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New LotRO Producer Q&A Touches On Before The Shadow Mini-Expansion, Upcoming Content

Joseph Bradford Updated: Posted:
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Earlier this morning, the Lord of the Rings Online team streamed a Q&A with executive producer Rob "Severlin" Ciccolini, touching on a broad range of subjects from the upcoming Before the Shadow mini-expansion, server lag, character customization and more.

One of the most anticipated features in The Lord of the Rings Online is the changes to race/class combos that have for so long defined part of the MMO. Recently rested on Bullroarer, it looks like these could be coming to the live game as early as next week, though Ciccolini didn't confirm an exact date just in case it's pushed.

Additionally, much was discussed about the upcoming mini-expansion, Before the Shadow. This mini-expansion is in the same vein as the previous War of Three Peaks released in 2020, and as such won't be included in the VIP benefits like regular content updates. It seems because it holds the "expansion" distinction, no matter how large it actually is, it'll be something that VIP players will need to pay for outside their existing subscription. However, Severlin did confirm that LotRO VIP players will be getting a discount, though the extent of which wasn't stated. 

Before the Shadow brings with it a new starting area which players who create a new character will need to opt into when launching their character for the first time. This new area replaces the current Ered Luin zone for the Elves and Dwarves, as well as the Archet starting experience for Men/Hobbits. Additionally, Before the Shadow doesn't bring a new raid to the MMO, though next fall's expansion is being looked at being particularly instance focused.

Speaking of, Ciccolini also teased that the next expansion would see players around the "smell of salt-water," though that could mean any number of areas in Middle-earth, from the Sea of Rhun to the Grey Havens in Eriador. However Ciccolini clarified that The Lord of the Rings Online would not be getting naval combat, as was speculated in the chat after this announcement was made.

In terms of the tech behind the MMO, Ciccolini touched on this in a few ways, most notably with regards to the launcher. The 64-bit launcher is being rebuilt from scratch, with the intention of replacing the current launcher in use. Additionally, Ciccolini once again touched on the lag that has plagued The Lord of the Rings Online for years, stating that much of the problem has to do with how deeds and quests are all tied into the same database. As a result, some fo the deeds, like the skill-based deeds that track how many times you fire off those skills update every single time a skill is used, introducing performance issues. 

You can check out the full Q&A in the embed below. We still don't have pricing for the upcoming mini-expansion, which aims to revamp the leveling experience early on, but also comes with some high-end goodies for long-time players, including a new 6-person instance, new Skirmishes and more.


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore