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  1. #176
    Quote Originally Posted by Valather89 View Post
    Any insight on what is that small lake doing in there? I remember we could see that place briefly when Scenario took one of his big leaps during his casual stroll through Yondershire, too.

    It's probably nothing, just them using that place as a testing ground. Still, it made me curious. After all, we still don't know where were they going to take Avorthal if we hadn't rescued him in Kheledûl, do we?

    Just some food for thought, even if there are many more urgent places to visit.

    The In-game Terrain-Map plugin shows that looking less as a lake and more as what was probably the Lune River at some point, at least to me. I guess it could possibly be a really long lake, but while its not green textured around it, it doesn't look like anything much has been done with it. My guess is its just an artifact of landscape building in both Evendim and Yondershire. But i'd be happy to be wrong.

  2. #177
    Quote Originally Posted by Feral_Yoda View Post
    The In-game Terrain-Map plugin shows that looking less as a lake and more as what was probably the Lune River at some point, at least to me. I guess it could possibly be a really long lake, but while its not green textured around it, it doesn't look like anything much has been done with it. My guess is its just an artifact of landscape building in both Evendim and Yondershire. But i'd be happy to be wrong.
    Yeah. Though I'd have to say that, at least, Yondershire's entrance to the game ought to make the lands between Forochel, Ered Luin, and Evendim another good "fill-in-the-gaps" project for later on

    Plus we know the River Lune eventually pops into Forochel near Zigilgund, where Dourhands are in those Icereave Mines. So, it would be worth solving the mystery of where they wanted to take Avorthal.

    There is 1 little spot missing named Frostbluff / Winterhome, *smiles.* I think that, too, deserves to become part of the larger game-world and not merely as a festival area for one season a year only, and it is located in northern Ered Luin over the mountains from Forochel. So, yeah, I'd totally hope for that in the future, and I'd also want them to revisit their Forochel landscaping.

    I mean, I enjoy the narrow ice canyons between the entry point into Forochel and the Bay, but it would also be nice to just crack-open those ice fields above them and make the whole zone as contiguous as possible, and I'd also say to take the Arthedain ruins part of it that's in one of the newer instances and make that area part of the wider game-world also. I'd also want some ice trails leading to northern Emyn Uial from the direct north to show how the Gauredain were able to get from their hunting grounds to Evendim more directly and so forth; lots of fun possibilities for how they could revisit those northern lands in northeastern Eriador someday

    Cheers!
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  3. #178
    I want to echo everyone else and say that I love this thread! I love exploring Middle Earth and imagining what's going to come next; it's one of my favorite parts of playing LOTRO. I've posted here and there about my ideas about the future of the game world, but those posts have never gotten much traction, so I mostly keep my speculation to myself. It's nice to find my people.

    And I want to thank Garan, too! The terrain map is the only LOTRO plugin I use, and it's the one I can't go without. I've spent an embarrassing amount of time poring over the map, lol.
    A vote for Saruman is a vote for progress! Vote today!

  4. #179
    Quote Originally Posted by Valather89 View Post
    Any insight on what is that small lake doing in there? I remember we could see that place briefly when Scenario took one of his big leaps during his casual stroll through Yondershire, too.

    It's probably nothing, just them using that place as a testing ground. Still, it made me curious. After all, we still don't know where were they going to take Avorthal if we hadn't rescued him in Kheledûl, do we?

    Just some food for thought, even if there are many more urgent places to visit.
    If you look at that area on the in-game terrain map, it actually looks more like a broad river than a lake; it stretches northeast, following the line of the mountains west of Lake Evendim until the map cuts off. I don't know what to make of it, but I've noticed it too.

    I imagine we'll probably get this area eventually; I kind of think of it as the Lhun Valley. I envision both this and a Northern Ered Luin zone. I'd like to see a zone connecting up these two hypothetical zones with Forochel, too. It would be nice to have an alternate route to Forochel, and it would help explain why Zigilgund exists as a dwarven outpost in one of the most isolated parts of Forochel. As we know, though, the devs are as burned out on dorfs as the rest of us, so I imagine all three potential zones are a ways off.
    A vote for Saruman is a vote for progress! Vote today!

  5. #180
    Quote Originally Posted by Valather89 View Post
    Any insight on what is that small lake doing in there? I remember we could see that place briefly when Scenario took one of his big leaps during his casual stroll through Yondershire, too.

    It's probably nothing, just them using that place as a testing ground. Still, it made me curious. After all, we still don't know where were they going to take Avorthal if we hadn't rescued him in Kheledûl, do we?

    Just some food for thought, even if there are many more urgent places to visit.


    A current view of the lake.

  6. #181
    I've argued in this thread that the areas east of the Gwathlo and west of the Gwathlo would likely be released separately, but I'm beginning to change my mind on that.

    I've been playing going through the quests on Yondershire and I've been struck by how much landscape there is in this area that's relatively untouched by quests. The quests in Yondershire mostly take place in the four hobbit villages and the five sets of ruins, but there are large tracts of landscape between these locations that seem to exist just as empty space between more "interesting" places. There are trees, hills, mobs, but there's not actually anything to do in these spaces. The clearest example of this is Foxden Heath, which seems to exist only to form a connection to Little Delving, but I'm also thinking about the space between Tham Amothir and Lhungobel. I'm thinking about how few quests take place around the Old Links. I'm thinking about how much bigger the North Moors are than they need to be, and how much longer the road between Nobottle and Long Cleeve is than it needs to be. To some extent, Yondershire needs to be large because it's an attempt to connect several different preexisting locations. Even so, it feels bigger than it needs to be and less densely utilized than much of the rest of the game has been.

    I've been watching some of Scenario's Casual Stroll videos over the last few days. In the three or four videos I've watched, he's talked a lot about how, since returning to LOTRO a few years ago, he's been attempting to leverage their technology to find ways to design landscape more quickly. They haven't had much opportunity to put that into practice in recent years. Gundabad is a complicated interior space. the Wells of Langflood, Vales of Anduin, and Morgul Vale are long, narrow spaces with well-defined borders. The Wildwood and the Angle are spaces that exist between spaces. The Yondershire may reflect a new approach toward landscape, one that uses technology and the techniques Scenario has been experimenting with to build large regions with landscape that doesn't have to be utilized for any purpose in particular, that can simply exist to be lovely and provide stunning vistas and connect more interesting locations and make the world feel larger and more realistic. And vast, relatively empty spaces of southern Eriador would be a perfect places to have a grand experiment with this approach to landscape design.

    So I'm more open than I was a few days ago to the idea that everything between Eregion and the Brandywine will be released at once. It would be an ambitious undertaking, but I think it may be more realistic than I thought it was at first.

    I'm also starting to have a hunch that this area could be intended for the 50-60 level range. Players have been asking for an alternative to Moria for a long time, after all. Eregion is a level 45-50ish area, the Angle is around level 45, and between the Wildwood and the ruins in the Weather Hills, there's a surprising amount of level 50 content around Bree already. I think I even remember there being some level 50ish content in the Barrow Downs. So I think it would be very easy to feed players questing in Eregion, the Angle, and the area of Bree into a level 50ish Minhiriath/Cardolan/whatever they would call it, allow them to level themselves to level 60ish here, and then spit them out in Enedwaith so they can use that as a bridge to Dunland. It would, indeed, be a more natural flow than sending players through Moria to Mirkwood for a few levels and then calling them back to Eriador.
    A vote for Saruman is a vote for progress! Vote today!

  7. #182
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    I have the feeling the devs are overly affectionate about Moria and want players to quest there by force, but as it happened also with Rohan and the lack of alternatives... well simply that, players don't much like being funneled in one path without branches. This would be perfect for a 50-55 zone, it would give players a choice, finish the later Moria zones or at 55 then one can start questing in Lorien (yes Lorien quests are lvl 60 but they can be picked up at 55).

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  8. #183
    So I've just watched the Casual Stroll through Bree-land stream on youtube (which was really interesting, as always)... and Scenario's answer to someone asking about the possibility of the gate at Andrath opening up ("I don't know what you're talking about, ask one of the guards" or something like that, basically) was suspiciously and funnily elusive. Raninia was very vague on another interview but he said something along the lines of (not a literal quote) "look at what we did with yondershire to find out what we're doing next", which I personally took as "another long-pending and long-requested connection between zones".

    So at this point, between those little moments and all the screenshots you've shared and all the recently reported bugs, I'm on board with us getting that connection between Breeland and Enedwaith in a single update.

  9. #184
    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    I've argued in this thread that the areas east of the Gwathlo and west of the Gwathlo would likely be released separately, but I'm beginning to change my mind on that.

    I've been playing going through the quests on Yondershire and I've been struck by how much landscape there is in this area that's relatively untouched by quests. The quests in Yondershire mostly take place in the four hobbit villages and the five sets of ruins, but there are large tracts of landscape between these locations that seem to exist just as empty space between more "interesting" places. There are trees, hills, mobs, but there's not actually anything to do in these spaces. The clearest example of this is Foxden Heath, which seems to exist only to form a connection to Little Delving, but I'm also thinking about the space between Tham Amothir and Lhungobel. I'm thinking about how few quests take place around the Old Links. I'm thinking about how much bigger the North Moors are than they need to be, and how much longer the road between Nobottle and Long Cleeve is than it needs to be. To some extent, Yondershire needs to be large because it's an attempt to connect several different preexisting locations. Even so, it feels bigger than it needs to be and less densely utilized than much of the rest of the game has been.

    I've been watching some of Scenario's Casual Stroll videos over the last few days. In the three or four videos I've watched, he's talked a lot about how, since returning to LOTRO a few years ago, he's been attempting to leverage their technology to find ways to design landscape more quickly. They haven't had much opportunity to put that into practice in recent years. Gundabad is a complicated interior space. the Wells of Langflood, Vales of Anduin, and Morgul Vale are long, narrow spaces with well-defined borders. The Wildwood and the Angle are spaces that exist between spaces. The Yondershire may reflect a new approach toward landscape, one that uses technology and the techniques Scenario has been experimenting with to build large regions with landscape that doesn't have to be utilized for any purpose in particular, that can simply exist to be lovely and provide stunning vistas and connect more interesting locations and make the world feel larger and more realistic. And vast, relatively empty spaces of southern Eriador would be a perfect places to have a grand experiment with this approach to landscape design.

    So I'm more open than I was a few days ago to the idea that everything between Eregion and the Brandywine will be released at once. It would be an ambitious undertaking, but I think it may be more realistic than I thought it was at first.

