This is the official transcript from our developer chat of March 21, 2013.
Please note we’ve been as open as possible with our answers, but please be aware that development priorities are prone to shifting. Our answers reflect our current plans and expectations, but are subject to change.
The following members of the LOTRO Team will be answering your questions.
- Aaron “Rowan” Campbell - Senior Producer
- Derek Flippo – Design Director
- Matt "Hoarsedev" Zimmitti - Lead Systems Designer
- Lauren “Budgeford” Salk - Senior Content Designer (Region Gameplay and Content)
- Matt “Scarycrow” Fahey - World Builder
- Evan "Verizal" Graziano - Associate Systems Designer (Classes, Items, Mounted Combat)
- Rick “Sapience” Heaton - Community Manager
Please note: Responses that required multiple tweets have been condensed here for easier reading.
Q1: Drunken_Valar – Any plans to update the stability of the game?
A1: Aaron “Rowan” Campbell
With Update 10 we hit some unexpected issues that required us to close “Flight to the Lonely Mountain” The engineering team is tracking those down, and we hope to have them fixed soon.
We’re also looking at ways to add more monitoring to the game servers to help us track down bugs. We continue to push the boundaries of our game engine with new features like mounted combat. Those are great for new gameplay, but also create new challenges for our engineers.
Q2: Rsmuppet – What sources do you use in checking lore, story, and history of Middle-earth?
A2: Matt “Scarycrow” Fahey
For all things Tolkien, we have experts who pour through pages upon pages of text to make sure we are as accurate as possible. We also have almost every book written by or about Tolkien and LOTR.
Q3: Cris - May we expect a more realistic series of emotes or an update of those that we already have?
A3: Matt “Scarycrow” Fahey
I would love to add a few new player emotes to the game. Which kinds of emotes do you have in mind?
Q4: ISS_21 – Will there be a level cap increase with Update 11?
A4: Aaron “Rowan” Campbell
A4a: Lauren “Budgeford” Salk
No level cap increase at this time. U11 features solo end-game content and rewards.
Q5: Midford - Can you guys focus not just only on new content, but also the bugs?
A5: Lauren “Budgeford” Salk
We always fix many bugs each update! If you see something broken, feel free to /bug it in game so we’re aware of the issue.
Q6: Elemiire - Any plans for a 'combine all' and / or 'refine all' option for the Relic Master? Carpal Tunnel isn't fun.
A6: Matt “Scarycrow” Fahey
This is a very good suggestion. I'll ask around and see if it is a viable option.
Q7: Raowyn - Any plans towards making landscape barter tokens upgradeable to the endgame factions tokens and/or shared accross the entire account?
A7: Evan "Verizal" Graziano
Although there are no immediate plans, shared tokens are something that I could certainly look into for the near future. I’m probably going to steer clear of upgradeable tokens though, at least for the time being.
Q8: OverlordGate - Can we expect new instances within the new area of U11 this summer?
A8: Lauren “Budgeford” Salk
No instances this time. Instances were the focus of U10, and U11 features a new region & epic.
Q9: Nasami - Since Dale and Erebor now appear in instances, is there ANY chance of them at least being added as instanced missions, or even better - zones?
A9: Matt “Scarycrow” Fahey
Currently we have no plans to make Erebor part of our open world. As for instanced missions, you'll have to consult Budgeford.
A9a: Lauren “Budgeford” Salk
Our content focus is actually on another part of Middle-earth at the moment. No plans for Dale or Erebor currently.
Q10: LS - Zalladi - Are there plans for a new skirmish due for release?
A10: Lauren “Budgeford” Salk
No plans for a new Skirmish currently, but we have new “stuff” in the works. Handwavy vague!
Q11: FatMeff With the upcoming class revamps, what sort of juicy changes are you making to the Burger? I MUST know!#LOTRO #DEVCHAT #BURGERTIME
A11: Matt "Hoarsedev" Zimmitti
Lots of extra cheese!
A11b: Aaron “Rowan” Campbell
I like Bacon.
Q12: Joene - In the last dev chat you mentioned you might revamp vanilla zones if time allows. Which zone(s) do you consider that need the most attention?
A12: Matt “Scarycrow” Fahey
Unfortunately we have no vanilla zones scheduled for revamp. On a personal note, I would love to revamp Trollshaws. The World team also mentioned North-downs (Drachyn) and Enedwaith (Iceman).
