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  1. #1
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    Rowan is offline Executive Producer
    The Lord of the Rings Online™
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    A Letter From Executive Producer Aaron Campbell - July 2014

    Hello all! I’m Aaron “Rowan” Campbell, Executive Producer of The Lord of the Rings Online.

    Update 14 launched today, and with it our story enters the kingdom of Gondor. You can get much more detail in the U14 patch notes. With this letter, I’ll give you an update on our commitments for 2014 and how LOTRO is meeting those goals.


    To start, the checklist for U14:

    Paths of the Dead and Dol Amroth: Three new questing areas, a five level cap increase and the city of Dol Amroth. Volume 4 of the Epic Story begins. Both Dol Amroth and the Epic Story include opportunities for small fellowship (group) challenges. Check!

    Dead Marshes: An interlude (session play) experience will launch between U14 and U15. Check!


    And some new features for U14:

    Epic Battles: Strong abilities now come earlier in the trait tree, so you can be effective much more quickly. We’ve rebalanced some secondary objectives for solo players. Watch out, monsters will now focus their attacks on you if you pull their aggression!

    Essence System: This update introduces new customizable equipment. Armor with open sockets will be available through random drops and some quests. Fill these sockets with appropriate essences to match the attributes you desire.


    Still to come this year:

    Central Gondor and Pelargir: Our third update of the year will take you through lands occupied by the Haradrim*, to the great port of Pelargir on the delta of Anduin. Join the Army of the Dead to defeat the Corsairs of Umbar!

    Beorning: The Beorning class is well into alpha playtesting, and is shaping up for later this year. Expect the new class to be available for test and feedback after the Dead Marshes update has gone live.


    Changes from the plan:

    We’ve been making changes based on your feedback. First, we no longer plan to raise the level cap a second time this year. You clearly said that you want the time to invest in your characters and your gear, and we’re listening.

    Second, we’re adding a new system of advancement to your legendary item. At level 100, you’ll be able to take a legendary item and specify it as “imbued”, locking in its current legacies and abilities. From this moment forward the item will earn experience (even through future level caps) but not require you to deconstruct it to attain a new item. Our goal is to take the early promise of an item that “grows with you” and fulfill that.

    Third, the Beorning class will start at Level 1 (rather than Level 50). The class will be able to level fully through the early areas of Eriador, and will include its own starting experience.


    There are many other areas that we continue to maintain and develop, such as combat balance and PvMP. As always, your feedback is essential to getting it right.

    Rowan

    *No Oliphaunts available. They were too large to put on the ships.
    Executive Producer
    The Lord of the Rings Online™

  2. #2
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    This are really good News, many thanks for listening to the costumers !
    But please plan also in near future some new instances/raids/skirmishes.

    And now I can´t wait to see the new Content

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Changes from the plan:

    We’ve been making changes based on your feedback. First, we no longer plan to raise the level cap a second time this year. You clearly said that you want the time to invest in your characters and your gear, and we’re listening.

    Second, we’re adding a new system of advancement to your legendary item. At level 100, you’ll be able to take a legendary item and specify it as “imbued”, locking in its current legacies and abilities. From this moment forward the item will earn experience (even through future level caps) but not require you to deconstruct it to attain a new item. Our goal is to take the early promise of an item that “grows with you” and fulfill that.

    Third, the Beorning class will start at Level 1 (rather than Level 50). The class will be able to level fully through the early areas of Eriador, and will include its own starting experience.
    Very happy about the first 2, and I'm happy about the 3rd. I would have liked to start at 50, but I also wanted to run my Beorning through as much content as I could, so I'm happy with this change as well.

    One clarification I ask for, if possible: When you say LIs can be imbued at level 100, does that mean Legendary Level 100 (which doesnt exist right now, but might be added), or Character Level 100? I assume character level, which is a start, but I hope this will be extended downward to be more accessible for lower level players as well.

  4. #4
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    Sounds good!

    Only thing I hope you keep in mind is that with no level cap increase to 105 later in the year, you need to make sure there is plenty of stuff to do in Eastern Gondor.... with no cap increase and no new instances (OK, one Epic Battle), I hope there will be some reason to go through the content other than see the story, log off, wait for next update.
    All posts to be taken with a pinch of tasty salt.... preferably rubbed on a Tater

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Equlibrium View Post
    This are really good News, many thanks for listening to the costumers !
    But please plan also in near future some new instances/raids/skirmishes.

