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Lord of the Rings Online

LotRO Update 14 is now live

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Game Mechanics, Patches, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

Gondor archers
Today marks the official release of Lord of the Rings Online's Update 14, and with it comes the highly anticipated West Gondor content, as well as Epic Story Volume IV, the new Essence System, the level 100 cap, inventory tweaks, class balancing, bug fixes, and more.

While none of this is a surprise to players, what did come as a surprise was some changes mentioned in executive producer Aaron "Rowan" Campbell's letter in the forums. First off, there will be no more level cap increases for this year to allow players to take their time and explore the new content. In addition, a new advancement system is being added to legendary items allowing them to grow with you without deconstruction for a new item at level cap. And lastly, the upcoming Beorning class will start at level 1 and include its own starting experience through Eriador.

Be sure to check out the complete Update 14 patch notes as well as Rowan's Producer's Letter in the official forums.

The Daily Grind: Do you tend to believe dev statements?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Dungeons

Fangorn waterfall
Lord of the Rings Online community manager Rick Heaton created a stir recently when he said that raiders are few and far between in Middle-earth. After he explained that Turbine's data show raiders, PvPers, and forum posters as tiny fringe groups, he ended his announcement with the following statement.

"I fully appreciate and understand you won't believe a word of this. That's perfectly fine. It doesn't change the facts of the matter."

Predictably, a slew of comments ensued in which Heaton was accused of lying. Plenty of commenters, both on the Turbine forums and here on Massively, then posited that of course there are no raiders because LotRO's raid content sucks, Turbine's definition of "raider" is different from the commonly accepted definition (whatever that is), and dozens of other reasons. Which leads to an interesting question regarding official dev statements. Do you tend to believe them? Even when they irritate you or don't align with your personal wishes for a given game?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

LotRO's Paths of the Dead coming July 14

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play

Got MMO plans for next week? If you're a Tolkien buff you might want to reconsider them, since Turbine is publishing Lord of the Rings Online's Paths of the Dead update on Monday. The firm has unveiled a new section of the game's official website that details all the Update 14 content. It includes a level cap bump to 100, the continuation of the epic story, a new essence system, and three new regions that expand the game's footprint into Gondor.

Paths of the Dead is free for VIP players or available for purchase via the West Gondor quest pack in the game's cash shop.

Don't forget to check out Massively's hands-on preview for more specifics!

Global Chat: Being the bad guy

Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Guild Wars 2, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, Destiny

gw2
As an MMO enthusiast blog, Massively has always had a special appreciation of the dedicated (and unpaid!) writing that gamers put out on their own blogs every day. Every week there are dozens if not hundreds of terrific posts on MMOs out there, and since I'm the resident loon here who reads pretty much all of them, I decided to start up a biweekly column to point you in the direction of some of the best discussions going on in the blogosphere. We'll see posts on specific games and general topics, geeky gushings and zany rantings.

For our inagural edition of Global Chat (yes, I'm recycling the name from a long-dormant feature on this site), we'll take a look at how outfits tie into identity, surviving MMOs as a chicken, a requiem for a gold farmer, and so much more!

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The Road to Mordor: A tour of LotRO's update 14 and majestic Gondor

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Patches, Free-to-Play, The Road to Mordor

lotro
With Update 13, Volume III, and the good nation of Rohan in our rear-view mirrors, we now turn ahead to see Gondor, next six exits, straight ahead. Lord of the Rings Online players have a lot to be excited for when Update 14 arrives, not the least of which is a new country that was central to the events of The Return of the King.

Update 14 is scheduled to release on Monday, July 14th, because marketers always get a special little thrill when they match up similar numbers. It's a pretty sizable content patch that's almost a mini-expansion, with five additional levels, a new epic book, three questing regions, well over 100 quests, and a new essence system for gear. This past week I sat down with Turbine to get a whirlwind tour of what lies beyond Rohan, and after seeing it, I think that LotRO fans have good reason to hope for an exciting summer.

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Turbine: Raiders make up the smallest player group in LotRO

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Lore, Free-to-Play, Dungeons

lotro
If you've wondered why Turbine has decided to forgo developing new raids for Lord of the Rings Online (at least for the time being), it all comes down to numbers. According to CM Rick Heaton, raiders make up the smallest portion of the playerbase even if they are quite vocal on the forums:
Raiders comprise the smallest, by far, group in our game. PvMP players are far larger and even they are small. in fact together the two groups wouldn't comprise 10% of the total player base and never have (this is important. it's not a new thing, it's a long standing historical fact).

Forum posters comprise a slightly larger group than the combined group of PvMP and Raiders. However, Raiders and PvMP players make up the overwhelming majority of forum posters (More than half. Though raiders are the smaller group of the two (PvMP/Raiders)). So you have a tiny group, inside a small group that is grossly disproportionately represented on the forums.
[Thanks to Dan for the tip!]

One Shots: Child's play

Screenshots, EverQuest, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, One Shots, The Secret World, RIFT, Miscellaneous

TSW
Today, my friends, you are going to be disturbed by this column -- disturbed and delighted, puzzled and tantalized. But I'm afraid that we're going to have to begin with a sight that is quite unsettling, so if there are any small children in the room, get them to hold your hand because there's no way you are brave enough to witness this.

"I recently returned to The Secret World and have been having a blast, but I think this is the scariest scene I have come across whilst playing," reader Balsbigbrother. "OK, so it's a little gory with the meat cleaver in the head but those dolls and the shadows they make on the walls, eeek! The game atmosphere kind of builds up to a point where your own imagination takes over. So while I was in that room, I kept thinking if all those dolls suddenly turned around to face me, I would seriously lose it and maybe need psychiatric counseling for several months afterwards."