    I'm also starting to have a hunch that this area could be intended for the 50-60 level range. Players have been asking for an alternative to Moria for a long time, after all. Eregion is a level 45-50ish area, the Angle is around level 45, and between the Wildwood and the ruins in the Weather Hills, there's a surprising amount of level 50 content around Bree already. I think I even remember there being some level 50ish content in the Barrow Downs. So I think it would be very easy to feed players questing in Eregion, the Angle, and the area of Bree into a level 50ish Minhiriath/Cardolan/whatever they would call it, allow them to level themselves to level 60ish here, and then spit them out in Enedwaith so they can use that as a bridge to Dunland. It would, indeed, be a more natural flow than sending players through Moria to Mirkwood for a few levels and then calling them back to Eriador.
    Welcome to the Dark Side - we have cooler outfits, by the way Hehehe

    Yes, I definitely want to re-listen to the Yondershire and watch the Bree-land Casual Stroll streams I also looked on Terrain-Map more closely at Gundabad's under-hill vs. over-hill.

    Car Bronach was the first place, I think, that Scenario employed the new tech for landscape development. It is worth noting that the Welkin-lofts and Car Bronach both are, combined, larger than the underground Mount Gundabad space.

    Cheers!
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  10. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    Minhiriath/Cardolan/whatever they would call it, allow them to level themselves to level 60ish here, and then spit them out in Enedwaith so they can use that as a bridge to Dunland. It would, indeed, be a more natural flow than sending players through Moria to Mirkwood for a few levels and then calling them back to Eriador.
    How would THAT work in terms of epic story though, I wonder? Alts are all good but let's not forget the game design resolves around the story needs as well

    Anyway, it's been a *while* since we had an actual story progression (our hobbits and co in Minas Tirith if we talk books, more of Mordor After Fall matters if we talk SSG's main plot). Gundabad dealt only with the Hrimil loose end so it was kind of a detour, and it hasn't even dealt completely with Angmar remnants. So I would welcome something on level cap that delivers in story department. Unless they're doing both at once so the zone is actually lower level alternative for alts but we do get new content/locations in this zone that are on level cap as well and possibly the journey back to Shire AT LAST? But somehow I doubt this is all gonna happen at once



    Quote Originally Posted by miriadel View Post
    I have the feeling the devs are overly affectionate about Moria and want players to quest there by force, but as it happened also with Rohan and the lack of alternatives... well simply that, players don't much like being funneled in one path without branches.
    and same here - story reasons exist too. I like Eriador and how open it is so you can basically choose your path more often but at the same time the Epic story was kind of disjointed compared to nowadays chapters - it takes a REALLY long time to properly kick off (with Amarthiel/Mordirith/Mordrambor trinity) and stop doing so many of little goose chase side distractions including Dourhounds / Skorgrim intrigue which, as cool as it was, was pretty much cut short at Gabilazan and Dourhands just forgotten mostly. Near 50 practically is where it gets real focused and story-driven, so at the old cap. With Rohan and Moria, for example, even though it may not be immediately obvious because the story was different/more limited (because mostly nerding over the book details and the journey in the footsteps of the fellowship) - it was actually more streamlined with things always amounting to the next thing and building towards the next thing.

    Now, not saying Eriador and its story were bad game design since it made sense due to 1) it being a starting region so gotta take things slow and 2) lots of filling in the gaps while trying to uncover the Angmar threat in a region of Middle-earth that offers lots of variety with lots of different inhabitants and unconsolidated factions/city states/villages/lots of Arnorian ruins too, so more open format and lots of disjointed distractions made sense too. I loved it. Also, I wouldn't object if they tried to recreate that format again elsewhere if geographical and story elements align, but many of the more consolidated places and kingdoms really benefit from the more streamlined design that we had over the years, also easier for devs to release new content and pour their effort into a consolidated story progression within set geographical bounds rather than apply 'branching off' of zone/lvl range game design everywhere



    Ah yes, about that new map generation technique - Car Bronach really felt a bit different, though something bad I did notice was more of the unbelievably traversable terrain that you can walk on (textured with that rocky layer that in older areas usually meant 'you shall not pass'), sometimes I can just climb an overly steep mountain without a hassle... so like it's something I should be climbing but I am actually walking on it with my legs almost mid-air because the terrain is more in front of me than it is under my legs. I guess their tools are more automatic now, not everything needs to be done by hand, or maybe they can cover bigger ground now when applying some commands. Either way, this seems to be the downside of this, but if they double check afterwards and correct by hand - certainly a great toolkit for the future. I imagine it can be very useful to turn Harad or perhaps even Rhun into spaces even larger than Rohan. Harad in particular would be amazing if we can get like... vast distances of desert sands and they don't even house a single quest, maybe just something to discover amongst the sands for a deed

  11. #186
    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    How would THAT work in terms of epic story though, I wonder? Alts are all good but let's not forget the game design resolves around the story needs as well

    Anyway, it's been a *while* since we had an actual story progression (our hobbits and co in Minas Tirith if we talk books, more of Mordor After Fall matters if we talk SSG's main plot). Gundabad dealt only with the Hrimil loose end so it was kind of a detour, and it hasn't even dealt completely with Angmar remnants. So I would welcome something on level cap that delivers in story department. Unless they're doing both at once so the zone is actually lower level alternative for alts but we do get new content/locations in this zone that are on level cap as well and possibly the journey back to Shire AT LAST? But somehow I doubt this is all gonna happen at once.
    Potential SPOILERS below for those who haven't quested through all main content up to cap:



    When it comes to the story . . . I have a feeling we can do some deductions on where we will be going - albeit broader deductions. There is an apparent home of the Orcs in the farther north somewhere referred to in Gundabad during the quest infiltrating the Hob-goblins base in the Stonejaws, and so that direction could take the form of a Forodwaith zone or of, perhaps, an extension beyond the Withered Heath / north of Iron Hills. I'd actually like for them to round-off the Lonely Mountain where you could ride all around it as with Mount Doom, but anyways, that's neither here nor there.

    The real clue is the idea that the new areas for this year are "a break" from "the gloom and doom," as I loosely paraphrase- often repeated by Scenario in the livestreams. So, that tells me that:

    A- This new Swanfleet area obviously won't be part of the main story any more than Yondershire was.
    B- It also tells me that a return to the "Homeward Bound" chapter, while possible per Garan's terrainmap revelations of potentially new Glittering Caves versions, may not necessarily be on the immediate radar. I would guess that the return to the Shire would involve some phasing, likely to a level-cap version of a messed-up Shire or something along those lines - but they don't seem to be in any particular rush to do that (*which would explain why we got Yondershire instead, which I think seals the deal that we won't be getting into the South Farthing for some time, unless they make a lower-level version of it; think on this: they might be doing this Eriador stuff to help prepare for the Scouring later, setting up the Shire story-threads that later quests would get into). But again, they don't seem to be in a particular hurry to get us back on Bagshot Row.
    C- Which means that I predict the direct will either be East, North, or South. North - in pursuit of a certain enemy who escaped Gundabad; East- perhaps in pursuit of the dragon Thostir, etc., and/or to the calamity afflicting Rhun (*which may be the same thing), with Middle Mirkwood / Fields of Celduin / Barding-Lands as the "pathing zones on the way there," or southward through Harondor.

    They could also decide to just start a new area discontinuously; Strongholds of the North was once a detached land-mass that was slowly built-out to connect to the rest of the game-world via Vales of Anduin, and they could do the same with any region.

    From Scenario's words in his Yondershire livestream, as I paraphrase, it looks like Lindon isn't on the horizon for the near-future. I'd say Far Gondor, while possible, is in a similar boat. I could be totally wrong, of course. But I'd have to guess we have a chance of the storyline returning in either Middle Mirkwood, Harondor, Forodwaith, or somewhere very disconnected from the current map for the next main storyline level-cap region following Yondershire and Swanfleet. The North route also feels a little less likely at the moment due that many, including the Devs, are sick of Dwarven content.

    So, if I had to absolutely guess, it would be in the Rhovanion, Gondor, or Mordor directions. Nurn is an area of Mordor we haven't visited, so that's also very possible.

    My hope is that the Story Dev's are busy plotting the next "Epic" following Legacy of Durin and that they are working out the details carefully while the Team broadly focuses on expanding Eriador, which would make perfect sense. Whatever the new Main Story will be, it'll involve multiple region updates and potentially more than 1 expansion, so I can imagine that would take a ton of time to thoroughly explore and plot-out well. Whatever they come up with, all I can hope is that it's worth the wait; it usually is

    Cheers!
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  12. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post

    A- This new Swanfleet area obviously won't be part of the main story any more than Yondershire was.

    B- It also tells me that a return to the "Homeward Bound" chapter, while possible per Garan's terrainmap revelations of potentially new Glittering Caves versions, may not necessarily be on the immediate radar.
    As I said elsewhere, not a fan of delaying things (including the journey back to Shire and Aragorn's to Annuminas) because VERY soon, if not already, the events will start to feel artificial. Some of the hobbits were like on the road trip to Mordor already but that was at least within the confounds of their stay in Gondor and Gondor itself was involved with Mordor so was acceptable/fun. But War of the Three Peaks was kind of a stretch. Anything more that's as significant and outshining the actual fall of Sauron supposed to be that big, giant threat during the books... would become The Stretch - and I don't want this world/storyline to feel stretched like butter spread on too much bread you know... especially that there is nothing wrong with good balance and taking care of things that simply need to be done. Like, if they want to write amazing original stories 'After the Fall' that cause global troubles of quite some significance with cool villains (and I'm all for it) they really need that balance now - which means taking us at least to the Scouring... but Grey Havens and end of the Third Age wouldn't be a bad idea really. There are still plenty of characters to hold on to, other than Frodo or even Gandalf. Back in the day Angmar threat worked because it was ever so gentle feeling in the gaps that hasn't affected much other than Eriador noose and crannies, Iron Garrison was pretty much fan fiction but that justification was simply unavoidable if we wanted to venture into the place but hey, Gimli had more important task but the story actually had him react to the fact and express his sentiment, but now we have things like the Great Evil being defeated everyone carefree in MT and Gimli doesn't even care about the Reclamation of Gundabad, THE ANCESTRAL HOME OF THE DWARVES. I mean... yeah, a stretch, the next stop would be The Stretch, all lines crossed, and looking like they're inserting their fan fiction where it simply doesn't belong rather than do what they've been always doing which was being extremely careful to the best of their ability and do things however things fit best in the story (not merely what sells best, and that entire 'uh oh, we're not in hurry for the Scouring and Grey Havens' sounds awfully lot like that because they're afraid players would just leave or something which is stupid - if that's true anyway that that's their approach and not a conspiracy theory mostly).


