There’s been a number of write-ups from people (Massively Part 1,Massively Part 2) who have had hands on experience with the new content and business model but Ron Whitaker’s (@ffronw) from FileFront did have some new tidbits that I figured I’d touch on. I’m not going to focus on the portions that are common from the other previews, just the things I haven’t seen before.
The initial thoughts of the zone are pretty similar to many others with the appreciation of the zone and the diversity but it is a good point that this is arguably the first zone (Forochel could fit a similar description) developed without prior information from Tolkien. This does give Turbine lots of room, but also they need to careful and respectful of the lore. Based on what I’ve seen of the game so far, I will be going through all the new content just to see what kind of story Turbine will tell, even though my main characters are at the level cap.
He mentions that the main portion of the story will be learning about the Rangers and a good deal of this is through session play. I’m pretty intrigued by this idea as it gives Turbine all sorts of options to tell back-stories for these various Rangers. Some of my favorite quests have been of this sort as it provides a great combination of game, lore, and challenge. I’m looking forward to another good story book like Volume 1 Book 15, although hopefully a bit less travel
He mentions the changes to the quest system which seems to indicate that instead of scrolling to the bottom to figure out what to do that information is up at the top. I can understand this change, and it will make it easier for quests that either you’re repeating or if you don’t read quest text. Instance scaling is also mentioned, but nothing new here.
Jumping to the store, Ron did ask about the complaints on the faction horses but Aaron Campbell didn’t indicate either way on a decision but did leave room for them to change things during the beta. I was intrigued by the question asking about additional houses or housing storage in the store as I hadn’t thought of that one. I’m reading into the response, but it doesn’t appear this is possible currently but might be down the line. I’d love to have this option both in-game and via the store as I already have a deluxe and kinship house filled.
Ron touches on the festival and the Haunted House which I’ll admit I’m quite excited about. They’ve done a really good job of creating some fun side things to do in-game and this sounds like it will be another great addition.
Ron also did ask about the next big three items to receive focus Legendary Items, Monster Play, and Radiance which no surprisingly did get a canned response. “Those are three big things we will be working on over the next year,” but there was an even more exciting quote about the upcoming content. Aaron did confirm that they are working on mounted combat – “There are prototypes being worked on.” I can honestly say I want to see the “Big 3” topics addressed first but those may be more of a gradual incremental change. As for mounted combat, I don’t see that until Rohan which is looking like a late 2011 or 2012 update since the next expansion is confirmed for Isengard.
Overall it is a good read and some more amazing screenshots in case you haven’t gotten your fill of news,