LOTRO Content Update Confirmed for November

In my earlier predictions I did hit a couple of points dead on, but also quite wrong in some areas.  Kate Paiz does lay out quite a bit of information in her Producer’s Letter.

Her comments on how they’re looking to develop things going forward was quite welcome as it echoes the thought that this is a new life for LOTRO and Turbine needs to shift its methodology to match that.

  • They’re stressing that the need to listen to their players and also find good ways to better solicit that feedback.
  • Continue to optimize the store, which I’m becoming an even bigger fan of so I’m excited to see what is planned.
  • Quality storytelling is key, and this for me has always been a strongpoint for LOTRO and I’m happy to see this continued.

The other part, and this is one piece I got wrong is that they are splitting up the Epic Quest line from their updates.  I’m a bit mixed by this but I can understand why they’re doing it as it will allow them to split gameplay from story and do smaller updates more often.  I’m optimistic that this will work out, but I can see it as a potentially bad thing.

As for the update, it is slated for November (score one for me) and will include:

  • Tasks which is a new content type for early in the game
    • I have NO clue what this will be but it sounds intriguing
  • Vault revisions
    • I know many hate the new vault, I’m ok with it but wouldn’t mind some tweaks.
  • Lore-Master and Rune-Keeper updates (yeah for me again)
  • Changing Moria and Mirkwood such that you can follow the epic line through these zones WITHOUT paying for them!  This is VERY cool as it basically opens up all the land-mass to everyone but makes the quests outside of the epic line what you need to pay for.

I’m a little bummed that we’re not getting any new land-mass but if this split allows them to get out more content on a more routine basis I think I’ll be ok with it.  So put me in the cautiously optimistic group.

More dev diaries are on the way including a vault and tasks one, and I’m assuming one on the class changes but good stuff in the works!

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  1. 2

    I’m not sure why they didn’t break up Moria and Mirkwood into subzones to begin with, other than all the old Moria retail boxes lying around. The way it’s set up now gives a very jarring progression where you’re absolutely required to purchase these expansions for level cap increases, where elsewhere it’s a pretty smooth progression of paying by the zone as you need each new area.

    As to the new patch, I’m very concerned about the lack of new landmass. I’m sure that LOTRO landmass is more time consuming than DDO quests are, and the intermediate patches are a way to introduce more saleable goodies in between patches, but how long are we going to be waiting between zones? Six months? Eight? A year?

  2. 3

    My only guess is that it was proving to hard to break up possibly?

    Well, the next update after this one is probably Feb with the new raid cluster. So depending on your definition of landmass, it is coming. I’m not sure if how they’ll do the cluster since its back in Eriador, but we’ll see if there’s a new area or just an exposed alcove of somewhere existing.

    Also, most epic line updates have been accompanied by land-mass so it is reasonable to expect that as the story moves (which is a focus for them) we’ll be moving as well.

  3. 4

    The epic story can’t advance without new landmass because we’re supposedly traveling the world on non-magical horses. The lore will only tolerate so many tales like V1B15 and V3B1 before all the servants of The Enemy fall over dead because The Ring got destroyed while we were running Fed Ex quests.

    My guess is that the new instance cluster will be just that – a new cluster of instances with a couple of questgivers standing outside it. If it was a new zone with new instances, marketing would be trumpeting that. That may or may not advance the epic story – the story will presumably remain free to play, which the new dungeons will probably be paid content. They could do a one-time story/preview version of the dungeons that drops no loot and has an NPC filling in for the rest of the party I guess.

    My point on time was that F2P launched in September, so February would be five months out. If the new landmass comes even later, it might be April (7 months) or summer (9+). That would be similar to the gap from Mirkwood to Enedwaith, and would seem to undermine the argument that the game is actually doing better, if it’s not getting new content faster.

  4. 5

    All good points, I’m hopeful for landmass in the “February” update but it will be telling as to their plan. I’m not sure if I’ll like every 3rd update being landmass but that all depends on how quick they get stuff out.

  5. 6

    Except for advancing the epic story line we really do not need a new landmass added to the game at the current level cap. There is more than enough landmass out there for those in the 63-65 level range.

    What I do think is needed is a new landmass with a good number of quest/quest hubs based around the levels 38-42. As most of those that play are aware this levelling range is a rather dead zone where one must go between 3 or 4 zones to get quests (Everswim, MM, Trolls….) so no good levelling flow can occur.

    The timing is just right for an early 2011 update for a new zone of that level range. It may fit ideally into those playing f2p providing a nice flow of quests that would then lead into Angmar/Foreschel. (And then beyond where quest flow has been achieved).

    Sure, this is sideways thinking, but Turbine does need to fill those dead zones in order to maintain the f2p player base and get them exciting into paying for MoM and Mirkwood.

    This is what happened in DDO since its f2p start…turbine has created a lot of lower level content to fill in the gaps and is only now looking at end game material.

  6. 7

    Yeah, I’m going through that area right now on my champion and with skirmishes I really don’t think it is horrible. The addition of Tal Bruinen really helped that region. Now granted, this is from a VIP perspective so take it for what its worth :)

    And I could possibly see them couple a mid-level zone with the end-game raid cluster but I’m not sure. I do expect the raid cluster but that might be the only content we get with that update, aside from gameplay stuff.

  7. 8

    I agree its not horrible as I have done skirmishes too to fill in (i am working on a couple of alts through that level range), but I don’t see the quest log flow you get when you get to Angmar/Forechel areas and then onto level 65. Maybe not a new land mass, but a revamp experience may be inorder. (ala the early zones).

  8. 9

    Right, there is no flow at all between the zones – even the books through there are pretty jumbled with books 4, 5, and 6 all intermixed in that range.

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