    That being said, my hopes are maybe they'll redeem themselves pretty soon and Gundabad was the last such overreaching 'stretch' situation. I did say I don't believe they would actually release the entire Homeward Bound all at once, and - as I would rather believe - it is going to be a slow process of different updates which means even more waiting for more original, juicy stuff from the loose ends list but that's fine, duties first! Either way, as I imagined it, there is a possibility that Swanfleet and Royal Road (if that entire area is released all at once) maybe just a prelude to the journey back home but we'll manage to scout it before Frodo even packs his backpack literally. Either way, this would mean the area is on the cap allowing for the story to continue, moving the wheels in motion (so we don't freaking get to Rhun and Harad madness and threats BEFORE we deal with that chapter first, so at least Saruman is dealt with and Eriador at peace probably, which qualifies as "peace followed" at least in Gondorian history books, then we leave the juicy trouble for more isolated, far away areas). Also, with this area being an actual part of the on-cap story there would be opportunity for NPC interactions with Gandalf, Aragorn and others in Minas Tirith or elsewhere that sheds some light on some of the lingering questions, matters left behind in Mordor and so forth, rather than sweep it all away under a mattres for another 4+ years just because they're afraid to begin THAT journey and want to take their time to fill in the gaps of Eriador. Because why not do both? Like some others on the forum mentioned, there might be both older and new threats in and around Tharbad Aragorn might be interested in, perhaps they may weave some of their lingering stories around it too, like make Drugoth come there from Gundabad, have some of the Angmarim remnants involved again around Eriador, maybe even have one of the remaining Gurzul suddenly show up, so we have at least some of that new juicy stuff to explore while dealing with the book material and filling in the gaps. Well, that would be my hope at least... because...



    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    North - in pursuit of a certain enemy who escaped Gundabad;

    The North route also feels a little less likely at the moment due that many, including the Devs, are sick of Dwarven content.
    Not sure if there would be dwarves there because I guess they don't even need to follow, could be like a solo excursion of our character maybe, that would be cool. But North/close Forodwaith/Forodwaith doesn't exactly feel like it would be "less gloomy" anyway...

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    East- perhaps in pursuit of the dragon Thostir, etc., and/or to the calamity afflicting Rhun (*which may be the same thing), with Middle Mirkwood / Fields of Celduin / Barding-Lands as the "pathing zones on the way there," or southward through Harondor.
    Rhun/Harad direction evidently need new assets and animations and well... many new stuff... so... waaay off their radar probably, probably the big juicy something that they need to put away for last (and tie it to the Fourth Age and some of the Aragorn's early military excursions into the regions) but at the same time already plan for it/create some assets for it in the meanwhile, think about it in general and plan for it rather than just suddenly decide one day they go to the East because they're 'tired of green and hobbits' but end result will be lots of rehashed assets again - but this time in a place they'll obsoletely and completely NOT belong to so very immersion breaking.

    Btw, I don't think it's the same thing, since we've heard some Zhelruka talk about the calamity and "things worse than dragons" so hmm, intriguing stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    They could also decide to just start a new area discontinuously; Strongholds of the North was once a detached land-mass that was slowly built-out to connect to the rest of the game-world via Vales of Anduin, and they could do the same with any region.
    In theory, yes, in practice... I really can't think of any such place left that would be a good candidate though? Well, except the Lindon direction, but that's not a separate area since it would connect to Ered Luin and the rest. Strongholds of the North and the Vales were like THAT LAST missing chunk of what constitutes "Free Peoples" who battled Sauron, as in iconic places of quite some relevance in the Tolkien's works.



    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    So, if I had to absolutely guess, it would be in the Rhovanion, Gondor, or Mordor directions. Nurn is an area of Mordor we haven't visited, so that's also very possible.

    Like you said Far Anfalas, while on the table, doesn't seem that relevant right now to justify the journey, anything in Rhovanion but not North (but North is gloom) would be building up towards Rhun already so I would rule that out

    In light of what I mentioned about The Stretch and Journey Home/death of Saruman/The Big Fall of Bad Sauron/Third Age to Fourth Age issue... I would say Nurn makes the most sense, since maybe it allows us to deal with some plot threads left in Mordor, maybe deal with Borangos for example and whatever crazy plan he came up with in Mount Doom, but don't really deal with all of Mordor yet, so it's more like we just began freeing Nurnoths, not yet complete take over by Gondor, all of that left for later closer to the End of the Hobbits' journey and after Saruman's death. But since Nurn is evidently "doom and gloom" - I'm out of ideas (unless something being literally a slave labor hub for farmlands of Mordor's armies doesn't count as 'gloom' because look up, you can actually see a sun! :P). So I give up, I don't even attempt to guess what's the next direction gonna be, and I'm still being hopeful they won't alleviate the entire Stretch situation, so for now at least I'm counting on that Swanfleet/long, slow journey back home with our char dealing with all sorts of special ops tasks on the way. Beyond that... a blank space, no idea really!

    Unless... Journey Home is indeed in the works but will be used in the following way which buys them more time: 1) the very stretched but still acceptable (that doesn't really contribute to The Stretch) scouting/packing of backpacks/all sorts of stuff, starting with Swanfleet and then revisiting of Rohan, perhaps even taking us to West March. But hobbits will linger in Rohan proper... for a while. Perhaps some distractions on the way. And if that's enough time to take a break from Doom and Gloom... 2) They're still in Rohan but Aragorn thinks we should check out how are things in Nurn because he recently send some battalions there lol Also, Gandalf mentions the watching-stone from Thuringwath and shares what he learnt from it which has something to do with Nurn maybe. Swift travelling scout to the rescue, the heavy story follows 3) Once that is resolved, we come back to the hobbits, and continue to the Scouring, hopefully without another break this time
    Last edited by TesalionLortus; May 21 2022 at 06:20 AM.

  13. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion
    ... while possible per Garan's terrainmap revelations of potentially new Glittering Caves versions
    I think there might be some confusion about my comment on Glittering Caves. It had nothing to do with new or potential future development. I was commenting on the fact that the map I had added to MoorMap (not TerrainMap) did not account for the fact that there have been two versions of the Glittering Caves for many years now, not anything 'new' or future. Both versions have existed for a very long time, it's just that the epic battles version and the quest version are slightly different versions and use different coordinates and thus needed separate maps in MoorMap. So, don't let my comments get your hopes up for another visit to Glittering Caves in the near future because that was not at all what I was referring to.

    Bearing that in mind, please continue...

  14. #189
    Quote Originally Posted by Valather89 View Post
    So I've just watched the Casual Stroll through Bree-land stream on youtube (which was really interesting, as always)... and Scenario's answer to someone asking about the possibility of the gate at Andrath opening up ("I don't know what you're talking about, ask one of the guards" or something like that, basically) was suspiciously and funnily elusive. Raninia was very vague on another interview but he said something along the lines of (not a literal quote) "look at what we did with yondershire to find out what we're doing next", which I personally took as "another long-pending and long-requested connection between zones".

    So at this point, between those little moments and all the screenshots you've shared and all the recently reported bugs, I'm on board with us getting that connection between Breeland and Enedwaith in a single update.
    I noticed Scenario's coyness about Andrath as well, lol. I think there may have also been some additional landscape development south of the Bree-Lands, so it's looking increasingly likely to me that we'll be getting this entire chunk of landscape all at once. Which is pretty awesome.

    Quote Originally Posted by miriadel View Post
    I have the feeling the devs are overly affectionate about Moria and want players to quest there by force, but as it happened also with Rohan and the lack of alternatives... well simply that, players don't much like being funneled in one path without branches. This would be perfect for a 50-55 zone, it would give players a choice, finish the later Moria zones or at 55 then one can start questing in Lorien (yes Lorien quests are lvl 60 but they can be picked up at 55).
    I'm not sure if the reason that we don't have an alternative to Moria is necessarily that the devs want to force us to go there. I think it was probably just developed at a time when it didn't occur to the developers to make an alternative 50-60 area. I think the Wildwood is the first time we've ever gotten a significant chunk of landscape that hasn't been at the level cap, so the idea of going back and providing an alternative to Moria wouldn't really have made sense given Turbine's/SSG's approach to the game before the last year or so. Now that we have the Wildwood, the Angle, and Yondershire, though, I think it's much more likely that we'll get an alternative to Moria at some point.

    I think I'm actually starting to think that the devs might be planning to build out southern Eriador as an alternative levelling path, with Minhiriath/the South Downs/the Swanfleet as an alternative 50-60 zone, and perhaps a connecting zone that covers the 60-65 or 60-70 level range, feeding into another area after that.

    I remember a recentish interview--"recentish" as in sometime over the last couple of years--where someone at SSG said, in response to a question about going to Rhun, Khand, and/or Harad, that they wanted to finish filling out Tolkien's map first. That fits what we've seen recently; the focus seems to be on Eriador at the moment, and I think there's a good chance that the devs will continue to focus on areas in and near Eriador for a while. I get the sense that the devs have felt constrained by the path of the fellowship, the War of the Ring, and the War of the Three Peaks, and that they want to tell a less focused story for a while, one that allows them to visit all the places we've missed on the way to Mordor.

    The endgame is at an odd crossroads; it's not clear when we'll get new endgame content and where we'll go when we do get that content. On the one hand, it makes sense for SSG to focus on the lower-level experience right now. There's an influx of players right now, drawn by all the free content we've just gotten; we're likely to see a lot of new players when the Amazon series airs as well. There's a danger that endgame players become restless, though; and while SSG might be able to release some instances, raids, and mission content alongside any lower-level areas, we're eventually going to want to see more endgame regions and a continuation of the epic storyline.

    As for where the endgame goes next, it really feels like it could go in any direction from here. We have plot threads that could lead us to Rhun, Harad, and Forodwaith. There's still a lot of Mordor that we haven't seen yet. I still don't think it's out of the question that the South Downs/Swanfleet area could end up being an endgame area; if so, I imagine the story would continue south from there. I can also very easily imagine us visiting Anfalas and then beginning a journey northwest from there until we connect up with Eriador; this would continue the task of building out Tolkien's map, and it would sort of parallel the return of the hobbits to the Shire.

    One other possibility to throw out: with the Amazon series coming out, I wonder if we could see more Tales of Yore coming our way. A Second Age version of somewhere like Eregion could be interesting. Or, even more tantalizing: I wonder if the Tales of Yore concept could allow us to visit Numenor before its fall. They'd have to be very careful not to stray into works they don't have the rights to, but it has to be an idea that's at least crossed their minds, right?

    And of course there's the question of when and how we'll resume the epic storyline. Right now, we're frozen in time in the summer of 2019. The advantage of freezing time here is that the fellowship gets to stay together in Gondor. With our focus shifting back to Eriador, this would be an ideal time for the hobbits to return to the Shire and experience the Scouring. There are some downsides to telling this story; it pulls the fellowship out of Minas Tirith, it locks the hobbits up in the Shire, and it removes Saruman from the board completely. We'll have a two-year pause in the storyline at that point, though, which gives SSG a lot of time to tell stories about our further adventures, which Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas could still pop in and out of. And after that, of course, the last big event from the books would be Frodo, Bilbo, Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond leaving for Valinor; I'm not sure there would be any urgency to tell that story, though.

