On Monday, we interviewed developers at Standing Stone Games about Lord of the Rings Online.  If you’d like to hear the interview, please use the widget above.  For the sake of the hearing-impaired and those at work or elsewhere unable to listen at this time, we’ve included a complete transcript of the conversation with SSG below for your reading pleasure.


MMO-C: Good day! This is Jean Prior, aka Druidsfire, Editor at MMO-Central.com. With me today from Standing Stone Games, I have Rob Ciccolini, aka Severlin, Executive Producer; Jerry Snook, aka Cordovan, Community Manager; and Jeff Libby, aka Made of Lions and lore nerd, and Lead Designer. [Editor’s note: Per Cordovan, Libby’s official title is Senior Designer.

Snook: Hey hey, this is Cordovan here, nice to invite us onto the show, I appreciate it very much.

MMO-C: You are very welcome. I am a ten-year veteran of the game, my account predates the Open Beta of the game, so I’m extremely excited to see the resurgence of Lord of the Rings Online. It’s been in a bit of a slump the past couple of years, but things have turned around and I’m really excited to know that we’ve had a new raid recently, we’ve got new housing (I bought an island), and we’ve got this huge lead-up to Mordor, oooooh, dun dun dun dun! A lot of this I see is because of the Twitch presence. We’ve had academics teaching on it like Professor Clayton from Vanderbilt through Coursera and our favorite Professor Corey Olsen. We’ve seen the company shift from being under the aegis of WB via Turbine and now you’re your own entity. Now, for the purposes of this interview and the show, I’m not really going to talk about the business model, that’s been pretty much well-covered in other outlets, so, business as usual, full steam ahead.

MMO-C: So, my first question of the day is for Made of Lions. Our biggest lore question regarding Mordor comes from the fact that the battle at the Black Gate was intended to keep Sauron looking the wrong way so Frodo and Sam could get to Mount Doom unimpeded. How are you addressing that whilst simultaneously allowing players to go in and adventure, including crossing their path if we’re going into areas that are past Mount Doom?

Libby: Well, this is a really easy one actually, so thank you very much for the softball to get started. The reason that we can enter Mordor and not interfere with Frodo and Sam’s mission is because the majority of the Mordor expansion is going to take place after they’ve already gotten to Mount Doom. It would not be appropriate, I don’t think, for adventurers to be gallivanting in Mordor concurrent with Frodo and Sam doing their thing. That’s against the very spirit of everything we’ve been building up to over the course of the game. So, this is one of those things where monitoring chatter on community sites and whatnot, people seem to be very concerned with ‘how are they… we’re going into Mordor in the Mordor expansion, isn’t this like going to be playing right into Sauron’s hands? I can’t believe they’d do this!’ And the answer is no, we’re not doing that. We’re trying to remain as faithful as we’ve always had. So, like fairly early on in the expansion, I think you’ll see that things get sorted out in a way, and then Mordor is our oyster.

Ciccolini: Yeah, I think that one of the things we’re trying to do is show the consequences, that something as evil as Sauron doesn’t just go away and everything is fine. Mordor is a tremendous pit of evil and players are going to have to deal with the things that remain.

Libby: It’s also just a really interesting sort of question, what is Mordor after a lot of the stories that we’ve already heard about it? This is like an opportunity to tell some of these stories that I think as a storyteller is tremendously exciting. I felt this was the only real way to do justice was to not interfere with the story that we already know about Mordor but to open up the opportunity to tell more stories following it.

MMO-C: Awesome. Now, this one is for Rob and/or Jeff. Now you guys said in the producer’s letter in time with what you just commented on, was that we would see the End of the Ring. Now to me, that says Session Play, which is one of my favorite things about Lord of the Rings [Online], where you can see stuff from history and your character isn’t there but you get to play somebody else, like you’ve gotten to play a member of Isildur’s crew at the Stone of Erech, you’ve gotten to play, you’ve seen the Balrog in Moria, you’ve actually gotten to play Gríma Wormtongue, which is actually kinda cool. So how are we going to be addressing the fact that we can’t as players see Frodo, Sam, and Gollum at the Crack of Doom, will we get to Session Play as Gollum and see it from his point of view, because nobody’s ever done that before, and that would be kinda cool.