A12b: Lauren “Budgeford” Salk
My personal wishlist, IF time allows: Bree, Ered Luin, Misties, Trollshaws, Forochel, North Downs.
Q13: AC - Levanas - When we would to hear about new expansion? Like it's name or possible release date?
A13: Aaron “Rowan” Campbell
Kate Paiz already mentioned Helm’s Deep… that’s all I can say at this time.
Q14: ISS_21 – Will there be mounted combat instances?
A14: Lauren “Budgeford” Salk
All content now incorporates some Mounted Combat gameplay, but there are no group MC instances atm.
Q15: Midford - Can we get more news on the Player Council?
A15: Rick “Sapience” Heaton
The official announcement, information, and how to apply will be posted tomorrow.
Q16: Fexalicious - Will there be raider representatives in the upcoming council?
A16: Rick “Sapience” Heaton
Yes. One of the questions on the application is about your preferred playstyle.
Q17: Levanas - When we would to hear about new expansion? Like it's name or possible release date?
A17: Rick “Sapience” Heaton
I can only say our 6th Anniversary is coming. Keep an ear to the ground!
Q18: Radspakr - Any news on improving (or actually including) tanking gear especially vitality jewellery to better match the might and will drops?
A18: Evan "Verizal" Graziano
A lot of tanking gear was released with Update 9. Although I might typically veer away from changing pre-existing gear. I see no problem with taking a look to make some of the tanking items more beefy.
Q19: Avengingbananaslug - Are there any plans to rework the legendary item system?
A19: Evan "Verizal" Graziano
At this time, no, there are no plans to rework LI.
Q20: Bamatram - any news on when u11 will be hitting bullroarer?
A20: Aaron “Rowan” Campbell
Update 11 is on Palantir! We’ll bring it to Bullroarer when it’s ready.
Q21: Brya - When can we get auto-loot in place for skirmishes?
A21: Evan "Verizal" Graziano
Although I can’t really commit to an exact date at this time this is something that is being planned for the near future
Q22:Thodorin – Do you plan to improve localization and fix some of the translations errors?
A22: Aaron “Rowan” Campbell
Yes! We continue to fix bugs.
A22a: Rick “Sapience” Heaton
Our translation team is working on improving translations with every update and patch. There are also players who routinely submit suggested translations to the team.
Q23: Hurant - Can healers expect items with proc on heal in the near future? Especially the golden Rohan final ring upgrades or mooncandle necklaces?
A23: Evan "Verizal" Graziano
There are two new healer rings being released with Update 10.1 – one that is might-based and another that is will-based, both with on-heal procs
Q24: GingerAJ - With us now receiving items, that have effects when causing or receiving damage, will we receive items that activate on other effects?
A24: Evan "Verizal" Graziano
Simply put…yes. Although there is no set timeline, you should start to see a larger variety of proc effects being released with future updates.
Q25: Elemiire - Will you fix the 'procs' on the Upgraded Rohan Rings to benefit healers and support classes?
A: 25: Evan "Verizal" Graziano
As mentioned above, there are two new healer rings being released with 10.1
Q26: Nasami - Cosmetic gear slots? My LM has found some gorgeous staves, only to lose how they look because she found better quality gear. Please?
A26: Evan "Verizal" Graziano
Unfortunately due to tech limitations, this is not really an option
Q27: Nasami - Verizal: Is there a way to make war-steed riding 'smoother'? The regular mounts' gait looks so much more natural than the war-steed's gallop...
A27: Evan "Verizal" Graziano
This is another tech limitation that we are forced to deal with. Given their inclusion in combat, the war-steeds have a heavier set of restrictions that they must abide by in order to keep combat, itself, as flowing and functional as possible.
Q28: OverlordGate - Which instance cluster will be scaled and revamped next and when can we expect it?
A28: Derek Flippo
Right now we’re focusing on prototyping Helm’s Deep instanced content for the upcoming expansion pack. After we’ve shipped the expansion we’ll evaluate the remaining potential revamps vs. making new instances.
Q29: Nyrion – Any plans to change the virtue system? Slayer deeds in particular?
A29: Matt "Hoarsedev" Zimmitti
We’re considering changes to slayer deeds to get them to fit in with future class changed.They may no longer be directly tied to specific skills, but rather, give you progression you can choose.
