‘One does not simply walk into Mordor’ – that’s a line that has made many tear their hair with amazement and bow in awe… well, almost.
But whether that is true or not, what is true is that Lord of the Rings has both haunted and mesmerized literate humanity for a long time, not just through the books, but also the movies and the MMORPG The Lord of the Rings Online.
A new expansion for the online game was revealed recently, called ‘Riders of Rohan’, and Eurogamer immediately caught Kate Paiz, the game’s executive producer, to know a thing or two about the biggest expansion for the game yet.
Paiz mentioned the new mounted combat, a new skill, and other interesting additions to the massive world of LOTRO.
Mounted combat in LOTRO is being termed as War Steeds, and are available to buy and use only in Rohan. The War Steeds are available from level 75 onwards – obviously aimed towards the more experienced players.
“It’s about bringing to bear against the forces of Saruman,” said Paiz.
“He’s sending out these packs of mounted orcs, 40 or 50 at a time, and they’re devastating the town’s people and the landscape of Rohan – as is written in the books.”
“…So you and your horse, which is a companion and has his own skills and fighting abilities in combat, are moving at a much faster pace than you as a non-mounted creature in other areas.”
Additionally, War Steeds will be much superior to the current mounts in the game, being stronger, tougher and more ‘trained’, and will be able to be customized in generously numerous ways, like upgrading armor and other things.
Paiz also stated that to accompany the new War Steeds, there will be class-specific mounted combat skills too. However, many of the on-foot abilities and skills will not work on mounts.
“There will be some classic skills that can apply to this experience, but there are certainly going to be skills that don’t apply.”
As mentioned before, mounts and War Steeds will be able to be upgraded. However, developer Turbine is making the leveling system enhanced so that it is extensible, and the level-cap isn’t reached within a few quests.
Currently, there are no plans at present for mounted combat to spread beyond Rohan, or back to Middle-Earth.
The other important thing that this expansion pack will be doing is raising the level cap from 75 to 85, which is also perhaps to assist the upgraded mounts system. New character skills are a part of this freshened progression. Mechanics such as Deeds, crafting, Traits and Virtues, and Legendary items will also grow with the leveling of your hero.
Rohan will be nearly twice the size of Moria. In this massive expansion pack, you’ll witness some cherished Lord of the Rings moments – you’ll see Amon Hem, where Boromir is slain and where the Fellowship breaks up. You’ll go into Fangorn Forest, and march into Rohan to defend the townspeople against Saruman’s forces.
Paiz also hinted on future expansions that will tell some of the biggest and most important scenarios from the book through places such as Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith.
“We talk about this over lunch a lot. How interested is the community in hearing about the grandsons of Aragorn and Arwen? How much do they want to see the Gondorians clean up the rest of the Haradrim and the rest of the baddies – the pockets of orcs that exist? And what happens with Sharkey and The Shire?”
“Those are all questions that we as storytellers have a rich desire to tell and to explore.”
“For us, this IP is so deep and so rich, that we can continue to tell the story as long as players are sitting there listening to it. And as we always do, we will continue to derive our roadmap and our plans from what’s working and what players are responding to and what they’re eager for.”
So, I suggest you get ready to lose some additional part of your life and dwell in the massive and amazing world of Lord of the Rings Online.