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Posted Fri, Dec 10, 2010 by gunky

This Week in Dev Diaries


This has been a busy week in the Lord of the Rings Online. It started last week with Kate "Nereid" Paiz's Producer's Letter, which is basically an official run-down of all the stuff you've likely already read here. Mostly, she explains the reasoning behind some of the new content, updates and changes to the system, and some of the upcoming changes in 2011 as well. One surprise: apparently the November Update is now officially known as "Journey to Winter-home."

Monday saw the first Journey to Winter-home patch, fixing some gameplay issues. There was a particularly bizarre glitch in the Volume II, Book 5, Chapter 5 instances in Moria, where the NPCs would randomly scale at wildly varying character levels. The range seemed to be anywhere from level 3 up to level 70, making the instances occasionally unplayable. That was fixed with the Monday patch, according to the Release Notes.

In preparation for the launch next week of the 2010 Yule Festival, the devs have bestowed upon us a couple of Developer Diaries. The First One, by Lauren "Budgeford" Salk, discusses the planning, design and general behind-the-scenes-ness of Winter-home, the new location specifically designed for Yule Festival. She also discusses the inspiration for the setting of Winter-home:

Middle-earth had ordinary problems, with greedy, rude hobbits like the Sackville-Bagginses, nosey neighbors, and judgmental millers like Mr. Sandyman to ruin a perfectly pleasant evening at the Ivy Bush with unkind gossip.

There were also the Bill Fernys and squint-eyed southerners of the world, who began to get mixed up in the creeping shadow of evil. There does not need to be a force of Sauron’s malice and power in the world for such unfriendly characters to exist, sadly. These are unpleasant folk who make life more difficult, but they aren’t so evil that they deserve to be slain by a hero. A hero who killed someone just for being unpleasant or malicious wouldn’t be much of a hero. Frodo’s early belief that Bilbo should have killed Gollum when he had the chance didn’t translate to reality, when he looked on a mortal creature worthy of his compassion.

It was this moral grey area that became my inspiration for Winter-home...

So the spirit of the season is moral ambiguity. Winter-home has Grinches and Scrooges and Krampuses.

The Second Dev Diary takes a detailed look at one of the events of this year's Yule Festival: Frostbluff Theatre. Player will be able to take to the stage and show off their /acting skills by performing emotes in front of an audience. Do a good job and you will receive the praise and adoration of your peers. Do a lousy job and they'll huck rotten tomatoes at you. Seriously, rotten tomatoes - there's a vendor in the theatre selling them. Of course, the gamer mindset being what it is, your peers will likely huck the rotten tomatoes at you anyway, regardless of how well you actually perform.

This week also saw a lot of promotion for sales and specials at the LotRO Store. Several Yule-themed Items are available to purchase starting Tuesday, December 14 (the day the festival launches). This week saw the introduction of Daily Deals, with a different premium item being offered at 50% off every day of the week for the entire month of December. Also new to the store is a separate half-off sale called Turbine Tuesdays, which offers a different item every week. Turbine Tuesdays are also a part of the DDO store.

Next week is likely to be a busy one: the Yule Festival launches on Tuesday, and Winter-home will likely be standing-room-only for the first few days.

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