Here is the transcript of the interview given by Executive Producer Rob ‘Severlin’ Ciccolini, Community Manager Jerry ‘Cordovan’ Snook, and Systems Designer Quentin ‘Lynnabel’ Cantor recorded at GenCon in Indianapolis, IN on Saturday, August 3rd, 2019. It follows the announcements from the previous night’s player meetup involving both Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online.

MMOC: All right, we are at GenCon with Severlin, Cordovan, and Lynnabel, all from Standing Stone Games, fine upstanding people.

Snook: Hello!

Cantor: Hello.

MMOC: Hi. How has your GenCon been, Rob?

Ciccolini: Fantastic. I’ve been wandering around and getting loot. I’ve been going through all the booths to see who’s doing what. Very interesting. There’s new games out, a lot of board game activity, a huge area to play, I’ve got some new games to play as well. It’s been great.

MMOC: And you?

Snook: I’ve had a great GenCon! I didn’t want to spend too much money, I’ve already bought a couple of games. I don’t even know if I’m going to play them, but I’m bringing them home and they’ll be fun anyway! I love GenCon.

MMOC: I couldn’t tell. And you?

Cantor: My friends left me for 20 minutes and I bought a whole painting, like an actual full-size painting. I have no idea where it’s gonna go in my house, but no regrets. (laughter)

MMOC: So, none of you can be unsupervised on the GenCon floor. You have to be chaperoned.

Snook: Pretty much.

MMOC: All right, so let’s get to the shenanigans that was livetweeted and videoed at the meetup. It was a great meetup, a lot of people showed up from both games. We’re going to start with our questions about DDO. So the big news on the DDO side, there’s two big pieces of information, the first we’re going to start with is the Hardcore League server. Now I understand on the forums we’re trying to avoid the term ‘permadeath’ because it already has an association in the DDO community and certain rulesets and whatnot. So, firstly, does this thing have a name besides ‘Hardcore League’?

Snook: Ah, no, Hardcore League is what we’re calling it. It’s an event, and it’s the Hardcore League, we’re going to see how it goes over the course of 90 days when it opens up, but that’s what we’re calling it, the Hardcore League!

MMOC: Does the server itself have a special name?

Ciccolini: I think it’s just gonna be called Hardcore so there’s no confusion as to which server is hardcore. That will be the clearest.

MMOC: All right. And can you tell us a little more about what it actually means to be hardcore. When you die, how does that all play out? Obviously there are ways to rez you in-game in the middle of an instance. How’s that gonna work?

Ciccolini: So, when you die on the hardcore server, you’re done. What that means is that when your hit points drop into the negative enough… you can fall down, somebody can save you and heal you, but when you die, you are swept to the nether realm and that’s it. You can’t be raised, you can’t be resurrected, you can’t use self-rezzes, you can’t use the Jibbers blade, you can’t use a resurrection cake, you’re done. Once you’re in the nether realm, you can’t participate. Your character’s removed from all of the various lists, like the top people who have gotten Reaper XP and the top people who have gotten favor.

Snook: To clarify in case someone were to hear it and come to the wrong conclusion, when we say you can’t participate, we mean on that character. You can create another character if you want.

Ciccolini: Yes.

MMOC: So it’s not one and done for the account, it’s just for that character.

Snook: Correct.

MMOC: So aside from the renown of being on these leaderboards that you did mention last night, what are some of the rewards that people can get for participating, because not everyone is going to be on the leaderboards. What’s going to happen for the folks who don’t make the leaderboard but are still participating?

Ciccolini: All of the cosmetic rewards are in activities that are not competitive. We don’t want the players to feel that they have to be competitive to participate or to get rewards. So there will be two favor breaks in which the players can receive cosmetic rewards and two Reaper XP breaks in which case the players can receive cosmetic rewards. In addition, anyone who gets to level 5 will get a listing in the Chronicle and anyone who gets to level 20 will get a cosmetic reward.

MMOC: I believe there’s a press release about that. Total favor of 1750, you get an Eyes of Darkness cosmetic.

Ciccolini: Yes.

MMOC: And 5000 favor is Bloody Footprints?

Ciccolini: Yes.

MMOC: 10 Reaper Enhancement Points, you get a special Tattered Cloak?

Ciccolini: Yep.

