Don’t get too comfortable in Mordor just yet, because Lord of the Rings Online
is preparing to send its players to the far reaches of the explored map come 2018.
Executive Producer Rob Ciccolini dropped a juicy letter today that went into detail about the studio’s plans for LOTRO over the next year. It all begins with Update 21.3’s Abyss of Mordath raid, coming before the end of 2017. Then in early 2018, Update 22 is taking players to Northern Mirkwood, Dale, Laketown, and Erebor. Following that is Update 23, which returns to Mordor for a trip into Minas Morgul and a confrontation with Shelob.
Ciccolini sprinkled in some other additions and improvements coming to the game, including Elk mounts(!), a playable fiddle, updates to the festivals, the continuation of the Bingo Boffin storyline from last Halloween, and avatar updates to Dwarf and Hobbit models.
Pretty cheesed off over Lord of the Rings Online’s
plans to stuff best-in-slot gear into lootboxes
with the upcoming instance cluster? Don’t hold your breath waiting for Standing Stone Games to back down.
The studio posted a couple of responses to the furor over the decision, basically justifying the move and indicating that no changes would be made. Executive Producer Robert Ciccolini posted this yesterday:
Our goal is that you can earn — while playing the game — all statistical bonuses that you can get from lootboxes. In the case of the vendor rings, they will also have a chance to drop in the upcoming raid. That drop can also upgrade, so upgraded rings will be possible to obtain in game. We realize that having a short period where they are in the lootboxes before the raid is available is not ideal, but players will be able to get upgraded rings in game. If players find other statistical bonuses in lootboxes that cannot be duplicated in game they should definitely bring them here.
Edit: One point of clarification; there are upgraded items in the raid that are better than anything a player can get with a lootbox.
As Lord of the Rings Online
players revel in the varied activities of this year’s 10th anniversary celebration, the crew at the newly formed Standing Stone Games
has a huge task ahead of them: To capitalize upon this monumental milestone and prepare to shuttle players into the “endgame” of the books.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Executive Producer Rob Ciccolini to talk abut the anniversary, its hiccups, and upcoming Mordor expansion. As the page turns on a new chapter of both the game and its development team, it truly feels like we’re about to venture into the unknown in more ways than one.
In 2017, Dungeons and Dragons Online
will officially add its third campaign setting to its melting pot with Ravenloft. Executive Producer Rob Ciccolini wrote in his producer’s letter
that the “fan favorite” setting would come later this year as the game’s third expansion along with sentient weapons.
Ravenloft is only a part of DDO’s grand plans for the year. Ciccolini said that the fun will begin with Update 34 (which contains a new dungeon and the reaper difficulty level), the game’s 11th anniversary event, Update 35 (which will add the playable Dragonborn race), and Update 36 (which will return to the Forgotten Realms). The expansion and a further update will wrap up the team’s plans for 2017.
We spoke with Ciccolini and the team at Standing Stone Games this week about DDO and the studio transition. Standing Stone said that the Ravenloft expansion “could include new playable race or races as well.”
It’s been quite a month since Lord of the Rings Online
and Dungeons and Dragons Online
announced that they were breaking off from Turbine as part of a new studio
called Standing Stone Games
and being published by none other than Daybreak Game Company
. Players have had to deal with equal parts excitement and anxiety over this new course (with old developers). Does it bode for a brighter future, more of the same, or the beginning of the end for these beloved titles?
While Standing Stone has been communicative over the past month, we wanted to dig deeper into the decision to form the new studio, its relationship with Daybreak, and plans for both DDO and LOTRO going forward. To wit, we sat down with Standing Stone Executive Producer Rob “Severlin” Ciccolini, Lead Designer Ben “DrOctothorpe” Schneider, and Community Manager Jerry “Cordovan” Snook to discuss this major transition and its possible impact for these two MMO game worlds.
Dungeons and Dragons Online
got a hope-filled producer’s letter earlier this week — now it’s Lord of the Rings Online’s
“We are currently hard at work on Update 19, titled the March of the King,” Executive Producer Rob “Severlin” Ciccolini reveals. “Our plan is to release the update in October. Update 19 will feature The Last Debate, along with the Host of the West and its March through North Ithilien, the debut of new premium housing on the Cape of Belfalas, a return to landscape questing, and a new rotation of featured instances. North Ithilien was once known for its gardens, and some called it the prettiest area of Gondor. That beauty remains even in the presence of the enemy. The overgrown and wild area still has many plants and flowers that are not found elsewhere in Middle Earth, and players can gather the flora found there to barter for rewards that will remain useful into 2017. We look forward to telling you more about Update 19 in the coming weeks!”
Yes, premium housing is happening. Expect “vastly more hook points, the ability to own multiple houses, a fully revised housing UI” and support for classic housing too.