Libby: So, I’m not going to tell you, first of all. But second of all, as early in the game as probably around 2007 at launch, I knew how we were going to tell this part of the story. So I’ve been planning towards this part of the story forever. Whenever new people come onto the team, I tell them with some delight my dream of how we wrap that particular part up. So, I’m not going to tell you about it, but hopefully you’ll get to see it fairly soon.

MMO-C: You’ve also mentioned not only it’s very interesting to see the consequences, the post-End of the Ring in Mordor, because it has been mentioned in other bits of the lore, what Aragorn did, et cetera, et cetera. Are we going to see other parts around Mordor that weren’t part of that, for example, this is going to come up against the license a little bit, a question about it, but we know via the Tale of Years that there are also epic battles (no pun intended) happening at Erebor and Southern Mirkwood where Dain and Brand fall and then Celeborn and Galadriel take on the forces of Dol Guldur. Are we going to see any of this or be able to help with any of that or is that outside what your license allows you to do?

Libby: Well, a lot of those are actually mentioned in the Appendices to Return of the King, so we do have license to talk about some of those events. Whether or not we’re going to see all or some of them, I don’t really want to get into just yet. Maybe Rob wants to…

Ciccolini: I think there’s so much excitement about what happens sort of post-Mordor in all of the different places that we want to go, I don’t think we want to pin ourselves down. However, once we go into Mordor and then follow up with Minas Morgul, which will sort of be a big content chunk after you have a chance to go in Mordor and explore it a bit, we have a tremendous amount of things that we want to do and one of those things will be… we don’t want you to spend the next umpteen years in Mordor, so after that, you’ll probably have to deal with the agents of Mordor out in the world which would be a good opportunity, I imagine, for some of that without actually confirming or denying those specific areas.

Snook: You know, the nice thing is, we’ve heard some folks in the community ask, ‘well, what’s left after the fate of the Ring and all that?’, but when it actually comes down to it, we could put together books of lists of things we could potentially do, so it’s not so much a matter of what can we do as what possibly could we, what are we going to decide to do here, because the options are vast, to say the least.

MMO-C: Well, one of the obvious ones is the Scouring of the Shire. We know the tech has been in the game since Isengard where you can have a before event and after event in the same area and build upon that, and we have that of course you know at pre- and post-Pelennor battle. Is that in the dis-somewhat not near future, next year-ish, maybe?

Snook: Are we going to Scour-

Ciccolini: (interrupting) Astute observations.

(laughter)

Ciccolini: Which at this time, we don’t want to talk about too much, lest we play our hand. I think one of the interesting things about the Mordor expansion is for a long time, people have been sort of following the story of Tolkien’s iconic heroes and this will be the first time that you, your character now, has to step up. You no longer have the security blanket of all of those, you know, all of the Tolkien heroes sort of moving the story along. Now we’ll see who rises, sort of as they reach the end of their destiny…, I guess is the word I’m looking for?

MMO-C: All righty. There’s a question about will there be any revamps to streamline questing to help the leveling experience in any of the older areas like Eregion, Enedwaith, or even Rohan?

Ciccolini: Yes. Eventually we want to get to some of the places that when we look at our data, there are certain places in the game that players tend to drop off because they hit a milestone that makes it harder, and we’d like to go back and address those in the medium term, but for now, certainly not before Mordor. It’s full steam ahead on the expansion.

MMO-C: That makes a lot of sense. Speaking about getting to roadblocks in your progression, this is actually more of a store question than anything else… one of the biggest sore points (I’ve experienced this myself) with regards to the LotRO store is warsteed cosmetics. Players have said they want them to be server-wide or account-wide when you buy them, and a new suggestion that came up was something like a gift box, you get your warsteed, you get to pick whichever base hide color, gear color, that you want to have and if you want to buy extras to make your horse look pretty like I do, you’re not paying out the nose for every single character. They’re saying they’re not actually willing to play or level their warsteed or bother with it because the default is not what they like.