MMOC: And 20 Reaper Enhancement Points, you get a Blood Reaper pet.

Snook: I think we haven’t specified the prize for hitting level 20, but it will be along those lines.

Ciccolini: I believe it’s a full cloak. I think it’s a cloak that looks like half a scarf that comes down your back, so it will be like a half-cloak with a design that I think… I don’t want to say because they were still iterating on it.

Snook: I think so, yeah.

MMOC: Now as I understand as you mentioned, it’s a 90-day cycle from August 16th to November 15th, and currently not slated to be a recurring event. How is that going to work out, it’s just a one and done?

Ciccolini: Yes, for now, we’re going to see how it affects the community. If it affects the community in a positive way or… we’re very careful because we have a very passionate community that we love, and we want to make sure the things we do affect them in a positive way, and something like this can have an effect on the community that we want to make sure it’s positive before we move forward. We’ll have the chance to see how the players react to what the ruleset was and all of those things before we make any announcements on what to do.

Snook: And just kind of to add a little bit to that, it is a 90-day event. You can’t transfer characters to the server. There will be a window during the… when is it? Are we doing it during the event or just at the end of it? At the end of the event for a period of time, you can transfer characters from that server.

MMOC: Is there any cost associated with that, or is it just a free transfer?

Ciccolini: Free transfer.

Cantor: Even if you died, you can still get off that server.

Ciccolini: So a dead character… let’s say you make it all the way to high level and had a whole bunch of stuff and died… tragically… you can still transfer that character off and they will find their way to the living world on the normal server you might play.

MMOC: Including all of their stuff.

Ciccolini: Yep.

MMOC: Cool. So, that’s it about the permadeath, I’m sorry, the Hardcore League server. So the other big announcement was the new class… we heard a little bit of rumors, people were discussing what they’d like to see, and you released that it was going to be the Alchemist, and you’d described the names of two of the three trees last night. Did you actually remember what the name of the third tree was, by any chance?

Ciccolini: No.

Cantor: Yes, I know. The three trees are the Bombardier tree, the Vile Chemist tree, and the Apothecary tree that are about spell DPS, a variety of poisons and debuffs, and the third tree is about support and healing, so yourself and your teammates.

MMOC: So, how does the Alchemist class actually work? I mean we’ve got the imagery of throwing flasks around at people, which sounds really cool if you imagine a ladies softball player just whipping one right, you know… so…

Cantor: Alchemist is a full spellcaster with a gigantic, incredible spellbook full of unique spells, and to compound on that, they also cast spells in a very different way than any other DDO class does currently. They have different primers and reactions that can combo their spells in order to increase their potency or increase your defenses. And depending on the situation, the Alchemist can approach combat in a variety of very interesting ways. They’re also going to have access to a whole bunch of very unique crowd control, locking people into solid gold or turning them into frogs, but on a very quick scale. Pillars of salt, all that jazz. They’re going to have a variety of very interesting ways to approach any combat scenario, and even as a support, they’re going to have a ton of unique buffs and ways to help their friends out.

MMOC: Now, since they’re gonna… their primary weapon’s going to be the flask, will they have any use for any of the other regular weapons that we see in the game, like bladed weapons?

Ciccolini: Sure.

Cantor: So, Alchemist will be throwing potions as part of their spells, but can wield any other weapon just like any other character class in the game, and we’re specifically building them with a lot of synergy with simple weapons, which is something that they get in the books. So, they are going to have a lot of ways to boost simple weapons to pretty high effectiveness, plus they are also going to be able use thrown simple weapons very very well. So, poison darts and just darts and throwing daggers are the weapon of choice, especially if they spec into their ranged damage dealing.

MMOC: So, basically aside from our Rogue Assassins, everyone’s like, “Poisons, yay! Gimme!” which is unusual for the game concept right now.

Ciccolini: The Vile Chemist is all about using poisons and a variety of simple weapons and synergizing with a variety of melee builds and ranged builds in order to create interesting multiclass combos.

MMOC: So what is their actual main stat? If you were going to build one, what would you throw most of your points into to start with?

Cantor: They are an Intelligence-based caster.

MMOC: Okay, makes sense. And that’s coming out in which update?

Cantor: So, this current update is 43, and they’re slated to be released in Update 44, which is the one after this.

