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Lord of the Rings Online Interviews: Post Mirkwood Expansion Update

By Garrett Fuller on December 16, 2009

MMORPG.com's Garrett Fuller recently spoke with Lord of the Rings Online Live Producer, Aaron Campbell about the game's most recent progress with the Siege of Mirkwood expansion.

MMORPG.com:

There has been a lot of chatter regarding the Skirmish system; would you explain the dynamics of a Skirmish?

Aaron Campbell:

Skirmishes are story-based instances with randomized elements that scale to your chosen group size and level, and a huge variety of level-appropriate rewards. This means you can challenge the might of Dol Guldur solo (with your trusty soldier at your side), or defend The Prancing Pony with a full raid of twelve. Along with a huge variety of Lieutenants and optional encounters you might face, Skirmishes also feature a personal soldier you can command in battle and customize with a variety of roles and appearances. You can join a Skirmish from anywhere in the world using the "Skirmish Join" panel and get into the battle immediately.

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MMORPG.com:

How well do you think the causal player can proceed in the updated version of LotRO?

Aaron Campbell:

If anything the Siege of Mirkwood release makes The Lord of the Rings Online even more accessible and engaging. Combat is now even more responsive, smooth and fast-flowing. Mirkwood itself is extremely friendly to players who enjoy roaming solo or in small groups, from an epic story that is primarily solo to Skirmishes that can scale to a variety of group sizes. The instances at Dol Guldur are designed to take only around 30-45 minutes, and are available for both three or six person fellowships.

MMORPG.com:

Can you explain some of the upcoming changes to the LotRO combat system?

Aaron Campbell:

The primary goal of our combat system update is responsiveness. We've taken your auto-attacks out of the primary queue, so that when you hit an "on response" skill it won't be interrupted by an automatic attack - instead the skill you want to use takes priority. This changes the flow for melee classes, especially those with responsive skills such as the Guardian or Captain.


MMORPG.com:

How do you feel the changes in character classes have affected game balance?

Aaron Campbell:

With all the changes in combat and itemization for Siege of Mirkwood, we stepped back from making major changes to the existing classes. As always we're looking to fix things that are broken and improve the overall experience, but with this expansion you should find game balance fairly constant.

MMORPG.com:

How will the New Medallion Barter System work?

Aaron Campbell:

Medallions from an area can be acquired in the normal gameplay of a three or six person instance, and additional medallions can be acquired by defeating the challenge mode of that instance. Medallions can then be traded for the appropriate armor pieces with radiance to prepare you for the next raid dungeon. The medallions introduced with Siege of Mirkwood are "Medallions of Dol Guldur," and can be acquired in the three or six person instances within the fortress of Dol Guldur.

MMORPG.com:

How will the rewards for Skirmish Marks and Medallions differ, will focusing on the accumulation of one overwhelm the other?

Aaron Campbell:

Skirmish Marks are a different advancement path from Medallions; the two are complementary. Initially Skirmish Marks will probably be used to upgrade your skirmish soldier with new roles, abilities, attributes and appearances. The marks are extremely flexible though - there are a wide variety of rewards available, including equipment, consumable items, reputation and even quest items! Medallions are designed for instance clusters and raids, and focused on allowing you to gather radiance gear for you and your group to challenge a more traditional raid space.


MMORPG.com:

As with any game expansion, do you feel a risk of alienating new players to LotRO?

Aaron Campbell:

On the contrary, Siege of Mirkwood provides even more opportunities for new players to Mirkwood. Enhanced combat and the new mount system make the game more compelling and flexible than ever. We have spent the last year reworking early quests with the lessons we have learned since game launch; with Siege of Mirkwood this pushed into the Lone-lands and the level 30 range, including extensive reworking of the Garth Agarwen instances, a new quest hub and updates to the Book 2 epic quest. Skirmishes are also available to mid-level players, allowing them to join in scalable group play (including raids) at level 30.

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