The LotRO community was able to ask questions directly of the developers at Standing Stone Games today thanks to an hour-long live Q&A hosted on Twitch by the Executive Producer Rob "Severlin" Ciccolini. This wasn't a simple one either, as Severlin fielded questions from everything such as the upcoming Gundabad expansion, PvMP changes to plans about upcoming races, such as River Hobbits.
For a while LotRO players - myself included - have clamored for more communication from the team building the MMORPG, especially after the server issues which marred much of the end of this past summer. With the release of War of Three Peaks last month, the team has been updating and iterating on the MMO, but the Q&A took some time to address questions from fans eager to learn more about the team's plans on class balancing, River Hobbits, and more.
When addressing the upcoming Gundabad expansion, Ciccolini mentioned it hitting sometime in the Fall of 2021, seeing it delayed from its initial window of Spring. This is to give his team more time, as well as to put some extra distance between the expansion and War of Three Peaks. Severlin also mentioned this his team is working on content for 2021 that isn't max level as well, giving players who aren't at LotRO's end game something to get excited about when new content hits, potentially.
River Hobbits are also something the team is still interested in bringing to the MMORPG, but are focusing first on Gundabad and the upcoming Brawler class. Ciccolini said this would be coming, but after both of those hit in 2021. Standing Stone Games really didn't give much in terms of details on the Brawler class, other than stating it will have its own unique systems and while the team doesn't have access to the rights of The Silmarillion, to me it does sound like they are drawing their inspiration from the Valar Tulkas. "There are certain indications in the books of certain Valar who really enjoy punching people in the head," Ciccolini said, and immediately I thought Tulkas, laughing as the battle-joy took hold in that description.
One of the major issues surrounding The Lord of the Rings Online recently is down to the way pricing and communication was handled with paying VIPs regarding War of Three Peaks. When asked about VIP players and the expectation that they would be paying for "mini-expansions," as well as communication related to War of three Peaks Ciccolini mentioned the following:
"That's my fault," Ciccolini said. "We basically have a rule that we don't talk about specifics about what's in packages or about whats going to be on a major update until we have an official page for it. And that was always our, sort of, policy. Don't start going an talking about it, because if we do and there's no official page to look for information, then the players get confused and if they actually have questions they don't have a specific source to go into."
Regarding mini-expansions, Ciccolini expressed a desire to release content "more frequently," commenting that players respond well to content, but not content droughts. His team plans on having more content during the year, but doesn't want to add the additional stress that comes with doing huge content updates like a full expansion. So by releasing these mini-expansions, Ciccolini mentions it's a way to push out more, digestable content without the added stressors a full-fat epxansion release would add to his content team. He did feel as though it was priced well for the content, and hopes to spell out VIP perks more clearly soon - espeically with new additons to the subscription perks being added recently.
This was a long time coming from the LotRO team, and we only scratched the surface here with all that Ciccolini covered in the hour-long Q&A. Check out the full video embedded below.