At PAX East Turbine was not pulling any punches. They had a massive booth and games for players to check out. With DDO continuing its drive in the FTP market we got a chance to ask about LOTRO and talk about the latest Volume along with Oath of the Rangers. The LOTRO team is going strong with lots of plans for the future. They stick to their goals of keeping players in the epic story lines of Tolkien's world and making them feel like a part of the journey as well as participants in the War of the Ring.
Oath of the Rangers focuses on Aragorn gathering his allies for the battle with Mordor. Players are asked to go out and align forces with the free people of Middle Earth. One of the great things that the team talked about was the Inspired Greatness Buff that is now part of the game. Taken from story elements like Samwise Gamgee and his heroic rescue of Frodo, the inspired greatness allows fewer players to take on great odds. With this system players can now run a six person instance with four players. It also allows for a broader range of solo content that gamers can experience. This opens up the door for players to get to see all of the content in the game without having to be part of a large group. The team has been happy with this addition because it was a central theme in Tolkien's work as well. Fewer players beating the odds and working together for glory is definitely a great element to this game.
We asked them to discuss the Warden class and how it has been performing since its release. Players have enjoyed the melee diversity which allows for either a tank or DPS role. The Wardens arm themselves with shields and spears and have some great combat abilities in their arsenal. The team explained that they were very proud of the Warden class and how it fit in with the others.
The LOTRO three year anniversary is coming up in the next few months and Turbine has some plans for players. Unfortunately they could not give full details. However, we do know that there is a festival coming and some updates for players as well.
One of the areas the team is hard at work on is improving the new player experience. They want to make the game more accessible to players so they can get to the action sooner. Something that Turbine is working on with both games is getting payers into the action fast and making them feel like they are part of the game. Other MMOs still have a drawn out starting process that begins small for many early players and does not deliver an epic feeling until much later on. LOTRO is looking to set the standard to make the start of the game epic and thrusting players right into the story.
Another area that Turbine is hard at work with is listening to the feedback of their player base. The community sessions that the team hosts for feedback have given rise to many ideas that have made it into the game. The players have been a part of the world for a long time and it is something the developers take very seriously when considering their feedback. The team works to tweak things in the game rather than make one giant massive change, but they assured us that player voices are being heard and being taken very seriously.
We asked about a possible LOTRO IPhone application along with some more social features being added. The team said they did not have any announcements right now but are always planning on working with important features like IPhone and Facebook. They pointed out several apps that have already been created by the community which are serving players well. They said they wanted to see more players work with them on those types of projects as they continue to take community input seriously.
With three years under their belt Lord of the Rings Online remains a solid MMO that delivers a great experience to players. We know of many developers who play LOTRO for fun and knowledge on MMOs. The great thing is that Turbine are committed to their players and are working to make the new player experience better for those who want to try it out. LOTRO has stood the test of time and continues to deliver to its fans.