Collections? Really!?

After neglecting it for the past year, Turbine is finally committing to updating the lackluster, yet potential-filled collections panel. But making it one of their headlining items in the Producer’s letter seems a bit short-sighted. A level cap increase, an instance cluster plus raid and *drum roll* more collections.

For those unaware, collections were introduced in Update 14.2 (a minor update in 2014) which allows players to track acquisition of certain sets of cosmetic pets and steeds in exchange for titles. The UI also allows for easy skill quickslotting and an animation preview of the pet or mount. The producer’s letter that gives a glimpse into the new year lists improvements to the collections system as a major 2016 initiative alongside a new instance cluster and the level cap increase to 105.

Now these better be some remarkable improvements if they’re going to invest the time on the level of these other two big undertakings. I’m talking custom artwork, rewards other than titles, search and filter capabilities, skinability and a resizable preview window. Heck, they could roll the entire deed system into this if they could divorce themselves from such blocky elements. Stick a tree menu on the side and you’ll be good to go.

The current collections panel with over-sized shrew preview
The current collections panel with over-sized shrew preview

I’m not saying that I despise these collections. I’m all for better organization and I actually enjoy hunting down and completing these sets. One of my characters proudly wears the “Foreman” title as it’s one of the few titles appended to the front of a character’s name, and it took quite some time to grind all the tokens for those darn cave-claw pets. This might also give me the bump I need to finally make that library of emote gifs I told myself to make years ago.

However, while some collections reward long-term play like those for collecting festival steeds, others are a bit more tedious like collecting random frog pet drops or grinding Fangorn tokens for pets. And then there are those that are obtainable only through in-game store purchases. Those are the collections I will probably never obtain since, as a rule, I won’t spend points on per-character perks. *Eyes war-steed dyes enviously*

If the new upgrades are to focus on emotes as the producer’s letter suggests, this will further infuse the store’s presence into the panel as there are at least twelve “store exclusive” emotes. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as that’s not all they’re adding, and there’s certainly plenty to choose from.

Here are my predictions for future emote collections:

  • Emote deeds: /firebreath, /heropose, /juggle, /swordsalute
  • Festival dances: /dance_hobbit, /dance_hobbit2, etc.
  • Hobnanigans: /chickenchip, /chickendrive, /chickenputt, /drinkboot, /throwfeathers
  • Mounted emotes: /mountrearup, /mountkick, /mountbow (Store)
  • Paper, scissors, rock: /paper, /stone, /scissor (Store)
  • Treasure hunt: /coinflip, /counterfeit, /dowse, /inspectgem, /pan, /rich

So my advice to the Turbine development team this coming year is this: tread carefully in hyping up this forgotten system when there are plenty of other cosmetics *cough* hairstyles *cough* housing *cough* to focus on, and if the time invested in improvements really is on par with the new instance cluster, it better show. Oh yeah, and then there’s the always-forgotten and never-satisfied PvMP crowd, but let’s not go there right now.

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