lord of the rings online

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Official Site: Lord of the Rings Online
Studio: Standing Stone Games, formerly Turbine/WB Interactive Entertainment; published by Daybreak Game Company
Launch Date: April 24, 2007
Genre: Fantasy Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid F2P (Optional Sub, Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

The Daily Grind: What MMO celebration do you never miss?

The first year that any MMORPG that I’m playing launches a new festival or holiday, I’m usually all over it. Sometimes I get too much into it, spending so much time farming rewards or digging through the activities that it sours me for future years.

But there are always those celebrations that I make a point to check in and see. The allure of a free Tier 6 starship in Star Trek Online usually brings me out for its summer holiday event, and I am a huge fan of the haunted burrow in Lord of the Rings Online’s fall festival. And it wouldn’t be Christmas if I wasn’t logging into World of Warcraft to see what awaited me under the tree!

What MMO celebrations or holidays do you never miss? Which ones pull you back to the game, if only for a day or two, even if you’ve been away for months?

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Apple’s OpenGL deprecation could spell trouble for some MMOs on Mac

Get all the “haha people game on Macs?” out of your system right off the bat because this one isn’t funny. MOP tipster Apparition pointed us to a GamingOnLinux thread yesterday in which Linux and Mac gamers worry over Apple’s recent decision to deprecate OpenGL as of the next macOS release. OpenGL is basically a programming interface for graphics rendering, and it’s used heavily in gaming, particularly for supporting games on Macs.

Apparition’s, and our, first thought was for MMORPGs that might be affected. There are plenty of large MMOs that utilize this tech for Mac support, including Elder Scrolls Online, but it’s probably the smaller ones who might not be able to afford to switch to updated codebases. According to GOL, plenty of smaller devs, though not for MMOs, have already announced their intention to simply stop supporting OSX altogether rather than migrate to new tech.

As for MMOs, Guild Wars 2 may be affected, Lord of the Rings Online is reportedly already working on the problem, and of course, World of Warcraft has already migrated. We’ll be digging around for more clues from Mac MMOs. If you play on a Mac and your MMO of choice has made a statement about its security or its plans for the client, sound off in the comments and we’ll try to keep this post updated.

Source: GamingOnLinux, Reddit via @that_shaman. With thanks to Apparition!

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Lord of the Rings Online 22.2 update is live with sweeping class balance changes, wearable instruments, and new story quests

It’s release day for Lord of the Rings Online. Update 22.2 is the big ol’ class balance patch that everyone’s been fussing about for the last few weeks.

“We have taken steps to improve the power, gameplay, and overall enjoyment of numerous classes throughout the game, as part of a longer-term effort to optimize class balance,” Standing Stone says. It’s buffed the potency of multiple traits and reset trait allocation for all affected classes too. Notably, Champions got a hefty damage and healing buff, Guardians will find Keen Blade got a do-over, Hunter lines and skills got major overhauls, Warden DPS is up up up, and some of the Lore-master’s traits have been outright deleted (I’ll let MOP’s Justin be the arbiter of whether that class is improved or not!).

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LOTRO Legendarium: Why Mordor fails and Northern Mirkwood succeeds

When Lord of the Rings Online turned its sight toward Mordor, it had been running off of a rather hot streak. Not perfect, mind you, but the past couple of years had seen a lot of great content come into the game. Gondor itself was beautiful and, taken together, a full expansion’s worth of content. Minas Tirith is one of the most breathtaking cities ever created for an MMORPG (performance issues aside). The game reached its 10th anniversary and had us all buzzing about with the new scavenger hunts.

And then… and then we knew we were finally headed into Mordor. That in itself was a monumental moment for many players, and I lost track of how many friends I saw taking screenshots of themselves “walking into Mordor.”

Unfortunately, this ultimate moment of storytelling in a story-heavy, IP-grounded game ended up being a disappointment. Mild for some, crushing for others. From my perspective, I say without malice that Mordor, as an expansion and a region, failed. Today we’re going to touch on the multiple reasons why this is, as well as how Standing Stone Games is getting its groove back with Northern Mirkwood.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best mount selection?

Lately my attention has been arrested by all of the news coming out about Battle for Azeroth’s mounts. I know it’s totally dorky, but I’m really intrigued by the notion of riding a giant bee. Seriously, I want that bee mount yesterday. Yes, it’s completely impractical and bordering on farce, but it’s right down my alley.

There have been many opinions over the years about mount selections and varieties in MMORPGs. Some people enjoy the diversity and creativity that these exude while others find them annoying and immersion-breaking. I can appreciate how LOTRO keeps its mounts somewhat more practical while still having a blast with RIFT’s eclectic array (racing snail, awayyyy!).