You're not alone, man. The Nursery was one of the most terrifying places I've ever visited in a video game. Let's see who dares to see the whole tableau after the break!

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Take a tour of LotRO's Update 14

Fantasy, Video, Lord of the Rings Online, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play

LOTRO
Yesterday we reported that Turbine had begun testing Lord of the Rings Online's Update 14. It didn't take long at all for the industrious folks over at LOTRO Players to hop on the test server and record videos of the new zones.

The five videos cover the areas of Belfas, the Paths of the Dead, Blackroot Dale, and Lamedon. Check them all out after the break!

[Thanks to Cithryth and Andang for the tip!]

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LotRO's update 14 opens West Gondor, raises level cap to 100

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play

Turbine has just released preliminary patch notes for Lord of the Rings Online's update 14 on the Bullroarer test server. Here are the highlights:
  • The level cap has been raised to the nice shiny and round number of 100.
  • Three new regions -- free for VIPs -- have been added. "Explore and enjoy West Gondor!" says the team.
  • Volume IV of the epic story has been implemented. It's free for all players.
  • The Essence system is functional. "New gear found throughout the world can be upgraded and enhanced by placing Essences into available slots. These Essences are currently earned as drops."
  • The game now has a new global chat channel, accessible through /world or /wd commands.
There's much more to the notes, including trait tweaks for the classes, on the official forums.

Lord of the Rings Online's Weatherstock returns this weekend

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Music

lotro
Weatherstock, the annual player-run music festival in Lord of the Rings Online, will be returning for its sixth appearance this weekend.

This year there will be two elements of the festival. The first is the Weatherstock Concert Series, which features longer sets leading up to the battle of the bands, i.e., Weatherstock itself. Ten player groups will perform for the crowd and compete against each other at the summit of Weathertop. Last year there were over 700 players in attendance.

Weatherstock VI will take place on the Landroval server this Saturday afternoon, June 14th. The Weatherstock schedule is up, as is a FAQ and a Twitter feed for important updates.

The Road to Mordor: Why nothing stacks up to Shadows of Angmar

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Road to Mordor

I'm putting all of my cards out on the table here: I am in a massive Lord of the Rings Online slump right now. It's perhaps one of the biggest that I've had in years, which is made baffling by the fact that it was triggered by a new patch. I was pretty psyched about Update 13 until it came out, at which point I felt my enthusiasm drain away as I picked at the remainders of the epic story and a frustratingly boring Fangorn zone.

I tried not to swing into bitter burnout mode and calmly backed away to give myself a sabbatical from the game. Hey, it happens to all of us no matter how much we love a game, right? But during this time off from LotRO, I've been wondering a lot why for all of the improvements to story, questing, and art in the recent expansions, when I think of what I love about the game it's always everything pre-Moria.

So I'm going to start today's column with a bold hypothesis and then see if I can back it up: Nothing in this game can stack up to Shadows of Angmar content. Nothing feels as right as it does and did in those zones.

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One Shots: Mount up!

Screenshots, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, RIFT, TERA, Miscellaneous

Whether it's a real-world or fantasy version, we apparently can't resist showing off a sweet, sweet ride. This week's edition of One Shots is dedicated to all of your spiffy-looking mounts and the paint jobs that you had done to them while they were asleep.

The first one comes from The Lurker, who might become one with his horse in EverQuest II: "Arriving at the magical teleportation spires in the Commonlands. Stepping into the magical wortex will dissolve even a Deathknight and restructure him in a distant land. Is it really safe? If I ride into it on my horse, will we arrive as a centaur? And must I then join the Centaur Herds in the Thundering Steppes? Is that how they came to be?"

Get the picture in full Technicolor as well as several additional ones -- at no extra charge! -- all after the break.

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The Daily Grind: Do you make small-talk while grinding?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind

LotRO
I've stomped my share of shrews in this week's Lord of the Rings Online Spring Festival, and while I'm content to semi-AFK my way through a token grind to get a couple of the spiffier rewards, it strikes me as odd to see a dozen players doing the same activity in close proximity and basically ignoring one another.

Sure, there's that one guy who's always spamming the emote with the most over-the-top animation in the game, but apart from that, this might as well be a slice from a single-player RPG. So, how about it Massively readers? Do make small-talk in situations like this, or do you just go about your business?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

One Shots: Weather forecast

Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

One Shots
We've got a lot of great player-submitted screenshots revolving around weather and the environment in-game, starting off with this fantastic picture by Star Trek Online player Chris.

"Here is Captain Hannah Welch and the senior staff of the USS Aurora on the surface of an alien world at dusk," Chris writes. "This is one of my favorite screenshots -- it captures what Star Trek has meant to me since I was a kid. A tight group of friends in a universe filled with wonders we've yet to see. One of my favorite quotes from the series (from the pen of Maurice Hurley) comes from Q at the end of the episode that introduces the Borg; 'It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's NOT for the timid.'"

If you're adventurous and without timidity, continue reading to see what our community conjured up for this week's weather forecast One Shots!

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LotRO's Spring Festival returns with mushy romance and smooshy shrews

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play

LOTRO
Were you wondering if Lord of the Rings Online forgot about its Spring Festival? Well, it didn't; the festivities have begun anew today and will continue through June 3rd.

LotRO's Spring Festival includes the notorious hedge maze, the manic shrew-stomping event, horse races, romance-themed quests, and the continuing rivalry between the Ale Association and the Inn League. It's a good time of the year to stock up on cosmetic items, reputation points, and general tomfoolery, so get to it!

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