Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, has released a new developer journal of sorts, as Lead Systems Designer Nik Davidson addresses the idea of PvP and playing the bad guys:
Gundo's wounds were serious. The dwarves had beaten the poor hobbit soundly with maces and axes. He'd lost a lot of blood. The corpses of his friends littered the field, but he was almost in the clear. His heart was beating fast; he had sent several dwarves to their bloody end, and he could hear their angry yells behind him. He ran - ran as fast as his stubby little hobbit legs could take him, his hands white-knuckled, gripping the flag. At last, he crested the hill, and the great horn sounded. Victory! Victory, but at what cost?
Yeah, so that's what we're NOT doing.
When we announced there would be PvP in LOTRO, I knew some people immediately would come up with the above nightmare scenario. (Or worse. You guys are hella creative.) As such, we just sort of shook our heads as people concluded that we were turning our game into "HOBBIGEDDON: SLAUGHTER AT BAG END." Nothing could be further from the truth. What I'd like to do today is clarify what we mean when we talk about playing evil races, and PvP in LOTRO.
This is a story about a world at war. The War of the Ring is the central focus of the narrative; through a series of narrow victories, unlikely discoveries, noble sacrifices and selfless alliances, a war is won or lost. And to truly explore that conflict in the context of the game, we wanted that war to be fought, in part, player versus player as well as player versus environment.
Now, from time to time we've dropped the phrase "monster play," and then quickly scampered back to our island fortress and pretended it never happened. As the astute among you may have guessed, this is the cornerstone of our PvP solution.
What does this mean? Players will have a chance to take on the role of a minion of darkness, a dark creature such as a goblin, orc, troll& or maybe even something fouler! Your monster player character is temporary – as a monster player, you have quests to complete, but you don't level up as an orc. At launch, this is the only method by which players will be able to play as a member of an evil race.
So why walk on the dark side? Success as a monster player allows you to gain a number of different benefits, "Monster Points," if you will. These points can be used to gain access to bigger, meaner monster play avatars, but can also be used to give benefits to your main characters. Accumulating monster play points will allow you to benefit your persistent characters, giving everyone a reason to give evil a try every now and then. More on this later, but that's the essence of the cycle – jump in as a monster, do some damage, earn some points, and spend those points to either play bigger monsters (which can in turn earn more points) or buy some nice little perks for your characters.
Players, on the other hand, will have optional series of quests that will pit them against monster players, giving them reasons to go out and mix it up. PvMP is optional and consensual – you won't "stumble across" a monster player. PvMP will be allowed in specially delineated areas of the game. Some of these areas will be instanced, others will be accessible only through travel NPCs. Either way, you won't need to worry about an orc running through the Shire smacking Hobbits who are just minding their own business and eating pie.
As I'm fond of doing, this article covers the general "shape" of the system – more details are forthcoming. Personally, I'm pretty excited about this system. It's a compelling PvP system that fits very well with the world we're building, it's a very different take on an age-old system, and it will give players an opportunity to experience Middle-earth from a very different perspective than they might be used to!
Stay tuned for more details!
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