In celebration of Lord of the Rings Online's fourth anniversary, Senior Staff Writer Chris "Pwyff" Tom sat down with Turbine to chat about their upcoming plans for the game.
Speaking of Isengard, while I couldn't really pump Adam or Aaron for too much information about LOTRO's upcoming expansion (expect to hear a lot around E3!), they did reveal that they've committed to a full 10 level cap increase with Isengard, thereby raising the level cap to 75 instead of what was originally believed to be 70. This change was made in relation to the scope of content that Turbine wants to bring with Isengard. In other words, expect to see and experience some really epic things with this expansion, including a big 24-person raid in the works. Finally, although this has been known for a while now, Turbine plans to re-examine their PvMP play by allowing free players access to PvMP while also allowing for more depth and growth within this activity.
Because Isengard is a number of months away, we couldn't really get into more gritty details, so I decided to shift the focus more toward the thematic approach that Turbine is taking with this expansion. Every time an MMO developer announces a new expansion, players become concerned that the game they love will be irrevocably changed into something else. Adam and Aaron were quick to reassure me, however, that Isengard is less about "revolutionizing" the game for the sake of change, rather, this new expansion is all about expanding what people already love about LOTRO.
Aaron gave a particularly clever explanation of this expansion when he pointed out that LOTRO has certain kinds of moments in it: the "small t" moments, otherwise known as Turbine moments, are the things that Turbine puts into their game to make it uniquely theirs, like the epic storyline. The "big T" moments, which they call the "Tolkien" moments, are the times when Turbine knows they're dealing with something iconic, like Isengard, and they simply need to deliver on player expectations. In other words, it sounds like this expansion is really about enriching the LOTRO experience by giving players their open vistas, their deep stories and their broad landscapes, while letting them explore the iconic places that they've always read about.
All in all, if anyone was worried about LOTRO's Isengard expansion changing the game for the worse, if Aaron and Adam are to be trusted as Turbine's messengers, then it seems there's really nothing to worry about. Here's to another four years, Turbine and Lord of the Rings Online!
Chris "Pwyff" Tom, Senior Staff Writer