lord of the rings online

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Official Site: Lord of the Rings Online
Studio: Standing Stone Games, formerly Turbine/WB Interactive Entertainment; published by Daybreak Game Company
Launch Date: April 24, 2007
Genre: Fantasy Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid F2P (Optional Sub, Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

LOTRO: Mordor is still aiming for a July 31 release

Lord of the Rings Online players are on pins and needles this week, wondering if they only have a few days before the expansion or if Standing Stone Games will exercise its option to delay Mordor by up to a month. According to a dev post on the forums yesterday, the target date of July 31st is still a go for launch.

“We typically don’t say more than what we already have until after we hold a meeting to confirm everything is set, and then confirm it by posting the downtime notice,” posted the studio about a release date announcement. “That said, it was included in the pre-purchase page, and at this time at least we have no indication it will not happen then. So, we’re still on track for the 31st.”

Meanwhile, SSG was happy to talk about the new High Elf race (which is not being included in the base Mordor edition but can only be acquired by purchasing a more expensive bundle or waiting until winter when it goes on sale in the store).

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Global Chat: You’re playing MMOs wrong

Have you ever lost your top when someone condescended to lecture you that you’re playing MMORPGs wrong? You and Roger at Contains Moderate Peril both, pal. In a recent essay, he goes off on those who would presume to lecture others that there is a “proper” way to play online games.

“Is there a definitive way to play an MMORPG?” he asks. “‘No’ is the brief answer. Sure, each MMO has a set of rules and procedures that set out a path of progression. However, nowhere in these rules will you find a statement saying it is mandatory to play this particular way. Humans like to adapt things to suit their own needs. Play is underpinned by imagination and creativity.”

Revolt against peer pressure and conformity! Raid in your skivvies! Roleplay as an omniscient tree stump!

The parade of MMO blog essays continue in today’s Global Chat, where writers talk about LOTRO band outfits, the lack of excitement over online game launches, being a frog in EverQuest II, and more.

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Lord of the Rings Online explains the Allegiance system in Mordor

We’re probably not going to blow your mind by saying this, but here it is anyway: Mordor in Lord of the Rings Online is not a friendly place. You’re shocked, obviously. But the point is that you’ll need to have some allies to deal with the problems of that land, and those allies need to know you’re their ally. Hence, the upcoming Allegiances system, a chance for players to improve reputation and standing with one of four factions for cosmetic rewards and unique storylines.

It’s important to note that the four factions (the Hobbits of the Company, Durin’s Folk, the Court of Lothlorien, and the Kingdom of Gondor) will not affect your access to endgame gear, even though the Allegiance system will be tied into the endgame. But your choice is mostly between the four stories you wish to follow and which cosmetic gear you want to access first. Still, much like Merry and Pippin’s oaths of service (which formed the initial concept for this system), it’s going to be important from a narrative standpoint to consider whom your character will bend a knee for.

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LOTRO’s new allegiance system will take you to fantastic places

One of the new major systems that’s coming with Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor deals with your pledged allegiance to certain Middle-earth factions. Players will choose between four races to dedicate their Mordor adventures, opening up a special headquarters and unlocking rewards over time.

Allegiance can be pledged to the Court of Celeborn (Elves), Hall of the King (Man), Erebor (Dwarves), or Bar Thorenion (Hobbits). As players progress in their allegiances, they will open up a special quest line. “Allegiances do have you filling up a bar, and there are repeatable quests and rewards, but for me the significant addition is that each of them tells a continuing story,” said developer MadeOfLions on the forums.

Get an early look at all four class halls allegiance halls after the break!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 127: EVE walks no more

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree recount the odd history of Walking in Stations, debate the Mordor pre-order, tackle a trio of MMO updates, talk with ARK’s soundtrack composer, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Global Chat: Are MMO side quests worth it?

Apparently I am a pot-stirrer. On my side blog, Bio Break, I like to throw out conversation starters every now and then, and one such recent post concerned side quests. Namely, I mused about getting rid of them altogether in MMORPGs. This generated a lot of interesting conversation around the subject among other bloggers.

In An Age said that side quests are vital for pacing: “Pacing, meanwhile, is all about enhancing the main story. How do you enhance a story? By fleshing it out. Giving context to its development. Allowing breathing room in which to digest the latest narrative bombshell. Bringing the world in which the story exists to life.”

“I’m a fan of side quests if they’re done well overall. I don’t expect every single one to be breathtaking storytelling,” said Gaming SF. And Bhagpuss goes the other way: “I have to wonder whether, rather than putting side quests on ice, it isn’t the main quest itself that should be deep-sixed. If side quests add breadth and depth to the world, don’t main quests try to put that world in a box and close the lid?”

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LOTRO expands its Mordor FAQ with more pre-order info

One of the qualms that players have expressed over the new Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor pre-order package is a lack of clarity over some of the more expensive edition offerings. It appears that the developers have been listening in part to these complaints, because the official Mordor FAQ was expanded early this week to elaborate on some of the extras.

The explanations covered the new Mordor runes, a creepy teleporting door that you can put inside your house to take you to the land of shadow, how the XP bonus item works, and pictures of the adorable kites that you will no doubt be flying as you vacation in Sauron’s back yard.

