Hello again residents of Middle-earth!
I hope that you are enjoying Update 16: Ashes of Osgiliath as much as we are. The flowers of Ithilien are as beautiful as the destruction of war-torn Osgiliath is haunting.
Now that Update 16 is out, we are turning our attention to the next suite of work before us and I want to share some of those exciting developments with you. Our major content initiatives for the remainder of the year are:
- New PvMP Map: It is true, we are currently working on a new PvMP map which will take place in a version of Osgiliath. We are designing this space now and it should be going through its first round of feedback with the Player’s Council in the near future. It will also be getting extensive Beta feedback on Bullroarer when ready and released this summer.
- Adventures of Bingo Boffin: Also set for a summer release is this new episodic quest in which you will follow the trail of a new Hobbit friend Bingo Boffin as he traverses Middle-Earth. Each week a new episode of the quest will unlock showing you where Bingo is off to next.
- Minas Tirith: For the late Fall World Designer Chris Pierson is already hard at work carving this shining example of Middle-Earth beauty from stone…errr…ummm…code…a nd laying the ground work of an exciting and surprising take on the Siege of Gondor that will be unlike anything you have seen before. We are really excited about the plans, but won’t spoil them here.
In addition to our new content, we are kicking off a series of major service upgrades for The Lord of the Rings Online which should be completed by end of September of 2015. Let me outline the details of those changes.
- New Store: At the end of the month of June we will be transitioning to a completely new store that features more payment options, one click buys and a cleaner interface. As part of this transition, those of you relying on certain alternative payments will lose access to those payments beginning June 12th for a short amount of time. Within a month of that date, however, we should have a new store online that will provide many more payment options than we have had previously. We are also taking advantage of this opportunity to update and streamline the in game store to be a better experience all around.
- New Servers and Datacenters: We spoke about this Turbine wide upgrade at the beginning of the year and had expected to have it done by now, but weather and other obstacles set us back. We finally have some progress and we can safely say that by the end of September of 2015 we should have the servers moved to our new datacenters with upgraded hardware and Operating Systems. The US servers will operate from our new datacenter in New Jersey while our EU servers will move back to Europe and reside in our new datacenter in Amsterdam.
- Transfer Systems and Server Merge: To support the move to the upgraded server hardware we will be implementing an improved server transfer service that will run from the game launcher rather than a website. Once implemented, server transfers can be account or character based so that all your account level items including marks, Mithril coins, etc. can be transferred. We are also adding functionality that will allow Kin leaders to disband their Kin on one world and then recreate it on another maintaining status and achievements earned by that Kin over its lifetime. More details and breakdowns on all of this to coming in the next few weeks as we move into final phases of development and testing.
You will have 3 months past the date of the launch of the new service in which to continue playing on the smaller worlds while planning and or making your move to a larger server. After that point your characters will always be available to be transferred to one of the remaining worlds, however you will only be able to log in to the remaining servers. More details on all of this as well as detailed instructions on how to move will be provided in email, in-game mail as well as website and forums in the months to come.
- Other Features: There are a number of other features we are still developing and are not at the point of talking about yet for the remainder of the year. More on all of these things as they come closer to fruition.
So as you can see it will be a very busy few months. We are really excited for these changes and what they mean for the future of Lord of the Rings Online and we hope you are as well!
More from me and the team soon,
Athena “Vyvyanne” Peters