LOTRO producer talks Gundabad, Brawler, and LI revamp in new stream


Lord of the Rings Online’s new producer, Oleg “Raninia” Brodskiy, is helping SSG make big strides toward becoming more communicative and transparent ever since his hire. As part of that effort, this past week Raninia appeared on an hour-long video interview with LOTRO YouTuber Louey7 to talk about the state of the game — and where it’s going in the future.

If you’re short on time and need some of the key bits summarized for you, here’s what you need to know:

  • The fall’s Gundabad expansion and Brawler class will be “tied together” and are going “reasonably well” in development. Both of these include stuff that SSG has never done before.
  • The Brawler will have a tank and DPS role. It will be matched with current races, although the specific race options are not fixed yet.
  • The mission system will come back for Gundabad as well as an older system that SSG is returning in a revamped state.
  • Legendary Item changes are being tested on the Palantir server and should come with Gundabad as well. This system will replace the older LI system (which will be “phased out”) and intended to be easier for players to use to catch up. “It will be a lot more, frankly, playing the game and not grinding.”
  • SSG is being mostly mum about its 2022 and beyond plans as the game hits its 15th anniversary. The dev team pitched years and years’ worth of potential content, but not much has been done past Gundabad just yet.
  • Trait lines, crafting, and kinships are the “three biggest candidates” for future systems passes.
  • Visual and technical upgrades are being planned, as per the EG7 investor report, although specifics have not been decided. It should be a “steady drumbeat of stuff.”
  • A possible console edition cannot be discussed at this time.
  • Multithreading is “possible” but very difficult to do with LOTRO’s older game engine.
  • There are no plans at present for a level squish.
  • There have been some conversations surrounding how players acquire class trait points, as it’s an issue that’s aged poorly.
  • SSG would like to have an EU-based server, but there are no concrete plans at this time.
  • Progress has been made on allowing players to transfer characters from closed worlds to live ones. This is in testing.
  • No server merges are planned.

Source: YouTube. Cheers, PrincessQuill!

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I like him as he’s straightforward and answers questions directly even if it means saying something is shitty in the game. It’s a stark contrast from Cordovan who avoids answering anything that could be taken negatively and generally gives marketing type replies to everything.

That said, I don’t know how much influence he can have. The rest of SSG is running the game into the ground (population is at an all time low), and milking what’s left with increasing microtransactions and lockboxes, etc. I think if they hired more people like him they could turn it around but I won’t hold out hope given the track record.

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It strikes me as kind of strange that the Brawler class doesn’t have finalized race options yet. I would assume that’s a decision that has to be made pretty early considering the need to start working on the animations, but maybe I’m off on that.


I don’t oppose the Brawler as a class, but is that even lore-friendly in the first place? Who fights with their fists when everyone on the battlefield else fights with arrows and swords and axes?

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Ashfyn Ninegold

There have been some conversations surrounding how players acquire class trait points, as it’s an issue that’s aged poorly.

Legendary Item changes are being tested on the Palantir server and should come with Gundabad as well. This system will replace the older LI system (which will be “phased out”) and intended to be easier for players to use to catch up. “It will be a lot more, frankly, playing the game and not grinding.”

These are the two things that interest me the most. Any improvement in these two systems would be great QoL changes and would vastly improve the second half of the game.

All of this sounds great. I hope SSG succeeds in all these things. IGN recently did a list of top 10 MMOs. Tera and Phantasy Star 2 and even FF XI made the list. But not LOTRO. It’s time that changed.

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It will be interesting to see what the Revamp LI system is. The existing system is awful, grindy and not what the original devs described (anyone else remember the original adverts and tag lines for it? I do. “Take your weapon from the start of your journey all the way to an end. Watch it grow in power with you as you forge your legacy” oh but wait we only get legendary items from level 50+ so not the whole journey eh.. lol), but will this revamp completely replace it with a new and better system or will it just dumb down and de-grind the existing one?

If the former, then yay, if the latter then meh..putting a ribbon on a tu**, doesn’t make it any less a tu** sadly.

LI is the one system that let LOTRO down, a blemish on an otherwise wondrous game

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I wonder when would SSG stop following steps of Joseph Goebbels? You know – victory is at hand, our wonder-weapons would bring enemy at knees, our armies would turn to offensive very soon and bring enemy to its knees… And yeah, year 1945…
Same with SSG. Same lies for many many years – yeah, we will revamp LIs; yeah, it will be less grindy; yeah, we will revamp LIs…And for years nothing changes. Now, anoter potion of propaganda and lies. Less grindy system – less cash for $$G – not gonna happen. Unless they replace it with direct: pay some dollars/euros for advancement of LI.
And…well…what about reducing lag? But no, that’s not in their plans.
Overall – plain propaganda and “no, we won’t do this”.


There is a small chance this time it will be different, because now LOTRO has a new parent company, which might start taking actions to improve the products they bought. Maybe now when EG7 tell SSG “Do this.” and SSG responds “But we don’t have the funds to do it, boss.” then EG7 says “Here’s X amount of millions, make sure it’s done by the deadline.” the response would be “Yes, boss.”

I’m not harboring any hopes, but it’s possible. If you think about it LOTR as a franchise is on the same scale as Star Wars and others, maybe not as big, but still everyone knows about it and this is the only MMORPG about it. The other one got cancelled and next year there will be the LOTR series, no guarantee whether they will be good or bad, but they will probably lead a lot of fresh blood into LOTRO and by then the game should have improved a bit, otherwise everyone that joins will eventually leave and only the loyal LOTRO players will remain, as it is now.

Roger Edwards

From what I’ve seen of EG7 so far (there YouTube channel has proven very informative) they are facilitators and enablers, rather than old school autocrats. They don’t appear to have specific ideas and plans for a game such as LOTRO that they wish to impose upon SSG. They seem more disposed towards supporting SSG financially and administratively to allow them to take the game forward. Obviously the bottom line plays a part in this but it doesn’t seem to me that EG7 purely dictate policy. Hence, if I am right, then LOTRO future development and direction is still driven by SSG and that is what concerns me. They don’t strike me as that imaginative and some of their decisions so far have been arbitrary. May be more money and potentially more staff, will change this. I remain cautious with my hopes.


They recently hired a new producer and he seems to be a player of the game, I don’t know how that will affect anything, I watched the interview he had with YouTuber Louey7 the other day and it sort of struck me as his answers to pretty much anything being really vague. It felt like he wanted to say a lot, but wasn’t in position to do so at the time and especially there were multiple pressing questions, especially by the community that were somewhat left unanswered.

After that interview, I don’t know whether I should feel hopeful or indifferent. I started playing the game recently and I’ve just reached Mirkwood, so there’s much I don’t know about the game and I think it will be a while before I reach a point where I become dissatisfied with it and will also be in the boat with others requesting the game to be improved.

Bruno Brito

No talk of class reworks eh?



He’s talked about it in previous Q&As; can’t cover everything at once.

Basically, some classes got a decently aggressive pass for the last patch with some more coming either before or along with Gundabad. Then comes the LI update, which they’re considering part of the class balancing process. Then skill trees will get an update after that sometime next year.


Well that mostly sounds promising. Which is a good thing for such an old title. It will be really wild/weird it they figure out how to make it work on consoles. I’m not so sure myself. Seems like it would have to be kept separate and dumbed down to accommodate controllers.