I'm not sure I like the forced diversification. If I want to play a fighter, let me play a fighter.
I don't see it as forced diversification. If you want to get the bottom-level, barebones skill in any class, it will be easy to do. If you want to be the best Fighter in the River Kingdoms, that will be a bit harder to put it mildly.
This is basically parallel to real life. I could spend years and years training to be a professional player in any sport, or I can spend a few months or even weeks total and play casually in many sports.
I've had a lifetime sub to LOTRO since late 2008. I mainly got into it for the strong IP and iconic setting. Their sustainability from having a sub-based model quickly eroded and they went FTP in late 2010. I was skeptical at first, but got with the program and trusted their statement that the store was for "convenience, not advantage." They retracted that pledge soon afterward when they released store-only relics for legendary items, which for certain niche roles like my tank, were better than anything you could get ingame.
I recall Ryan making the same pledge and sincerely hope he will be able to keep it. I do have faith that he will given that PFO will start small and focus on being sustainable by keeping costs and the playerbase low initially.
Anyways, I tire of the pointless grind in LOTRO aimed at getting the best traits and legendary items. Legendary items these days are more disposable than burner cellphones, as you throw them away to get the next one each time the level cap advances.
I appreciate that Ryan has stepped out and said that almost all items in PFO will be disposable and have a high turnover given how easy it will be to be killed and looted in the wilderness. This brings the focus back to lasting character growth and the lasting impacts you will have on the world rather than ephemeral displays of wealth and power.
It's only been about 5 days since I accidentally discovered this game by digging through Massively and I must say I am already more invested in it than I will ever be in LOTRO. I will most likely quit LOTRO to play this fulltime despite having a lifetime sub.
Will they exist and will they be player craftable?
I remember Ryan mentioning in an interview at GenCon that the game is basically a "zoomed-in" experience of approximately the equivalent of 6th to 13th level in the tabletop game. (Sorry, can't find video right now - youtube banned at work.)
I'm guessing this entails that magic arms and armor as well as other slotted and wondrous items will exist with a strength of up to the ingame equivalent of +3. Would be great if they could appear both as dungeon drops and as player-crafted items, with the latter perhaps having a slight edge in exchange for the effort in gathering the materials and crafting it.