Last week I sat down and took a hands-on tour of the new expansion pack for The Lord of the Rings Online: Riders of Rohan. Associate Producer Hannah Foell and Digital Communications Manager Leo Tan acted as my tour guides and spent a little over an hour showing me the new content that will be available next week when Riders of Rohan goes live.
There are four main features that are new and unique to the Riders of Rohan expansion.
1. The Region of East Rohan
3. Roving Warbands/Mounted Combat
4. Hytbold and phasing
Riders of Rohan also provides us with the typical MMO expansion staples. The level cap has been increased to 85. We see a continuation of the epic story line where the fellowship has been broken, Sam and Frodo are traveling to Mordor, Merry and Pippin are on the run from orcs, and Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn are traveling across Rohan. Turbine has also added over 400 new quests.
Without a doubt the biggest change brought about in Riders of Rohan is the addition of warsteeds. Warsteeds are a new mount that allows players to participate in mounted combat. Players will be able to train talents on their warsteed in three different variations. There are heavy, medium, and light mounts. From there players will be able to even further specialize talents based on whether they want to focus on support or damage dealing. Warsteeds will earn experience and level up allowing players to further strengthen their steeds. Warsteeds wills also have their own legendary weapon known as a bridle. You will also be able to customize the look of your warsteed’s armor. You can see examples of this at the 57:00 minute mark of the video.
While on the tour the first thing that really jumped out at me was the roving warbands, literally (you can see this just a few minutes in). With the success of Rift and Guild Wars 2, dynamic events are the new industry darling. Roving warbands are Turbine's unique take on dynamic events for max level characters in LotRO. When approached by a warband you will automatically see a quest indicator pop up on your UI; however, you still have to manually accept the quest. If you do not open the quest and accept it you will not receive credit for completion when you kill the boss mob of the warband. In addition to being designed for max level players, warbands are also designed for groups. In order to encourage group participation, multiple parties or individuals can share the tag on a warband. This allows all players to split the loot and XP equally.
Another feature that Turbine has not shown off much is the town of Hytbold. Hytbold has been destroyed by orcs and it is up to each player to help restore the town to its former glory. This is a phased event and will be unique to each character. You will not have to worry about missing out on any of the stages of advancement because you will be the only person that can advance it. Hytbold will also reward players with raid level loot for single player content. You can see examples of this at the 54:00 minute mark of the video.
My favorite part of the tour was looking at all of the new Mead Halls. At the 20 minute mark we started to look at the different halls that appear in East Rohan. Listed below are times of other highlights:
- 20:00 Mead Hall Tour.
- 33:00 Meduseld Mead Hall (Personal Favorite)
- 36:45 Ashlimb the Ent
- 40:00 New Water physics
- 44:00 Eomer's Vengence aka Pike of Orcs
- 46:12 the Argonath
- 48:20 Amon Hen (Players cannot visit this except in session play).
- 51:00 Leap of Faith
- 54:00 Hytbold loot
- 57:00 Mount Cosmetic Armor
- 1:03:20 Sunrise on the Entwash Vale
Mounted combat is a great addition to the Lords of the Rings Online. Turbine has also done a tremendous job with the artwork on all the new environments. While the character models may leave something to be desired after all these years, the team has hit a homerun with the development of the Mead Halls. It is also encouraging to see Turbine adapting to the current MMO landscape and adding in a form of dynamic events. There are different challenge levels of Warbands and with their open tagging it should encourage more spontaneous cooperative play in East Rohan. I hope you enjoyed the tour as much as I did. Riders of Rohan will be available October 15th.