We know many of our readers were anxious to hear what Turbine had
planned for E3 2010. Many people speculated that the announcement would
be a new Harry
Potter MMOG or a possible
expansion leading into Rohan for style="font-style: italic;">The Lord of the Rings
Online ( style="font-style: italic;">LotRO).
Neither of those two speculations panned out. What we did get a look at
though is the next content update for style="font-style: italic;">LotRO.
Our trip to the Turbine booth here at E3 2010 yielded us a look at the
next content update that currently has no title, so it is simply
referred to as Volume III: Book II. The next part of the epic story
will take players further south and closer to Dunland by way of the lands of
Enedwaith, where they will march with the rangers on the road to
Isengard. Slow down, I said the style="font-style: italic;">road
to Isengard, not style="font-style: italic;">to
Isengard. You’ll have to wait for that in the upcoming Rohan
expansion for that.
The next part of the epic story picks up where
style="font-style: italic;">Volume III: Book I
– The Oath of the Rangers
left off. With the rangers assembled, players will be tasked with
carrying a banner crafted by Arwen to Aragorn in the south and that is
the focus of the next part of the storyline. The new lands in
the south will be home to many tribes that Saruman has yet to turn to
his will. So players will have the chance to see the area before it has
been heavily corrupted by Saruman. This also leads to some possible
changes in the future as Saruman tightens his grip on the area and
extends his influence.
There are also some new features that will be introduced with the
Volume III: Book II update. Turbine Executive Producer Kate Paiz
explained one of the most notable ones to us with a new system that
will allow the dungeons of style="font-style: italic;">LotRO
to scale by level. This will allow players to return to older dungeons
such as The Great Barrows and experience it all over again at an
appropriate level. Loot will also scale, so there should be plenty of
shiny items to go around.
Another feature will involve new Session Play content that will allow
players to experience the game as a Ranger and learn about
Aragorn’s forefathers. Previously, Rangers could only be used
in PvMP, so the new Session Play missions will offer a chance to
experience one of the Rangers in PvE and learn more about the lineage
of one of LotRO’s
most notable characters.
Enedwaith will introduce four new dungeons to the game that will be
associated with the new epic storyline. Three of those dungeons will be
solo instances and the fourth will be an open world dungeon, much like
the Bree reputation dungeon of Haudh Iarchith. While there
won’t be a focus on the group instance game with this update,
Turbine representatives ensured us that new instances are on the books
for the following update.
free-to-play switch coming up we also had to touch on the change and
Turbine was happy to talk about it. The pricing for the quest hub
content will range from $5 to $10 depending on the size of the content.
One of the shop items we learned about is a potion that will help with
grinding out all those deeds. Free-to-play beta begins tomorrow
(Wednesday, June 16th, 2010). So if you’re interested head
over to the website and href="http://www.lotro.com/betasignup/" target="_blank">sign
up. style="font-style: italic;">LotRO’s
free-to-play and Volume III: Book II update is scheduled to release
Free players will also have access to lower tiered housing as they
can’t hold enough gold for the Deluxe. However, if
you’re hoping for Monster Play you’ll have to pony
up the cash to gain access as free accounts don’t have
initial access to the Ettenmoors ( style="font-style: italic;">LotRO’s
We did manage to squeeze a few more details out of Turbine about some
future content. Legendary Items will be getting a few changes with the
next update Volume III: Book III. For fans that have been concerned
about mounted combat possibly being cut, Kate Paiz confirmed that it is
still on the table for the Rohan expansion. Along with that
will be more we were also told that Rohan will be set post-orc work
camps, so much of the Ent forest around Isengard will already have been
destroyed, but players will have the chance to experience the forest in
its full past glory through Session Play.
The new content certainly looks interesting and the new land mass will
provide between 80 and 200 new quests. And while it was a bit
disappointing that the reveal was not the anticipated expansion into
Rohan, this update will certainly set us on the path to get there
sometime next year.
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