MMOC: Okay cool. All right. So, those are the two big bits of news about DDO, I understand there’s some class balance work going on right now, is that correct?

Snook: On DDO?

MMOC: Yes, the Pale Master is being reworked.

Ciccolini: The Pale Master. But one of the big news is that Epic Destinies are having a big pass, almost like universally. Instead of going Destiny, Destiny, Destiny, we tried to do more of an organic evening of them across the board, so that people wouldn’t have to wait for their favorite Destiny.

MMOC: Makes sense. I did see some posts on the Lamannia updates from Cocomajobo about some leveling, or equalization of XP across various quests? Can you give us a little bit more about that, what the main goal of that is?

Ciccolini: Sure. We did a big data pull and we found out what the players were playing, and although most players play in a variety of dungeons, there are some players falling into a pattern of playing over and over again in the same dungeons because they feel compelled to because it’s the most efficient way of getting XP. But what we’ve also found is that people fall into these patterns have a high chance of burning out, so what we’re trying to do is offer them different paths in the way they play the game and not feel like they’re hampering their progression by doing the fun thing. So, we’re boosting the XP on some 50-plus dungeons, and I think there were like four dungeons that we pulled back a little bit by 10%. It’s probably not enough, but we also don’t want to completely pull the rug out from under people.

MMOC: No ‘you nerfed my favorite dungeon, damn you!’ stuff. Now, speaking of other changes, I understand that Keep on the Borderlands is being brought into the game as an alternative method of starting off a new character if you’ve played Korthos five million times.

Snook: Yeah, but let’s make sure, because some of those who don’t know, you’ll still need to go through the tutorial experience and the Korthos experience if you are first playing Dungeons and Dragons Online, so we’re not replacing our tutorial per se. What we are offering is a whole other side of low-level questing that we think will be exciting for players who are reincarnating and looking for something new to experience, things like that.

MMOC: Okay. For those of us who aren’t sick of Korthos, it’ll still be available?

Snook: Yes. Absolutely.

MMOC: So I understand that while you all were traveling here to GenCon, the team back home released Project: Nemesis.

Snook: Yep.

MMOC: So, a multi-tasking team we have here. Tell us about Project: Nemesis, as much as you can.

Ciccolini: It’s the new raid. It’s the second raid of Sharn, so it’s included in the Sharn pack. We’d like to give people the chance to play through the other content, and we had released a previous raid, the previous raid was a very difficult raid…

Cantor: A bottle saga.

Ciccolini: Yeah, and this one is more of a traditional raid in terms of difficulty. You have to fight the anti-party that you’ve been meeting all through Sharn, the ones that have become your nemeses. You’ve encountered them in a variety of dungeons and now it’s time to stop them en masse, so to speak.

MMOC: Once and for all, question mark?

Cantor: To be determined.

(laughter)

Snook: And just to make sure people know, all you need to access the new raid is the Masterminds of Sharn expansion. There’s no flagging for this new raid, and if you do have the expansion, this is available to you now for free. Well, as part of your expansion purchase.

MMOC: Any final comments about DDO before we shift gears?

Ciccolini: Shift away.

MMOC: So, Lord of the Rings Online side of the party. Two big updates, one of which I had thought was never going to happen because people kept swearing up and down that “Nope! We just don’t have the tools or technology or the resources to do it.” So firstly, let’s talk about race changes because that is a huge deal. It’s like High Elves, I wanted my character to have the High Elf dance, and now anyone can switch to… so first of all, when approximately is the race changes planned with the understanding of the tentativeness of that update?

Ciccolini: Our goal is to have it in place for the Minas Tirith, er Minas Morgul, excuse me, I keep calling it Minas Tirith.

Snook: I know, I do the same thing.

Ciccolini: Minas Morgul, and so when we have the dwarves available, we’d like to have the race change. That said, although the back-end technology has proven out, we’re still in the midst of providing all of the interface, the niceties, and testing it. So I don’t want to make promises, but hopefully when the dwarf comes out, the race change will come with it.

MMOC: So from my understanding based on what you said last night, the race changes will be class-restricted same as always, so Beornings are excluded from this completely because they are a class unto themselves, pun not intended but it works. But because you could change, for example, an Elf guardian to a Hobbit guardian since that’s a class that exists in both races, is there going to be a name change included in a race change? Because your Elf name isn’t going to work for a hobbit necessarily and vice-versa.