Now that you’re armed with more information, will you be dropping upwards of $130 on the expansion or going with the basic package? While you’re mulling that over, check out YouTuber Andang’s new character model update video after the break.

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LOTRO’s new light and shadow system looks a lot like the old radiance system

One of Lord of the Rings Online’s more infamous systems was radiance, which heavily penalized players’ stats in certain dungeons unless they had specific gear to counter those negative effects. The near-universal dislike of radiance gear led to its removal and the developers admitting that it didn’t work out so well.

So why bring up radiance today? Because it might be making a comeback in the game under a different name. Dadi’s LOTRO Guides explains one of the new systems coming to the Mordor expansion seems suspiciously similar to the whole radiance concept, except that instead of being limited to dungeons, this will be found on the landscape.

The light and shadow system puts a meter on the UI that shows how much the players are suffering from the Shadow of Mordor. Areas with a higher shadow rating will penalize players’ incoming healing, outgoing damage, and increase the damage of enemy attacks. These shadow effects can be countered by accumulating gear that stacks Light of Eärendil to push back the meter.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the most interesting MMO city to explore?

There’s a line drawn between MMO cities that mostly exist as empty set pieces and ones that live and thrive with NPCs, details, and touches of personality. I usually am more critical of urban areas in video games because, for the most part, they aren’t that exciting to explore and merely function as a maze to confound me.

But that isn’t every MMO and it isn’t every city. World of Warcraft’s Dalaran might be small, but it is brimming with cool little nooks and fascinating sights. LOTRO’s Minas Tirith is an absolutely amazing multi-tiered metropolis with lots of buildings to enter. And I would be remiss by not mentioning Divinity’s Reach in Guild Wars 2, which straddles both of the former examples in its offerings.

What’s the most interesting MMO city to explore for you? What makes you recommend it as a tourist destination?

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LOTRO Legendarium: Mordor’s pre-order is flat-out ridiculous

Outrageous. Ridiculous. Exciting. Exploitative. Controversial.

This past week’s announcement of Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor’s launch date and pre-order packages set ablaze discussions and arguments among the community, both in-game and without. World chat was streaming by quickly as players debated the pros and cons of the reveal, while the forums blew up with huge posts defending and criticizing the pre-order packages.

While this is not the travesty that some are making it out to be, I definitely agree with those that say Standing Stone Games misstepped with this announcement and needs to take some action to rectify the confusion and value of the upcoming expansion. While LOTRO players seem united in their anticipation for Mordor, some of that enthusiasm has been dashed with how the dating and packages have been handled, and that is a shame.

Let’s break it all down and see what we’ve learned and what pre-order might be best for you!

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Global Chat: Learning from Master X Master

We’ve certainly remarked several times on Massively OP how much like an MMO Master X Master is, even though it firmly checks the “MOBA” box on its census form. With so much similarity and bleedover between the gameplay genres, is there something that MMOs can learn from this title?

Occasional Hero seems to think so and has pulled out three lessons from his experience, including altaholic pride: “As someone who loves playing an army of alts rather than a single character, I really like the idea of a game with a whole bunch of characters that I can switch between as I feel like it. It’s one of the reasons why I love Marvel Heroes so much, despite the fact that the gameplay revolves around doing the same content over and over. And the reason why playing a bunch of different characters/classes is fun in a game like Marvel Heroes or Master X Master is that they each have a unique gimmick.”

Join us for more interesting MMO discussions from gaming blogs after the break, including a strange revival for EverQuest Online Adventures, a new way to experience World of Warcraft, and first steps into Secret World Legends!

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Get pumped for LOTRO: Mordor with wallpaper art and a soundtrack interview

While Lord of the Rings Online players are chewing over the Mordor pre-order packages, there are a few free ways that fans can get pumped up about the expansion. For starters, Composer Chance Thomas appeared on an episode of NPR’s Music Respawn to talk about his return to the game to score Mordor. He stresses that his contributions aren’t just an imitations of the soundtracks from Peter Jackson’s films.

“People assume all the time that I take the movie themes and re-work them,” Thomas said. “I went to the source! I took from the source material the feelings, the ideas, the colors, the themes, and the harmonies that are a reflection of that world.”

If music isn’t your bag, what about gorgeous concept art? This year, the studio has commissioned renowned Tolkien artist Ted Nasmith to create three pieces for Update 16, 20, and 21. The Mordor wallpaper in particular is drop-dead awesome, and you can download all of them to your computer for use. You can check them all out below.

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Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor eyes July 31 launch, starts taking pre-orders

Ready to hop in your Middle-earth safari jeep and start touring around the untamed and lava-strewn lands of Mordor?

It might be coming sooner than you think. Standing Stone Games is eyeing a July 31st release date for its Mordor expansion, although the fine print leaves some wiggle-room for a delay (“In the event of delay, you will receive the Mordor expansion content and items no later than August 31st, 2017″).

But not so fast, little Hobbit — you’re going to have to pre-order first! All of the Free People ready for Lord of the Rings Online’s newest expansion should head on over to the Mordor pre-order site, where they can view the three bundles and decide which (if any) to purchase.

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