Fans of LOTRO’s PvMP have been clamoring for information of what’s coming down the pike. There was some initial speculation of one new PvMP zone for Mines of Moria and that there would be some way (destiny points?) to level creeps to the new level cap of 60. However…
Mines of Moria will auto-level all creeps to 60, so for awhile the ‘moors will be a little unbalanced again as the freeps play catch-up. No new PvMP zone will be in the game for Moria’s launch, though all bets are off for anything Turbine adds in content updates. Personally, I’m betting on no new zones until at least the second expansion. The Ettenmoors will be seeing a bit of a revamp, though.
First, a new population monitoring system will be added to the Ettenmoors. It will constantly monitor the population of creeps vs. freeps, and the underpopulated side will receive buffs. No word yet if the buffs will scale dynamically — that would rock! — or are standard hard-coded buffs.
Second, a new CTF-style game play mode will be introduced. Each keep will also contain an Artifact. Stealing an artifact from the enemy and bringing it back to your keep will apply additional buffs for everyone on your side. This could lead to some interesting game play changes down the road. Artifact runs. Perhaps even two raids, one to retrieve the artifact for buffs, the other to capture the keep once the buff has been applied?
Third, a change to how the Delving of Fror raid is accessed. Currently, one side must occupy at least two of the three keeps to enter the Delving. Moria will change this to using the hot spots to flip the Delving entrances rather than keeps. Flipping a hot spot camp is easier than taking a keep but there are more of them to watch, and more chances the enemy could send a raid down after you. This sounds interesting, but I’m concerned that if we’re seeking the artifacts for buffs and flipping camps for the Delving raid, will owning a keep itself lose importance? Unless only one keep can hold one artifact, and each artifact has its own unique buff, so owning all three keeps equals three additional buffs for your side?
What does the future hold? Many of us, of course, are looking forward to taking our creeps to other locations. Some open world PvMP even. I’ve said several times that I could envision having open world PvMP zones in later expansions when the Fellowship is getting closer to Mordor and the armies of Sauron are on the march, but never entering the current “world” of Eriador because that won’t fit the lore or the timeline of the Eriador game. In the pre-Moria game, most of Eriador is unaware that war is coming; that Sauron has returned and is sending his armies of destruction toward them. So I absolutely agree with no open PvMP in Eriador.
Critics of my statements often say such things as (quoted from a recent forum thread) “There will never be open PvP in LOTRO mate. That’s absolute. There will be new PvP zones and content, that’s for sure, but there are no plans for open PvP. It can’t be implemented at any level as it would detract from what LOTRO set out to be in the first place, the ultimate PvE experience.”
Never. Absolute. It can’t be implemented. Those are very certain and matter-of-fact phrases, and I’m inclined to recall the adage “never say never.”
LOTRO was absolutely intended as a PvE game, and while we often hear about PvP being an afterthought, in LOTRO that actually is the case. PvMP came very late to the table before launch so there was at least some PvP in the game to attract those players. Open PvMP makes no sense in the current Eriador chronology of the game, and would detract from what both LotR and LOTRO are about. However I do not feel having open conflict would detract at all — in fact could even enhance the experience if done correctly — later as we’re adventuring and fighting beyond the Misty Mountains towards Mordor. Many of LOTRO’s developers are fans of Dark Age of Camelot, so here’s hoping they’re paying attention to WAR as well and will adapt ideas to promote the enjoyment of the conflict, teamwork, and loyalty (for lack of a better term) to your side in the war.
Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel seems to agree with my point of view and addresses both sides of the argument with the following quotes:
What you see in Monster Play is the tip of the iceberg. Now that we’re moving across the Misty Mountains into the place where war is really happening in Middle Earth, it opens up a lot of possibilities. One can imagine that by the time you get to Minas Tirith, you want battles to be happening there, and you don’t want it to be an army of NPCs against a bunch of players, you want players to be able to battle against each other.
But, it’s really important that players know that at the end of the day we believe that this is a world game, a PvE game, the best of its kind. We’re not going to do anything to destroy that in any way. The story is always going to be predominant. But I think there’s a way to weave the two together when we get to the more martial parts of Middle Earth. Also, the launch in Asia exposes us to a lot of players who really, really, really love Monster Play and want more of it.
We always said that when we got across the Misty Mountains and into parts of Eregion that are a little more war-oriented that there are going to be lots of opportunities with the PvMP side of the game. This is all setting the stage for plans that Turbine has in store for the future.
Never say never, indeed…