By the week’s end, Lord of the Rings Online
players should know a lot more about the game’s coming Mordor expansion — and even have an opportunity to play it.
In an interview yesterday with Dadi’s LOTRO Guides, CM Jerry “Cordovan” Snook said that the team is preparing a big reveal today for the expansion that should include the name and some key details. Additionally, the first beta preview is set to go live on the Bullroarer test server by this weekend. This test won’t be the full expansion, as the team wants to hold back the epic story and some other major content as to not spoil surprises.
Snook confirmed that there will be a level cap increase with Mordor (although he wouldn’t say what it is) and that the virtue cap will increase by one. The expansion is still on track for release in late summer 2017, with a follow-up patch that will add in group content (such as the new raid).
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree talk about FFXIV: Stormblood’s early access launch, Destiny 2’s PC delay, Elder Scrolls Online’s next DLC drops, breaking up the trinity in MMOs, 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:
The other day I was continuing on with my Bingo Boffin adventures in Lord of the Rings Online
when Mr. Boffin decided he was going to sneak his way across battle lines and into Mirkwood Forest. Like most of his encounters, I don’t think he ended up loving it quite as much as he anticipated, but you know what? I did.
You see, ever since Siege of Mirkwood came out with LOTRO’s second expansion, I’ve always been quite partial to this odd little zone in Middle-earth. Perhaps this makes me the odd man out among the community; I rarely see anyone speak highly of Mirkwood (or, these days, speak of it at all). It seems like it’s forgotten, this strange cul-de-sac of the game world that only exists to be a stopping point on the epic story before players have to turn around and go back the way they came.
Yet as I was running all over the place trying to secure first AND second breakfastses for Bingo Boffin, I was reminded of how much I love this zone. I’d even say that Mirkwood is in my top five zones of the game as a whole (alongside The Shire, Forochel, West Rohan, and North Ithilien). It’s time this forgotten land got some recognition, so here goes.
While Lord of the Rings Online’s
anniversary began back in April, it is only now coming to completion with this week’s addition of the Year 10 scavenger hunt cards. However, the lengthy event has one hidden and surprising conclusion
that players have only now discovered.
You see, for each of the 10 weeks, the anniversary quests have been rewarding players with seemingly worthless scraps of paper (in addition to other, more fun goodies). One each of these pieces of paper was a tiny bit of information that, when collected and combined, revealed map coordinates.
Players used these coordinates on different zones in the game to discover that in Bree-land there is a mysterious new pillar in the middle of a lake that looks suspiciously like Standing Stone Games’ logo. Lo and behold, the giant stone even grants a quest that has a final reward for anniversary adventurers. We’ve hidden the spoilers to this quest below if you need a hand!
After four years and over 700 MMORPG music tracks, the Battle Bards have arrived at their 100th show! For this centennial spectacular, Syl, Steff, and Syp reminisce about the most notable shows, their best soundtrack discoveries, and their favorite tracks. This super-sized show gets wrapped up with a bout of listener emails and a promise of another amazing hundred episodes!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 100: Centennial spectacular (or download it) now:
What’s the most newbie-friendly MMO? According to Pete at Dragonchasers, it’s Final Fantasy XIV. He’s been pretty impressed by the support structure that the game has in place for new and returning players.
“I don’t usually interact with other players in MMOs (ironic, I know) but when I was randomly invited into the Novice Network I accepted,” he wrote. “It’s a pretty active channel and at least for the short time I’ve been in it, quite civil […] This experience drew me out of my shell a bit, and by Sunday afternoon I’d dug out a bluetooth keyboard so I could talk in the Novice Network more easily. Overall the way FFXIV welcomed me as a player kind of re-kindled my love of MMOs.”
In this week’s MMO blogger roundup, we have essays on LOTRO’s attention span, the thought behind soloing in online games, and first impressions of Black Desert. Read on!
Ahh… smell that? Smells like a new batch of EverQuest nostalgia, served up to us as a fresh progression server. For some of the faithful, the chance to get a hit of that nostalgia is absolutely irresistible.
“I love EverQuest,” blogger Stargrace writes. “I love the excitement that comes with playing on a progression server. I love how busy they are, and watching chat channels fly by. I love the community and the fuzzy feelings I get when I think about that time in my life.”
Kaozz explained why this server was in such high demand: “My son was baffled how many people want to play on this type of server. I’ve been waiting on one for years and keep up with the requests in the forums I have seen for so many years.”
