Siege of Mirkwood

Friday, September 4, 2009

The word expansion doesn't always mean paid retail box expansion. As is the case with the "digital expansion" Siege of Mirkwood coming to LOTRO. You can check out the nice flash animated page for the expansion as well. One last thought before I get to the feature break-down commentary: This is clearly smaller than a retail expansion, but bigger than the free book updates (glorified patches). So, Turbine can keep their quota of one "expansion" per year but stay within a more realized work load. I wonder what the price-point will be on this. Now, onto the features!

Conclusion to Volume II Mines of Moria

Really? The conclusion? This is interesting because it begs a question. It is unlikely that we'll see a retail expansion (Volume III) inside six months after this digital expansion release. And that period is long enough to see one or two Book updates, so what volume will those belong to if they're holding an epic story continuation? 3? Interesting thought, beginning volume three with free patches. Or I could be wrong about seeing a retail expansion not so close to Siege of Mirkwood (hereafter called SoM).

Level cap increase to 65

Sounds good. To be expected. Only five levels for a "smaller" expansion. Really, I'm using the word "smaller" pretty loosely here because I'm only guessing at the scope based on hints in this release. And I don't think any of the devs would appreciate their work diminished to "small".

Answer the Call of War - Skirmishes

Very intriguing concept. There's a lot here too. First, the idea of randomized instances. This has historically been a hard concept to implement because it is hard to replicate hand-crafted quality with randomly generated assets. And LOTRO shines brightly with the quality of it's world and art direction. Will be interesting to see how much a part that will play. Second, we're creating "customizable soldiers". How does that work, exactly? Could be like henchmen/pets (they better have fixed the pathing!). Could be more like a squad you give orders to and level up in games such as Mass Effect. There's so many different possibilities here. I'm excited about this concept for sure.

New instances and raids

A given, just like the level cap. 3-mans, 6-mans, and a 12-man raid. Something for everybody. Now, let's get these spaces debilitating-bug free with launch. We don't need another Moria and Book 8 fiasco. I don't mean to be mean here so I need to say I really am rooting for Turbine in getting this type of content nailed down. They've had a lot of experience correcting mistakes so far.

Other gameplay enhancements

Looks mainly like the Legendary weapon system is getting a bit of an overhaul. New legacies, new runic slot (nice!) The bit about players crafting their own legendary items is a bit ambiguous. Don't we already have that? And do they mean each player can craft his or her own weapon or only weapon smiths? And then there's combat tweaks that will "improve responsiveness". I don't know exactly what that means but I imagine it's responding to some critiques out there about combat feeling a bit clunky compared to some other MMOs. *shrug* I've not had a problem with it, but then, I play a halberd wielding captain so my combat is pretty slow anyway.

Now, onto what other people are saying...

So, bloggers, players, let's get chatting. Will this be a paid expansion or free? Is it just a glorified Book patch? What do you think about the features? Are you disappointed there's no Rohan yet? Comment, make your own posts, or join a thread on the forums.

EDIT: Added a couple more round-up links and also want to ask what you all think about the price-point since we now know it'll cost us $19.99 US.

4 Responses to "Siege of Mirkwood"

jdw Says:

Let it never be said that I do not self-promote!

I, along with Marissa Morena from IGN PC, got the first look at SoM outside of Turbine employees this morning. Things are looking pretty far along, and the preview I've just linked has more info on the skirmish system and a few things not mentioned directly in the press release. Check it out. :)

Yeebo Says:

That's a great breakdown, and a nice collection of reactions.

Yeebo Says:

Gave you a bump on my blog, great work :-)

Jaxom92 Says:

Thanks JDW for the link. I'll put up a full post about it. Any information is awesome at the moment. I envy you for getting an actual look at the content.I guess that's the benefit of being an actual games journalist vs rabid fan with a blog. :)

Yeebo, thanks for the bump.