Snook: You know, I too read that suggestion about the gift box and brought it up to QuartermasterU the time that it was there, and as part of that, we did discuss the idea, should we bound to account versus bound to character regarding, say, warsteed cosmetics. Ultimately, the way that they were implemented in the LotRO store was under a bound to character sort of business model, so if we did transition into something like an account-bound warsteed cosmetics, you might have to do some adjustments say on pricing and things like that. But it’s something that we’re open to considering in the future here, but at the moment, we’re pretty… overall, things are going pretty well regarding warsteed cosmetics in the LotRO store. So that’s not to say ‘never’, just mostly at this point, we don’t have any immediate plans to make an adjustment there, but we have had those conversations ourselves in recent weeks so who knows what the future might bring there.

Ciccolini: Yeah, as a big fan of cosmetics that are account-wide, I think it adds value to the account instead of making it to character. Once you get them, you can sort of move your favorite looks from character to character, so I’m there with you, but there are a couple of things. One is if we did that, we’d have to make adjustments that players may react poorly to because we’ve done it one way for a long time, sometimes we make a direction change and they feel that the rug’s being pulled out from under them. And two, we have a new store, and sometimes stuff like that requires store changes, so that’s more time-intensive than something we do internally.

MMO-C: Okay, fair enough. It’s always nice to make QuartermasterU work some more. Now a little bit of a less-serious question from one of my kinmates, Bellandora, one of our regulars in Twitch chat. She wanted to know out of all of the places that LotRO currently has existing in it, or will do, knowing that we’re going to Mordor, which area are you most interested in visiting if you had to choose?

Snook: Do you mean like in real life or as a game setting kind of thing?

MMO-C: Which zone do you like best, I suppose. Like the Shire, Rohan, take your pick.

Snook: I’m a fan of Rivendell. It’s pretty.

Libby: I’m pretty excited about Mordor, actually.

MMO-C: Really? Okay.

Libby: And maybe part of that is because Mordor… it doesn’t get very… we honestly haven’t seen it much in a lot of media, so maybe part of that is… maybe I’m a little biased because we get to come up with like new kind of experiences and stories to tell in here, but I’m just… also maybe part of this is that I’m… my head is full of Mordor at the moment. But I’m super excited about that. My runner-up second answer may be Tâl Bruinen, which I’ve always been partial to, in the wilds of the Trollshaws. We used to call it the Extreme Trollshaws, because it was going to take everything about the Trollshaws and make it more extreme.

(laughter)

Libby: Even though Delossad is there, and I know players are sick of Delossad.

(laughter)

MMO-C: Oh my god, yes. And shepherding Corey [Olsen] through that was an adventure, I must say. Another question, this is from again another kinmate and regular Twitch viewer Sam_Burke, are there any features currently in DDO that you might want to import into LotRO or vice versa?

Snook: This came up as a question a couple of months ago in one of the interviews and it was an interesting thing. For me, a lot of it is minor technical stuff. I really like in Lord of the Rings Online how you are pretty able to scale some of the UI elements that you can’t in DDO, particularly in DDO as we move into larger monitors, that’s been something that we’ve been looking at as something we might need to carve out time to address in the future, so I would like to import that system from LotRO into DDO. In reverse, it’s not so much that LotRO doesn’t have this system as much as it’s not utilized as often as in DDO, and that is the grouping system. I really like DDO‘s grouping panel. It’s easy to form and join groups, it’s easy to see what’s out there and that sort of thing. And while LotRO does have largely a pretty similar system, it just isn’t utilized by the community as a default in the way that it is in DDO, so I wouldn’t mind seeing that come into LotRO.

MMO-C: All right. Here’s another question for all of you, it’s a two-word question. War goats?

