Today, the LotRO community can ask questions directly to developers at Standing Stone Games today, thanks to an hour-long Q&A hosted on Twitch by Executive producer Rob Severlin Ciccolini himself. This is not easy, as Severlin asked questions about many things, such as the upcoming expansion of Gundabad, PvMP changes in plans for upcoming races such as river hobbits.
For some time, LotRO players have been demanding a lot more communication from the team that creates MMORPGs, namely after the server issues that marred much of the end of this past summer. With the release of War of Three Peaks last month, the team updated and repeated the MMO, but the Q&A took some time to answer questions from fans eager to learn more about the team’s plans for class balancing, river hobbits, and more.
In terms of the upcoming gundbad expansion, Ciccolini said it is likely to happen sometime in the fall of 2021, seeing that it has been delayed since its initial spring window. This should give his team more time, as well as put some extra distance between expansion and the three peaks war. Severlin also mentioned that his team is working on content for 2021, which is also not the maximum level, giving players who aren’t at the end of the LotRO game something to get excited about when new content hits, potentially.
Actually, river hobbits is more what the team still wants to bring to the MMORPG, but primarily focuses on Gundabad and the upcoming brawler class. Ciccolini mentioned that this will happen, but exactly after they both hit in 2021. Standing Stone Games didn’t really give much detail about the Brawler class, other than that it will have its own unique systems, and while the team doesn’t have access to the Silmarillion rights, to me it sounds like they’re taking their inspiration from the Valar Tulkas. “There are certain indications in the books that some Valar do like to hit people on the head,” Ciccolini said, and I immediately thought of Tulkas, laughing as the joy of battle took hold of this description.
The main issue that has been associated with the Lord of the Rings Online recently comes down to how pricing and communication has been handled with paying IP persons in relation to the war of the three peaks. When asked about VIP players and expectations that they will pay for “mini-expansions” as well as for communication related to the three peaks war, Ciccolini mentioned the following:
“It’s my fault,” Ciccolini said. “We basically have a rule that we don’t talk about the details of what’s in packages or what’s going to be in a major update until we have an official page for it. And this has always been our kind of policy. Don’t start talking about it, because if we do, and there is no official page to search for information, the players will get confused, and if they really have questions, they don’t have a specific source to study.”
As for mini-extensions, Severlin expressed a desire to release updates and new content more often, noting that players will be able to respond well to content. The Ciccolini team plans to have more content over the course of the year, but doesn’t want to add the extra stress that comes with huge content updates, namely a full expansion. That’s why when mini-extensions are released, Severlin mentions that this is a way to displace more digested content without any stressor. He did say it was well-priced for content, and hopes to spell out the VIP perks more clearly in the near future – especially with new additions to the recently added subscription perks.