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Turbine, Inc. | Play Now
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 04/24/07)  | Pub:Midway Games
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Warden Advancement Beyond Level 50

The folks at Turbine have prepared a series of Dev Journals which take a class by class look at level advancement past level 50 in the Lord of the Rings Online's Mines of Moria expansion. Today we take a look at the Warden, one of the two new classes to be added with the expansion.

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Introduction

Since the Warden is a new Class for Moria, the Warden’s development for levels 50-60 is much more of a smooth continuation. All of the new Moria game features were already mostly designed before Warden development even began. So while the class benefitted from co-development with Moria, the drawback has been the less feedback than the live classes have had to guide the development of the class up to level 60. It might be a good idea to read the Warden dev diary before looking through the rest of this article; there are some unique features of the Warden that I am not going to go into detail about here, but have spoken to in the dev diary.

Way of the Spear

The Trait Sets for the Warden parallel the three categories of Gambits. The Way of The Spear includes all of the class traits that improve Spear Gambits and Javelin skills. So traits like Mighty Throw, which increases all Javelin damage, and Efficient Thrust, which greatly reduces the power cost of Quick Thrust, are included here. Bonuses for this Trait Set give increased damage and reduced power costs across all Spear Gambits.

The new skill associated with this Trait Set is Warden’s Triumph. It is a 5 icon Spear gambit that does very high damage and gives a short term increase to all of the Warden’s melee damage. The legendary version of the skill increases its damage considerable and extends the duration of the damage buff.

Way of the Shield

This Trait Set includes all of the traits that increase defensive and heal-over–time (HOT) gambits. Traits like Never Say Die, which increases the number of pulses for all Warden HOT effects, and Ward of Justice, which increases the defensive benefits of all Warden defensive buffs, are in this Trait Set. Set bonuses give increases to the Warden’s Block and Evade skills as well as increasing the magnitude of the Warden’s heals.

Conviction is the new skill linked to the Way of the Shield. This skill has two parts. First it transfers a set amount of Threat from each Fellowship member to the Warden. In addition it applies an HOT to each Fellowship member. The legendary trait for Way of the Shield greatly increases Conviction’s HOT, as well as extending the duration of all of the Warden’s HOT effects.

Way of the Fist

The Fist is the symbol used for the Warden’s Threat and damage-over-time (DOT) Gambits. This Trait Set includes traits like Force of Personality, which reduces the chance for enemies to resist the Warden’s Fist Gambits, and Confidence, which extends Warden DOT effects. The Trait Set bonuses increase the damage and duration of Warden DOT effects as well as increasing the Warden’s Threat output.

Desolation is the new skill associated with the Way of the Fist. This skill has a frontal area of effect that applies a large DOT to all of its targets. These targets also have a small chance for a short term Fear effect every time the DOT effect pulses. The Legendary Trait increases the number of targets that can be affected by Desolation as well as the chance for the Fear to be applied. The Legendary Trait also gives a global increase in the Threat generated by the Warden.

Improved Skills

Wardens have a different method of skill use, so instead of getting two replacement skills in their early 50’s the Wardens will gain a couple of new gambits. They get a melee attack Gambit that also removes one of the much-to-be-feared Corruption buffs from their target. The other new Gambit does a little damage, but also gives the Warden a short-duration attack speed increase.

Class Items

Time constraints are going to make it unlikely that the Warden will initially have anything to go in the new Class Item equipment slot. The good part about this is that I will be able to tailor the class item to address any weak points in the Warden’s launch design. Currently, that leads me to think these items will give small bonuses to power usage or threat, more or less in line with the Lore-master’s books and Champion’s Runes.

Conclusion

The creation of a new class has probably been the coolest thing I have ever done in my game design career. I hope you guys have at least half as much fun playing the Warden as I have had designing it. If you do, you’ll be very happy indeed!

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