Ciccolini: That’s our goal. You’ll be able to change your race, your gender, and then you do your name when you do the race change.

MMOC: Speaking of gender, that was the next question with regards to dwarves. The community is very fascinated with the concept of female dwarves for realsies in-game, will that be a part of this?

Ciccolini: You will be able to determine the gender of your dwarf when the Stout-Axes are released.

MMOC: And suddenly the forums just caught on fire.

Snook: Just to make sure, we are talking about the Stout-Axe dwarf which we have not yet discussed in the interview but presumably shortly.

MMOC: Yes.

Snook: Not the existing dwarf in-game.

MMOC: So the existing dwarf will not be able to change gender.

Snook: I don’t know that we can commit one way or another on that right now.

Ciccolini: We don’t want to commit to that because there’s tech to deal with that and there’s story to deal with. But with the Stout-Axe, you can determine… you can play the way you want and be able to determine what your gender is.

MMOC: Okay. Interesting. All right, do we have a ballpark price for this, because I assume that the race changes will be part of the LotRO store.

Snook: No, that’s still being worked on in terms of price.

MMOC: Okay. Fair enough. Now, some questions that did come up on the forums last night, how does it affect the racials? Just like [Snook’s] favorite dwarves can do the headbutt, my Elves… one Elf can do a plus… one has the extra rez, one has a different weapon proficiency.

Ciccolini: That’s one of the things we’re working on, the tech to swap your racials to the racials of the race you’re going to.

MMOC: And what about story completion? So, if you’ve played through the regular elf starting instance in Thorin’s Gate and whatnot and then you wind up in Edhelion, or actually you wind up in Thorin’s Gate and work your way out… actually, no, you wind up in Celondim. How will that affect the quest flagging. Will you have to go back and do the deeds all over again? So if I’ve completed the Deeds of Ered Luin on my Elf and I change that to a High Elf, do I have to go back and do those again?

Ciccolini: Any of the deeds that any of the races can do should just transfer over and any deeds that have an equivalent should just transfer over. Any deeds that don’t have an equivalent is one of the things we’re trying to map right now. What deeds will map to what deeds, because we’ll want to have an equivalent progression when you swap over.

MMOC: Most of the deeds are not race-specific, they’re more zone or area-specific, quest-specific.

Ciccolini: It might be that when you swap over, you’ll keep the deeds of the old area.

MMOC: That makes sense. So that sounds pretty exciting, I know I’ve been dying to have my main, who’s been in the game since open beta to be… I always thought in my head that she was a High Elf. Now she will get to be, so she’ll be from Gondolin.

Ciccolini: That was one of the things people said about the High Elf, the releasing of the High Elf race, this isn’t useful to me if I’m someone who doesn’t play alts as much as some of the other players. And so one of the things we wanted to do with the release of the Stout-Axe dwarves is that we don’t want players to feel punished if they want to play one of these if their main forever is a normal dwarf.

MMOC: That does make a lot of sense. Okay, one of the other things you said was that there was going to be a crafting update. I actually had a long rant about crafting, it went on my stream I’m sorry to say, but can you tell us what you have in mind for this crafting update?

Ciccolini: We certainly want to bring… so, everything that you’d expect to be brought to the endgame and you’ll be able to craft gear that is relevant to the endgame as part of Minas Morgul. We also want crafting to be relevant for gearing, so there will be a couple of slots where the crafting professions will be able to provide very good gear, competitive gear to some of the main endgame activities. I obviously don’t want to make promises about specific ilevels and power levels because as we playtest and go through, I want to adjust that, but our goal is that you feel that crafting is useful and relevant to the endgame.

MMOC: Is there going to be any wholesale updates to old school crafting, for example, the Rohan crafting is going to be coming up into play when Rohan comes out on the legendary servers at the end of the year or early next year whenever that is.

Ciccolini: Not for Minas Morgul.

MMOC: Not for Minas Morgul.