    Just some meandering thoughts, lol.
    A vote for Saruman is a vote for progress! Vote today!

  15. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    A- This new Swanfleet area obviously won't be part of the main story any more than Yondershire was.
    Yondershire does, however, have a nice little quest line about the trouble brewing on the bounds of the Shire, which could be expanded further into the epic story. Even if the on-level landscape quests in these areas aren't part of an epic book, Volume V might eventually make its way through these areas as a cap level (or level ambiguous?) future update following the Hobbits as they return to the Shire to find out about you-know-what.
    Arda Shrugged - Elendilstone / Landroval / Anor

  16. #191
    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    As I said elsewhere, not a fan of delaying things (including the journey back to Shire and Aragorn's to Annuminas) because VERY soon, if not already, the events will start to feel artificial. Some of the hobbits were like on the road trip to Mordor already but that was at least within the confounds of their stay in Gondor and Gondor itself was involved with Mordor so was acceptable/fun. But War of the Three Peaks was kind of a stretch. Anything more that's as significant and outshining the actual fall of Sauron supposed to be that big, giant threat during the books... would become The Stretch - and I don't want this world/storyline to feel stretched like butter spread on too much bread you know... especially that there is nothing wrong with good balance and taking care of things that simply need to be done. Like, if they want to write amazing original stories 'After the Fall' that cause global troubles of quite some significance with cool villains (and I'm all for it) they really need that balance now - which means taking us at least to the Scouring... but Grey Havens and end of the Third Age wouldn't be a bad idea really. There are still plenty of characters to hold on to, other than Frodo or even Gandalf. Back in the day Angmar threat worked because it was ever so gentle feeling in the gaps that hasn't affected much other than Eriador noose and crannies, Iron Garrison was pretty much fan fiction but that justification was simply unavoidable if we wanted to venture into the place but hey, Gimli had more important task but the story actually had him react to the fact and express his sentiment, but now we have things like the Great Evil being defeated everyone carefree in MT and Gimli doesn't even care about the Reclamation of Gundabad, THE ANCESTRAL HOME OF THE DWARVES. I mean... yeah, a stretch, the next stop would be The Stretch, all lines crossed, and looking like they're inserting their fan fiction where it simply doesn't belong rather than do what they've been always doing which was being extremely careful to the best of their ability and do things however things fit best in the story (not merely what sells best, and that entire 'uh oh, we're not in hurry for the Scouring and Grey Havens' sounds awfully lot like that because they're afraid players would just leave or something which is stupid - if that's true anyway that that's their approach and not a conspiracy theory mostly).
    They do seem to have that concern about the Grey Havens. But like them, and I may be in the minority: I'm not really in a rush to send the Hobbits home. Yeah, with the time-line, it is a stretch as they have hit "the Pause Button." But I actually - like - that. I'm not into this whole premise of rushing Frodo home as, actually, he'll be around in the Shire in about 2 years of story-time before he heads off to the West anyway. I actually hope they'd treat "Homeward Bound" as they did the Midsummer Festival: something that players can just do whenever they want to, hopefully at the level cap and not at a lower level, and which could be more of a "return tour" smaller update as it really wouldn't involve new landscape or terrain, save perhaps the South Farthing.

    I also think it would be very bad to have a South Farthing that's a level cap area literally right next to the Shire as a starter-area. The whole point of Eriador is: "this is a relatively safe area to travel in if you are levels 1 - 50." I wouldn't want this violated by any stretch. It would be waaaaay too easy for someone to get 1-shot by accident, and it really wouldn't make much sense.

    I'd rather have a lower-level South Farthing that covers Lotho's doings with the pipeweed business and how he got entangled with "Sharkey" in the first place. That would make for an interesting tale, and it would prelude the Scouring. Similarly, as with Blood of Azog, I'd say that the Scouring versions of the Shire, which ought to include Yondershire and the South Farthing, would need to be it's own "instanced" area you'd need a clicky-item to get into. It shouldn't really be something anyone could just wander into.

    I also think that.......... the whole point of the Scouring is that the Hobbits save themselves. Not even Gandalf helps them. So, they might need to pull another "Stormhammer" as they did with Blood of Azog where you "become" a witness for the story, maybe arriving in the Shire - after - the fact and learning about what happened. That way, it wouldn't be as if this grand super-hero just showed up and squashed the ruffians, which would violate the Lore completely. A character who has fought Thaurlach, Thorog, Etterfang, Hrimil, and the Masters of Mordor has no business helping Hobbits fight for their own land, as our player-characters are frankly too OP now in comparison.

    So, they'd need a more subtle way of showing the Scouring so it isn't just "our characters showing up and saving the day" like Marvel superheroes. That doesn't happen in the Lore- and so, it really shouldn't in-game, at least not in the direct "here we go into the Shire with Frodo and company" sense.


    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    That being said, my hopes are maybe they'll redeem themselves pretty soon and Gundabad was the last such overreaching 'stretch' situation. I did say I don't believe they would actually release the entire Homeward Bound all at once, and - as I would rather believe - it is going to be a slow process of different updates which means even more waiting for more original, juicy stuff from the loose ends list but that's fine, duties first! Either way, as I imagined it, there is a possibility that Swanfleet and Royal Road (if that entire area is released all at once) maybe just a prelude to the journey back home but we'll manage to scout it before Frodo even packs his backpack literally. Either way, this would mean the area is on the cap allowing for the story to continue, moving the wheels in motion (so we don't freaking get to Rhun and Harad madness and threats BEFORE we deal with that chapter first, so at least Saruman is dealt with and Eriador at peace probably, which qualifies as "peace followed" at least in Gondorian history books, then we leave the juicy trouble for more isolated, far away areas). Also, with this area being an actual part of the on-cap story there would be opportunity for NPC interactions with Gandalf, Aragorn and others in Minas Tirith or elsewhere that sheds some light on some of the lingering questions, matters left behind in Mordor and so forth, rather than sweep it all away under a mattres for another 4+ years just because they're afraid to begin THAT journey and want to take their time to fill in the gaps of Eriador. Because why not do both? Like some others on the forum mentioned, there might be both older and new threats in and around Tharbad Aragorn might be interested in, perhaps they may weave some of their lingering stories around it too, like make Drugoth come there from Gundabad, have some of the Angmarim remnants involved again around Eriador, maybe even have one of the remaining Gurzul suddenly show up, so we have at least some of that new juicy stuff to explore while dealing with the book material and filling in the gaps. Well, that would be my hope at least... because...
    I didn't quite see it as a stretch / overreaching. It was their way of retelling the story of "The Hobbit" in a late Third Age context, which I ultimately ended up loving (*though I do have some Dwarf fatigue too!). I - loved - some of the plot twists in Legacy of Durin, and I especially loved the idea of this as answering both the Sixth War of Dwarves and Orcs - AND - the Battle of Five Armies, including a Smaug-esque dragon (Hrimil) and all that awesomeness! It was a good respite from Gondor and the darker Mordor stuff.

    You see, I have a secret: The Pause Button or, as you put it, the Stretch, has been a necessary fixture of this game forever and anon since it started. Our characters, as you've mentioned with Volume I's slower progression, ran around Eriador so many times the Fellowship would've been in Gondor by the time we compared the stuff we did vs. Tolkien's timeline realistically.

    There are 2 truths that make this game work, and they are necessary lore-violations:

    A- The map-scale is truncated for playability.
    B- The time-line is truncated or overly-expanded for playability.

    These are operative to how the game has always worked as a video game. I might mention the business of going all over Moria and Mirkwood and Dol Guldor and somehow magically gathering the whole Grey Company, getting all the way to Isengard, and then the real magic trick: somehow doing all of Great River and reaching Amon Hen after going all the way north and around through Lothlorien........... between the Battle of the Fords of Isen and arriving on the same day Boromir died. In the Lore, that's literally less than 24 hours, and we magically did all this stuff - like months of stuff - in between those 2 Lore events.

    The same goes for all the stuff we do in Gondor (*the Black Gate, realistically speaking, would've happened already before we even left DA on Tolkien's time-line), and Mordor got very crazy: months upon months upon months of Tolkien timeline's-worth back-and-forth and so on, then all the way up to Erebor and Grey Mts and all the way down to Minas Morgul and all the way up to Gundabad.

    This is comparable to when the Fellowship was resting in Rivendell while we were running willy-nilly over Eriador multiple times, only this time they are resting in Minas Tirith.

    TBH: the difference between us on this is that I'm perfectly ok with it- I've long since accepted that I must neglect Tolkien's timeline in order to enjoy the tales the game is telling; otherwise, I'd be hair-splitting my way to madness! hehehehe


    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    Not sure if there would be dwarves there because I guess they don't even need to follow, could be like a solo excursion of our character maybe, that would be cool. But North/close Forodwaith/Forodwaith doesn't exactly feel like it would be "less gloomy" anyway...
    Oh, it's only that the "hook" came in Gundabad, so it may or may not involve Dwarves. My point about the "gloomy" is that the Eriador stuff is the "break" from that sort of thing, according to the Devs. So, this would mean that more "gloomy" areas are coming after this Eriador stuff, and they probably would be level-cap - my deduction here.


    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    Rhun/Harad direction evidently need new assets and animations and well... many new stuff... so... waaay off their radar probably, probably the big juicy something that they need to put away for last (and tie it to the Fourth Age and some of the Aragorn's early military excursions into the regions) but at the same time already plan for it/create some assets for it in the meanwhile, think about it in general and plan for it rather than just suddenly decide one day they go to the East because they're 'tired of green and hobbits' but end result will be lots of rehashed assets again - but this time in a place they'll obsoletely and completely NOT belong to so very immersion breaking.

    Btw, I don't think it's the same thing, since we've heard some Zhelruka talk about the calamity and "things worse than dragons" so hmm, intriguing stuff
    Good points! They do need some new assets for this so that Harad isn't a huge Barandalf with Rhun a larger Iron Hills. Thank you- I had forgotten that line about the "things worse than dragons" - so it's clearly something important we'll get to eventually



    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    In theory, yes, in practice... I really can't think of any such place left that would be a good candidate though? Well, except the Lindon direction, but that's not a separate area since it would connect to Ered Luin and the rest. Strongholds of the North and the Vales were like THAT LAST missing chunk of what constitutes "Free Peoples" who battled Sauron, as in iconic places of quite some relevance in the Tolkien's works.

