Huge Lord of the Rings Online Q&A talks Gundabad, River-hobbits, Brawlers, and 2021 plans

This might just be the most communication we've gotten from SSG in ages

    
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Huge Lord of the Rings Online Q&A talks Gundabad, River-hobbits, Brawlers, and 2021 plans

Lord of the Rings Online players have been clamoring for a lot more communication from SSG this year, especially from the game’s higher-ups. This is their week, then, because Executive Producer Rob Ciccolini showed up for a one-hour community Q&A and fielded a whole lot of questions about the current state of the game and the upcoming year.

We compiled a list of the topics and Ciccolini’s answers, just in case you didn’t want to sit through an hour-long stream (like we did!):

  • On lag and server issues: “Lag is an ongoing issue we need to be better about… some it is halo from a lot of the infrastructure work we’ve done.”
  • On PvMP: This side of the game is being watched to see how the meta shakes out, and the developers will keep making balance changes with each patch. Right now, there are no plans for any new Creep classes.
  • On River Hobbits: They are coming to the game, but only after the Gundabad expansion and the Brawler class are introduced. It sounds like this may be later 2021.
  • On Legendary Items: SSG is working on this internally. The studio did a first pass on a system revamp but wasn’t that pleased with it. The goal is to make the leveling process better and less complicated while also adding new and cool things for players to add to their LI at the endgame.
  • On mounted combat: The studio sees this as a legacy system that isn’t going to be expanded past Rohan. There might be some fine-tuning of mounted combat, such as making it feel less clunky.
  • On character transfers from old servers: There were lots of tech issues in 2020 and the team is still behind, including these character transfers. There are still a lot of worlds to be moved over.
  • On Gundabad: The team is currently targeting Fall 2021 for the expansion (delayed from Spring 2021), which might include the Brawler class with it. The team is also creating some new content for 2021 including a zone that isn’t max level.
  • On a console edition: Probably not, especially since the UI is so complex.
  • On the PvP Tournament of the Twins server: Went fine, only had hardcore players at the end of its run.
  • On the Eye of Sauron legendary server: SSG still wants to do some sort of new legendary server but details and decisions are up in the air.
  • On the progression legendary servers: When this server “catches up” to live servers in terms of content available, there will need to be a decision whether to transfer players or not. The decision will rest on the population of those worlds at the time. The next unlock has a “tentative date” but SSG isn’t saying when.
  • On Guardians: SSG wants tank balance to remain competitive. It’s focused more on class roles than specific talent tree tuning at this point.
  • On the Brawler class: There are indications in the books of Valar who “really like punching people in the head.” This is supposed to scratch that itch. The studio doesn’t want to give many details about this before it’s playtested. It will have “satisfying animations” and unique systems, however.
  • On 4K support: The team needs more engineering resources, but it would like to offer it.
  • On race changes: The studio should have news on this service in the near future now that bugs have been ironed out.
  • On communication: Ciccolini apologized for dropping the ball with War of the Three Peaks info, as the studio has had a policy not to talk about specifics until it had a website page up to cover it. The studio cannot commit to announcing exact dates for content as long as the devs are working from home.
  • On housing areas: The team does not know when the new housing area will be introduced.
  • On musical instruments: Nothing is on deck, but the team is open to suggestions!
  • On future updates: There’s another zone that will hit between now and Gundabad, as well as “lost tales” side missions that will be level agnostic. The studio is taking a closer look at the pacing and pricing of content, especially in regards to offering smaller stuff for free.
  • On LUA API: This is a tough question. 4K support would need to come first, and even then, LUA has the potential to being abused. There’s no 2021 plans for a big LUA revamp.
  • On VIP players being asked to buy “mini-expansions:” Ciccolini said that the team wants to release content more frequently but doesn’t want to work the team to death. He feels that the update was priced right for its size and was an attempt to find a sweet spot between these points. He said that the team could improve the communication in regards to purchases like these. VIP players will still have a lot of free content coming their way in the future even if they’re asked to buy these kinds of packs.
  • On VIP perks: Ciccolini wants to put up a web page to clearly outline all of the perks and benefits that come with subscriptions.
  • On giving away the quest packs: SSG wanted to do it because it knew people were stuck at home and didn’t want to yank the free play period perks away from them. It may or may not be offered again in the future.
  • On a kinship revamp: The studio is “definitely” planning on working on this in the future.
  • On making LOTRO more alt friendly: The virtue revamp helped with this, as did the increased number of LI options (?).
  • On a Mac OS client: This is a big discussion, but SSG would like to get back up and running.
  • On fellowship maneuvers: No plans to make these more useful.
  • On hobbies: No new hobbies are being announced… right now.

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2Ton Gamer

Most of these answers are almost verbatim from like two years ago when these same things were being asked. So what exactly are they working on if the Gundabad is being pushed back to fall 2021? The lower level area for people to do? Such as that area near Trestlebridge that people reported on a year ago that suddenly had growth and NPC’s? It doesn’t sound like all that money they made from their mini-expansion is going to good use. They also should have been more stern in discussing their mistakes with communication and how they will improve. Acknowledging you had a plan is step 1. What’s your plan of action to get people to trust in you again so they come back with their wallets?

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

As I’ve said in comments on this site before, the game’s been in, essentially, maintenance mode for the longest time now. I remember having a CS ticket to regain game access that took over to months for them to answer. When a game can’t even solve a simple access issue in under two months (ie: something that takes little skill or time), it’s absolutely no surprise when issues reported a year ago – or more – remain undressed (ie: stuff that takes actual skill and time). Yet (some) people keep throwing money at it like drunken sailors. The mind boggles. If it wasn’t the Tolkien IP, I think this game would have easily died some years back. It’s hot garbage.

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Michael18

Great summary, thanks Justin!

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SmiteDoctor

Did they admit they over charged for a Quest Pack, while relabeling it an expansion so that VIP players got shafted?

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GumpsGang

“… giant storm of things that happened including malicious some agents that were causing havoc with our servers, and our tech opts {} people had to stop what they were doing and redefine our entire architecture to protect against that … ” … proof of HYDRA confirmed! We need the Avengers!

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Vinnie travi

They desperately need a level squish. Also need to up the mob difficulty while leveling. I easily soloed CD on my lvl 50 captain. That shouldn’t be possible. It just makes the game unfun to level.

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Tanek

I’m not going to claim open world areas aren’t somewhat easy, but if you can solo CD on a level 50 anything, maybe your perspective is not that of the average player. Is all I’m saying. :)

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Ewan Cuthbertson

No bad idea. I think stick with the current level but add a new progression system like GW2’s mastery system. I agree levelling takes forever but don’t squish levels work on giving people more experience. Honestly top of my list is fixing that horrible LFG system whoever designed that must have been drunk.

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Tanek

I’m going to have to watch the video. There are things in the recap above that I either don’t understand or that don’t seem to answer the question. Like…

On VIP players being asked to buy “mini-expansions:” Ciccolini said that the team wants to release content more frequently but doesn’t want to work the team to death.

So…charging VIP for the mini-expansion makes the work conditions better?