Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Update 19.2, Yule Festival and the future of LOTRO


It's a big day for LOTRO - update 19.2 has launched along with the Yule Festival and then we find out that LOTRO is no longer to be operated by Turbine and instead now belongs to Standing Stone Games, a new indie game developer, and will be published by Daybreak Games.

Already changes have begun when I logged in just a short while ago - there was the Daybreak Games End User Agreement to accept, the Standing Stones Games splash screen when the game loads and Turbine Points have already been renamed LOTRO Points in the in-game store.

From what I've seen so far, most people seem to be surprised but optimistic that this is good news for the future of LOTRO. I hope so too. Quite a few questions have already been answered in a FAQ that confirms the current development team are still working on LOTRO, that the license for the LOTRO IP (which was due to expire in 2017) has been updated and that game accounts and privileges such as lifetime memberships etc. will remain the same.

Update 19.2 won't affect me much - it mostly relates to additions to North Ithilien, premium housing, PvMP and some general bug fixes. Hunters are getting some significant changes (Blood Arrow becomes a general hunter ability available at level 40 with a self-heal effect) so trait trees have been reset. And the Yule Festival has launched with some new mounts and cosmetic items. I can't wait to see the reindeer-like mount!

Update (Dec 22): Steed of Winter's Light

My Adventures in Middle Earth

I've been pottering around on my free-to-play (F2P) account lately, finally having enough Points to remove the gold cap so I don't keep getting reminder messages and so my characters can get faction mounts and buy things from the auction house if they want. Now I just need to get riding abilities for my new characters and then I can start working towards unlocking extra zones. Plenty for them to do at the moment and I do enjoy the low level zones the most.

I've been playing LOTRO via Linux Mint and levelling up a couple of new characters on a new server - my original F2P characters were excited for Spring Festival and got some nice cosmetic outfits and mounts and now my new Linux-only F2P characters are looking forward to Yule Festival for their turn to get some nice things. I do get lower frame rates and more stuttering effects in Linux, but it's mostly working quite well. It will be interesting to see if there are any changes in its performance or to the launcher and compatibility with Wine with Standing Stone Games taking over.

Myndariel is still neglected and waiting to continue her journey to North Ithilien. I think I shall have to set a goal to motivate me - to get her there by New Year's Day. That means my Linux characters have a few days to enjoy the Yule Festival then Myndariel must make a move towards Mordor! You know what? The next couple of weeks in LOTRO should be a lot of fun!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

To everyone out there, I hope you have a wonderful and safe Christmas and all the best wishes for the New Year.