    I was thinking of Umbar, Rhun, or Harad, or even Khand, or East Mordor- but you were right to mention that they'd need new assets ready above. My initial thought was, say for example, if we hypothetically say they make the necessary assets first, they could in theory plop a new area out in Rhun or something and gradually build the landscape back toward the existing regions, as they did with Strongholds of the North, etc. But, you're right: they'd need the assets first. Umbar might be the tamest and the easier one to do, as well as Harondor, since those assets might mirror some of Central Gondor's and the like, and they could get creative combining some of their Angmarim stuff, their Gondor wooden housing, etc., and concoct Umbar from it if they want to, along with some of the Lake-Town assets. It's not that far-off of a possibility, and at least, Umbar's coasts would probably be more Mediterranean and closer to what Gondor's shores look like.



    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    Like you said Far Anfalas, while on the table, doesn't seem that relevant right now to justify the journey, anything in Rhovanion but not North (but North is gloom) would be building up towards Rhun already so I would rule that out
    Yep- Strongholds and Iron Hills are already building up toward Rhun- and they certainly have the assets to tackle Middle Mirkwood / the East Bight / Fields of Celduin / and the Barding-lands. Tolkien actually described Rhun as a lot of grassy steppes and rolling plains with kine and horses (*Boromir's horn came from there), and so, something between the Iron-Fold and Rohan's assets actually wouldn't be far off the mark.

    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    In light of what I mentioned about The Stretch and Journey Home/death of Saruman/The Big Fall of Bad Sauron/Third Age to Fourth Age issue... I would say Nurn makes the most sense, since maybe it allows us to deal with some plot threads left in Mordor, maybe deal with Borangos for example and whatever crazy plan he came up with in Mount Doom, but don't really deal with all of Mordor yet, so it's more like we just began freeing Nurnoths, not yet complete take over by Gondor, all of that left for later closer to the End of the Hobbits' journey and after Saruman's death. But since Nurn is evidently "doom and gloom" - I'm out of ideas (unless something being literally a slave labor hub for farmlands of Mordor's armies doesn't count as 'gloom' because look up, you can actually see a sun! :P). So I give up, I don't even attempt to guess what's the next direction gonna be, and I'm still being hopeful they won't alleviate the entire Stretch situation, so for now at least I'm counting on that Swanfleet/long, slow journey back home with our char dealing with all sorts of special ops tasks on the way. Beyond that... a blank space, no idea really!
    Yeah, I think you may have misread my point on the "doom and gloom"- it's that they probably plan to head back to that sort of thing following their "Eriador vacation" sort to speak.

    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    Unless... Journey Home is indeed in the works but will be used in the following way which buys them more time: 1) the very stretched but still acceptable (that doesn't really contribute to The Stretch) scouting/packing of backpacks/all sorts of stuff, starting with Swanfleet and then revisiting of Rohan, perhaps even taking us to West March. But hobbits will linger in Rohan proper... for a while. Perhaps some distractions on the way. And if that's enough time to take a break from Doom and Gloom... 2) They're still in Rohan but Aragorn thinks we should check out how are things in Nurn because he recently send some battalions there lol Also, Gandalf mentions the watching-stone from Thuringwath and shares what he learnt from it which has something to do with Nurn maybe. Swift travelling scout to the rescue, the heavy story follows 3) Once that is resolved, we come back to the hobbits, and continue to the Scouring, hopefully without another break this time
    Sure- let's agree to disagree then Here's the thing. To my mind, the idea of going all the way back to the Shire and then sling-shotting out toward some far, far place doesn't make much sense. The War of the Ring ends on the doorstep of Bag End. I'd much rather have dealt with all the lingering Masters of Mordor prior to that ending; "Sharkey" should be the absolute last, at least to me. Also, High Elves have to sail West, and since High Elves are player characters, it would be anachronistic for us to reach the Fourth Age in-game. This is why we did Durin's reclamation of Gundabad as the last major Dwarven storyline instead of his FA reclamation of Moria.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garan View Post
    I think there might be some confusion about my comment on Glittering Caves. It had nothing to do with new or potential future development. I was commenting on the fact that the map I had added to MoorMap (not TerrainMap) did not account for the fact that there have been two versions of the Glittering Caves for many years now, not anything 'new' or future. Both versions have existed for a very long time, it's just that the epic battles version and the quest version are slightly different versions and use different coordinates and thus needed separate maps in MoorMap. So, don't let my comments get your hopes up for another visit to Glittering Caves in the near future because that was not at all what I was referring to.

    Bearing that in mind, please continue...
    Thank you, so, so, so much for this clarification Garan- you're right, I was confused! It is well received and well taken, and I apologize for saying stuff that wasn't strictly true. Please know I'm one of your avid fans- thanks so much for your awesome terrain-map work!

    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    I remember a recentish interview--"recentish" as in sometime over the last couple of years--where someone at SSG said, in response to a question about going to Rhun, Khand, and/or Harad, that they wanted to finish filling out Tolkien's map first. That fits what we've seen recently; the focus seems to be on Eriador at the moment, and I think there's a good chance that the devs will continue to focus on areas in and near Eriador for a while. I get the sense that the devs have felt constrained by the path of the fellowship, the War of the Ring, and the War of the Three Peaks, and that they want to tell a less focused story for a while, one that allows them to visit all the places we've missed on the way to Mordor.

    The endgame is at an odd crossroads; it's not clear when we'll get new endgame content and where we'll go when we do get that content. On the one hand, it makes sense for SSG to focus on the lower-level experience right now. There's an influx of players right now, drawn by all the free content we've just gotten; we're likely to see a lot of new players when the Amazon series airs as well. There's a danger that endgame players become restless, though; and while SSG might be able to release some instances, raids, and mission content alongside any lower-level areas, we're eventually going to want to see more endgame regions and a continuation of the epic storyline.
    Agreed! Though I hope we'll get something end-game oriented in the late Fall / Winter- they do need to keep both parts of their player-base happy! I do hope for some sort of a "Tales of Yore Eregion," perhaps centered on Narmelleth as a major NPC / protagonist for the region? Delving deeper into Volume 1 is a really good way for them to stay focused on telling their own unique tales for that time in the game-lore.

    Quote Originally Posted by gildhur View Post
    Yondershire does, however, have a nice little quest line about the trouble brewing on the bounds of the Shire, which could be expanded further into the epic story. Even if the on-level landscape quests in these areas aren't part of an epic book, Volume V might eventually make its way through these areas as a cap level (or level ambiguous?) future update following the Hobbits as they return to the Shire to find out about you-know-what.
    True- though they might have a sectioned-off, Scouring version of these areas a la Blood of Azog, etc.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Phantion; May 21 2022 at 05:30 PM.
    Landrovel Player; I am Phantion on the forums only and do not have a corresponding avatar in-game with that name on any server. Cheers! :)

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  17. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    Umbar might be the tamest and the easier one to do, as well as Harondor, since those assets might mirror some of Central Gondor's and the like, and they could get creative combining some of their Angmarim stuff, their Gondor wooden housing, etc., and concoct Umbar from it if they want to, along with some of the Lake-Town assets. It's not that far-off of a possibility, and at least, Umbar's coasts would probably be more Mediterranean and closer to what Gondor's shores look like.
    Maybe. Though I would rather have them cook up something new entirely since Umbar may have close ties to Harad (maybe?) and that already means some impressive Harad assets may be needed. But I can see how Gondor/Osgiliath assets may be reused here, thats for certain. And yeah... it's actually a possibility that we'll sail to Umbar on a ship or something like that, maybe as an envoy to check things out... who knows, or maybe they even introduce Naval Combat in the future :P Or just Naval 'Steed' :P Which would be that dream opportunity to allow us to sail on all the rivers too, in little boats or something, that would be cool


    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    I actually hope they'd treat "Homeward Bound" as they did the Midsummer Festival: something that players can just do whenever they want to
    Please, NO. I accept Midsummer festival and it's alright way of handling the wedding and turning it into that giant celebration which also allows us to have a lively, decorated version of Minas Tirith available to everyone rather than just the under siege or in-repair versions. BUT... it's one of the most confusing and messed up examples of the timeline shenanigans up to date, way too much and completely disjointed from the chronology - I don't mean Tolkien's chronology but LOTRO's own chronology! All things have balance. Being wise means to know your limits and where NOT to overdo. Cheering for more of something like this in places that clearly don't need it you're basically saying you would gladly throw the game's storyline and internal chronology completely out the window just because. That being said, never said it can't be available to everyone, if someone wants to pick that questline specifically from Midsummer MT - 'everyone' meaning everyone who is able to at least travel through Rohan and Dunland, that's only logical. Or should we do all content doable for all lvl1 chars now, just because? Pick it whenever you want, no need for chronology? 'Equality for all'?


    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    I also think it would be very bad to have a South Farthing that's a level cap area literally right next to the Shire as a starter-area.
    I'd rather have a lower-level South Farthing that covers Lotho's doings with the pipeweed business and how he got entangled with "Sharkey" in the first place. That would make for an interesting tale, and it would prelude the Scouring.
    I agree!

    Never said we need a level cap South Farthing. Only that I hoped Swanfleet/Cardolan/Royal Road may be lvl cap or at least partially lvl cap. Assuming that South of Lonelands isn't really connected with it - so with the mountain wall in-between - it wouldn't really be an actual part of the 'safe-zone' of Eriador - but barricaded by a giant half-orc camp in Breeland with a single, little way in (which wouldn't be much different from Misty Mountains-The Vales connection), accessible through questless noose and crannies from Eastern Lonelands' border and the Angle, and also connections from Enedwaith, maybe Eregion?, but not really as interconnected as some other parts of Eriador. But time will tell.



    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    Similarly, as with Blood of Azog, I'd say that the Scouring versions of the Shire, which ought to include Yondershire and the South Farthing, would need to be it's own "instanced" area you'd need a clicky-item to get into. It shouldn't really be something anyone could just wander into.

    I also think that.......... the whole point of the Scouring is that the Hobbits save themselves. Not even Gandalf helps them. So, they might need to pull another "Stormhammer"
    That's pretty obvious and almost guaranteed, I would say? Unless they're super lazy and they do the Scouring as a short, anticlimactic session play as Frodo... but their track record doesn't really show laziness such as this so I think we'll be getting the instanced version of the Sharkey's Shire, though whether that involves entire Yondershire and South Farthing can be debatable. But yeah, I agree. Having it as a tale could be the best option. It would even make A LOT MORE SENSE - because even though the entire point was the hobbits save themselves which is why Tolkien wrote it like this and Gandalf/Aragorn just disappear from the picture without much of an excuse (which in a sense may seem cruel, I get the 'have every confidence in the brave hobbits that they've become' but it's still kind of cruel/ignorant if we take a closer look in a more realistic way!). So I think this might be a great way to take our character with Gandalf and Aragorn wherever they go next (instead of just having us slay brigands in Shire) and show they've been busy with some pretty important matters of their own, perhaps something to do with Angmar and even a bigger potential threat than Saruman's little 'revolution' in the Shire. Which can allow them to delay the Scouring in a way that's not forced - we're simply not there, and then, when they finally want to do that, we'll hear the retelling, which is fitting. But yes, let them go home and let us travel with Aragorn to Annuminas which means Saruman is out of the picture and - the War of the Ring ended! At least that. That would be a lot!





