Friday, 14 October 2016

General chat, where facts are opinions

My minstrel, Ravenwe, was just forging some ancient silver when my eyes got bored of following the crafting bar progress and incidentally wandered off to the general chat box.

Captain newbie: "Is it best to level a captain as healer in green bar?"

After a bit of talk in world chat, it became apparent that they meant blue line.

Blue line, designed to be the captain's healing line, under-performs significantly compared to the captain's two other trait lines (red for DPS, yellow for tanking). In a group setting, captains lack the single target burst healing of 'true' healer classes (minstrel, rune-keeper, beorning). Going blue on a captain means you get more (unneeded) AoE healing, less meaningful group buffs and the tank still dies. TL;DR: nobody plays blue line captain and no one is waiting for one in their group.

Perhaps I could save this newbie from a career path of excruciatingly slow leveling, getting acquainted with a trait line that nobody wants to invite to their group. I could at least make an attempt.

Ravenwe: "Red line would be more efficient."

I chose my words carefully. I did not write "blue line sucks, lol" (although it currently does). I kept it factual. Nevertheless, someone was eager to remind me why class discussions in general chat give me a headache.

Carebear: "Well, if you put it with the right or wrong line there is no such thing. There is only the way you feel it works best for you and your playstyle."

Captain newbie was hoping for some insight into the relative strength of their class' trait lines, but nope. LOTRO general chat. The place where facts are opinions.


  1. I know you're expressing annoyance with the "carebear", but I'm kind of amazed that things seem to be completely the other way round in LOTRO compared to how they are in other games - I'm only used to seeing people get told off for "daring" to be inefficient, for example by levelling as a healer or wanting to group up for something that can be soloed.

    1. Yes, that's funny, isn't it? Those remarks in SWTOR annoy me just as much, btw. There it's mostly the intention: often people are not trying to be helpful, but just want to show off in chat how much 'someone sucks' in order to feel better about themselves.

      For the record, I'm absolutely fine with people playing however they like. Even if it's highly inefficient: if they are having fun that's the most important thing.

      The interesting thing in LOTRO is the extremes to which people go to defend 'playstyles' etc, to an extend that it almost becomes a taboo to talk about class balance & performance in general chat. In LOTRO, a highly unbalanced MMO in which some DPS classes perform almost 50% (!) lower than others, it really matters what traitline or class you pick, yet mathematically verifiable facts are invariably called opinions in general chat.

      As to why this approach is so different between LOTRO and SWTOR, my guess is that the latter's demographic consists of generally higher skilled players. LOTRO hosts a large amount of very casual players that only play because of the Middle-earth setting and that would otherwise probably not game at all.

    2. LOTRO is more casual than SWTOR. My mind boggles!

  2. Having actual conversations in general/global is like herding cats. It's cute in a video but entirely pointless in real life.

  3. I hate the questions in Gen Chat that are "what's the best spec to play for [insert class here]?" Those are definitely in the arena of "play whatever you feel like" for an answer. In SWTOR, I tend to answer those questions about DPS Smugglers as "If you feel like smacking people around and getting in an up close bar brawl, go with DPS Scoundrel. If you feel like Clint Eastwood in The Good The Bad and The Ugly, go with Gunslinger."

    But for LOTRO, it seems that people just want to know what's the optimal raiding spec, and that's generally out of my league. But I know from experience that whatever the latest hotness is, it'll vanish soon enough.

    1. Those questions are ill-grounded in presuming there is one superior spec, but when answered correctly - in SWTOR usually "spec A for sustained DPS, spec B for burst damage" etc - that's vital information to understanding your class, for instance when raiding (and it will make whatever else you do in-game easier as well). So I don't mind that.

      When it comes to picking classes (did you get them a bit mixed up above, or is that WoW terminology?) I love your smuggler example, though. Flavour is how I chose my classes as well - after all they're all viable for endgame in SWTOR.

      I'm not surprised that people often ask for optimal raiding specs in LOTRO, though. In SWTOR the classes (and specs) are so well balanced that it doesn't *really* matter which one you pick; in LOTRO class balance is a joke and there are a lot of specs/trait trees that are so ill-designed that they are never used, so what you go with there can really make or break a tier 2 attempt.

  4. Hi! Just dropping by to say that I play blue line as Cappy a lot, and if I'm in your fellowship or raid, I'll be getting free pies and ale XD. Healing Cappies are never going to beat Minis in burst heals, fact. But how you play a Healing captain (provided you are geared) will help the group determine how best to use you. I'm bad at writing explanations. Maybe I'll do a Cappy video guide someday.


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