    And now I can´t wait to see the new Content
    I doubt that will ever change. They have said no more raids & I do not see that changing.

    As for the letter, meh. Give me less grind & no more MC & I will be happy.

    About the LI change, too little too late I'm afraid.

  6. #6
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    Some really awesome news in here. Delaying a second level-cap increase, the changes to Legendary Items and having the Beorning start at level 1 with it's own beginner experience - I'm sure many players will appreciate these decisions and it really shows you're listening to feedback.

    Thanks for sharing the news
    Pelarin Goldheart of Bree-land, Level 45 Guardian of the Brandywine server.

  7. #7
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    Thank You

    Thanks,

    I am really glad that you release this, it means that you really are paying attention to everybody in the forums. Thanks again.
    LotroComplete - Get it in the App Store Today.
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  8. #8
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    Thank you very much for the Beorning change. I'm really looking forward to playing through the revamped areas and going to places I have such fond memories of.
    'A cage,' she said. 'To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.'

  9. #9
    One question about the combination of surprises 1 and 2: without giving any opinion whether I'm personally happy or not with those, isn't it so that surprise 2 (improved LI) already neutralizes one of the biggest problems people had with the subject of surprise 1 (another level cap raise)? In other words: a second level cap raise was probably much more accepted by the majority with the announcement that all the effort put into our LI's the coming 6 months would have been worth it because no completely new grind would have been neceassary at 105...

    And of course, now I'm also very curious how East Gondor will be kept attractive without level cap raise. But for now I take all of this as a positive change and hope for the best, looking forward to U14 now!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deorwyn View Post
    Could also be the decision to let beornings start at level 1
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    We’ve been making changes based on your feedback. Third, the Beorning class will start at Level 1 (rather than Level 50). The class will be able to level fully through the early areas of Eriador, and will include its own starting experience.
    Heh. Nice! Even though I saw it coming, it's still awesome
    Déorwyn, Rank 12 Captain
    Lotro-Wiki: Tharondir

  11. #11
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    I'm...just gonna...you know...leave this here to show how happy I am with this letter...



    (And no, it's no sarcasm :P)
    Did everyone get a bugged signature? My BB code doesn't work anymore
    ____________________________

    Glorgnorbor, A Rock And A Hard Place, Stop by our Friday music shows! 4PM EST at the Bree West Gate on Dwarrowdelf!
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Changes from the plan:

    We’ve been making changes based on your feedback. First, we no longer plan to raise the level cap a second time this year. You clearly said that you want the time to invest in your characters and your gear, and we’re listening.

    Second, we’re adding a new system of advancement to your legendary item. At level 100, you’ll be able to take a legendary item and specify it as “imbued”, locking in its current legacies and abilities. From this moment forward the item will earn experience (even through future level caps) but not require you to deconstruct it to attain a new item. Our goal is to take the early promise of an item that “grows with you” and fulfill that.

    Third, the Beorning class will start at Level 1 (rather than Level 50). The class will be able to level fully through the early areas of Eriador, and will include its own starting experience.
    Fantastic, thank you!
    Thurallor, Warden of Landroval

  13. #13
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    I really don't know how I feel about the lack of another level cap increase... It's a great motivation to play through new zones and do all the quest. On the other hand... There's so many levels in this game
    Valondon - Level 100 Hunter
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    Ilodid - Level Something Champion
    ---
    I hunt on Arkenstone

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Essence System: This update introduces new customizable equipment. Armor with open sockets will be available through random drops and some quests. Fill these sockets with appropriate essences to match the attributes you desire.
    Will existing equipment our characters have these open sockets or will it only be on new stuff we find going forward?
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/06205000000057709/01003/signature.png]undefined[/charsig]

  15. #15
    Second, we’re adding a new system of advancement to your legendary item. At level 100, you’ll be able to take a legendary item and specify it as “imbued”, locking in its current legacies and abilities. From this moment forward the item will earn experience (even through future level caps) but not require you to deconstruct it to attain a new item. Our goal is to take the early promise of an item that “grows with you” and fulfill that.

    Third, the Beorning class will start at Level 1 (rather than Level 50). The class will be able to level fully through the early areas of Eriador, and will include its own starting experience.