Snook: Thar goats. No. I dunno. (chuckle)

Ciccolini: We talked to Art about it. They’re excited to do all sorts of strange stuff, but we want to be careful because… we’re worried that sort of like the lore purists might not like that, despite the fact that maybe we’ve seen them in other media, like we have to be careful on something like that because we don’t want to venture into the, into something people may question, so there’s been sort of a debate back and forth, but yeah. Our Art team, I think, would be excited to do something like that. It’s just a matter of A: finding the time, and B: is that someplace a majority would love to see or a majority of our players would eyeroll at. Sometimes that’s hard to judge because… maybe we’ll survey it or something.

MMO-C: Speaking of adding new things, you guys have mentioned you’re working on new avatars and animations. Are we talking full-on character revamps like other games have done recently with a vastly increased number of polygons and resolution, or is it somewhere in the middle from what we have now to a wholesale overhaul of the character avatars?

Ciccolini: The former. They’re redoing the actual character sculpts if I can use the art term which means yeah, you’ll see more polygons and the faces will be more detailed and the hairs will be more detailed and then we’ll redo the animations and remove the hiccups. The hardest part about that is of course, I mean even with the option to switch back and use older models within the client so that someone who really doesn’t like it can still play classic, we want to make sure the characters don’t look the same but have the same feeling and are just flat out better. And that’s always tough because there’ll be players who, especially our longer-term players, have grown so familiar with their characters that that kind of change can be jarring. So we want to be very careful that we do it right and that you’re able to find a character that has the same personality as your character now but just look better rather than ‘hey, I don’t really recognize this character.’

MMO-C: Yeah, that was really a big concern with another game that done that recently. One of the things they let people do in there is that you can change your actual character’s face and their eye colors, and that’s not something you can actually do right now with the Barber in-game. Is that also going to be part of the process in case someone sees their new character model and says, ‘oh my god, I don’t like that, I want to change the actual face and eye color and such’. Is that going to be an option?

Ciccolini: Hopefully. I mean, that’s a good point. I think that the players will need to have some play some way to re-examine their character, because if we change the looks on them, even if we make our best effort to have the looks have the same personality, I think everyone should have an ability to sort of revisit and basically find their character again within the looks we present. So that’s something that we need to do. I think that one of the things is we’ve only started about Barber tech and what it would take to allow for that. So I don’t want to make any promises at this point, but I agree with you that it would be sort of our design goal for this.

MMO-C: All righty. Let’s turn back to happy fun Made of Lions. We want to talk High Elves. You guys have already said there won’t be a new class coming out like what happened with Beornings. And Professor Olsen, of course people are going to ask him what he thought about it on his livestream on the official last week or the week before. He said the High Elves would by lore default be Noldorin like Galadriel or Sindar like Thranduil rather than Vanyar cos they never came back from Valinor. So if this happens, will we be getting a new starting instance for them to explain how they’re coming back to Middle earth because High Elves are the ones who went to Valinor and came back.

Libby: Well, that’s primarily the case but for our interpretation, one of the things that we’re thinking of going with is that it’s not only Elves who went to Valinor and came back, it’s also their descendants. We’re going with the concept of… and this is one of those things I think is sort of necessary in our game, in that you’ll need to be… you may have some proportion of High Elf in your blood, for instance, in order to in a way power you down slightly, so that you’re not Galadriel running around, because that’s not really the power level I think we can suspend disbelief on all that well in there are hundreds of High Elves running around and they’re all Galadriel-level people. I think that’s not a realistic way to present it, so we’re going more with the concept that there are people and characters of High Elf ancestry in addition to the sort of straight-up High Elves that we know from the book like Galadriel and in that way, we could have High Elf adventurers that weren’t mentioned, for example, like we traditionally have done with several of our other races and classes. I’m not sure that Grimbeorn had hundreds of kids running around, but for our game, you can make a Beorning and have Beorning adventures. So for the High Elf, you would be a High Elf in that you still have the benefits of being a High Elf and maybe some of the drawbacks that there might also be, like still working out gameplay concept for all of this obviously, but Sauron is going to be especially unhappy about High Elves and that might cause some difficulties for you. You’re going to be feeling the call of Valinor more strongly than other people, than other Elves even. And, as for the original question, we will probably have some starting instance of some stripe, but I don’t want to get into what that will entail at the moment.