    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    with the time-line, it is a stretch as they have hit "the Pause Button."

    I didn't quite see it as a stretch / overreaching.

    You see, I have a secret: The Pause Button or, as you put it, the Stretch, has been a necessary fixture of this game forever and anon since it started.

    B- The time-line is truncated or overly-expanded for playability.

    TBH: the difference between us on this is that I'm perfectly ok with it- I've long since accepted that I must neglect Tolkien's timeline in order to enjoy the tales the game is telling; otherwise, I'd be hair-splitting my way to madness! hehehehe

    These are operative to how the game has always worked as a video game.
    No, you don't get it, this is NOT how the game always worked. I called it The Stretch precisely for this reason that this is NOT a Pause Button you're talking about. The Pause Button only stops or freezes time, also opens a portal for us so we can get to places on time and be, seemingly, everywhere at all times. The Retelling is fine too, this means we're only hearing the story of the past or future/fantasy - like that trick Denethor has pulled on us which allowed us to play through MT siege on the defense. The Stretch, however, inserts a VERY ORIGINAL event in a place on the timeline that seems pretty inappropriate/less believable at this period since this outshine some other canon things which then will create all sorts of chronology problems in terms of characters referencing/or not referencing said event and so on. If allowed to grow might vastly hinder/confuse/mess up immersion and this is something else entirely. I can accept a Pause Button and Quick Travel, they make sense in a game format. But I can't accept/condom/enjoy completely messed up chronology with the devs doing and telling whatever they want in whatever place at whatever time with terrible consequences to world integrity and its chronology. Now, THAT'S what the Three Peaks has gravitated towards and what I wish doesn't become a new norm.


    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    I might mention the business of going all over Moria and Mirkwood and Dol Guldor and somehow magically gathering the whole Grey Company, getting all the way to Isengard, and then the real magic trick: somehow doing all of Great River and reaching Amon Hen after going all the way north and around through Lothlorien........... between the Battle of the Fords of Isen and arriving on the same day Boromir died. In the Lore, that's literally less than 24 hours, and we magically did all this stuff - like months of stuff - in between those 2 Lore events.

    The same goes for all the stuff we do in Gondor (*the Black Gate, realistically speaking, would've happened already before we even left DA on Tolkien's time-line), and Mordor got very crazy: months upon months upon months of Tolkien timeline's-worth back-and-forth and so on, then all the way up to Erebor and Grey Mts and all the way down to Minas Morgul and all the way up to Gundabad.

    This is comparable to when the Fellowship was resting in Rivendell while we were running willy-nilly over Eriador multiple times, only this time they are resting in Minas Tirith.
    All in proper chronological canonically-feasible order, with new original events well-balanced and not outshining War of the Ring/Sauron, not to mention - no new war being introduced here! See the difference yet? Also, the progress of the fellowship on their quest was slow but steady, all the time we've been moving forward a tiny bit and even if we were paused long enough - such as Rivendell - things that would make Frodo's quest look pretty insignificant all of a sudden (because someone else who isn't in the books wants to usurp the Dark Lord's title in the area, for example) never happened. But this is just one of all sorts of examples that could be made to illustrate the point - in other words, the timeline was paused but events proceeded naturally and there was never an event in the middle that seemed totally and completely off like it doesn't belong or feels super contradictory to world integrity how Tolkien intended it. The Stretch, on the other hand, tries to delay certain Tolkien things and stretch them too extensively and then put that completely new out-of-a-hat, brand new theme/war/focus before its appropriate time on the timeline, just because they want to have it quicker or something like that. Gundabad is kind of like... if you put Draigoch in Hrimil's shoes and had it stroll through Rohan with his drake horde battling with the Rohan cavalry while Saruman just gently sits in his tower awaiting his turn 'on pause' and not even aware of it apparently... plus we wait some 5-6 years to continue our journey in the footsteps of the fellowship and finally see Boromir's death session play and split up of the fellowship. A bit drastic example but yeah, something like that. It destroys immersion, plain and simple, and bad for chronology of events/characterization etc. Gundabad isn't even what I would call The full on Stretch yet - more like a worrisome jump towards such 'methodology.' But some others may be more hurtful if they will keep delaying the Scouring/then Fourth Age and keep doing that sort of thing more often with future content








    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    The War of the Ring ends on the doorstep of Bag End. I'd much rather have dealt with all the lingering Masters of Mordor prior to that ending; "Sharkey" should be the absolute last, at least to me.
    Nah, no. Masters of Mordor are more likely to be described as survivors of War of the Ring, not those who are still engaged in it. It sounds like you're closing your mind off in some kind of limitation that shouldn't be there nor has the factual, lore basis to exist. That's exactly the point: War of the Ring ends in Bag End, with Saruman slain, both because Tolkien needed it that way for symbolic value and because Frodo/our hobbits/Saruman are pretty much main players in said war. It is fitting that the war ends at Bag End then, even though technically that wasn't such a great battle but reasons above are why it gets the pass, and well, it should - Frodo was the one to destroy the Ring (well technically Gollum, but still . Before that, the biggest events of the WAR are, in order, the collapse of Barad-dur, the victory at Erebor/Dale and destruction of Dol Guldur. In Mordor expansion Aragorn *did* sent his armies to secure Mordor in the meanwhile, which does make sense, but those were like smaller excursions not worth the mention from the Western standpoint and the Gurzyul armies mostly battled it out with each others - not interested in beating up the good guys to honor Sauron, only interested to secure what's left. Same Minas Ithil reclamation, there wasn't really a 'battle' but more like skirmishes and special ops done by the rangers. We still don't know much about it yet but any battles that could have taken place in Gorgoroth were probably smaller ones as well, mostly to secure weakened strongholds (after deaths of their leaders or - in case of Borangos - after he basically left it unattended to search for something at Mount Doom). While clearly original content - this is still good enough to be considered an aftermath military activity within the War of the Ring, but not a brand new chapter in War of the Ring worth significant mention because it doesn't really outshine the actual canon battles of the War. Gundabad War, however, wasn't War of the Ring - but it was a brand new one. Brand new WAR. Not part of the War of the Ring in the slightest. And nobody bats an eye, nothing, not worth the mention, concern? Not worried? That's way different than hitting a pause button, that's messing with my perception of the game's own chronology and characters in it, either making them all dumb or super ignorant. Gundabad has already happened so it's done, okay, but really, there is no need to continue this trend. We can have brand new wars and military campaigns AND keep the chronology clean/sensible/believable - by ending the War of the Ring... If you/they want the Scouring/Saruman saved for last in the overall chronology of entire game - okay, there is a solution I mentioned, make it a retelling at a later date, but officially we'll no longer be in War of the Ring when some of the more juicy original villains and conflicts pop up again.


    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    Also, High Elves have to sail West, and since High Elves are player characters, it would be anachronistic for us to reach the Fourth Age in-game. This is why we did Durin's reclamation of Gundabad as the last major Dwarven storyline instead of his FA reclamation of Moria.
    No one says they have to sail West immediately. They can stay a while longer. There is nothing wrong with Early Fourth Age. I can't even imagine Harad/Umbar as a Third Age? LOL. Seriously that would be super lore breaking and Aragorn has no business going around and reclaiming lands/involving Gondor in another major conflict so early before Third Age is over. And no one said we may never go back to dwarves and do Moria reclamation as well... if the game lasts THAT long, that is! With the way how tremors/and unnamed scary things (perhaps nameless?) were mentioned in relation to Moria's fall... and the entire thing suspiciously sounded as if hordes of orcs came out of all the nooses and crannies in a sudden burst of panic because there were fires spitted out and more terrible things followed... there is even a story hook here with a mystery, so Moria may yet pop up, either due to Throkhar or other stuff. Also, whatever they're planning with Throkhar... definitely Fourth Age material! Because if not that would mean Sauron was just a mere clown not a true effective villain of the Third Age that should be remembered as such and we can't have that - or at least there is no sensible reason to allow for this sort of folly if there is a viable, more sensible way out of it I mentioned



    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    I'm not into this whole premise of rushing Frodo home as, actually, he'll be around in the Shire in about 2 years of story-time before he heads off to the West anyway.
    "rushing" is a bold word here... whereas what I would finally like to see after YEARS is some kind of progress towards it

    Once we finally get to THAT milestone with him staying in the Shire - and we've also dealt with different distractions and filling-in-the-gaps that maybe would make sense in that lore-empty period, such as Anfalas journey - I very much would like if they do a time fast forward for a change... because there would be nothing to gain from those two years 'on hold' but plenty to gain with Fourth Age - we can still be in touch with Sam and other hobbits and see how they're doing, we're pals of the King of Gondor, and Eomer, King of Rohan, also the perfect time to take us in directions such as Umbar because Gondor would be ready for another war and reclamation of their older lands, not to mention all the different loose ends/original threats/other big events that simply are bound to look super off if they're needlessly made part of the Third Age. Let SSG have that one 'off' Gundabad war... but please no more such events. At least they have the Angmar remnants to use - as middle-tier source of remaining conflict and a few crazy powerful sorcerers with nefarious, destructive schemes, but no big armies really - so I ver much hope they use it while we continue on that journey home rather than come up with something of such a great caliber as a new war being fought again (and that obviously rules out Rhun direction too - there are NEW armies seemingly in-the-making in Rhun and the Jungle prophecy mentions a tower, rot, and dreams of vengeance)

  18. #193
    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    I'd rather have a lower-level South Farthing that covers Lotho's doings with the pipeweed business and how he got entangled with "Sharkey" in the first place. That would make for an interesting tale, and it would prelude the Scouring. Similarly, as with Blood of Azog, I'd say that the Scouring versions of the Shire, which ought to include Yondershire and the South Farthing, would need to be it's own "instanced" area you'd need a clicky-item to get into. It shouldn't really be something anyone could just wander into.

    I also think that.......... the whole point of the Scouring is that the Hobbits save themselves. Not even Gandalf helps them. So, they might need to pull another "Stormhammer" as they did with Blood of Azog where you "become" a witness for the story, maybe arriving in the Shire - after - the fact and learning about what happened. That way, it wouldn't be as if this grand super-hero just showed up and squashed the ruffians, which would violate the Lore completely. A character who has fought Thaurlach, Thorog, Etterfang, Hrimil, and the Masters of Mordor has no business helping Hobbits fight for their own land, as our player-characters are frankly too OP now in comparison.

