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Developer Diary: Welcome to Hytbold

Riders of Rohan Developer Diary: Welcome to Hytbold

By: Joe "jwbarry" Barry

Aloha, and welcome to Hytbold

Hytbold is a new solo-able endgame experience being delivered with Riders of Rohan. It focuses on rebuilding a razed Rohirrim village by aiding the people of the Eastemnet through a large suite of rotating, randomized, daily quests. It heavily employs phasing and utilizes three new technologies: Instanced Public Questing Areas, Open Tapping and Remote Looting. Its rewards are class specific, trait line specific armour sets with raid level set bonuses that are bind to account. Upon completing the town, players will be able to take part in a capstone experience that culminates the storylines of Eastern Rohan. If successful they will be named as Thane and considered an honorary noble of Rohan.

The Eastemnet has been under assault. The lands have been ravaged and the people driven from their homes. Orcs, goblins, wargs, and Uruks roam unfettered across the plains slaughtering the people of Rohan and burning and pillaging their villages. Hytbold is one of those villages.

Together with Walstow and Elthengels, Hytbold formed a strong defensive line against any who would intrude into the plains of Rohan through the hills of the East Wall. A hamlet on the border of Sutcrofts and Norcrofts, Hytbold was recently attacked and much of the town was razed. This has opened a critical gap within the defenses of the Eastemnet.

Once you have proven your value and worth to Fastred, Thane of Snowbourn and Reeve of the Sutcrofts, he will ask you to venture to Hytbold and entrust you with rebuilding the town and restoring its place within Rohan.

There are over 2 dozen different buildings within the town to upgrade including the Mead-hall, half dozen houses, smithy, lumber-mill, stables, study, armoury, towers, gates and palisades, tents, and several farms. Those buildings feature over a hundred and fifty different repairs and upgrades. As the upgrades are acquired the town will be visibly rebuilt, repaired, decorated, and populated.

To rebuild Hytbold you must aid the people of Eastern Rohan and help them to solve their problems. In return they will aid you with the supplies, materials, and people needed to repair and revitalize the town. Their needs and issues will change depending on where in Rohan they are and what day it is. Some will need you to ride your warsteed into battle on the plains while others will simply ask you to play a game with some orphans. Some will want you to demonstrate your skills as a rider while others desire strange and exotic fish. Many will ask you to travel to one of a dozen new ancient ruins, caves, and encampments, defeating the denizens within and solving a problem. Aid them, and in time, they will return the favours and help you to restore Hytbold.

The entirety of Hytbold can be rebuilt solo. You do not ever have to group to be able to finish rebuilding the town and to reap the rewards bestowed upon those who do. However, for those who are looking for a more social experience, we’ve incorporated several pieces of new technology into Rohan’s endgame to allow you to play in the fashion that suits you.

Instanced Public Questing Areas

Each of the twenty-four instance spaces utilized by the Hytbold dailies is a new type of space we’re calling Instanced Public Questing Areas. These areas allow between a dozen and a half to two dozen grouped or non-grouped players within them at the same time. When more enter, a new copy is created to keep the population spread out. Groups will be placed within the same copy. This allows us to create custom, unique questing areas but still allow everyone access to the required amount of spawns and content needed for advancement. Many of these areas are new spaces, however several are overlays of portions of the Rohan landscape.

Open Tapping

Every monster involved in Hytbold’s quests uses a new tapping system called Open Tapping. This is also being utilized across the whole of Rohan. Open Tapping means that anyone who contributes to defeating a monster, whether they were the first one to strike or the last, whether they were grouped or not, gets credit when that monster is defeated. Contributing is defined as having done damage to the monster or healed someone who has done damage to the monster. When the monster is defeated, if you are within a reasonable range, you will get credit for the defeat. Simply being part of a group will not get you credit on an open tapping monster -- you must have participated in the battle and defeat.

Everyone will get full credit for having defeated the monster; it is not split amongst the number of contributors. If one person contributes or twenty do, everyone receives the full reward. Rewards are not split, so every contributor will receive quest advancement, experience, quest items, and loot as if they were the only one who had defeated the monster.