Snook: I would say that, and Professor Olsen will probably appreciate this, we do have a fairly large what you might call a lore-doc in how High Elves would fit into Lord of the Rings Online, and that’s something we’ve been looking at, and a lot of it is a little behind the scenes kind of documentation, but we’re looking at a way to perhaps distill that for community read to help kind of place where they will fit into the game.

Ciccolini: Yes. I would love to see the community sort of have more insight into the gratuitous amounts of lore documentation that we generate.

Snook: (laughter) It’s a massive document.

Ciccolini: The community just doesn’t see some of this fantastic stuff.

Snook: I was like, ‘why is this PDF so large?’

(laughter)

MMO-C: I would totally read that, so send that my way. Now, speaking again about our High Elves, what classes would they be? Will we finally see captains as leaders of the Eldar or burglars due to their natural stealth? Or, as regular Twitch viewer Ashigaru asked in last week’s official stream, what can a High Elf do that a regular Elf can’t?

Ciccolini: The High Elf will have different racials. The High Elf… right now, the argument about different classes, I say they should be able to do anything. All the lore people look at me and say ‘not burglars’. But a High Elf captain is something they might be able to step up to because of their ancestry. That’s something that we’re looking at and we hope will pass through our lore review and I think that one of the things that we want to do is, we would like to be able to present an Elf that is animated and looks different. But the problem with changing the animations, the running/fighting animations, is that you don’t want to do that too much on existing Elves because it pulls the rug out from under the existing players. But the High Elf is an opportunity to maybe have a different set of animations that represents how they move, the flow of the ability for them to move with grace and fluidity, so we hope that they just feel different because how they run and how they fight will be different than the other types of Elves. As well as the class options, maybe some of the racial abilities, we want them to be balanced with the other races, but some of the racial abilities might be more… I don’t want to say fantastic, but might involve the Light rather than some of the other things you might have seen.

MMO-C: All right, fair enough. While it was mentioned on your last stream, Cordovan, I’m not sure if the person in chat made their suggestion clear based on your response. They were asking whether paid race or class changes would be possible, like you can change your race and faction on other games. For example, we have RPers who have been roleplaying that they’ve been a High Elf the past ten years, or folks like me. If I’d had my druthers and High Elf was in at day one, an Elf captain, that’s me, I’d’ve been that. So, rerolling an old character to keep the name you’ve had for so long or as a kin leader, that’s going to cause a major hassle. Will race changes and class changes be an option?

Snook: I was talking to some of the LotRO team this morning about that particular question. The big challenge we have with, say, racial respeccing that we don’t have in Dungeons and Dragons Online is our races are limited in class options in Lord of the Rings Online. So that respeccing process has a layer of engineering work that’s required that makes it difficult to see us doing that for the High Elf here. Ultimately in terms of the name issue, we do have renaming options available, so someone could you know rename their regular Elf and then make a High Elf character for that. But for being able to respec from one race to another, it’s just not on our short-term agenda here.

Ciccolini: I don’t think that we’d be able to implement that in time for Mordor. Even if we started pursuing it today, that would be a tremendous amount of work and the LotRO tech for races is, it just doesn’t… it’s not set up to allow that. I mean, technically anything is possible in these games, but I don’t foresee us being able to do that for Mordor, and after that is, you know, is that what we want to be spending our precious engineering resource times on? Maybe? But it wouldn’t be, it won’t be for awhile, so I wouldn’t expect to have that for Mordor or shortly thereafter.

MMO-C: All right. Now, when Beornings were added to the game, everybody got one or two free character slots per server. Are we going to be doing that again so that when the High Elf comes out, people who already have their slots maxed out don’t have to buy a new slot?

Snook: I don’t know that we’re in a position to answer that right now, but clearly that’s a question we’re going to have an answer for here in the coming months.

Ciccolini: Yeah, I actually don’t have an answer for that, like we haven’t discussed it.

MMO-C: All right. In another interview for other outlets, you mentioned pledging your sword to one of the races of the Free Peoples as you’re adventuring in and around leading up to Mordor. Is there any new information you can provide to us about that?

