Two pieces of news from LOTRO today – the Dev Q&A part 2 and a skirmish dev. diary.

In a continuation of the Dev. Q&A (Part One) the second part of this series has been posted, which seemed to answer a few more questions that weren’t softballs like the first one.  Of note for me:

  • Confirmed that minstrel healing root is working as intended.  While this is annoying, it is at least good to know the status of it.
    • although it is teased that this might change later on
  • Wahoo for crafting panel re-vamp as that is incredibly annoying.
  • Mirkwood will be pretty darn big – 75-80% of North Downs
  • Insight on the log-out delay.  Which actually I think is pretty standard, but good to understand their stance on it.
  • The housing and kin revamp seems like it is pretty far off on their timeline.
  • The last note about PvMP and PvE being kept separate pretty much confirms open PvP won’t happen in LOTRO (which isn’t a surprise)

Here’s the link to the full article- Dev team part 2

Also, there’s another dev diary on Skirmishes (Link) from Zombie Columbus (ZC) focusing on the randomization and scaling of these instances.  Both will be critical for the success of the re-playability of Skirmishes for most people (myself included).  Some really cool ideas coming off from this more detailed look at the mechanics of the skirmish.

There will be a pool of mob types (Orcs, wolves, goblins, etc.) that can be pulled from as appropriate for the location of the skirmish.  So a skirmish in the Shire will be different from one in Bree, Trollshaws, etc.  These mob types will be randomly selected for each wave of the fight.  Mixed in with them will be Lieutenants which are basically mini-bosses.  They all have unique elements to them, which from the example ZC gave, sound like pretty new mechanics that we haven’t seen before.  The example ZC gives is that the Lt. gives a damage buff to all the mobs around him when he’s hit.  So, killing the Lt. last will make things go much smoother.  These elements are the same across all skirmishes, so once you figure out the trick for one it will be the same in other skirmishes too.

Another key random aspect is the Encounter system.  Essentially these are random events that you’ll have to recognize and figure out how to trigger in addition to beating them, basically a puzzle element.  These are tied to deeds such that you’ll be able to track which ones you’ve done and compare notes with others.  I have a feeling this will drive completion-ist crazy trying to figure out that last encounter and how to trigger it 😉

And finally he touches on the scalability aspect which I think was already partly covered – but the cool part for me is the difficulty setting.  So not only can you pick the size (solo, 3, 6, 12) of the skirmish but you can also crank up the difficulty if you find them too easy for you.  This is a great compromise as there’s always content some feel is too easy or too hard (based on player skill or gear), so this allows for the player to decide which path they want to take.

Overall some good stuff posted for Mirkwood – still lots of unknowns (like how our characters will grow, and skirmish rewards) but the skirmishes are shaping up to be amazing.  Next part of the Skirmish diary series will be focused on Soldiers.