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Siege of Mirkwood Interview

By Jon Wood on November 04, 2009 | Interviews | Comments

Siege of Mirkwood Interview

With a new expansion on the way for their popular MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online, Turbine's Jeffrey Steefel and Aaron Campbell answered a few of our questions about Siege of Mirkwood.

you can learn more about Siege of Mirkwood and Lord of the Rings Online from their official website, here.

Presenting Siege of Mirkwood as a digital expansion is a fairly radical departure from the aggressive retail box release of LotRO's first expansion, Mines of Moria. Is this an indication that a second expansion couldn't hold up to a retail distribution, or are there other factors at work?


Players and the industry should look at this as another example of Turbine exploring more and more ways we can continue to bring quality entertainment to our customers, and provide choice and diversity of offerings. Mirkwood Digital distribution means neither the end of retail LOTRO releases nor the end of free content updates. We are simply doing something different for Mirkwood to bring significant new content to players just a year after Moria, and in the most appropriate way possible for this particular product, and time. We want to continue to provide serial entertainment to players through both free and paid content offerings and this will continue to be the backbone of the LOTRO experience.


In terms of sheer content, how does Siege of Mirkwood stack up against Mines of Moria?


Mines of Moria™ was a massive undertaking, no doubt. Siege of Mirkwood™ provides a smaller scale of content than Moria, but a greater range of flexibility. One of the new features we're most excited about is Skirmishes, which provide for randomized, story-based battle instances that scale to the size of your group. This is an entirely new layer to LOTRO on top of the things you'd come to expect, including a deep and exciting Epic Story, the haunting and thematic landscape of Southern Mirkwood, and a massive new series of instances for 3, 6 or 12 players within the Fortress of Dol Guldur.

Can you tell us how the skirmish system is going to work?


Skirmishes allow you to join a story-based battle from anywhere in the world, using the Skirmish Join panel. Create your fellowship, choose your adventure and go! You can adjust the level, group size and difficulty of the space when you select the Skirmish. Once inside each member can summon their customized soldier, and battle randomized enemy lieutenants to capture or defend control points and complete optional objectives. As you advance you can unlock new Skirmishes, customize your soldier with Skirmish Marks, or purchase in-game rewards such as weapons, armor or quest items.

Are you concerned that skirmishes might draw players away from the regular content of the game?


Not at all! Skirmishes add one more layer to the Lord of the Rings Online, extending story-based spaces to scenarios such as defending the Prancing Pony from oncoming brigands, or assaulting the footsteps of Dol Guldur. Skirmishes also do this in a way that is friendly to solo or group players - how you play is entirely your option. Skirmishes are just another choice for you as a player, along with quests within regions, the Epic Quests, fellowship instances, Legendary Items, PvMP and raiding.


Can you give us a bit of an overview of the Dol Guldur raid?


The raid on Barad Guldur, the tower at the center of Dol Guldur, is the culmination of your quest to topple the Lieutenant of Dol Guldur. This 12-person raid will pit you against hordes of Uruk, wargs and goblins, sorcerers, and finally the Ringwraith atop his Fell Beast. The final boss has one of the greatest entrances I've ever seen.

We understand that there are quite a few changes coming to the way that players sit atop their horses. What changes are coming, and what led to the decision to add more detail to something that, game-mechanics wise, has very little impact?


I'd disagree that this change has little impact. Sometimes the smallest things can have the largest impact on day-to-day life as a player. Changes coming to mounts include mounts as a skill (so they no longer take up inventory space), interacting with NPCs from your mount, mount-based emotes, and the ability to rename your mount. This is something that the development team was passionate about and we're glad to see it complete.

With any expansion, there are going to be smaller changes that don't make it into the spotlight when discussing the whole. Are there any other additions coming with this expansion that we haven't touched on?


We've taken a hard look at two systems with this expansion: Combat and Legendary Items. Combat has seen changes to make your skills more responsive and let auto-attacks flow freely in the background. Legendary Items have gotten a full reworking of legacies based on player favorites, along with changes to display your two most important legacies when an item is identified. These are just two of many positive changes we look forward to introducing you to in Siege of Mirkwood.

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