Snook: It’s from the producer’s letter. It’s my understanding is that it… are we talking about the crafting?

Ciccolini: No no no. We’re talking about the Allegiance system. You can pledge yourself to the Dwarves, or the Hobbits, or the Men or Elves, and then follow each individual storyline. Is there information? Yes. Am I getting an eye from Jeff that we don’t want to reveal it now?

(laughter)

Ciccolini: Yes. You’re giving me the ‘don’t you dare!’ look. I may not want to say anything to ruin the surprises.

Libby: It was more of a ‘I’m not sure if you want me to say anything’ look, but I have been doing work for that. These features will have storylines associated with them. I think that’s maybe as far as we probably want to say now.

MMO-C: Now are they exclusives, for example if you pledge your sword to the Dwarves, you can’t go through the story of if you pledge your sword to the Elves or can you go back and do the other one later on?

Ciccolini: I can talk a little bit about the design behind that, if you don’t want to talk about specifics on revealing the secrets. So, originally, we were like ‘okay, you can only choose one’, because that makes sense. But as we went back and forth, we realized that even though we like to encourage alts and like to have players play through the storyline, there are hardcore LotRO players that are just gonna want to be able to play through this, all four of them, on their main character. They just will, because they want their main character to experience everything. But, there’s the issue of, well, if you’ve already pledged yourself to the Elves, the Dwarves might be grumpy about it and vice versa. So, what we’ll probably do is, what we’re planning on is, it’s meant for alts, but if your main character wants to do all four, you can, but for every additional one, it gets harder.

MMO-C: Interesting.

Snook: I’ve got a pretty big inventory, I’m sure I can hold four swords in there, can’t I?

MMO-C: Yeah, I’ve got my inventory maxed out on many toons. (laughter) In the producer’s letter, you mentioned adventuring into the Noman-lands near the Black Gates and areas closer to the Dead Marshes, which already exists in-game as an instanced area tied in with the Dol Amroth update. Much like how the eastern and western sides of the game were eventually made passable at the Fords of Isen, are you looking at connecting the Brown Lands to Emyn Muil and the Battle Plains so that players could ride straight from Lorien to Mordor. How is that going to pan out, and most importantly, will it be made possible to do a chicken run from the Shire to Mount Doom?

Snook: If the answer is no, I’m going to push back on it.

(laughter)

Libby: I know there are people looking at connecting the Battle Plain with the Dead Marshes. I’m actually not sure if people took it the natural rest of the way to, say, connect the Brown Lands to the Dead Marshes. But that is a thing that I think we would want to encourage, so it makes sense to me that we should. We recently connected North Ithilien and South Ithilien after all, which are sort of in different regions of the game so those are a connecting portal. I’m in favor of adding connecting portals wherever we can to make a seamless world.

Ciccolini: I suspect with the large amount we’re trying to accomplish with Mordor, a detail like that is something that we’re all on board with, but you may see post-Mordor as we sort of go back and fix up things. But, our world people are pretty meticulous and might just put it in for Mordor, so we’ll see.

MMO-C: So, we’re taking Jerry to Mount Doom as a chicken on all the servers, you realize that, right?

Snook: I definitely want to drop my chicken in Mount Doom. (laughter) That sounds like a great plan.

MMO-C: Yeah, that sounds like fun to me too. All right, so we mentioned earlier, crafting. You had said, actually I was reading on the forums there will not be a new crafting tier with Update 20, but we’re gonna get some new recipes with some new ingredients. Can you tell us more about that?

Snook: Yeah, I can talk a little bit more about that. What’s going to happen is it’s related to the Resource Dungeons that are in there. So, what people are going to be able to do, crafters are going to be able to use new ingredients to create new recipes that will provide reputation that relates to really the story and lore that’s going on in some of those areas. I don’t really want to get too much into the story at this point, but that’s really one of the keys for crafters here in Update 20 is they’re going to be able to directly sort of work on reputation with some of the various folks out there.

MMO-C: All right, pretty cool. And a question a little bit out of left field, but will the drops from Hobbit Presents be updated for the coming areas, like Mathom-Hunter’s gear only goes to level 95. Are they going to be updated so you can get a 105 out of them?

