Lord of the Rings Online to preview Brawler class and Legendary Item improvements this week

    
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Lord of the Rings Online fans are due for a preview of their future this week, as SSG is running a preview test for two highly anticipated features. Both the much-needed legendary item revamp and the brand-new Brawler class are going onto the public test server on Wednesday. This should allow for a whole ton of data mining and answered questions about what the revamp and new class actually entail.

SSG said that certain parties will get a look at the preview first: “We are planning for our first preview this week of both the Brawler and our Legendary Item work on the Bullroarer Public Preview server! Expect a special content creator preview tomorrow and the public preview starting on Wednesday!”

Source: Twitter
Update
Bullroarer’s up as of this afternoon:

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Ardra Diva

disappointing to me from uber-fan-lore perspective that they didn’t think to mention HELM HAMMERHAND as an inspiration for the Brawler.

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GumpsGang

They must have heard you :) … “The Brawler is a melee class conceptually based on the legend of Helm Hammerhand, who fought bare-handed at one of the greatest sieges of Helm’s Deep and was known for his savagery in battle.” -preview patch notes

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GumpsGang

The brawler looks fun. The work that’s gone into the animations thus far from what I could see on Twitch is great. I even saw a boot get thrown (ranged attack). I must make a Hobbit brawler. Oh, and be sure to check out what your LI choices will be. :)

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Darthbawl

Whoa whoa whoa, hold the press! We can’t have boxing bears? *Unsubs and boycotts game* 😆

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Stormwaltz

One does not simply Falcon Punch into Mordor.

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Bruno Brito

No Guardian rework yet.

Fisty
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Fisty

The brawler weapon should be two pint beer mugs. One in each hand, as any brawler knows. (is it? i have no idea what weapons they will use)

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Vanquesse V

inb4 “Edward Brawler-hands” 🙃

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GumpsGang

Just wait until see what one of the legendary items is :)

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Sleepy

Ah will you stop. If you’re playing a pseudo-medieval fantasy game you have to have a big shiny weapon. Sword or spear ideally for LOTRO. Giving rune-keepers two bricks to smash together was insult enough. Can you imagine this guy straddling a Nazgul, smacking him repeatedly in the face with his legendary…er…glove of Anduril. Stitched in the depths of time by artisans long dead.

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Bruno Brito

Sorry, but i only desire to cast Fist.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

This day we brawl !!!

THIS DAY WE BRAWL!!.jpg
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SailorMom

I love this. Mind you, I love all your stuff. Thanks for the smile today <3

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Dug From The Earth

The fact that this game hasnt yet added FULL UI scaling yet for resolutions above 1080p is enough to make me not care about new classes. Hard to play the game when the tooltips and many UI elements are super tiny.

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Dennis VonBeck

This! So much this… I’ve said it before here, playing LoTRO with my 1440p monitor is next to impossible to enjoy. Also my aging eyes don’t help.

I don’t know if a Full UI is a difficult fix, but I certainly won’t be back if it isn’t.

Ah well, onwards…

bels
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bels

A UI rework (even a small rework that includes just scaling) could do a lot for a game like LOTRO. I tried the game out recently (I really did, got to level 82), but had to stop because I started getting headaches that I attribute to the constant struggle of trying to read tooltips and general texts in the UI.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Dug, does the UI element scaling in options not do what you need? Is it missing something obvious I just can’t think of?

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Dug From The Earth

So I tried to draw extra attention to the wording “FULL” in my post :P

The options offer SOME UI scaling. The hotbars, the mini map, the unit frames (health/mana).

It doesnt, however, affect many other elements. Nearly all the UI buttons, the bags window (and items in the bag, the tooltips, etc are still super tiny and not affected by these scaling options. Especially the fonts in the tooltips.

The chat font can be scaled some, on a per chat type basis. Meaning you can go in, and for EVERY chat window, change the font size for General, Say, Emote, Combat, whispers, guild, etc. Its a pain, but its doable. However, its not a true scaling either. Its just a bigger font, which stops at size 23. Which might seem HUGE at lower resolutions, but anyone running at 1440p, or (shudders) 4k, is still going to be stuck with really tiny fonts.

They only just recently added the option to increase the size of the quest text in the quest window when talking to a quest npc. It seems they have to do each UI element differently for some unknown reason.

As someone who wears glasses and is aging, tiny UI elements are a big nope for me. It seems that Im not alone in this either. Aside from the thumbs up here, ive found numerous forum and reddit posts of people asking for proper UI scaling for at least 5 years now.

Fisty
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Fisty

The tiniest of bags!

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I think I understand. I was in there earlier messing with exactly that, the toolbars and tooltips, and they definitely resize to be huge – but it’s really just a zoom, so it looks terrible. Yeah, I don’t see them overhauling that anytime soon, if they’d have to redo all that art. Probably as soon as they rescue our toons on the closed servers, lol. X.X

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Bruno Brito

By the way, can someone tell me why are the icons in lotro so ugly? Like, dear god.

