By the week’s end, Lord of the Rings Online
players should know a lot more about the game’s coming Mordor expansion — and even have an opportunity to play it.
In an interview yesterday with Dadi’s LOTRO Guides, CM Jerry “Cordovan” Snook said that the team is preparing a big reveal today for the expansion that should include the name and some key details. Additionally, the first beta preview is set to go live on the Bullroarer test server by this weekend. This test won’t be the full expansion, as the team wants to hold back the epic story and some other major content as to not spoil surprises.
Snook confirmed that there will be a level cap increase with Mordor (although he wouldn’t say what it is) and that the virtue cap will increase by one. The expansion is still on track for release in late summer 2017, with a follow-up patch that will add in group content (such as the new raid).
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.
In a new interview with LOTRO Players
, Standing Stone Games
gave fans a sneak peek at the big projects that are coming for Lord of the Rings Online
as well as a bit of insight about the studio transition in late 2016.
The fun will begin next month with LOTRO’s Update 20, which will feature precursor events leading up to Mordor. Speaking of which, the Mordor expansion might be coming as soon as Q2 or Q3 2017 (Cordovan indicated June or after as a possibility). “We’ve wanted to do Mordor for so long,” he said.
The team has “really big” content and gift plans for the game’s 10th anniversary, and will continue to work on shoring up the technical side and reducing lag. There are also plans for a post-expansion update for later this year.
So what was the reason behind the move from Turbine to Standing Stone Games? Cordovan hedged a bit, saying that it was a corporate decision in the works for a year. “It aligned with everyone’s interests in a way that I think will be interesting for everybody involved. An opportunity came up and we were able to make this happen,” he said.
Listen to the full interview (it’s the first segment of the show) after the break.
In an additional pair
of interview segments
Community Manager Cordovan
tackles several topics of interest from the community, including personal loot systems, crafting overhauls, and kinship updates. While many of those subjects don’t result in a definite answer, Cordovan did say that he wants to be better about the game promoting player-run events and even doing more GM-led events as well.
Cordovan did say that players shouldn’t hold their breath in the hopes that premium housing will be purchasable with anything other than cash. But what about those who did spend money on a house that has an eviction date if upkeep is not paid? “My understanding is it’s not very easy to get evicted from a premium house. So that may well be something we will have to deal with if it becomes an actual issue but I’m not sure it’s a likely outcome for most folks,” Cordovan said.
One other notable topic was that of raids. Cordovan revealed that it takes between 12 and 18 months for the team to produce a new raid, which is an “all hands on deck” type of project. He said that the team would like to get another raid out in 2017 but is not making promises that this will happen.
While Lord of the Rings Online’s
Update 19 was originally scheduled to be released today, Turbine
made the decision to delay it while the team worked on a key problem. The delay may affect the start
of the fall festival as well.
“It looks like we will not be able to get U19 out on Monday,” the devs said, “as we found an issue with the Henneth Annun landscape that we want to correct prior to going live with the update. We’re still looking at [this] week for U19, though. Stay tuned for a more specific time frame.”
So if you’re chafing at the delay, here are four great ways to pass the time. The first is by poring over the Update 19: March of the King patch notes because you can never be too well informed. The second is to read or listen through the first part of Dadi’s interview with CM Cordovan about Update 19 and the various changes coming with the patch.
Numbers three and four concern a pair of videos waiting for you after the break, with a look at 10 reasons to play LOTRO in 2016 and a recap of the conversation between the Tolkien Professor and Jeffrey Libby.
Cast your mind back to the long-ago era of “early March 2016,” during which Turbine
moved Dungeons and Dragons Online to a new datacenter
. Instead of much rejoicing over the upgrade, the move triggered bouts of severe lag
for some of the game’s players.
Over a month later and seemingly little has improved. The situation has even worsened, as players are reporting that even opening up the store in DDO causes the game to crash. All of this is exacerbated by a perceived lack of communication from the studio, which has prompted the community to issue a plea for an official dialogue about the issues.