Ciccolini: The whole team is working on Minas Morgul and already they have a tremendous amount of in terms of that, so we need to be focused on that expansion. Now once that’s done, we’ll be able to swap off and go back. One of the nice things about having a legendary server is that we revisit each area as we go piece by piece. For example Ryan [‘Pinion’ Penk] was psyched to be able to go in and spend some time on Isengard. There had been issues for some time with the zone and the raid, and he was able to go in and get all of the big issues ironed out for instance. So, as we’ve been able to go through on the legendary server, the retouching of old content to make it better is happening as we go from place to place.

MMOC: Now, speaking of Minas Morgul the new expansion that is coming out and we haven’t talked too much about our Stout-Axe friends. Here’s a good question, are the Stout-Axes going to be included in the expansion like the High Elves were where you had to buy the two higher tiers to get it? Or will it be like how Tieflings came out on the DDO side where everybody who was VIP had Tieflings even before the expansion came out and then everybody who bought the expansion got Tieflings with whichever version they bought, it didn’t matter.

Ciccolini: It will come out with the base package. So when we first talked about High Elf, one of the things we didn’t expect was that the players were questioning the value of it? They were like “Oh, why would I want a new race, I have my main.” So because of that, we were checking the value of the expansion itself, and the perception to us was that the High Elf as a race did not have a high value to the players. So what we did is that we wanted the base Mordor expansion to have as much value as possible, so we pushed the race. But then it became clear that the players that were really wanting the race just weren’t that vocal, so they were very verbal about “Oh, why isn’t the race included in the base?” “But we didn’t think you would see the value.” So now, we have been educated, and with this new race, we’re going to swap that so that the Stout-Axes are part of the main expansion.

MMOC: I think that’s gonna make a lot of people happy. Now, speaking of our friends, the Stout-Axes. We discovered them in Mordor. We had found that they had been a race of dwarves that were imported to Mordor by Sauron and enslaved, and their king had had one of the Seven dwarf rings that Sauron wanted, and the king said no. So, I think you had mentioned that the Stout-Axes originally came from the far east of Middle-earth. These are places that haven’t been explored before. I presume they’re going to get their own starting instance, like how we had the Vales of Anduin previewed with the Beornings’ starting instance that eventually got incorporated into the rest of the main world. Are we going to see something like that with the Stout-Axes?

Ciccolini: Yes, they are going to have their own starting area that will be unique to that class as you would expect.

Snook: Race.

Ciccolini: Yeah, so the content side because they’re working through it and making sure what happened. Where do you come from? How was it that you happened to escape the clutches of Mordor in terms of entering the world? I apologize for my hesitation. I’ve been doing GenCon.

MMOC: It’s fine. It’s con mind. It’s Saturday at GenCon. It’s great. So, once these Stout-Axes complete their starting instance and establish their story… is the starting instance in Mordor or is it in their traditional homes where the Stout-Axes came from before they got enslaved?

Ciccolini: I have not played through it because it’s not done, but my understanding is that you are starting in Mordor because your traditional lands have already been in the history… Sauron went in when the king refused to return the ring… the power of Mordor came into those lands. So the starting instance will be in the aftermath, when your people have already been taken to Mordor.

MMOC: So after the starting instance, I presume these dwarves will then wind up in Thorin’s Gate with regular dwarves, similar to how Beornings are sent to Archet?

Ciccolini: Yes.

MMOC: That’s what I figured.

Snook: I assume so.

[Editor’s note: There will be more information from SSG about their classes at a later time, but Cordovan has posted on the forums that cosmetically, the male and female Stout-Axes will look alike. This will be in keeping with the lore that non-dwarves cannot tell them apart.]

MMOC: So, let’s talk about back-end system updates. In the last interview, we’d discussed briefly an update to kinships and you had no information at that time because you weren’t in on those meetings. Has there been some progress made on kinship updates?

Ciccolini: Not until Minas Morgul is out.

MMOC: Can you give us any information as to some of the things you’re looking to do to improve kinships?

Ciccolini: Like I said, I really haven’t had the discussion with systems on it because they’re all working on the expansion, so I don’t want to go in and undermine the things they were looking at.