    Thank you for listening.

    These are both going to be highly appreciated changes.

    I have a character slot all ready for my likkle cub^teddybear^Level 1 Beorning :3

    100s: Aedfrith (HN), Aldnoth (CP), Hrolfdan (MN), Aldfryd (WD), Morriarty (CH), Aednoth (LM), Mishhar (BR), Hraldan (GR), Rumbold (BG): The little ones - Rumbelina (MN), Brai (RK)
    Rangers of Eriador (officer), Snowbourn
    A Noob for All Seasons

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Changes from the plan:

    We’ve been making changes based on your feedback. First, we no longer plan to raise the level cap a second time this year. You clearly said that you want the time to invest in your characters and your gear, and we’re listening.
    Not convinced this is the right thing to do to be honest. For me at least, there isn't a whole lot to do at cap currently. Given the news about LIs some of the pain of a level cap increase has vanished and I actually think I would prefer to see more levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Second, we’re adding a new system of advancement to your legendary item. At level 100, you’ll be able to take a legendary item and specify it as “imbued”, locking in its current legacies and abilities. From this moment forward the item will earn experience (even through future level caps) but not require you to deconstruct it to attain a new item. Our goal is to take the early promise of an item that “grows with you” and fulfill that.
    Good news. First Age LIs have always been the "end game" reward though, presumably there will still be something else to aspire to going forward once you have your first age and the level cap goes up?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Third, the Beorning class will start at Level 1 (rather than Level 50). The class will be able to level fully through the early areas of Eriador, and will include its own starting experience.
    .
    Excellent, I look forward to trying it out.
    Council Of The West On Snowbourn

    Runesi lvl 100 Rune Keeper

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bragolos View Post
    One question about the combination of surprises 1 and 2: without giving any opinion whether I'm personally happy or not with those, isn't it so that surprise 2 (improved LI) already neutralizes one of the biggest problems people had with the subject of surprise 1 (another level cap raise)? In other words: a second level cap was probably much more accepted by the majority with the announcement that all the effort put into our LI's the coming 6 months would have been worth it because no completely new grind would have been neceassary at 105...
    I agree that people will probably be way more willing to move on with levels because of this LI change, but still, I think most people do want to stay at the same level for a long time to give incentive for them to do dailies and get good gear. Even if they can be slightly better stuff in the next update, it still is more relieving. Plus, they probably want us to have a bit of time to get our LIs situated before we move on, and they can also work out more changes before we keep going on to higher levels with the same LI.

    Quote Originally Posted by Runesi_EU View Post
    Good news. First Age LIs have always been the "end game" reward though, presumably there will still be something else to aspire to going forward once you have your first age and the level cap goes up?
    Does seem like a slight issue, but if you really want the best of the best, it sounds like you will need a new LI to put in any other/new legacies or relics (they could add new legacies as time goes on to encourage upgrades). I do hope the essence system and other grinds they put in make up for this though, but I'm thrilled that LIs are finally becoming legendary; we shouldnt complain that it's less of a grind now, we should be happy (I know you were, and I know what you mean't, but keep that in mind ).

    Quote Originally Posted by tanlis View Post
    Will existing equipment our characters have these open sockets or will it only be on new stuff we find going forward?
    Only new stuff can have the slots.
    Last edited by pittcrew1; Jul 14 2014 at 11:17 AM.

  18. #18
    Some excellent news in this letter, shows that the developers do listen to the community, nice work

  19. #19
    This is some of the best news we could have asked for!!!

    Excited for no lvl cap increase later, but most excited for the LI news and Beornings starting at level 1!

    I am curious as to how the Third/Second/First Age LIs will play into this system though?

    Thank you for listening to many of the great ideas listed in the forums though!

  20. #20
    Beorning is going to be a class which requires Turbine Points to be unlocked?
    If yes is it going to be included in any Expansion Pack?Like Warden and Rune-Keeper were included in Mines of Moria Expansion
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/2a2230000001b6ee2/01008/signature.png]undefined[/charsig]

  21. #21

    Lack of Group Content Still the Elephant in the Room...

    Hello Mr. Campbell!

