Ask Turbine: Monthly Interviews with Lord of the Rings OnlineLord of the Rings Online Interview: Book 13Ask Turbine: Monthly Interviews with Lord of the Rings Online - RSS 2.0
WarCry: Aside from Forochel and the addition of Fishing, what else are you excited about in Book 13 that hasn't gotten the attention of these features?
Jeffrey Steefel: Forochel, first of all, is a whole new region, and we're very excited about that and everything that goes: There's a significant amount of new content, you've got a whole new sort of NPC race of the Lossoth, a whole new faction to gain reputation with. Different types of environmental mechanics, you know; you're now in an environment where you're affected by the cold, and you have to pay attention to what you're doing or you can actually lose a massive amount of morale - you have to find fire and food and things like that to revive yourself, so that's really cool. ... When we first started deciding to do Forochel, at the particular time in the game we knew that ... we did the Misty Mountains, so let's make sure that this is a completely different place. And it is - just the way that the land is used, and the different biomes. We have forests, this cool bay down by the water that's got icebergs floating near a shipwreck, and just some really new cool places for Middle Earth ... glaciers, ice caves. And also, talking a lot about the environment because we're adding a whole new region, using new techniques for how we actually create indoor underground spaces, which might come in handy some time in the future. So that's very cool.
For the monster players, we added something huge, which is a new monster. So, this is a whole new class, the Defiler, who is basically a healing class, and that's something that the monster players have been saying they really didn't have, and it's a big disadvantage in that the "freeps" [Free Peoples] have a full complement of class roles, and the monsters were really missing out on healers. So we created this guy, the Defiler, who is awesome looking, and heals through smelly, awful, repulsive poultices, elixirs and things like that ... [one of our developers] wrote this long description of him that I read, and I kind of had to not eat for a while. But it's really cool, and it's going to be a huge thing for the monster players.
One of the other things in all these games is that it's still really hard to find people to group up with. Some of that is just the nature of the fact that there's a bunch of people sitting all around the world on computers trying to find each other through an interface. So what we've done is we're adding a lot of enhancements to the Looking for Fellowship stuff. And the first one, which we're adding in Book 13, is the ability to search for, find and then invite to group up with other people through content, not just your race, class, level. Right now, a basic example is "I'm looking for a hunter, level 35-40, enjoys wrestling," etc. Now what I can do is say "I'm looking for someone who has either started a particular quest or is about to start and is looking for someone to start a particular quest, and then these people can find each other and group up around that content. That's really what people are looking for, because the main reason why someone groups that isn't fundamentally a grouping person ... is that there's content that they really want to participate in that they can't do by themselves. And soloable as we're making the game, not everything is going to be soloable. So we think this is going to be a huge boon for fellowships and for players.