MMOC: But now it’s going to be a Minas Morgul thing. Okay, is there going to be an updated whatever ‘of the Valar’ to maybe start people at 110 or…

Ciccolini: One of the… we definitely want new players to come in and play the expansion content. There will be a new Valar, and one of the things we’re working on is that we have new technology to allow Legendary Items to be equipped and when they are, a lot of the traits will move to the character. Before, we couldn’t do that, because there wasn’t the technology. Legendary Items are a combination of not only itemization, in other words the item itself, but there’s a number of properties and traits that get built onto the character when you do that. We didn’t have the tech to have something that you equipped that would build it properly, and now that we have that tech, our goal is that it will allow you to choose an item appropriate to your class, you’ll equip that, and it will update your character properly. So you won’t have the Mordor situation where you come out after having used the Valar and not having the appropriate legendaries for your class.

MMOC: Well, we had Third Agers, but you had to spend a lot of time to build those up, and there’s still a lot of things on the back-end that you had to go back and do, like you get your rep for hunter ports, your warden ports, some of those class deeds [Ed note: I meant class trait points] tied into the Rohan questlines. Is there going to be an update to the older Valars by any chance, or just the new one?

Ciccolini: Not for Minas Tirith.

Snook: Minas Morgul.

(laughter)

Ciccolini: Yeah. Minas Morgul, but we’ll examine that in the future when we look back on those.

MMOC: There has been a similar sort of request from the roleplayers and the tourists of our community, a Valar thing or a tourist thing where they can just go wander the landscape but not interact with it. They can’t fight mobs, they can’t get loot, they just want to go look around because they are completely in love with the detached admin camera because they love it and want to throw money at you to be able to use it. Professor Corey is an ardent supporter of this notion as you might imagine. Is something like that possibly in the works?

Ciccolini: We’re concerned that people will use that to get around certain exploring tasks, and so we want to approach that very carefully, so that players aren’t able to use that in ways that we don’t intend.

Snook: I think there would be some probably not insignificant technical challenges to consider and work through if we were going to bring something like that…

Ciccolini: We certainly don’t have the capability of doing it in a manner that would be safe for the players to have a detached camera just itself, and so something would have to be attached to a ghostly character as they roamed around or a character that was immune and those have ways of exploiting that we have to be very careful on.

MMOC: And you touched on Legendary Items for just a few moments, and one of the things that you spoke on in our last interview was how you were very much concerned that players don’t waste the investment they’ve already placed into their LIs as is. So with this upgrade, or this new Valar coming through with Minas Morgul, is there going to be an overhaul of the general LIs system keeping in line with what’s coming with the Valar?

Ciccolini: We’re looking into ways to make the current legendaries better and the experience better without completely revamping them. The legendaries are very complicated because as you know there are two paths. The scrolls that you use to empower them mean two different things depending on where you are in your progress. The scrolls are used for one thing, and after imbuement, the scrolls are used for another thing. So rewriting that and putting in a new system, while it can be appealing to a designer who wants to freshly design something from the ground up, also has the capability, who has the chance of making the players who have put a lot of work into it feel like we’ve pulled something away from them? So we want to be very careful. So for now what we want to do is until at least until we are past the expansion is make the experience better so you don’t feel as if you have to go do as much old content…

MMOC: Speaking of Minas Tirith, that’s the way most people get their scrolls of empowerment, they grind Minas Tirith dailies and they’re like “Why am I grinding 105 content on my 120 when I should be doing current content and getting the same if not more…”

Ciccolini: So one of our goals is to make the ability to pursue that with current content.

MMOC: Since it’s a frequently asked question, what’s in store for our PvMPers?

Ciccolini: Once we’re past… step one: balance the classes. So Vastin, Jesse [King], has been doing a lot of work on classes, so until we have a decent class balance in terms of that, doing work on PvMP is difficult at best, because what do you balance? Do you balance against old school burglar, do you balance for the old school guardian or somewhere in between? So, once we get through that and have a better baseline, and then we’re past the expansion and then we can start looking at where is PvMP in total, where should it be, and we’ll have a better idea about balance and bringing them up to speed with the current level limits as well.

MMOC: Now I understand that Vastin is in the throes of finalizing the Captain changes, they were currently on Bullroarer the past couple of weeks. I understand that update is going live [this] week?

Snook: Yes, I believe so, barring any last-minute thing. The release notes have been out and all that, I’m pretty sure that’s…

Ciccolini: It will be the continuation of the Vales of Anduin.

MMOC: Okay. One thing we mentioned last time around is that you were considering maybe some adjustments to the VIP perks that’s come up occasionally, folks were feeling they were paying their 15 bucks or whatever and they’re feeling that they’re not getting enough value. Has there been any updates to things you might be doing to add a little more to that?

