Friday, July 6, 2007

Super Chicken

The newest news from the LOTRO staff is that the next major content update, Book 10, will include among its myriad features something called Session Play, wherein you can take control of a non-persistent creature and control it to run around and do special quests, presumably for some rewards that will transfer to your actual character. At the time of Book 10's release, there will be three options for Session Play. In the Ettenmoors, the sort-of-PvP zone, you can take control of a Ranger or a Troll, which sounds pretty awesome, based on the experiences I've already had in the Ettenmoors. It may solve some monster play balance problems, or may exacerbate them, I'm not really sure. But it should be fun.

The third option is a chicken. A regular, run-of-the-mill, level 1 chicken. You can run around and talk to animals, do some...chicken quests, I guess. And eventually, after you do all of the instanced chicken quests, get to run around as your chicken whenever you want. I don't think you level it up or anything, and you can't attack anyone, or chat with them, or really do anything other than jump up and down and annoy them. But for some reason, a lot of people think this is a great idea. I just don't see the appeal.

Since I fall squarely in the Achiever category with a minor in Socializer, I'll probably check out the chicken play for a few minutes, and only really dive into it if I find out the end reward for my main is actually worth it. And since itemization in LOTRO is already fairly weak, I doubt it will be.

Then there's the main argument of the people who hate this idea: Why add something fluffy like this when there's SO MUCH that needs to be fixed right now? The dev response is that Session Play was done by one dev on his spare time, which is fine, but I really hope Book 10 addresses some of the concerns that are pretty much universal among LOTRO players at this point: the aforementioned weak itemization, a pretty much complete lack of character customization options, bugged pets, imbalanced PvP, etc etc.

Turbine's community managers, led by the aptly named Patience, really needed to spin this better. At the moment it's being recieved as "We know there's a bunch of stuff to be fixed, but here, have a house and a chicken!"

Official article on Session Play can be found here.

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