LOTRO Producer's Letter - A Look at 2020
Greetings! I hope everyone is staying safe!
Before looking ahead, I want to thank our players for traveling with us through Middle-earth in 2019. We ventured into the Anvil of Winterstith, explored historic tales in the Vales of Anduin, and braved Minas Morgul itself with our expansion. The Stout-axe Dwarves freed themselves from the servitude of dark masters, player Virtues saw changes, we updated the Hobbit Presents system, and we completed the Black Book of Mordor storyline.
As we play through our recent 6-man content and our raid into Shelob’s lair, I want to talk about future events and releases we are excited to present to players.
Now that Virtue changes are in place and the Minas Morgul expansion is behind us, we plan to update Legendary Items in 2020. We know players want changes to how these items advance, and to have more opportunity to improve their items in later content. We are also looking at more substantial changes for later in the year. It is important for us that the players feel that their progress on their Legendary Items carries forward into the new system, and we are discussing design changes with that in mind.
Our first update in the late Spring unveils a key theme for 2020: war between the dwarves and Orcs. We will be debuting our new major story-line called "The Legacy of Durin and the Trials of the Dwarves". This story-line will continue throughout the year as we weave toward 2021 and visit the ancient dwarf stronghold of Gundabad. The Legacy of Durin and the Trials of the Dwarves story-line will be free to all players, and our regular updates will both supplement the main story and tell their own tales. Our late Spring update, called Mists of Wilderland, will take players to the Wells of Langflood, where they will join Durin's line to begin the march to retake dwarf lands. In addition, a small 12-person raid will be released in the fall.
In the early summer we will see our first Challenge League, which is a new temporary server that allows players to fight each other for honor, with the defeated required to retreat from the battlefield, rally themselves, and move back into the world to continue the fight. The sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir, have begun a discussion with perhaps too much pride, and are arguing about which of them would make the greatest leader and support the greatest heroes. Take up the banner of either Elladan or Elrohir and venture forth to complete Deeds and challenge heroes that align with your rival. Brave players can earn milestones for completing Deeds, and those characters will appear in a special Leader-board. Will you rush to honor your patron by completing Deeds, or will you spend your time challenging rivals?
Also this summer we are inviting you to one of Middle-earth's most historic moments: The wedding of Aragorn and Arwen. Prestigious guests have traveled vast distances to bless the new king, and there is a need for people to support the celebration. Additionally, artisans are hard at work creating their finest goods and fashions for the wedding, and guests can expect to look their best for the event. In addition, we are unveiling a new seasonal festival event for Lord of the Rings Online which commemorates weddings and merriment throughout Middle-earth, featuring a unique festival questing area within Minas Tirith.
In the fall we will see a new type of mega-update, the War of the Three Peaks, which will provide new content for characters of all levels. Durin's line begins war with the Orcs as they prepare to advance to Gundabad. This update continues the Legacy of Durin story-line, but also includes other end-game content. This update will also open up a new area on the front lines of the war that will allow any character regardless of level to come to Durin's aid. While open, players will complete missions, earn favor of both Durin's line and Dwarf artisans and smiths, and support the war effort.
This year we will be adding a new premium housing area to the game in Rohan. Rohan Housing is divided into two new housing neighbourhoods, both located in West Rohan. Rohan Housing also brings with it some new features, such as Stable Hooks and Custom Lighting Hooks!
This fall will also see a new Legendary server! We are looking forward to adding new challenges and gameplay experiences for this new server. In our current vision for this server, Sauron will play a more active role in punishing heroes who defy his will. At times during play, the Eye of Sauron will open, inspiring all the evil in the world to rally and rise to his dark challenge. These enemies will become far more dangerous during this time. However, when the Eye is open, your characters will rise to the challenge and deliver greatly increased damage in defiance of the Dark Lord. Beware when the Eye of Sauron is open! We intend to keep the current Legendary experience going in 2020 as well, and will continue to open up new content on those servers.
Finally, we'll round out the year with an update to the Yuletide festival, with new quests, activities, and rewards.
We're excited for the new year, and we appreciate you taking this journey with us.