Open Tapping monsters are distinguished with a small icon at the end of their health bar. That icon will start off looking greyed out. Once you are on the contributor list it will light up to indicate you have satisfied the requirements and will get credit for defeating this monster.

Open tapping means no more fighting over spawns. It means no more waiting for the next wolf to appear so you can tag it to get credit. It means no more penalties for helping someone who is engaged in a battle. It means a more social fluid questing experience where players are encouraged and rewarded for helping one another.

Remote Looting

Every monster involved in Hytbold’s quests uses a new loot generation system called Remote Looting. In fact, all monsters in Rohan utilize this new system! Remote Looting shifts loot generation so it is no longer done in the context of the monster, but is instead done in the context of each player. What exactly does that mean though?

First, it means no more clicking on corpses. As soon as the monster is defeated, anyone eligible will automatically have loot generated for them. For a regular monster, this is anyone in the group who had tapped them. For an open tapping monster, that means anyone who was considered a contributor.

Second, it means no more rolling on loot. Each piece of loot is created for a player, and each player rolls on the odds of that loot completely independently of all players getting loot for that monster. Previously, a monster may have had a 10% chance to drop one medium hide that the group would have rolled on. Now, each person in the group rolls their own 10% chance to get their own medium hides, with no roll affecting any other.

Third, there’s a new panel to organize and handle this loot. Items received from Remote Looting monsters go into a Pending Loot list. These items are the spoils of your victory, but are not available to you to use until you have claimed them from the Pending Loot list. When you have items in the Pending Loot list a new alert will appear and will stay so long as there are any items in the list.

This alert will flash whenever a new item enters the Pending Loot list. Clicking the alert will open a new menu UI containing a list of all items within your Pending Loot list.

This list can hold up to 50 stacks of items with each stack having a decay time of one hour of played time. At any point, items in this list can be looted and brought into your inventory. From there, you can do with them whatever you wish. Items in this list may also be destroyed, and if the time remaining is left to expire, the stack will destroy itself. Taking the above picture as an example, if I would loot a third Ornate Sword Sheath from a monster, my time remaining to loot the stack will reset back to 1 hour.

If you have the auto-loot all option toggled to true, all items received will bypass the Pending Loot window and show up in your inventory instead. When your inventory is full, they will then be placed within Pending Loot. Quest items, paper items, and coin will bypass Pending Loot entirely and go straight to the appropriate places. If my list is full and I loot a new item, the oldest item will be removed and replaced.

Remote Looting means no more going back to town because your bags are full. It means no more having to stop after every monster to figure out what’s worth taking and what’s trash. It means no more juggling my bags and deleting stuff I might want because I got something that might be a little bit better. It means I get my own loot independent of all others.

Armour Sets

The reward for Hytbold is access to a full armour set for each trait line for each class. This is the first time we have given out armour sets with raid level set bonuses and skill modifiers in solo accessible content within LOTRO. Each piece of armour is tied to an upgrade within the town. Once that upgrade has been acquired, you are able to barter for that piece of armour. Once you have completed rebuilding the town, all of the armour vendors for all of the classes will become available to you. The armour sets themselves are bind to account, meaning once you have completed Hytbold with one character, you can continue to use that character to accrue currency and purchase the armour for your alts without them having to have complete Hytbold themselves.

Resource Instances

While upgrading Hytbold, you will unlock crafting stations for each of the professions. In addition to the stations, new resource instances will become available to you. These instances allow you to venture forth and collect crafting resources for Ore, Lumber, and Scholar Materials. These will be accessible once per day and have the potential to award bonus rewards.

Hytbold is a new style of MMO endgame experience designed to be open and accessible to the entirety of our level cap population. The people of Rohan are struggling, their King has turned a blind eye, their enemies raze their lands and pillage their villages, and their hope is waning. Rebuild the village, restore the defences of the Eastemnet, and stand with the people of Rohan against their foes!


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