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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The third public preview test
of Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor
arrived yesterday, further expanding the beta of the upcoming expansion. New this time around is the first glimpse of the new human avatar visual updates, the allegiance system (albeit without many of the quests and rewards), and a few tweaks to the High Elves’ hairstyle. They’re vain, get over it.
“Early elements of the avatar update can be seen in this build on human models,” the devs said. “You will note a toggle in the character generation UI that allows you to see the original or updated appearance for each option.”
As with all of Mordor’s tests so far, the Bullroarer server is open to anyone who wants to create a copy of their characters and give the new content a whirl.
It looks like things are cooling down on the legal front following a protracted court lawsuit between Warner Bros. and the Tolkien Estate concerning alleged “digital exploitation” of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings franchises. The five-year suit was finally settled
, with both parties stating that they are looking forward to “working together” going forward.
Now that Lord of the Rings Online can breathe a sigh of relief that this won’t have the potential to cause issues, it can turn its attention to more important matters. Like awesomely cute sunflower-themed rewards from its currently operating Summer Festival. Hey, it’s important to bring some sunshine into Mordor later this year!
The community is also gearing up for Weatherstock IX, which is scheduled for Saturday, July 22nd on the Landroval server. The massive player-run concert will run twice as long as in past years, with 19 bands participating. Just in case you were wondering, yes, it will be livestreamed.
Some MMOs seem to have no problem with tossing in new classes like candy, while others might see an addition roughly every time Halley’s Comet comes calling. I was thinking about this the other day, wondering what it is about some of these smaller games that allows them to keep throwing in more classes while other MMOs seem to act as if creating a class is such a herculean effort that if one is ever crafted, it would require the sacrifice of an entire orphanage of innocent souls.
Games like World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online aren’t exactly well-known for chucking in new classes. On the other hand, this summer we’ve seen the Warden come to Elder Scrolls Online and both the Red Mage and Samurai arrive in Final Fantasy XIV. Even Diablo III just introduced an entire $15 DLC pack that was essentially the privilege of playing the first class since the game’s sole expansion.
How often should MMOs release new classes? Would you like to see them more often or should they be reserved for the rare expansion?
It has been a whirlwind week of news and reveals for Lord of the Rings Online
players. Standing Stone Games
finally pulled back the curtains of the new expansion, simply titled Mordor
— and to make things even more exciting, the first beta test of the region went up on Bullroarer to give players a hands-on preview.
Unlike some other writers here on staff, I do not like playing betas and going through new content before it goes live for real, so I will not be participating on Bullroarer (I’d prefer my first time to be for keeps!). However, that doesn’t mean I’m avoiding the news or the previews! There’s so much to take in and digest, so this week I want to thumb through the reveals and preview videos to share some of my reactions to what we’ll be seeing when LOTRO: Mordor comes out later this summer.
Whether you walk, ride, or hobble (you took fall damage, didn’t you?) into Mordor, the important thing is that we are all going there in 2018. So what will we find?
Over on the Bullroarer test server, Lord of the Rings Online
has welcomed its latest race to the game. High Elves are now available for players to preview, although it remains to be seen if this race is cosmetically and functionally different from the current Elves to be justified as an inclusion.
LOTRO Players posted its initial impressions of the race, which will be able to roll every class except for Beornings and Burglars. High Elves look slightly different (particularly their hair) and have several useful racial skills, such as a revive and an out-of-combat run speed boost.
The premium race also boasts a new introduction, with the High Elves fighting as part of the First Alliance way back in the Second Age. An untimely wound by a Nazgul blade results in the player character being taken to Rivendell for a long period of recuperation, leading to the present era.
Check out the High Elf character creator after the break, and stay tuned for our LOTRO Legendarium column later today!