Q30: JeauxLOTR - Who is the RK Developer and when will they begin to engage the RK Community?
A30: Matt "Hoarsedev" Zimmitti
While there are principle designers for each class, I do want to stress that this is a team effort. That said, Jinjaah is the principle on RK.
Q31: Tulcavaryar - Any plans to help hunters and burglars get their mitigations above 40% more easily?
A:31 Matt "Hoarsedev" Zimmitti
That will be dependent on what build you choose =)
Q32: MrWarg - Can we have more details about the class revamp please, specifically the implementation of skill trees?
A32: Matt "Hoarsedev" Zimmitti
Three trees per class. Some degree of blending at a higher cost than sticking with a pure build. Bonuses granted based on an early-level specialization choice that grows as points are spent. You can have multiple specs. You can respec.
Q33: Zalladi - When will the next 'Player-designed relic' poll be started?
A33: Matt "Hoarsedev" Zimmitti
That’s up to Sapience.
A33a: Rick “Sapience” Heaton
Wow, I'm in charge of something? *marks calendar* Soon™! Seriously. Look for a post after PAX East.
Q 34: Somehow we missed a number and skipped to 35. This is left blank for consistency with the chat.
Q35: Nendis_Nenar A Housing-Question: Will empty houses from inactive players be available to rent again?
A35: Matt “Scarycrow” Fahey
Q36: @andrewscorgie Having seen the improved maps for bree and surrounding areas, will all maps be given a more modern look, as they do look dated #LOTRO
A36: Lauren “Budgeford” Salk
We generally update maps as we revamp zones.
Q37: @bob101910 Any idea how much the new region in U11 will cost? #LOTRO
A37: Aaron “Rowan” Campbell
Wildermore will be free for VIPs.
Q38: @Honvik Any idea if you will bring in a PvP tournament system I.e 12v12 or smaller PvP warzone #devchat#lotro
A38: Derek Flippo
We have no plans to add additional PvMP content.
Q39: @MikeWestYYC Do you feel the current state of LOTRO is not challenging enough (too easy) to keep new players engaged? #LOTRO
A39: Matt "Hoarsedev" Zimmitti
Our present classes don't require difficult choices in how to play. Future changes should increase the challenge level. Because you won't be able to do everything as any class.
Q40: @ArtsySuvi Scarycrow, Bree looks awesome! You said you'd try to revamp the Prancing Pony interior; will we be seeing that soon?
A40: Matt “Scarycrow” Fahey
Yes I do plan to revamp the interior for the Prancing Pony. This is a personal project of mine. So when I have time, I'll get on it.
Q41: @Mithrandir99 any plans to give us cappies mounted helpers? #LOTRO
A41: Evan "Verizal" Graziano
Although captains aren't getting mounted helpers, all classes will be seeing new mounted traits and skills with U11.
Q42: @PArriola Will we be able to have crafting in houses?
A42: Matt “Scarycrow” Fahey
Yes we will be adding crafting facilities to housing.
Q43: @Zyaxis the DMG and heal from conjunctions has not kept pace with our skills. Any changes coming ?
A43: Matt "Hoarsedev" Zimmitti
We're looking at both the balance and timing of conjunctions. A43a: An update should come with the class changes.
Q44: @jordan_rose72 is content meant to be this easy or is it a bug?
A44: Lauren “Budgeford” Salk
Content is not 'this easy' for everyone. The goal of most landscape content is to let everyone play and enjoy it. Instanced content is intended to be more difficult.
Q45: @angelohouston Is it fair to say that you guys are now firmly committed to this "tree" revamp? #Lotro #Devchat
A45: Matt "Hoarsedev" Zimmitti
Q46: @pieeatingchamp will you be making tweaks to fate/power use because since U10 my warden barely uses any power fighting 10+ mobs #LOTRO #DEVCHAT
A46: Evan "Verizal" Graziano
10.1 will bring adjustments to fate and power to bring the stat down to a more managable level. Fate's contribution will be reduced. Skill costs will also be reduced. All classes underwent a round of balance.
Q47: @MMOHippieChick RE: A 39. This sounds suspiciously like forced grouping. Me no likey.
A47: Matt "Hoarsedev" Zimmitti
Each class on its own should be good enough at what you choose to do. You will have to approach challenges based on your build's strengths. This is specifically NOT intended to force grouping.