While at E3 this past weekend I had the honor of yet again getting a behind the scenes look at Turbines new expansion to their popular MMO Lord of the Rings Online! This year I had the unique opportunity of receiving a walkthrough of Rohan by none other than the Executive Producer, Community Manager and Digital Communications Manager of Lord of the Rings Online. Not only did I receive the traditional media overview of Rohan but I was also able to take this unique opportunity to also ask the creators of the game a number of preselected questions taken directly from the LOTRO community, the world’s largest collection of Tolkien fans.
The Lord of the Rings: Riders of Rohan is the forth expansion for LOTRO and will be providing players the opportunity to explore and adventure into Eastern Rohan an all new region of Tolkien’s world. Although this expansion is only providing one new region this region is by far the largest region to date. Although there is only one major region there will be multiple mini zones within this region bringing a variety of vibrant environments to the users including areas of Fangorn Forest and Amon Hen. While exploring these new and treacherous lands players will be able to meet and interact with members of the fellowship including Treebeard, Gandalf the White, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas as well as numerous members of the Rohirrim.
Even since its initial launch LOTRO has been on the cutting edge of MMO’s constantly bringing their players fresh new content while utilizing state of the art technological capabilities and this expansion is no exception. By utilizing Direct X 11 players will be able to experience upgrades to the graphics of the game including all new tree and lighting systems. In addition LOTRO is introducing frill upgrades to grass and water so that every movement that the character makes will have an effect on the environment around them. With that being said for all the users who have older computers and graphics cards, don’t fret because you may choose to opt out of these advanced graphics options and use the current specs that you run the game at today.
One of the most highly anticipated aspects of this expansion is the new mounted combat system. Mounted combat is an all new system where the player will be granted their very own mearas who they can both dress up and level up. Turbine has built out an all new skill system where players can choose how they want to build out their steed. Players will be able to choose a steed type, heavy, medium and light, as well as be able to choose which skills to level up. Players will be able to save each character build and skill distribution so that they can switch between skill sets depending on their situation. If the player is in a group fighting packs of wargs they may want a steed who is faster and more agile so they can keep up with their fellowship but if playing solo they may want a steed with more endurance and health to survive a battle against a group of wargs.
To help account for this new form of combat players will be learning new skills to be used in mounted combat as well as have edits to their old skills with tweaks for mounted combat. To account for these new skills Turbine has made some cool edits so that each time you mount up on your war steed your skill bars and quick slots switch to a different set of skill bars and quick slots. With this edit players can easily choose which skills they want on their quick slot bars when mounted and which you want when on foot so as to not confuse players of which skills they can use when on foot and which they can use in combat.
A few other pieces of information of note regarding mounted combat is the speed of your horse and where you can and can’t use your war horse. On release mounted combat will only be available in Eastern Rohan. With that being said you will be able to ride your warhorse in many other maps which are large and open but not every map will have this option especially regions that are small or dense with trees or other environmental factors that aren’t ideal for a war horse. Regarding speed the war mounts will be the fastest mounts in the game with 300 times the run speed of a normal character.
At the end of this eye opening walkthrough of Riders of Rohan I had the unique opportunity to ask the Turbine representatives a number of different questions which I have been collecting directly from the community over the last few weeks. Although not all of my questions were answered here is a list of these questions along with the associated response that were given. Although many of the questions received the traditional “I can’t talk about that now.” Many of the questions had a very different response which can be read into however you wish.
Q: Will Edoras be in this expansion?
A: No but it will be coming in the future with Western Rohan!
Q: Will there be any instances available in ROR?
A: There will be solo instances available at launch and an instance cluster closely following in 2012!
Q: Will there be any other new Regions available in 2012?
A: Not in 2012!
Q: Will there be new non mounted skills available for those of us who want to play non mounted content?
Q: Will there be a new housing instance for Rohan?
A: We are talking about this and the team is really excited about the idea but not at this time!
Q: Are you hiring more developers to help work on the game?
A: Yes we have a number of open positions and Turbine is currently in a growth stage so please apply!
Q: Are you working on any updates on the player avatar?
A: We are working on an avatar upgrade for the future!
Q: Will there be more skirmishes with the release of ROR?
A: There will be No skirmishes with this update!
Q: Server Lag is a big issue on larger servers like Brandywine and it’s getting worse. What are you doing about this issue.
A: We are constantly working on the server lag and issues. We have fixes going our monthly and are aware of the issue. We are currently working with the community on this and are doing tons of investigation so please visit the forums to see how you can help us on this investigation.
Q: Will Moors access for freeps be available for purchase for FTP players?
A: We aren’t the right people to ask about that, not the business team, but it’s an interesting idea!
Q: Will there be in game marriage in the future?
A: We have no plans for in game marriage!
Q: Will there be Hobbit themed Regions and Updates with the movie coming out?
A: Not on the Road Map!
Q: Will there be new hobbies?
A: Not on the Road Map!
Q: Will the 6th bag, Crystal and Quests available in the pre purchase bundle be available for purchase in the store?
A: You can visit the Q&A forum for more information about this and the price of these features etc!
Q: Will there be a new PVMP zone?
A: Not on the Road Map!
Q: Will there be new crafting and recipes with the new level cap?
Q: Will there be new Creep Levels with the upcoming Freep level cap?
Q: Will more currency types like festival currency be account shareable with the wallet?
A: We’re not the right person for this question.
Q: Will there be Virtue level cap increases with this expansion?
A: We don’t know yet. We’re still in Alpha and once we go to Beta and get players feedback then we will determine things like this.
Q: Will there be more classes in the future?
A: Not on the Road Map!
Q: Will there be more races in the future? (Ents)
Q: Will there be more legacy points be available for LI’s with the addition of the new Crystal? If the Crystal adds a legacy we need points for it. Or will we be able to increase the level of the legacy’s to reduce the cost?
A: No comment We’re still in Alpha and once we go to Beta and get players feedback then we will determine things like this.
Q: Will there be more quick slot bars?
A: No we decided to switch out quick slot bars for mounted and non mounted instead.
Q: Is there planned level cap increase for skirmish soldiers?
A: Don’t remember
Q: What does the Horseshoe do?
A: No Comment BUT we will let the community know at some point!
Q: Are you planning another 24 man raid?
A: Not on the Road Map but the feedback from the community is that they want raids more accessible.
Q: Will the rift be scaled?
A: Over time most instances will be scaled!
Q: Will there be revamping of PVMP Creep classes?
A: In time
If you have never played LOTRO I would highly recommend it especially now with all this new content on its way. LOTRO is by far one of the best MMO’s available and is still standing strong with yearly game of the year awards as well as monthly updates and expansions keeping the content fresh and fun.
Lots of Love
aka Moggle (DJ Helsing)
Chris is editor at Kalamari Kastle and was kind enough to share this article with the CSTM audience. Thank you Chris!