Which MMO has the best mount selection — and why?

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The Stream Team: Springing into LOTRO’s Spring festival encore

Spring has resprung! The spring festival has returned to LOTRO for an encore, which means Massively OP’s MJ can participate! She’ll be running the maze rescuing elves, shushing tweens, and downing ales. The question is, will she find her way out? Tune in live at 6:00 p.m. to see if she gets lost.

What: Lord of the Rings Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

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Lord of the Rings Online continues to iterate on its class change patch, extends spring festival

The third build of Lord of the Rings Online’s Update 22.2 is now up on the test server, and players can preview it to see how Standing Stone Games is reacting to the testing and feedback of all of the class changes that are coming with this patch.

Hunters received a “more substantial” balance pass this time around, with more changes to focus generation and skill inductions. Lore-masters will rejoice to see the return of a changed Wizard’s Fire, while Minstrels might not be so pleased to see that their cries and calls have an increased cooldown. The patch also factors in the low-level anniversary scavenger hunts and featured challenge quests for certain instances.

And even if it’s starting to feel more like summer than winter outside, you can hang on to the vestiges of the verdant months with the extended encore of LOTRO’s Spring Festival. The event ends on May 30th.

Source: Patch notes

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Perfect Ten: The unique pitfalls of licensed MMOs

Making a list of the “biggest” MMOs currently running is always an exercise in frustration. It’s easy to put a few things on the list – no one’s going to argue with placing World of Warcraft on such a list, for example – but then everything else always gets mired in opinions and controversy, and endless cycles of “why isn’t this game I love on there while another game I don’t like is there?!” I speak from experience.

Still, on our list of the healthiest MMOs at the moment, we’ve got only three licensed games: Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Those are by no means the only entries on the licensed game list, of course, but there does seem to be something of a dearth of those. And perhaps that’s more understandable than it seems. For all that we talk about how one setting or another would be perfect for an MMO, there are some unique troubles you inevitably run into when you get into the licensed MMO shuffle.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 171: Bless you, my subscriber

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin delve into the future of Lord of the Rings Online, debate when a sub isn’t a sub, head on into Summerset, fly high with Worlds Adrift, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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LOTRO’s Spring Festival has returned for an encore through Memorial Day

Spring may not have left yet, but The Lord of the Rings Online’s seasonal festival already had. But now it’s back! This is great news for anyone who didn’t get their fill of Spring Festival goodness. In an encore event from today through 3:00 a.m. EDT on May 28th, players can frolic about and collect rewards, not to mention snag a pet shew or two. Stop in to dance, gather flowers, race horses, feast, and down ales and play pranks for the Inn League or the Ale Association.

Be sure to give the hedge maze a go while there; you can even use this handy-dandy downloadable map created by prominent blogger @BrandywineFred to find your way through and make the most of your Spring Festival time.

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Lord of the Rings Online’s 2018 roadmap includes a huge northern expansion and seasonal instances

Don’t call it a full-fledged expansion, but Lord of the Rings Online’s next content update may be nearing that level of content and focus.

Standing Stone Games Executive Producer Rob Ciccolini posted a roadmap to the community today that laid out the rest of 2018 and beyond for the Middle-earth MMO. Ciccolini said that the team will be delaying the release of Minas Morgul in order to properly flesh up the rest of North Rhovanion over the next couple of updates. This includes a huge addition to the game with the Iron Hills and Grey Mountains regions, a level cap increase to 120, another part of the Black Book of Mordor epic storyline, an instance cluster, and a new raid.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 170: Mild West Online

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin do their darndest to shape the MMO industry by holding up Wild West Online as a cautionary tale and talking about how studios need to think before applying real-world labels to games.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Global Chat: The MMO expansion lifecycle

With the ever-developing, ever-growing nature of MMORPGs, the expansion truly has a life of its own. By now we are well acquainted with the cycle that runs from gestation to obsolescence and can usually point to where any particular expansion is on this chart.

The Lazy Goldmaker outlined the typical progression of MMO expansion packs with a six-step cycle that focuses heavily on the economy and raiding: “After the final raid of the expansion we will enter the last content drought. This is typically the longest period with nothing exciting added to the game. We are in the middle of this phase of Legion currently. Most of the markets from the live expansion will still be viable, but profit margins will be decreasing, as will prices on all goods.”

Read on for more MMO blog essays, including ones that cover EVE Online, Wizard101, SWTOR, and LOTRO!

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