Lord of the Rings Online Update 11 Preview - On Magic Trolls and Mounted Combat

| 13 May 2013 19:30
LOTRO Update 11 1

LOTRO continues its epic story with an update focused on narrative and a crazy stone giant named Nurzul.

Every time I jump into Lord of the Rings Online for a brief developer tour, I wish I had devoted much more of my gaming hourly budget to it. The game Turbine has lovingly crafted to match the works of Tolkien is full of life, and evocative of the author's works, even if it is nearly 90% invention at this point. The Riders of Rohan expansion from 2012 introduced the horse lords of the East Wold and extrapolated their ongoing plight against the Uruk-hai of Isengard, as well as adding special mounted combat skills for all classes. Update 11 to the LOTRO client - dubbed Treachery of the White Hand - brings a smaller story arc against a specific villain, Nurzum, a unique and possibly ensorcelled stone giant. The update is live today, but I got a chance to take in some of the sights and sounds of the troubled area of Wildermore last week in a tour presented by Turbine.

While Treachery of the White Hand has its fair share of bug fixes and balancing to mounted combat - I'll get to that later - the focus of this update is clearly on story. To the north of Rohan, near the northern edges of Fangorn forest, lies the region known as Wildermore. The whole area surrounding a lake is beset by an unnatural winter, with drifts of white snow piling where hay and horses should be, and the townsfolk are pinning all their hopes of defeating this winter on one man. "This is Thrymm Redbeard, a hero of the people, and he is the great hope of Wildermore," said Hannah Foell, an associate producer of Lord of the Rings Online at Turbine as she showed me around. "He's a great warrior, all around good guy."

The-Lord-of-the-Rings-Online
The Lord of the Rings Online
categories: 3d, fantasy

Begin your own epic adventure as the Race of Man, Elf, Dwarf, or Hobbit. Based on the books written by J. R. R. Tolkien and not the movies, LOTRO is a closest thing you can get to strolling through Middle-Earth with a solid walking stick in your hand as the road goes ever on and on.


Thankfully, Thrymm Redbeard's visual appearance matches his name. "He does have a red beard," Foell said. "There was a bug early in one of our alpha builds in which he was blonde. Our QA testers kept sending us bug reports like 'Thrimm Redbeard doesn't have a red beard!' We fixed that pretty quick."

Redbeard, and you as the player, are on hand for a big setpiece moment for Treachery of the White Hand and the introduction of Nurzum as he blasts through gates of Wildermore as if they were paper. The tall, blue stone giant looks and acts like no other giant in Tolkien's lore - they typically act like the dumb brute you might remember from Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring. "Nurzum is a stone giant, but you can tell he's different," Foell said. "He's smarter, he's talking, he introduces himself. He's also glowing, with a stone in his back. Nurzum brings an intense winter with him. These ice shards rise out of the ground wherever he goes." Nurzum attacks the town of Scylfig, tossing aside veteran warriors of the Rohirrim and smashes the Thane, Cynegar, and Thrymm has a tender moment with his betrothed before going to fight the giant himself. He fails, of course, but instead of killing the young warrior and sacking the rest of the town, Nurzum departs after saying, "I've done what I came for." Why didn't he destroy more of these petty humans? Why does a simple stone giant bring the icy winter with his mere presence?

"One of the things we've done in this update that's differing from the things we've done in previous updates is that there's one long story arc, of which Nurzum is the central adversary," Foell said. "In the past, we've had each zone have their own story arc, and Wildermore has five zones so we might have had five different stories. Instead, we wanted to have a long story in which we get to know the characters and the mystery is deep and engaging."

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Selvec:
I guess the question that needs to be asked is this:

When will they upgrade the graphics?

I kind of doubt that they will upgrade the graphics, unless they can move the high range graphics bar up without moving the low range graphics bar up.

If they can't, I hope they don't, because it's one of the only MMO's I can play without too many problems from my PC yelling at me about how it's being overtaxed. Before you say anything, it is a basic Dell Inspiron 530 my dad got me in 2009, because I didn't have the money to get a computer when my old one failed. Plus, I still don't have the money upgrade to a new PC, because of life's normal expenditures, I haven't been able to save for a new PC because it is too expensive.

The reason Turbine won't is that from what I've seen of people talking while playing LotRO, the majority people playing their game are people like me with extremely low end PCs. If they changed, they would lose a higher amount of player base than they would gain.

I guess the question that needs to be asked is this:

When will they upgrade the graphics?

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