Snook: I don’t know that it’s going to be specifically tied to the coming areas, but I know that looking at Hobbit Presents is on our agenda to do here really as soon as we can get to it.

MMO-C: Awesome. All right, now considering how premium houses have gone, are there any plans regarding adding other areas to that, like Rohan, Erebor. As you know, there have been great suggestions from the community on where you can do these. Anything to tell us about that?

Ciccolini: Mordor first.

(laughter)

Ciccolini: Then housing.

MMO-C: All right. The final question, and to conclude on a light-hearted note that touches passingly on the business of running the game, earlier I mentioned Professor Olsen teaching an academic reading of the trilogy and taking players on field trips to the various in-game locations that he’s discussing every week. Given that he’s only on chapter 2 four weeks into it, and the joke is it might take him a few years to get to the end… now, without any commitments or promises being tendered, do you think he has a chance of completing his class?

Snook: Yes. (laughter) We have years worth of ideas for Lord of the Rings Online, so provided the community is interested in supporting our endeavors here for the long term, we’re going to be here too.

Libby: We’ll probably be in the Ninth Age when he finishes, though.

(laughter)

MMO-C: You’re probably not wrong about that.

Snook: He’s at chapter 2 now, huh? Last I heard, he was still on chapter 1.

MMO-C: It took him four weeks to get there, but chapter 2 is [today]. (laughter) All right, that was all I had for you. Do you have anything you want to tell us to let our listeners and readers, is there anything you want to tell us about the game, what’s going on, and give us a little teaser?

Snook: We do have a point update, a 19.3 that we’re expecting to release here within the next couple of weeks. It’s not going to be a very large update, but it is going to have a few things in it. The notes are going to be available on the Bullroarer forums if you want to take a look at the sort of… the notes in their preview state right now. So that’s on the short-term agenda as we do have an update coming. We did just announce a VIP gift program. People can find more information about that on lotro.com. Basically, if you sign up for VIP or are a VIP member here from the coming month or so between February 6th and March 13th, we’ve got a steed for you that you’re going to be able to redeem. Otherwise, we’re really full steam ahead as Rob was saying on Mordor, but also LotRO‘s 10th anniversary, which is coming up pretty soon here too. We’ve got some pretty massive plans for that.

MMO-C: Yeah, I’m very interested to see what’s going on there, and I also understand there’s going to be an informal meet-up at some point at PAX East in Boston in March?

Snook: Yep! Yep, emphasis on informal. The way I’ve done it in the past you know for the other games I’ve been doing community work for tends to be a lot of ‘hey, we’re going to meet out front here outside of the convention center’ or something like that and walk to a nearby establishment where we can just kind of hang out and eat food, talk LotRO to our heart’s content into the wee hours of the morning if people want to do it. And then I’ll… I will do my best. Every year, I sort of look like a pack horse here because I fill it full of t-shirts and swag and things like that, so I imagine if you’re going to PAX East, you should keep an eye on our Twitter feed, things like that, and we’ll do our best to swag you up if we can.

MMO-C: Yeah, I remember Sapience hauling the bag of swag at previous PAX Easts, so I know exactly what you’re talking about.

Snook: Uh huh.

MMO-C: All right, that’s it for me from MMO-Central.com, and again, thank you very much Rob, Jerry, and Jeff for joining us from Standing Stone Games, where they are the owners and runners of Lord of the Rings Online and don’t forget Dungeons and Dragons Online. You can see us on Twitter at @mmocentralcom and on the interwebs and you all have a great day! Thank you very much, gentlemen.

Ciccolini: Thank you.

Libby: Thank you!

Snook: Yep! Thanks for having us on.

MMO-C: You’re very welcome.

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Jean "Druidsfire" Prior

Editor at MMO-Central
Jean got her start writing for a SWTOR fansite, then progressed to writing for an internationally known MMO press site. Her red pen has been far too idle, and thus she now accepts the responsibility for editing here. All your grammar and tone corrections are belong to her.
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