    So, they'd need a more subtle way of showing the Scouring so it isn't just "our characters showing up and saving the day" like Marvel superheroes. That doesn't happen in the Lore- and so, it really shouldn't in-game, at least not in the direct "here we go into the Shire with Frodo and company" sense.
    Until very recently I pictured our version of the Scouring taking place on the main landscape but in the Southfarthing so that we can stay out of Frodo's way, but now I expect what you're describing. I'm expecting us to get a lower-level landscape version of the Southfarthing, perhaps set at an appropriate level so that it can follow up on Yondershire and feed into the Royal Road (totes stealing that name from TesalionLortus because the North-South Road is the feature that would unite this entire region ), and then a level-cap Tales of Yore-type version of the Shire. Maybe we experience it as Marigold Boffin, working with cousin Bingo to frustrate Lotho's plans. That way the devs can scour up the Shire real good but lower-level players also get an unblemished Southfarthing to play around instead of risking wandering into a level-cap zone on the doorstep of Michel Delving. And yes, as TesalionLortus suggests, we experience it after the fact and Gandalf isn't there because we're all busy dealing with some bigger danger somewhere else.

    Side note, an idea that occurred to me a few days ago: I would LOVE to see the setting of Thievery and Mischief and Defense of the Prancing Pony expanded into a full-fledged time-shifted zone. The Bree-Lands are covered in snow; south Bree is held by brigands; the Midgewater Marshes are frozen over; goblins are frolicking in the festival grounds; and we're working out of Adso's Inn, Thornley's finished homestead, and rebuilt Archet and Trestlebridge to free the Bree-Lands and defeat the brigands. We get to experience it as ourselves at level cap, even though we're also supposed to be elsewhere doing other stuff, because time in LOTRO is weird. And I think it would be great to experience the Battle Under the Trees and the Battle of Dale in a similar manner. Maybe we're finally sharing our drink in a tavern with Radanir, sharing war stories and telling him about some of our exploits that he doesn't know about.


    On the subject of advancing the timeline, I think the two real drawbacks of advancing us past the Scouring are that it sequesters the hobbits in the Shire and that they're no longer able to use Saruman. It's easy enough to work the rest of the fellowship into our adventures, so I don't think they're a concern. I don't think it's a big deal for the hobbits to leave Minas Tirith... how much more could SSG do with them in Minas Tirith anyway? I don't think we're going to have Sam and Frodo accompany us to Umbar or anything like that. I don't think there's any major problem with returning them to the Shire. SSG can still probably find little ways to include the hobbits in the game. In fact, I would LOVE to see them show up at the festivals.

    So it may be that they still want to keep Saruman in play; perhaps they've wanted have him get up to something in southern Eriador. Things are happening that may make that a moot issue, though. SSG is starting to fill in southern Eriador now; we're starting to get lower-level content; and Mordor Besieged and the Tales of Yore provide a good blueprint for telling stories in an anachronistic way. Maybe they're either a) starting to tell their big Saruman-in-southern-Eriador story right now or b) giving themselves the freedom to advance the endgame timeline to the Scouring while still keeping Saruman in play by telling stories that aren't syncronized with the endgame timeline.

    So I do think it's time to advance us to the Scouring. I think I would prefer that they pause in the two years after the Scouring rather than have them advance quickly to the departure of the ringbearers, though. The departure of the ringbearers takes too many characters off the table, and I don't think there's any major advantage to doing so. Yes, maybe we could see Aragorn's wars in Rhun and Harad; I think there are other ways to take us to Rhun and Harad, though. I think the Rhun story will center on the blue wizards, the plague, and whatever cataclysmic event occurred there after the ring was destroyed; they've set up tons and tons and tons and tons of story hooks for Rhun, so I don't think we need the added element of Gondor's conquest of Rhun. As for Harad, we could go as peace envoys after the war, or as scouts, or we could go there to deal with Umbar and the Black Numenoreans without being a full-on conquering force.

    The point about needing new assets is a good one. Given their current approach to worldbuilding, I wouldn't expect us to jump straight to Umbar or the Sea of Rhun and work our way gradually back, a la the Strongholds of the North; they seem to want to build a fully contiguous world now. Also, importantly, journeying more graduallly to Rhun and Harad gives them time to introduce new assets gradually, as there would likely be some blending of terrain types and cultural styles in borderland areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    Oh, it's only that the "hook" came in Gundabad, so it may or may not involve Dwarves. My point about the "gloomy" is that the Eriador stuff is the "break" from that sort of thing, according to the Devs. So, this would mean that more "gloomy" areas are coming after this Eriador stuff, and they probably would be level-cap - my deduction here.
    I don't necessarily think that the idea that they're taking a break from creating gloomy content necessarily means that they necessarily have some specific gloomy endgame content in mind. I do think the terrain in Forodwaith would likely be bleak and barren, though, and there seems to be some pretty dark and doom-filled stuff happening in Rhun. And Mordor is, of course, still going to be Mordor. So gloomy stuff is on its way regardless.


    Quote Originally Posted by Phantion View Post
    Agreed! Though I hope we'll get something end-game oriented in the late Fall / Winter- they do need to keep both parts of their player-base happy! I do hope for some sort of a "Tales of Yore Eregion," perhaps centered on Narmelleth as a major NPC / protagonist for the region? Delving deeper into Volume 1 is a really good way for them to stay focused on telling their own unique tales for that time in the game-lore.
    I would definitely like to see some more end-game content soon, both for selfish reasons and because I worry about end-game-focused players getting bored and wandering away from the game. I'll be curious to see how they balance the needs of lower-level players and endgame players moving forward.

    Focusing a Tales of Yore Eregion around Narmalleth is a brilliant idea.
    A vote for Saruman is a vote for progress! Vote today!

  19. #194
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    Content 140

    I just hope next update gives us another 140 area to level up and give some more content. And otherwise do a Woe/Agoroth scenario where a lower level landscape comes with new instances. Endgame has been dragged out to long with to few instances imo and the new areas just don't have it in them to carry 3 months of content.

  20. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    Side note, an idea that occurred to me a few days ago: I would LOVE to see the setting of Thievery and Mischief and Defense of the Prancing Pony expanded into a full-fledged time-shifted zone. The Bree-Lands are covered in snow; south Bree is held by brigands; the Midgewater Marshes are frozen over; goblins are frolicking in the festival grounds; and we're working out of Adso's Inn, Thornley's finished homestead, and rebuilt Archet and Trestlebridge to free the Bree-Lands and defeat the brigands.
    As cool as it sounds, seems like breaking lore a bit no? I would need to take a look at the text of RotK but I don't think there was any indication of full-scale brigand/half-orc invasion of the Breelands, or anything else that could be read like that and used as fill-in-the-blanks mechanism. The hobbits and co arrived at Prancing Pony just fine, all brigands holed up in the Shire, Gandalf/Aragorn maybe smelling something but not seeing any reason that's something the brave hobbits couldn't handle on their own. Meanwhile, putting the two skirmishes in actual chronology at this particular point and having various mobs literally invade Breeland would be like... worrisome and maybe a reason for Aragorn to send a missive to Eomer or Gondor so they come with a visit and help? Like, Aragorn is king after all :P We don't want to make him look like an incompetent one...




    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    So it may be that they still want to keep Saruman in play; perhaps they've wanted have him get up to something in southern Eriador.
    Who knows. If that's something subtle, wherever his involvement might be outside of the Scouring, perhaps, why not. On the other hand... not a fan of the idea. Saruman looked pretty aimless after he lost his power, and even then, if he still had ambitions left to plan something big/nasty once he was done with the Shire (or already planned it before changed his priorities to Shire) we really wouldn't want his influence over other agents of evil look too impressive. After all, the whole deal with half-orcs and brigands was that he was building that entire spy/smuggling network and gaining sympathy of these groups for many many years. That's why it was so easy to just stroll through the Breelands and into Shire and become king of Bag End in a day, though the remaining Voice clearly helps to influence things where they go awry. Now, if he was seen contributing to our mmo mechanics as a threat strolling thought Eriador doing any of the following: meddling with dead spirits, magic in general, commanding some goblin bands, commanding Angmarim remnants, commanding any of the Dunlendings... that would be super off because why wouldn't he just take them all with him to Shire, not to mention immediately invade one of the bigger cities on his path with intention to turn it into a future stronghold which would be already in-the-works while he stays in the Shire waiting for the hobbits to arrive to get his revenge. Also, if his voice is portrayed like it's still THAT reliable to command such violent, unpredictable or magically adept groups (in case of Angmarim) that would turn him into such a big, powerful threat that Gandalf's perception of him and putting the hobbits in such danger without batting an eye would be just Plain Wrong and Unwise


    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    The departure of the ringbearers takes too many characters off the table, and I don't think there's any major advantage to doing so.

    Yes, maybe we could see Aragorn's wars in Rhun and Harad; I think there are other ways to take us to Rhun and Harad, though. I think the Rhun story will center on the blue wizards, the plague, and whatever cataclysmic event occurred there after the ring was destroyed; they've set up tons and tons and tons and tons of story hooks for Rhun, so I don't think we need the added element of Gondor's conquest of Rhun. As for Harad, we could go as peace envoys after the war, or as scouts, or we could go there to deal with Umbar and the Black Numenoreans without being a full-on conquering force.
    With Rhun content I think it's a safe bet that maybe it's already been decided it's inevitably part of Third Age which would make sense since all the wheels been already turned into motion, the cataclysm already happened, Karazgar is on his way, Ayorzen probably already there and busy. The main concern would be to find out what happened and follow in the footsteps of Karazgar/another dragon. This could be a solo excursion, so unlike Three Peaks, and we make allies, like in Dunland. There are clearly lots of different factions there. Though if military is needed, maybe Dale and Iron Hills can lend small support at Gandalf's or maybe Aragorn's request. But what matters is that it would no longer be set within the War of the Ring period - and then it's completely organic by my book, does not outshine anything. Though I would welcome it if it was made part of the Fourth Age as well, at least in some capacity.

    Umbar/Harad however... I don't think so. Unless it's done in two-parts so first we go as envoy only in limited scope and it looks more 'peaceful' map design wise so more like Breelands/Strongolds of the North with lots of safe-space hubs and exploration-oriented questing, so not camps/city streets full of mobs and lots of hostile villages (like Dunland). But for anything bigger in terms of 'scale' of conflict/intrigue that's threatening folks of Gondor - we come back when it's officially a Fourth Age because that's what makes the most sense in terms of military activity between Umbar-Harad-Gondor, a brand new military campaign, perhaps with the first preemptive strike at Umbar with a fleet so they're dealt with but that would evidently spark the cascade of events because clearly not all in Harad are fine with Gondor's ambitions of 'reclamation' and 'restoration' (and even then Far Harad emissaries who were peaceful were received badly and one murdered so who knows what comes of that!). All of that doesn't sound to me like Third Age at all so it definitely needs Fourth Age, sooner or later, to explore it in full with great story hooks.

