Latest dev diary from Zombie Columbus (ZC) is up with the highly anticipated rewards information on the skirmishes.  First all the info, then my thoughts at the end.

Monster Loot

  • Only end boss will drop coins (silver) and in ZC’s words, a rather large amount
  • Lieutenants, Bosses, and optional encounters will reward skirmish marks
  • Daily quest rewards for completing the skirmish
  • all other mobs have zero loot
  • Experience and Item XP will be rewarded as normal for mob kills

Skirmish Marks

  • Barter items that can be traded at the skirmish camps (explained below)
  • Awarded for
    • control point taken
    • NPC ally survival
    • Boss Kills
  • Calculated on a per player basis, so they’re not divided amongst the fellowship
  • Vary based on
    • Level of the skirmish
    • Fellowship size
    • Difficulty

Special Marks

  • Drops from LTs and Bosses in skirmishes
    • required in addition to normal marks for better items
    • tooltip on the mark will detail the level and size skirmish that has a chance to drop
    • upgradable and down-gradable via vendors
  • Skirmish Campaign Marks
    • Skirmishes are broken into 4 campaigns initially with Mirkwood release
    • drops from optional encounters
    • used for cosmetic rewards

Each skirmish will have a daily quest that’s available and rewards almost as much as the entire skirmish such that it becomes more rewarding to do each daily quest tied to skirmishes as opposed to the same one repeatedly.  This is a good way to get us to try them all!

Skirmish camps are the hub for skirmishes and are outside of all major cities or travel locations.  They’ll have various NPCs related to the system including places to barter your marks and the Skirmish Captain who is the “bard” for you soldier’s traits.

Soldier Traits

  • Rankable up to 20
  • Categories
    • Attribute – soldier’s role and cosmetic appearance
    • Skill – role specific traits that grant new abilities
    • Training – passive bonuses like crit, morale, etc.
    • Personal – bonuses to the PLAYER, but only inside of skirmishes
  • All gain strength as you rank
  • Some will need to be unlocked via scrolls from the vendors
  • Rank upgrades are level dependant to keep the soldier scaled to the players level
    • in summary the higher the character level the lower the upgrade cost

Specific rewards

  • idea is to complement not replace normal gameplay
  • use skirmishes to fill in the gap, and will be of lower quality then top tier crafting/end-game
  • nice part is there’s no variation as compared to the AH
  • Some rewards (Veteran rewards) will require marks from fellowship skirmishes, but since the marks can be upgraded it is feasible to get them via solo play – it just might take a while longer
  • Vendors:
    • Armor – various level ranges and also veteran items.  As strong as same level quest rewards, with veteran pieces being a little stronger.  Start at level 30 and progress to level 65.
    • Jewelry and Cloaks – same as armor
    • Weapons – same as armor but after 50, only off-hand weapons
    • Legendary Items – runics, IXP runes, scrolls, and the various new goodies mentioned in the previous LI dev diary
    • Crafting – scroll cases, crit components, and some new components with SoM
    • Cosmetics – housing, clothing, and solider items
    • Curiosities – reputation rewards, various items from old quests, and mark upgrades
    • Provisioner – sell/repair, and barter for potions

Good read, check out the full post over here – Dev Diary from ZC.

Overall it looks like some really good stuff.  I like that not all the traits are focused on our soldier but us as well.  As for the rewards, I think they hit just about everything I’d want.  It will be very nice for leveling as you can pick and chose what items from skirmishes and what items from quest/crafting you want.  We’ll have to see how this plays out at the end game.

I’m guessing, and @arbitrarygenius mentioned the same on twitter that the “various items from old quests” are talking about the level 45 class items – which if true would be AWESOME!  I also love being able to barter for reputation, that will be another very nice way to augment that system – especially with all the new reputation changes coming.  And of course, we can never have enough cosmetic items, hopefully there will be some new ones!

The rewards wouldn’t be complete without some LI options, which I’m glad to see another way to get runics (which I’m assuming are the relic cases) as that grind can be painful to get the tier 6-8 relics.  I’m also glad to see the various scrolls added as well, that will be nice to have a guaranteed way to get them as opposed to random.

Granted, with all these rewards we haven’t seen the numbers nor how many Marks drop per skirmish, but I’m all for the idea of knowing exactly how much I’ll have to do to get something I want.  This takes a lot of the random-ness out of the game, and really helps the LI system which is plagued by the “lottery” feel.