In Update 2 Turbine has made a change to the way in which the barter tokens are earned. In previous zones, you could run an instance as many times as you desired a day and would get the Dol Guldur or Moria tokens every time you defeated a boss. This allowed you to run one (maybe the fastest or your favorite) instance a few times a day to earn your tokens.
In the new zone, you will get a quest upon entering the instances. Upon completion of that quest you will be rewarded with your tokens. You will not be able to earn any more till the locks reset. The standard 3 and 6 man instances will be on bi-weekly lock cycles. This means you will be able to run any instance you like but will only get the Tokens on the first run through and cannot get any more, from that instance, for a few days.
The reason for this change is so players will not be allowed to burn themselves out on one instance in the quest for their high end gear. You will now be forced to run all the instances in order to max out your Token acquisition.
This ignores one big aspect of how many people play LOTRO. Once the book content has been consumed all there is to do is the repeatable stuff. The reputation quests for barter items, the Skirmish Runs for Superior Third Marks, the instances for Tokens of Moria, or Lothlorien, or DG. I actually enjoy logging in and watching GLFF waiting for a group to run one of these. Other than raid night, these repeatable instances/skirmishes are the highlight of my gaming week.
Now, imagine GLFF if the School and Library of Thaim Mirdain skirmishes only gave Superior Third Marks once per week.
I mean really imagine it.
People would run them on the days of the unlocks and them abandon the game till the locks expired.
Now hopefully they will only do this to the new instances tokens and won’t get any bright ideas to expand it to Superior Third Mark acquisition. I was just using that as an example of how this can adversely affect the game.
This new system almost seems to be encouraging people to not play. You got your marks… Go do something else till the locks expire.
What they should be looking into is balancing the amount of tokens per time among the instances. The reason GS and Sword Halls were run to death is that they gave more Tokens per hour of play time. If Fil Gashan rewarded 4 times the tokens it would be worth running it.
The other aspect is time. Shorter instances are more popular because they are bite sized. I am much more likely to have 20 minutes to spare for short run of a GB, or School of Thaim Mirdain than an hour for SG or Forges (when it was on level). Shorter instance are going to be run more even if they reward the same tokens per hour, just because people have time for them.
And then there is fun. Sword Halls is much more fun than Warg Pens and Dungeons. I just want to go in blow stuff up, none of this sneaking or puzzles….Although maybe that’s just cause I’m a Champion…ignore that one.
Anyway, the point is, Turbine, if you want us to play your game, you have to let us… play the game. Make the instance rewards proportional to the time, make them fairly short (20-30 minutes for three mans), and make them all fun. Then you won’t have to worry about players running one of them into the ground. If you find out what people like about that one instance which they have locked onto, then you can replicate that in all of the instances, rather than locking up that favorite instance.