Patches, Expansions, Books, Volumes Oh My!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

If you're not familiar with LOTRO, then seeing something like "Patch II for Book 7" will confuse you. What the heck does that mean? Let's do this hierarchically.

At the top is the paid boxes in the stores (or digital downloads of course). So far that's the release of the game - Shadows of Angmar - and the expansion - Mines of Moria. Each of these paid distributions of game content adds a volume. So, for release we saw Volume 1 and for Mines of Moria we saw Volume 2. Simple so far. Now the term volume is also used in how the epic quest line is organized in the game. So we have two volumes of the epic story so far, 1 and 2. Each volume is comprised of books. Volume 1 has a total of 15 books and Volume 2 has 7 so far.

Why do I say so far? Well, that's because books are also LOTRO's big free content updates (many MMOs use an appropriate term here instead of the generic "patch"). Shadows of Angmar shipped with 8 books already contained within its epic quest. Books 9 - 14 were patched in as these free content updates. So the first book that was a patch (so the first patch) was Book 9. A little bit confusing. Book 15 came into volume 1 with the release of Mines of Moria (or volume 2).

Now, the Mines of Moria had only 6 books in its release, so the first book patch was Book 7. I do believe the official releases of these patches include the volume number with them to avoid confusion but so many of us players simply curtail it to Book 7 or just B7. As an aside, when we're referring to the epic quests in chat, many of us will use a dot notation like 1.7.4 or 2.6.1. The first number is the volume, the second numer is the book, and the third number is the chapter. Oiy, yet another term. Chapters have nothing to do with the patches so we wont go further than that here except to say chapters are the individual quests within the epic quest line. This dot notation does not refer to a patch number, but you'll rarely see it used outside of the game so not too many worries there.

Let's get back to patching shall we? We have today an announcement of Patch II for Book 7. Patches between Book updates and paid expansions are simply planned mini-updates that fix pressing issues like significant bugs and the like. So today we're seeing the notes for the second patch after Volume 2, Book 7 was released. To further refine things, we'll sometimes see hotfixes, which are extremely pressing patches that cannot wait for a scheduled patch to a book (or paid update).

I hope that clears up any confusion - or not. The interchangble use of the terms volume and book within the game and as part of the patching structure can make these confusing, especially when the volume portion of that information is removed in conversation. So, check out that link above for the patch notes. And yes, every type of update has patch notes, not book notes or volume notes. Gah!

1 Responses:

Sean Says:

I see what you mean about the "Oh my!" lol