As promised, Standing Stone Games is launching two new progression servers for Lord of the Rings Online subscribers (yes, you have to sub VIP or have a lifetime account for these) today. These are planned as “permanent live servers,” with Shadowfax offering accelerated leveling and patch rollout and Treebeard server doing the precise opposite for folks who want the slowest possible experience. Ahead of today’s rollout, SSG released a batch of new info about how the servers will work. Here are the highlights!
Shadowfax vs. Treebeard
The Shadowfax server offers a 50% character experience, legendary item XP, and mount XP boost, as well as a 20% virtue experience boost. Content unlocks are expected about every two months. Treebeard, on the other hand, reduces experience gain by 60% of the normal server rate. Content unlocks are slowed down to five to six months, so you’ll have more than enough time to progress. This means that both servers start out with the original level 50 cap through Shadows of Angmar, though the special classes and races (Rune-keeper, Warden, Beorning, High-elf, and Stout-axe) are playable.
The cash shop will be functional on these servers, including level boosters (up to the current cap). However, transfers are currently limited, in that you cannot transfer to, from, or between Shadowfax and Treebeard. (You can transfer off Anor, the older legendary server, so we assume transfers from these might someday become available.) SSG has clarified that account-based purchases are available on the new realms. PvMP is not available, but most festivals will run, as long as the area is available in that version of the game.
SSG will be testing out its new landscape difficulty option on these two new servers. It’s essentially a way to tweak how hard open-world mobs are for your toon, in exchange for titles, additional boosted experience, and bragging rights. Players will need to chat with Berthadan near the Prancing Pony in Bree to activate this mode.
“You can set the landscape difficulty between Normal and Deadly +6, which increases the challenge of enemies you’ll face on the landscape. The difficulty can be changed again at any time by speaking again with Berthadan. However, if you begin a higher level difficulty prior to reaching level 11 and stick with a high level difficulty you will get rewarded for reaching levels 50 and 130! Four titles are available per class; two for reaching Hard+ difficulty at level 50 and level 130, and two for reaching Deadly+ difficulty at level 50 and level 130. You MUST activate your desired difficulty prior to reaching level 11, and maintain that difficulty or higher until you earn your title. A Deed can be found in-game to track your progress.
“Additional dangers face you at all Deadly difficulties in the form of Eye of Sauron effects. Once the Eye of Sauron is upon you, your progress will be hintered by several random effects for the next minute or so. Players will get an XP and Virtue XP boost for running on higher difficulties, starting at +10% XP up to +20% XP and +1% up to +5% Virtue XP.”
Retail vs. classic
SSG has been very clear that work on the production servers will continue: “We have no intention of adjusting our frequent, regular, and active development of the non-Legendary game worlds, and have plans for them well into the future,” the team says. It’s also emphasized that it considers Shadowfax and Treebeard are “legendary” servers – what we’d typical call a progression server rather than a classic one.
“By most descriptions, a Classic server is an attempt to recreate LOTRO exactly as it was at launch, using only assets and content that was available in 2007,” the team notes. “A Legendary server runs alongside existing servers, and therefore contains many of the changes that have been made to the game over the years, such as UI improvements, bug fixes, changes to game systems, etc. In cases where we have updated or changed the layout of regions, the Legendary server uses the updated version of the regions. In cases where we have changed items or player abilities, the Legendary server uses those updated abilities.”
When can I play???
— LOTRO (@lotro) June 30, 2021