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MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 04/24/07)  | Pub:Daybreak Games
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Oath of the Rangers Interview

By Garrett Fuller on March 02, 2010 | Interviews | Comments

Oath of the Rangers Interview's Garrett Fuller recently spoke with Lord of the Rings Online's Development Director Michael Jablonn about the recently launched Volume II, Book I update, Oath of the Rangers.

How has development been going on Volume III, Book I? Are you meeting your target goals?

Michael Jablonn:

Book 1 Development went pretty much according to plan. There are always little tweaks and changes here and there, but we accomplished all the major items we wanted to and we think player will be quite happy with the results! You can check out the latest info on Book 1, here.


Tell us about some of the skill upgrades players can get with the new Book.

Michael Jablonn:

Our main objective for these skills was to enhance skills that players weren't using as often as we'd like. We took a good hard look at the feedback we've been getting from players and made some key upgrades to skills to address those concerns and to make them more useful and valuable to players. A good example of this is the Hunter Skill Beneath Care. It is a modified version of Beneath Notice that now also grants Power over Time to the often power-starved Hunter class.

The name "Oath of the Rangers" has a great place in LOTR lore. What made you choose this name?

Michael Jablonn:

The name harkens to the immense loyalty of the Grey Company to uphold the line of Isildur, and their commitment to protect it.


Talk about the skirmish system. How will players interact?

Michael Jablonn:

The Skirmish system has been a huge success for us. Thus far over 10 million Skirmishes have been run which just goes to show how much players and enjoying this new feature. Skirmishes have a number of advantages including their short play cycle, scalable level range and difficulty, the ability to enter into them from anywhere in the game world, a special customizable solider, randomized encounters, and a whole new reward system.

With the launch of Book 1 we are introducing a whole new Skirmish, more rewards, new 12-man versions of some previous Skirmishes. We also added a new group size: Duo whick allows players to play Skirmishes designed for 2-players, one of our most popular group sizes in LOTRO.

How will the skirmish system impact the end game for players?

Michael Jablonn:

Skirmishes provide a solid alternative for some of the other end-game activities in LOTRO. One key advantage players are enjoying is the shorter run-time of the Skirmishes. You can complete many of them in under an hour. For those who don't have multiple hours to dedicate to a Raid, this provides for some nice player advancement without having to dedicate an entire evening or weekend to the game. Also, let's not forget that players can start enjoying the system as early as level 30 as well!

What is the storyline for marshalling the Rangers of the North? How do players get involved?

Michael Jablonn:

Book 1 is largely about bringing word to the Rangers that the Grey Company must assemble. Players are set forth across Eriador on behalf of Elrond to help accomplish this vital task.

Where does all of this fit into the time line of the War of the Ring?

Michael Jablonn:

Book 1 takes place around the time that the Fellowship departs Lorien, which was February 16, 3019. Players are gathering and interacting with key players in the War of the Ring such as Halbarad and making sure they are headed on the proper path for what lies ahead.


What are your other plans for LOTRO in 2010?

Michael Jablonn:

We're focused now on ensuring that Book 1 launches smoothly and will share our plans for future updates when the time is right.

What do you feel is the most important factor in the end game for players?

Michael Jablonn:

One of the primary goals of LOTRO is to provide a range of choices for players - this allows for different experiences, different playstyles, and more options at the end-game. These options range from traditional fellowship and raid instances surrounding Dol Guldur, through Skirmishes that can be scaled from solo through raid, to crafting mastery, and battles of players v. monster players in the Ettenmoors.

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