And The Ancient Gaming Noob finds it baffling that Blizzard isn’t cashing in on these kinds of servers with World of Warcraft. “Nostalgia sells, these servers are popular, they offer something people want and, more importantly, something people are willing to pay for,” he said.
Remember back in April when a group of Redditors decided to put together an MMO Book Club — a community of MMO gamers who band together in a game for a few months before voting on a fresh game to move to? Lord of the Rings Online took the first popular vote at the beginning of May, and the group was intended to stay there for three full months, but now organizers say they’re adjusting that plan.
“When we selected LOTRO and voted to play 1 game for 3 months there were only about 300-400 people in the community. Today we near 2,000 members – and obviously the opinions of the group may have changed a bit,” mod Laezur writes. “A rather significant number of people have expressed interest in playing another game for various reasons (LOTRO didn’t work for them, they didn’t enjoy LOTRO, they feel like they missed the boat on LOTRO, etc), and it is important to me that everyone is able to enjoy being a part of The MMO Bookclub.”
One of the hallmarks and attractions of MMORPGs is growth. These games, much like the characters that inhabit them, grow and change over time. Every hotfix, patch, content update, and expansion adds or modifies something to the whole package (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse). And while that growth keeps things interesting and takes us on a long journey, there is always the very real danger of devs introducing features that, for one reason or another, get abandoned and left to rot inside this ever-expanding game.
After 10 years, five expansions, and hundreds of patches, the Lord of the Rings Online that we play today is by far larger, more complex, and different than the one that launched in 2007. It was inevitable that the team would introduce various systems and features that took off, became popular with the community, and have been heavily supported ever since. It was also inevitable that the opposite has happened too.
I polled some of my fellow LOTRO players about the subject of abandoned features in the game and received quite a few responses. Most of us agreed on a core seven features that the devs originally had grand plans for… and have since neglected and ignored. So let’s take a look at seven features that the team would probably rather you not pay attention to these days!
It’s hard to look at an MMORPG and imagine them without dungeons. For some people, these instances are the core of their game experience, offering challenging (well, hopefully) and rewarding group experiences that can be repeated for fun, profit, and optimal performance.
Dungeons and I have a strange history in MMOs. For me, it all depends on the game in question. There are MMOs that don’t really feature compelling or rewarding dungeons (Guild Wars 2), or make grouping up and getting into them difficult, or what have you. Yet in other games, I’ve run dungeons so many times that I could probably pathfind through each one blind. If done right, they can be really fun and offer me a chance to show off my stuff and feel like I’m part of a team.
For today’s list, I want to share with you my favorite MMO dungeons. I’m going to limit myself to one per MMO for diversity’s sake, which might make it a little challenging, but there you go!
This time last year, I polled the Massively OP writers for their opinions on which MMOs had had the best year, or half year, up to that point in 2016 — which games were the most influential and important specifically in that time period. I was pretty surprised at the spread of answers too. Since we’re nearing the midpoint of 2017, I thought we should renew that question and see whether anything’s changed. So as last time, I’m asking everyone to pick three games that represent the MMORPG zeitgeist, using whatever combination of criteria they wish – revenue, playerbase size, hype, anticipation, update cycle, and so forth. What should we be paying attention to? Which games are a sign of the times? And just who is dominating now in 2017?
A week after announcing Composer Chance Thomas’ return
to score the upcoming Mordor expansion, Lord of the Rings Online
revealed another musical treat. The game, in collaboration with Thomas, has released a 10th Anniversary album
for fans. The 26-track, two-disc album is being made available through Huge Sound Records and retails for $15 (although individual tracks can be purchased as well).
“This music transformed my career and gave me a platform so that I could take all of these places that we love in Middle-earth and bring them to life musically,” Thomas said. “I hope this collection of music will carry you away on the wings of your imagination. So here’s to all of the great memories… and the memories yet to come.”
You can hear the announcement and listen to an interview with Chance Thomas after the break!
You are no doubt staring at the title image above and thinking to yourself that it really does not look like a Neverwinter screenshot. And you would be right; it doesn’t look like a Neverwinter screenshot because it isn’t a Neverwinter screenshot. My schedule has been hectic enough that rather than trying to cram in a rushed play session without much meat in it, I elected to have a brief delay and push the next Neverwinter installment back a week. Not to worry, though; it’s an extension, not a cancellation, and Neverwinter still will get its full four weeks in the spotlight.
Instead, I wanted to be a bit more meta and discuss a few things I see coming up in the comments from time to time as well as covering some ideas for the series moving forward. And yes, it contains polls for the compulsive voters in the audience, you charming folks.