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Sleepy

Yeah – you can play it at a lower resolution, in which case the whole thing looks blurry, or you can try to scale up the interface, in which case the scaled-up elements look blurry, and the bits it doesn’t scale up are blurry ‘cos I can’t focus on them.

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r00ch

This was always such a big barrier to entry for me as I play on a 1440p monitor. I decided this month to hop into the game anyway and I am truly loving Lotro (it has so much charm and some incredible world-building), but I really hope they address this issue!

I heard Raninia (the new producer) address UI scaling in a recent interview, and they want to fix it but are planning to target their efforts around 1080p (not sure what that means or what steps they are planning to take). They took a hardware survey and feel like this would bring the most benefit to the majority of their players (makes sense, a lot of gamers play at 1080p).

My question is this – can a hardware survey like that capture the amount of people who install the game and immediately walk away because they can’t see what’s in their inventory? Like, those people won’t show up on your hardware survey cause they just aren’t playing the game, right? Could it be a self-fulfilling thing where you unintentionally filter out a lucrative demographic because none of them will even attempt to play the game? Also, people who aren’t playing the game for this reason might not complain very loudly, if at all – they just move on.

I’m sure people at SSG much smarter than myself have thought about this issue and have run the numbers. I know the engine is ancient and even seemingly simple fixes can become a coding nightmare. I know there is a lot they want to fix and they have to prioritize their updates and overall roadmap based on a limited budget. I just hate to think SSG might be missing out on a substantial number of players because critical elements of the UI are soooo tiny, lol.

And sure, it’s all anecdotal, but this UI scaling issue is brought up a LOT as a barrier to entry. Raninia, if you’re out there, thank you for being amazingly open and candid about your game, it’s been really fun watching your recent interviews! So many of us decided to reinstall the game after seeing such candid community interaction and a renewed vision for the game. I just hope you aren’t missing out on a bunch of potential players because they can’t see their inventory!

There are dozens of us, (at least).

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Dug From The Earth

The majority probably do play at 1080p.

The problem is, when it comes to consumerism, targeting the majority only is bad.

For example, my company runs multiple web sites, and we STILL target multiple user groups (technology wise – IE: Internet explorer 10 users) that use the sites. These users make up less than 10%, but we still put forth effort to make sure our sites are usable to them.

Most companies care a lot about losing 10% of their profits. Most care about 2%

That bad thing about shooting for 1080p is that its not forward thinking either. 1080p may be the majority now, but as more 1440p monitors become the standard, the game will find itself back were it is now, unable to meet what players want. And thats not even counting the smaller groups moving to 4k. They shouldnt be targeting a specific resolution, they should be making the game having options to dynamically scale as needed.

The current people running the game must either have very little knowledge on how to update the game, or, the game must be horribly limited in what it allows for. Either way is not a good sign for the future of the games player base.

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r00ch

You bring up some great points (though I’m not sure all of it is applicable to a 15 year old MMO – at some point it can make great business sense to stop targeting potential users and just sunset an old game or put it in maintenance mode). I think you astutely point out is that if SSG wants to be forward looking (they have stated they want to support Lotro for another 15 years), targeting current hardware won’t be enough.

However, I think it may bit a bit harsh to presume they aren’t talking about exactly that – why else would they hire a new producer? I think it’s more of an issue of prioritization and they are still working out the details. I was simply bringing to light to the only thing I’ve heard from Raninia on the issue of UI scaling, and it was during a live interview with lots of other questions and was addressed incredibly briefly. I don’t know that I would make such sweeping assumptions based off that comment alone.

Obviously SSG is incredibly aware of the limitations of their engine. And it should go without saying that an engine designed for release almost 15 years ago is going to be incredibly limited in what it can do going forward, and it is part of a producer’s job to figure out exactly what those limitations are and whether it makes financial sense to address them.

I personally look at any additional investment in Lotro as an added bonus, even if it doesn’t personally benefit me on my 1440p setup. I don’t know that any of us expected the game to be pumping out regular expansions and updates this far out. If they can find a way to address some of the technical issues like scaling, great! If not, it will still be loved by a dedicated fanbase until its time runs out.

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Dug From The Earth

With the amount of money this “15+ year old” mmorpg is asking for to play it, being able to see the UI, without struggling, better be applicable.

Just for reference…

Guild Wars 1… another 15 year old game, added a way to scale the entire UI. Its not perfect, but its 100% of the UI, unlike LoTRo’s.

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Ardra Diva

I happily play at 1440p and think it looks great. God Bless…

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Dug From The Earth

The graphics of the UI?

The graphics look great at 1440p. Dont even need Anti Aliasing.

A large portion of the UI is tiny though, so props to you if you have healthy, amazing eyesight

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Big_Red

Put the game in a lower resolution and let your video card scale it. Under NVIDIA control panel, image sharpening: enable scaling. I have my game @ 2259×960 and it scales up to my monitor resolution just fine.