them added to classes that really don't need them (burglar, minstrel), wardens I can just about accept, but it's what happens to gambits in each stance that has me concerned.

Here's the situation, in the next update a gambit description will look something like this:

Gambit line A
In stance X these gambits have function A
In stance Y these gambits have function B
In stance Z these gambits have function C

As if there wasn't enough information to remember, now there is three times that information. And having even more potential for confusion: different gambit lines might share the same effect, so gambit line A might do a lifetap in melee stance and a DoT in ranged stance, while gambit line B might do a DoT in melee stance and a lifetap in ranged stance. Now think about changing from melee to ranged, and back again, while keeping all that straight in your head.

As if that wasn't enough, just to make the burden of reconnecting with the warden class even more energy sapping, all legacies are getting changed too.

Wardens are an 'advanced' class, but there must be some line to tow before a class becomes too complicated.