[LOTRO] Release delayed for Rohan, NDA dropped

Another brief post: The next LOTRO expansion has been pushed back from the beginning of September to October 15th.

But what is more interesting is that Turbine have dropped the NDA so beta testers have been coming forwards with their opinions on the new expansion. And the buzz is very positive indeed. I’ve picked out a few quotes here:

They have captured Rohan perfectly. The art and the music is incredible. It is all greens and browns, rolling hills, crystal streams.

My favorite part of the expansion so far is Volume III, Book 7 of the epic quest. I won’t spoil anything for you, but I’ll just say that this is the closest we’ve come to the Fellowship in a long, long time, and MadeOfLions and his team have done a great job of really bringing the story to life. It is probably the most immersive experience I’ve encountered so far in LOTRO.

This expansion really reminds you you are playing Lord of the Rings. It is lore central. Which leads me to the incredible job @MadeOfLions has done with the epic Book 7, which for me is the best book of them all.

I haven’t been this excited about an expansion release since Mines of Moria. It may be buggy still, but I absolutely am addicted to Mounted Combat. Rohan is an amazing, expansive region.

As someone who loves cosmetics and the cosmetic system, I am really overjoyed that my character can now dress up his horse to exactly fit his current outfit. You can mix and match blankets, head gear, back gear and leg gear and dye them in a lot of different colors, and then use different saddles as well as specify different colors for your horse’s coat and mane and tail to create the perfect horse for your current look.

The music is great. (Kudos to getting Chance Thomas back. The recycling of old zone music for Isengard was horrible and very low class. This, on the other hand, is very top notch. Bravo.)

The new mounted combat system is going to be the make or break part of the expansion. Beta testers mostly seemed to really like it, although people also noted that there was a learning curve and that since players are expected to level their new warmounts, there is a lot of grinding in the expansion. People also noted bugs and hoped that Turbine will be able to use the extra time before release to get those sorted out.

But mostly I wanted to highlight that amongst all the other MMOs being released this autumn, it may be that Turbine are onto a winner here and LOTRO players may want to check this one out when they have time.

My game provides a useful service at a reasonable fee, your game gouges gamers with RMT shenanigans


These are the new Everquest 2 mounts which went on sale this week at the innovative and market testing price of $25 (aka same as the WoW sparkle pony). (I hope openedge1 is going to keep up his campaign for people to give the money to charity instead.)

Reaction has been predictable. Some players love the idea and rushed out to buy them. Others worried that EQ2 is spending too much time copying WoW and not enough in more innovative ventures. Arkenor even dubbed the new mount Copykat. Both bloggers (and developers, evidently) realise that for better or worse, Blizzard has the power to set prices in the MMO sector so $25 is now the going rate for mounts.

Sera@Massively is big enough to own up that while she hated and despised the idea of the sparkle pony, when it turns up on a game that she plays and enjoys, she wants one too. I thought that was a very honest article to write, so props to her. And I think it encapsulates how a lot of gamers feel about RMT –  if a dev produces something we want at a price we’re willing to pay, we’ll buy. But not until then.

Also, watch how they have restricted which buffs each mount can give. Unlike in WoW where you buy one sparkle pony and all your alts can have one, in EQ2 you’ll have to get one for your melee and one for your casters. In fact, their site doesn’t make it clear whether you have to buy one for each alt anyway. Honestly? Sparkle pony is starting to look like good value, and that scares me.

The bought mount provides more advantages to the player in EQ2. Unlike in WoW (where the riding skill is the expensive part of owning a mount), buying the mount itself is the primary cost of owning one. And these particular EQ2 mounts also provide in-combat buffs for owners. The leads me to another facet of EQ2 which frankly boggles me, which is that you can ride mounts into combat … and use a switch on the UI to decide whether or not you can view it. So if I get this right, mounted combat is exactly the same as non-mounted (you could sneak up and backstab someone, for example) and there’s a toggle to decide if you see the mount or not. (Hence the combat buff from these ones.)

Surely mounted combat ought to be rather different from ground combat? Colour me confused that people don’t complain about this, and in fact they actually complained when the devs agreed that it was dumb and wanted to take it out.

Oddly enough, I don’t care about being able to turn off hat graphics. That’s the sort of thing you’d see in films or plays where a director makes that decision for better dramatic effect. But turning off the mount? I find that very bizarre.

So there is more to 3.1! New mounted combat

Blues speak out about the new Argent Tournament.

OK, so patch 3.1 is finally shaping up to make some sense. This new announcement sounds as though we will have a slew of new daily quests somewhere in Icecrown (commenters on that thread think Scourgeholm and that sounds likely to me also) to help the Argent Crusade with some rebuilding.

It will lead to the construction of a Coliseum (possibly a new arena?), and there will be associated achievements, titles and the other usual suspects (pets, mounts, tabards, and so on).

Mounted combat sounds great but in practice I’m curious to know how it will work. If the mount is a vehicle then we’ll only be able to use its abilities. Could work, tank fights sound fun. If the mount is more like a regular mount then we might be able to use our own abilities but that would mean having to stand still to cast — which is not really the point of mounted combat. Or it might be that the mounts will be more like chariots, small moving platforms that you stand on so you can cast on the move.

In either case, it’ll negate a lot of the stealth and movement abilities that characters rely on in PvP so will make for a very different type of fight. Can’t stealth, intervene, or use travel form on a horse. And why exactly is the Argent Dawn wasting time building a Coliseum when there are scourge to fight? Priorities, people!

But I will forgive them a lot if I can charge people with a couched lance. On my undead horse.

Patch Notes

Patch notes are also out (in first draft at least). They will probably change a lot before the patch goes live.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was deeply disappointed at the current list of warrior changes:

  • Blood Frenzy improved to 2/4% increased damage.
  • Heroic Throw missile speed increased.

The blood frenzy change is just to bring the debuff in line with rogue changes. I’m assuming there is more to come. But it’s kind of rough to see other classes get sweeping changes and not see any of the tweaks devs were talking about for mine.

Here’s hoping that swapping specs in raids will be quick, cheap and easy.  As long as Blizzard keep designing raids to need different numbers of tanks on consecutive bosses and we continue to be poor off tanks or dps in prot spec, we’ll need the in-raid respeccing.