This past week has been quite busy on the news front for LOTRO and I will admit I’ve been quite behind. This has just been a pretty long week for me with my job and as such I’ve barely been able to keep up on the news, let alone comment on it. However, I wanted to touch on a few of the releases as there’s some good (and not so good) updates of late.
First up is the HUGE Developer Diary covering the new region Enedwaith which covers pretty well the new zones, their history and influences, their general storylines, and some of the kinds of enemies you’ll face. I’m looking forward to not only exploring all of the new spaces, but I really like the idea of pulling from Medieval Welsh and Briton influences. I’m also very impressed by the size (bigger and more quests then the North Downs) and all the new artwork as I will admit I’m getting a little tired of not only the darkness of Mirkwood but goblins and orcs 🙂 There are lots of new screenshots in the diary, but these were 2 of my favorites:
Speaking of screenshots, if you’re curious at all about what kinds of items will be available in the upcoming LOTRO Store, go check out Mordor or Bust as he’s posted over 200 pictures of what’s coming. Now before you flip out too much about the specifics, remember that the store is still in beta and things are likely to change. Some of these items may not be purchasable come launch, the prices may change, or we might see some restrictions placed on the use and/or purchase of them. Overall I do like the general look and feel of the store and most of the items seem to fall in line with what I’d like to see from the store. There are a couple of things (reputation horses for example) that I’m not thrilled are in store, but it really isn’t going to impact my enjoyment of the game. I will admit that I’m being somewhat hypocritical when I say I’m all for buying virtue ranks (I LOVE this) but that I don’t want to be able to purchase reputation mounts. At the end of the day, the store is allowing us to decide what our time and money are worth and which we’d rather spend based on the rewards. I know that I will be spending lots of points buying Virtue ranks, but probably not as much on the mounts. As long as the items in the store are priced appropriately for the amount of in-game work required, I’m growing more accepting of the options. The line I’m hoping (and trusting) they don’t cross is when armour, legendary items, or rare crafting drops (The Symbol for example) are available from the store.
For more thoughts on the LOTRO Store, make sure you check out the Beta Journal which contains comments from actual beta participants on the store. I love this idea from Turbine as it gives those of us not in the beta an insight into new features but also provides people in the beta a means to share without breaking the NDA. Hopefully this is the first of many of these Journals!
There have been a couple of Developer comments on the new Lua Scripting interface including a very good post from Narrel walking through what’s currently possible and what the future holds. The key thing here is that they’re specifically NOT allowing folks to make a macro or bot interface to the game purely re-work or tweak the way the user interface works. However, a key item I wish they’d add is the ability to re-skin the mouse cursor but sadly Narrel further points out that you can’t do this now but it might be an option down the road. I can’t wait to see some of the things people will come up with and this will really help out with various user interface problems I think LOTRO has. Plus it allows everyone to solve their own perceived problems how they want to and not rely on Turbine to recognize that problem or solve it the way you want them to.
The final news piece I wanted to mention is JWBarry’s post on the new Instance Scaling mechanism we’ll see. This one has me a little torn as I really like the idea and direction but it also is a little depressing. I’m very excited for the option to revisit some of the spaces I haven’t seen in a while as it will provide something else to do, but I will admit I’m a little worried that the rewards won’t quite be worth the effort. If you look at the current content, most folks only do a couple of instances (Sword Halls, Sammath Gul, and Grand Stairs) based on the difficulty and the associated rewards. I’m just not sure there will be enough unique and desirable rewards for each of these spaces to drive enough folks to form groups to tackle these. Especially when you consider the instance group size doesn’t scale, so you’ll still need 3, 6, or 24 people to complete them and I’m just not sure that will be the case long term. The biggest downer about all this for me is that this will be another content update without new content for end-game raiders as most of them will have already done all of that content before. Yes I know it will feel “new” but unless there are seriously cool rewards, I just don’t see folks doing it. At least this will provide a diversion for those groups if they get burnt out on the current content, but without the prospect of a new raid I have a feeling a good portion of that community might be lost.