Now that Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar subscribers are enjoying the Book 9 Shores of Evendim content patch that just came out in June, it's time to look ahead to August and the impending Book 10 content. During E3, RPGamer spoke with Midway and Turbine to find out more what's in store for the only MMORPG where characters worry more about pies than monsters.
First, like Book 9, Book 10 will be a free update for subscribers. It will continue the tradition of providing both solo and multiplayer content. It'll also add more content to make Annúminas into a living battlefield between the Free Peoples and Arngrim's forces.
There will be plenty of instances added, and a new bartering system making use of items within these instances. The system will make use of common and rare drops that, for example, can be traded with the local ranger camp to get pieces of light, medium, or heavy armor sets. The pieces can be dyed, adding a nice level of customization to your character.
Book 10 will also see the introduction of a reputation system. The new dungeons will contain quests for both solo and fellowship play with reputation item rewards. These quests are repeatable. Once a player gets to friendly status with a faction like the dwarves, he or she can go to places like, perhaps a certain famous mine located under some misty mountains. One could also receive new weapons with virtue requirements. Allowing players with the requisite virtues equipped to receive equipment with stats usually seen on weapons with higher level requirements.
In addition, the patch will add Session Play. Session Play sees players spending 5000 destiny points to purchase a temporary character to play. There are two trolls and two rangers available to play, each stronger than normal monster play characters. The trolls fight on the side of Angmar while the rangers fight for the Free Peoples. We saw some basic strategy for the troll. Getting kills would charge up a meter of skulls in the menu, and then this allowed use of special moves. The main move that was demonstrated was knockback, which would be very useful for knocking player characters out of tower that the monsters were trying to defend. It should be quite an interesting show to see these Session Play characters used in the PvP battles.
Of course, 5000 destiny points is a lot, and while Turbine will add numerous deeds to help regain them during Session Play, it'd sure be nice if there was a new feature for a more casual gamer with less points to spend. Well, there is: Chicken Play.
Yes, for a mere 50 destiny points you get to play as a Chicken. Inspired by a paragraph in The Fellowship of the Ring where Tolkien describes a fox's view on the current events of the story. Free range Chicken Play will let you take chicken from one of the farms of the shire and explore middle earth with it. You'll be able to talk to other chickens and critters (but not normal players), fight shrews, play dead, and explore areas that'd normally take a lot more hours to be able to venture into with a normal character. All in all, it looks like a gracious gift to casual players who'd like to do more in Middle Earth with less time invested. Turbine is also looking at adding other animal types for players to explore as.
One final convenient addition in this patch will be a Monster Play button right on the main login screen. The level requirement for Monster Play is unchanged, but getting into it will be much easier thanks to this addition. There is also going to be the ability to make your own monster play character, instead of having to just pick one of the pre-made defaults. They did not show off the customization, so we can't say what level of control you will have over the character yet.
So, it looks like those who venture into Middle Earth will have plenty of new options to play with, when they're not running around as chickens. This is all in addition to the over 100 new quests that are being added. This August will be a busy time to be a hobbit.