Ciccolini: We’ve been looking at it. It’s hard to come up with perks that a: players don’t already have and b: would find value with, so right now we’re trying to get through Minas Morgul first before we sort of examine that. One of the values would be access to the legendary servers. The legendary server is only VIP, but we’re always looking for ways to add value to that for the players on the main servers as well.

MMOC: Speaking of the legendary servers to kind of round it up here, Rohan is coming up early next year, I believe?

Ciccolini: Yep.

Snook: Something like that, yeah.

MMOC: Something like that. There are a couple of things that folks are very interested in seeing… what the Rohan housing is going to look like and they also want a stable they can display their mounts in?

Ciccolini: Yep.

MMOC: Can you give us any tidbits about the tentative plans?

Ciccolini: Our tentative plan is to have some sort of Rohan housing for that update. When Rohan comes out, we’d like to do that, hopefully… we’re planning for it to align, hopefully it will align. But it might be that Rohan housing follows it a bit depending on what it is. Obviously we don’t want to derail the engine heading into that. What we’d like to do, what we sort of have on our list is tech that would allow you to display your favorite mounts in terms of that. But dynamic housing items are a big tech ask, so you want to be careful that we don’t overpromise because as it goes in, one, we want to make sure that it happens, but two, so as you move through the world, one of the interesting and cool things about LotRO is that the land blocks load dynamically. So we want to make sure we don’t add tech that as you go in, it causes lag, because as the land block of your house loads in dynamically, it’s doing too much work to churn into those blocks.

MMOC: Yeah, I’ve walked into some of the Belfalas housing during the contests and whatnot and I had to wait for 10 seconds for it to load and have my character move and not look like she was gliding.

Ciccolini: So as we’re looking at the tech, it’s not only can we get it working, it’s also that we have to try to do load-balancing, which is very difficult, because we don’t get proper load-balancing on the test server because you simply can’t get the amount of players all loading into housing at the same time. Not only do the players going into housing have that lag, but other people who are sharing that server would also feel that, so we want to be very careful there. Behind the scenes, we’re constantly looking for ways to better performance.

MMOC: Yeah, the 64-bit client has been immensely helpful. A lot of people have been reporting… I mean, there have obviously been issues with some folks, but the overall experience with the 64-bit has been a positive one.

Ciccolini: Now that we fixed the floating point math bug that was put in to work around an operating system at the time. Yeah, it’s much better.

MMOC: Okay, so one final ask with regards to the new expansion. Since we’re getting a new race of dwarves, are we going to get some new mounts, like, say, I don’t know… war goats?

Ciccolini: The mount situation for the dwarves is something that we’re still working on. Art is doing that, I don’t want to make any promises or surprises.

MMOC: Aww, gosh darn it. All right, any final bits of information you’d like to give us?

Ciccolini: Nope?

Snook: I don’t know, you said earlier about the dwarven headbutt thing. All I want to say about that is that you headbutt a thousand things on LotROstream, and then all of a sudden people associate you with a headbutting dwarf.

Ciccolini: One of the interesting things about talking LotRO is there’s so much I can’t talk about that I’m excited about because it would spoil the story. There are things I would love to talk about that people won’t see until this week that will tie into future plans, and so I have to be careful that I don’t step on the story because…

MMOC: [SSG loremaster] Chris Pierson will teleport next to you and give you the Chris Pierson stare of doom.

Ciccolini: So sometimes it’s hard for me to hold back and not talk about some of the cool stuff that’s coming because I don’t want to spoil anyone.

MMOC: Yeah, I’m fine with no story spoilers, but I just like to know the stuff behind… what’s around the story, but sometimes they’re tied too closely together. I understand.

Snook: I could just quick mention here since I’m the community manager for LotRO, we recently debuted some public event titles, community focused event titles. So if you are hearing this and are putting together a housing contest, concert, play, or event, hit me up on the LotRO forums and I can help get you some pretty cool stuff.

MMOC: Sounds good, sounds good. Thank you very much for your time, Rob, Jerry, Quentin.

Snook: Thanks!

Cantor: Thank you.

Ciccolini: Thank you.

MMOC: Have a great rest of your GenCon.

Ciccolini: You too!

 

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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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