by Cody “Micajah” Bye (Managing Editor) and Greg
“Darkgolem” Stanley (LOTRO Site Lead)
style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">
by LOTRO’s Aaron Campbell (Live Producer) and Brent Schmidt
(Lead Content Designer)
This autumn is full of MMO gaming goodness. On top of the release of
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and Warhammer Online: Age of
Reckoning, we’re also going to be seeing the deployment of
another of the industry’s biggest expansions: Lord of the
Rings Online: Mines of Moria. In a recent interview with Ten Ton
Hammer, the Lord of the Rings developers talked about the prequel to
this upcoming expansion – Book 14 – but also
touched on a number of interesting topics concerning the upcoming Mines
of Moria expansion. Make sure you check it out!
Ten Ton Hammer: Did you
have any major goals for this particular expansion beyond being the
prequel / bridge to the Mines of Moria expansion?
The Mines of Moria expansion is coming soon!
One thing we spent a lot of time on was enhancing our previous
instances. The six man instances that are found in Angmar and
Númenas, and we also took a lot at our 24-man raids a little
bit. We just wanted to make all of those a little more accessible with
a bit more of an introduction to those particular instances, because
we’re going to have more of those in our Moria content. We
figured that working with our previous instances would serve as a good
ramp up to what we’re working on in Moria.
That said, we’re again looking at that theme that this Book
14 content upgrade is the bridge to Moria. There’s content
bridges, experiments that we’re doing with storytelling, the
instances and the loot that we drop in those instances so it can fit
really well with the progression that you find in the Moria expansion.
We wanted to make that really smooth for the players.
Ten Ton Hammer:
So what should players expect with Book 14 and the Mines of Moria?
Book is really the idea of moving the Fellowship beyond the walls of
Rivendell and giving the players a sense of story continuation. In
Moria, we’re going to close out the Volume One story with
Book 15 on top of introducing the Mines of Moria expansion with Volume
Two, Book One, which has a pretty long sequence that will get the
players involved with the story of the dwarves that are exploring their
tunnels. It’s an expeditionary party and from Eregion
you’ll meet up with them and work with them to lead you
through the places that the Fellowship has already gone.
We’ll also take that opportunity to introduce some of our new
game systems – for instance Legendary Items.
Legendary Item system is an extremely important part of our next phase
of character advancement. It’s a system that essentially
allows you to forge your own Bane or Narsil. Having a named weapon is a
really important part of Tolkien lore, and we’ve given you a
chance to create your own.
Essentially your item almost becomes its own quest hub. You customize
it in your own way. You name it and reforge it. You add different
runics to it. It gains experience on its own as you fight with it, and
gradually becomes more powerful. It really is an item that is
customized to your play style.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will the
Legendary Items have deeds and that sort of thing associated with them?
– you’ll actually have deeds for your weapon, and a
number of quests will be available on the weapons that will actually
give you deeds. On top of that, you’ll be able to have a
couple different items that you’ll be able to work on at the
Book 14 is like a prologue to the Moria expansion.
Ten Ton Hammer: How are
you balancing item advancement with this new Legendary Item system?
Will there be the same amount of drops? Or will that be a thing of the
past with the new weapons?
good part of the system is that you can take some of the items that are
coming out of instanced spaces and use those items to enhance that
weapon. Or you might decide that a new weapon you just got would make a
great Legendary Item for you because it has legacies that fit your play
style even better, so you choose to reforge it as your new mainstay
Ten Ton Hammer: So
you’ll just find different weapons and decide to change your
Legacy weapon, essentially?
Right. You’ll need to identify it, and the characteristics it
might have will be a bit random.
remember that this system is only in for weapons, not for any other
items. We still have other things that we can give out as well.
Essentially, when you first find a weapon it’s full of
untapped potential. You don’t know what its properties are.
Once you identify it, the weapon may have properties that you
don’t want, but someone else does. That’s when you
can put it up on the auction house. At some point though, it becomes
yours and yours alone.
is really just a continuation of the idea of having multiple ways for
players to customize their characters. Deeds and appearances are
already in the game, and this is just another way for that to happen.
Note: Here’s a general overview of what the Legacy Items are
all about from Exec. Producer Jeffrey Steefel: style="font-style: italic;"> Each weapon is class specific. style="font-style: italic;"> Each weapon has the capacity
for a random class relevant legacy. style="font-style: italic;"> Legacies are randomly assigned
to your weapon.
Each legacy can be made more powerful by spending item XP on it. style="font-style: italic;"> Item XP is acquired by killing
monsters, and doing Item deeds/quests. style="font-style: italic;"> Legacies have different quality
levels, meaning that while legacies might modify the same skills, they
may do it in different magnitudes. style="font-style: italic;"> Every time you go through an
item reforge (ie: your weapon gains 10 levels), you can gain a random
Ten Ton Hammer: Will
there be any new additions to the extraneous player content like
We’ll be adding some more deeds and trophies into the fishing
system, but in the longer term we want to really expand the range and
types of fish you can catch along with the usage of those fish (via
cooking, etc.). We’re also hoping to include elements of
fishing in our upcoming live events as well.
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
anything for a new player to really enjoy before heading into the Mines
of Moria expansion, or a veteran player that wants to jump back in?
Sauron's presence is definitely felt in the upcoming content.
absolutely think this is a good time. There’s tons of new
content besides just the stuff we’re throwing into the Moria
expansion. There’s also a ton of people coming back to get
ready for Moria and going through all the content that they
haven’t seen yet. Along with that previous content,
we’re going to be doing some live events that players
aren’t going to want to miss out on.
We’ll be doing something that will only be going on for a
limited time, but should be a lot of fun for players to get into. It
will definitely leave a lasting mark on Middle Earth. We’ll
talk a lot more about the entire experience in the near future, but
Moria is going to be the largest single continuous underground space
ever created in an online game. People should want to get ready for
It’s not just a cave. It’s an underground
landscape. A city, civilization, and home to a multitude of different
Ten Ton Hammer: How big
haven’t measured it yet, but it’s big. The key to
it is – if you look back at all the different underground
spaces in 3D games – it’s one of the biggest. You
aren’t going to be zoning in and out of different areas. It
is one big continuous area.
That was all the
questions we had time for during our interview, so make sure you check
back with Ten Ton Hammer for more of the exclusive news on LOTRO and
their upcoming expansion!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Lord of the Rings Online Game Page.