    While the LI, level-cap-staying-at-100-for-now, and the Beorning now as a full class/character experience from lvl 1 all show you are indeed listening to your customers on smaller "quality of life" type issues, there's still the glaring lack of group content (3-6-12 man classic instances) that a wide swath of your player base asked for in your new producer, Producktion Malphunction's, thread from a few weeks ago.

    To get people to come back to this game and staunch the steadily bleeding population loss most servers are experiencing, we need reasons to log into an MMO and play with others. This is, of course, the tried and true group instances that many have come to expect from this game--and is a staple in most themepark MMO's.

    While I appreciate the changes to Big Battle threat mechanics that might make these a bit more palatable, it's still the classic group content many people are craving. I truly hope you are listening to this feedback, and a course correction back to group content is somewhere on the horizon, or all these "smaller" changes will mean nothing when there's no one left playing the game.

    Sincerely,

    Sethius/Sethadamus

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    First, we no longer plan to raise the level cap a second time this year. You clearly said that you want the time to invest in your characters and your gear, and we’re listening.
    I'm ambivalent about this change. I can see the wisdom of not adding another 5 levels so soon, but at the same time it does make me wonder what kinds of horizontal progression will be available.

    Second, we’re adding a new system of advancement to your legendary item. At level 100, you’ll be able to take a legendary item and specify it as “imbued”, locking in its current legacies and abilities. From this moment forward the item will earn experience (even through future level caps) but not require you to deconstruct it to attain a new item. Our goal is to take the early promise of an item that “grows with you” and fulfill that.
    Speaking of horizontal progress, the jury is out for me on this one until I see it in action. How will the 'growing with you' part work?

    Third, the Beorning class will start at Level 1 (rather than Level 50). The class will be able to level fully through the early areas of Eriador, and will include its own starting experience.
    Again, I'm ambivalent about this change. I would have preferred it as an option/choice at creation, but I can see how that could have been difficult to implement. Those Hobbits are going to be kind of freaked by those bear-men running through the Shire!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sethadamus View Post
    Hello Mr. Campbell!

    While the LI, level-cap-staying-at-100-for-now, and the Beorning now as a full class/character experience from lvl 1 all show you are indeed listening to your customers on smaller "quality of life" type issues, there's still the glaring lack of group content (3-6-12 man classic instances) that a wide swath of your player base asked for in your new producer, Producktion Malphunction's, thread from a few weeks ago.

    To get people to come back to this game and staunch the steadily bleeding population loss most servers are experiencing, we need reasons to log into an MMO and play with others. This is, of course, the tried and true group instances that many have come to expect from this game--and is a staple in most themepark MMO's.

    While I appreciate the changes to Big Battle threat mechanics that might make these a bit more palatable, it's still the classic group content many people are craving. I truly hope you are listening to this feedback, and a course correction back to group content is somewhere on the horizon, or all these "smaller" changes will mean nothing when there's no one left playing the game.

    Sincerely,

    Sethius/Sethadamus
    Well, that didn't take long. Anyways...

    Mr. Campbell, thank you for this excellent news! I for one hope that the work done on Legendary Items will continue going forward. LIs can be a defining feature of LoTRO, but it has suffered from neglect since MoM was released - marvelous!

    Playing a Beorning at level 1? That's awesome and I can't wait!

    As far as the Essence system goes, I think that has a lot of potential.

    U14 sounds great, and can't wait for U15!
    [B][I]"It is an enormous task to convince them that evil people with evil intentions will commit evil deeds." - Strider

    End-Game Content according to Tolkien: Frodo sails into the West.
    [/I][/B]

  24. #24
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    I like the changes in direction planned for LIs and the Beorning. Should be interesting to see how its implemented but since it's all a ways down the road no point in asking for more info. A bit surprised at the "No 105" but ok.

    I don't suppose there is any change to Housing plans under debate?
    Footman Ryvick DonHuntstead 100 Guardian

    Officer of Baruk Khazad

    Arkenstone Server

  25. #25
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    Woohoo I'm so excited! Thank you very much for listening to players and changing plans we were not looking forward to. I'll be more eager to level to 100 if I know now that there won't be another level cap increase soon afterwards Even more when I know my legendary items will finally stay with me for long time.

    About beornings - I was one of those 'few' that would welcome the class to start at 50, but I definitely am going to purchase it anyway. I'm already saving turbine points!

 

 
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