Lord of the Rings Online has been a solid game in the MMO market for five years now. A game that has supported its players, grown with some of the best expansions in the industry now has some major plans for 2012. Riders of Rohan will be the next expansion for LOTRO and this one brings loads of new content to the game as well as a new mechanic that will have everyone talking: mounted combat. What is Rohan without its war steeds and charging attacks? Thanks to Peter Jackson for making them look like bad ass vikings on horseback, the Riders of Rohan expansion brings another massive update to LOTRO, so let’s go down the list of what players can expect.
RIDERS OF ROHAN
LOTRO is reaching its five year anniversary and there’s no end in sight for the additions the team can make. The mounted combat system is the biggest one yet though, and set to launch in the fall of 2012. Rohan will bring players to new zones and new landscapes to battle it out against the forces of Sauron and Saruman. Not only will players get a War Steed with all kinds of skills, but there is also a change coming to how players fight against monsters and orcs in the game. With the new system the Turbine team wanted to capture the image horsemen hunting hordes of orcs over the hills of Rohan. So they have changed the combat from a 1v1 system with monsters to more of a pack-at- a-time system. Players will see clouds of smoke over the hills and know that a band of orcs is coming. This new style of combat is something Turbine is taking very seriously and should give players a lot of options on their characters. I asked if there would be any Rohan classes in the game, and Kate Piaz, LOTRO’s Executive Producer, said that right now they want to bring Rohan to the players. Not have to force players to start over just to play in Rohan, so all players will have access to the mounted combat system.
THE GREAT RIVER
Before Rohan players will get an update in the spring for The Great River. Anduin sets up as the back drop in the story line and the Fellowship is now moving away and beginning to break apart. The Turbine team is going to introduce some new areas to adventure as well as bring the story up to date. Players will be near Fangorn Forest and delve deeper into the zones which impact the story.
Another major change coming to the game is some updates to the Soldier System. They wanted to make the Soldier System more viable and allow players to use them more in the landscape settings. They want to keep the soldiers for the landscape battles and have the instance fights more for the players. This way more casual players can have a small party with the soldier system and be able to fight bosses outside on their own. They want to include more tools to help players who are not in a strong guild and mainly adventure on their own.
There are lots of festival events and what Kate calls “quality of life events” coming to the game too. They want to add social features and give players more to do than just run around fighting monsters. Their goal is to add something new to the game each month even if it is on a small scale. They want to keep a focus on what players are asking for and build the game as a service to hardcore players and fans.
Overall, both Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online are getting some serious upgrades this year. Two games that remain strong in the genre and were some of the first to make the shift to free to play are now giving their players some great new content. Turbine is expanding again and the teams are focused on keeping these two major games in line with player’s expectations. If you’re a LotRO fan that’s been dying to get your mounted combat on since the game’s launch, your chance is at hand this fall.