    As for Grey Havens and the departure of characters - I know they're considered iconic characters but it's not THAT bad, they're MERELY Gandalf (the biggest loss tbh, but we've been already prepped to rely on others/ourselves to delve into mysteries, not just him, besides there is Radagast left!), Frodo, Bilbo, Galadriel, Elrond (the four of whom haven't really contributed much anyway for a while now... perhaps Galadriel seems more useful due to the whole missing Corudan dilemma but still, there is Celeborn so we're covered). So really nothing to invite panic, though I would certainly miss Gandalf as main story NPC. Keeping them for longer than is needed isn't an advantage either, and of course, by the time we're done with the Scouring (and in the period afterwards) there will still be A LOT of time to create content that can make use of those characters before we say goodbye to them. So by that point ANY and ALL advantage to keeping them would have been seized, which makes the Fourth Age a far more interesting, richer prospect in terms of material we could delve into - including the adventures of Legolas and Gimli!
    Last edited by TesalionLortus; May 22 2022 at 07:48 PM.

  21. #196
    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    As cool as it sounds, seems like breaking lore a bit no? I would need to take a look at the text of RotK but I don't think there was any indication of full-scale brigand/half-orc invasion of the Breelands, or anything else that could be read like that and used as fill-in-the-blanks mechanism. The hobbits and co arrived at Prancing Pony just fine, all brigands holed up in the Shire, Gandalf/Aragorn maybe smelling something but not seeing any reason that's something the brave hobbits couldn't handle on their own. Meanwhile, putting the two skirmishes in actual chronology at this particular point and having various mobs literally invade Breeland would be like... worrisome and maybe a reason for Aragorn to send a missive to Eomer or Gondor so they come with a visit and help? Like, Aragorn is king after all :P We don't want to make him look like an incompetent one...
    I checked RotK to see exactly what Butterbur told the fellowship, as I didn't quite remember what he said. Early in 3019, after a heavy snow--around the time the fellowship was passing through Eregion--Harry Goatleaf and Bill Ferny opened the gates of Bree so brigands could come in, and there was a "real set-to" that killed three humans and two hobbits. The people of Bree were able to drive the bandits out of town, after which the brigands retreated to the Chetwood and the area north of town. Bree increased its guard presence significantly after that to keep the bandits out. Butterbur also mentions wolves and "dark shapes in the woods, dreadful things that it makes the blood run cold to think of." The devs have interpreted this as brigands controlling the streets on the south side of Bree and a fight outside the Prancing Pony; I think there's enough there to expand the story just a little bit and make a "January 3019" version of the Bree-Lands.

    As I write this, I realize that, if the Royal Road is a level 50ish region and build out an alternate levelling path through southern Eriador, they wouldn't really even need to do this as a flashback. Since this takes place at around the same time the fellowship is in Eregion, it would take place at around the same time we're level 50. Perhaps the plan is to have us go to the Royal Road, learn a bit more about the brigands and half-orcs--who, after all, came to the Bree-Lands from the south along the North-South road--and realize that, OH NO, BREE'S IN BIG TROUBLE. And so we rush north to save the day. In this case, Bree-Lands Besieged might be, say, a level 60-65 region, but it would fit perfectly into the story at that point. (And, you know, we should probably look into the Shire while we're in Bree, but maybe Radagast shows up and tells us that shenanigans are happening in the south and we get pulled away.)

    And honestly, an alternate levelling path could even have us experience the War of the Ring by going north to protect Lothlorien and Erebor. I just think it's a shame that we missed some of the other interesting events of the War of the Ring because we were busy following the fellowship, and there are ways to allow us to experience those events, either through an alternate levelling path or a Tales of Yore-type scenario where we experience someone else's story or War Stories with Radanir. There are ways to make it work.

    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    Who knows. If that's something subtle, wherever his involvement might be outside of the Scouring, perhaps, why not. On the other hand... not a fan of the idea. Saruman looked pretty aimless after he lost his power, and even then, if he still had ambitions left to plan something big/nasty once he was done with the Shire (or already planned it before changed his priorities to Shire) we really wouldn't want his influence over other agents of evil look too impressive. After all, the whole deal with half-orcs and brigands was that he was building that entire spy/smuggling network and gaining sympathy of these groups for many many years. That's why it was so easy to just stroll through the Breelands and into Shire and become king of Bag End in a day, though the remaining Voice clearly helps to influence things where they go awry. Now, if he was seen contributing to our mmo mechanics as a threat strolling thought Eriador doing any of the following: meddling with dead spirits, magic in general, commanding some goblin bands, commanding Angmarim remnants, commanding any of the Dunlendings... that would be super off because why wouldn't he just take them all with him to Shire, not to mention immediately invade one of the bigger cities on his path with intention to turn it into a future stronghold which would be already in-the-works while he stays in the Shire waiting for the hobbits to arrive to get his revenge. Also, if his voice is portrayed like it's still THAT reliable to command such violent, unpredictable or magically adept groups (in case of Angmarim) that would turn him into such a big, powerful threat that Gandalf's perception of him and putting the hobbits in such danger without batting an eye would be just Plain Wrong and Unwise
    I'm honestly just kind of thinking through reasons that SSG hasn't advanced time to the Scouring yet. In one of Scenario's Casual Stroll videos, which I'm just getting around to watching, I think Scenario mentioned that they were reluctant to advance to the Scouring because it would take several characters off the table, so I was thinking through what that might mean. All that really happens as a result of the Scouring is that the hobbits return to the Shire and Saruman dies. So I was wondering if they still had some plans for Saruman. There's not much happening in southern Eriador, but I was thinking, perhaps they were planning to build up a story around Saruman, since IIRC he travels up the North-South Road to the Shire. I do prefer that they let Saruman be kind of a pathetic figure after the events in Rohan, though. I think a better approach would probably be to use Southern Eriador as an alternate levelling path that takes place when Saruman is still at the height of his power, so Saruman's influence in southern Eriador can still serve as a story hook without betraying the spirit of Saruman's defeat.

    Annnnnnd hey, if Saruman was the big roadblock that was keeping them from being able to advance to the Scouring, then maybe we'll see the Scouring soon. Like... the Royal Road could be a 50-60 zone, but with some scaling missions and an epic book chapter and some instances to keep level-cap players happy; the epic chapter would tell the story of our return to Eriador, in parallel with the fellowship's return. Then--and I'm probably very much in pipe dream territory, but hear me out--we get a Scouring Expansion that covers the Shire, Yondershire, and the Southfarthing, and which also includes a lower-level unscoured Southfarthing. A lot of the landscape work would already be done, so I don't think it's TOO crazy to think.

    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    Umbar/Harad however... I don't think so. Unless it's done in two-parts so first we go as envoy only in limited scope and it looks more 'peaceful' map design wise so more like Breelands/Strongolds of the North with lots of safe-space hubs and exploration-oriented questing, so not camps/city streets full of mobs and lots of hostile villages (like Dunland). But for anything bigger in terms of 'scale' of conflict/intrigue that's threatening folks of Gondor - we come back when it's officially a Fourth Age because that's what makes the most sense in terms of military activity between Umbar-Harad-Gondor, a brand new military campaign, perhaps with the first preemptive strike at Umbar with a fleet so they're dealt with but that would evidently spark the cascade of events because clearly not all in Harad are fine with Gondor's ambitions of 'reclamation' and 'restoration' (and even then Far Harad emissaries who were peaceful were received badly and one murdered so who knows what comes of that!). All of that doesn't sound to me like Third Age at all so it definitely needs Fourth Age, sooner or later, to explore it in full with great story hooks.
    I don't think our adventures in Harad necessarily need to be military adventures. I'm too lazy to look up specifics, but I think Gondor and Harad are officially at the time of the current endgame. Aragorn could send us to Harad to cultivate goodwill among the Haradrim, who are on the whole wary but peaceful. Along with trying to win the trust of the Haradrim by killing ten boars and carrying crates across town, we could encounter pockets of dissent where the Haradrim are still hostile and aggressive toward us, and we could even have to help the Haradrim put down a rebellion led by a faction that's angry about the peace treaty. And naturally, our adventures would draw us to Umbar, where we come not as an invading military force, but as individuals who don't have the power to conquer Umbar, but who do perhaps have the ability to weaken it and deal with some specific threat. The years immediately following the War of the Ring aren't the right time to tell a story of Aragorn's conquest of Umbar, but it would be the right time to tell this kind of story.

    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    As for Grey Havens and the departure of characters - I know they're considered iconic characters but it's not THAT bad, they're MERELY Gandalf (the biggest loss tbh, but we've been already prepped to rely on others/ourselves to delve into mysteries, not just him, besides there is Radagast left!), Frodo, Bilbo, Galadriel, Elrond (the four of whom haven't really contributed much anyway for a while now... perhaps Galadriel seems more useful due to the whole missing Corudan dilemma but still, there is Celeborn so we're covered). So really nothing to invite panic, though I would certainly miss Gandalf as main story NPC. Keeping them for longer than is needed isn't an advantage either, and of course, by the time we're done with the Scouring (and in the period afterwards) there will still be A LOT of time to create content that can make use of those characters before we say goodbye to them. So by that point ANY and ALL advantage to keeping them would have been seized, which makes the Fourth Age a far more interesting, richer prospect in terms of material we could delve into - including the adventures of Legolas and Gimli!
    I think I would personally be okay with advancing past the departure of the ringbearers; I do agree that there are interesting stories to tell in the Fourth Age. I don't think SSG will do this anytime soon, though, for two reasons. One, part of the appeal of LOTRO is getting to interact with the characters from the books, so I think SSG would be reluctant to remove so many characters from play. And two, I get the impression that SSG views the departure of the ringbearers as the end of the game. I recall many statements from various devs to the effect that they hope they don't get to the Grey Havens for a long, long time. I don't think the departure of the ringbearers has to be the end of the game by any means, any more than Mordor and the destruction of the ring was the end of the game, but I do think that SSG feels that way. With that in mind, I think the two years between the Scouring and the departure of the Ringbearers serve as a convenient point to tell our further adventures. The entire game so far has taken place over the course of about nine months, between September of 3018 and midsummer of 3019; so, while it has felt awkward for us to linger in the summer of 3019 for several years, I don't think it would feel awkward for us to linger in the two-year gap. (That said, I do want to see the Grey Havens someday, and I hope SSG realizes they can give us the Grey Havens without also giving us the departure of the fellowship.)
    A vote for Saruman is a vote for progress! Vote today!

  22. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    I checked RotK to see exactly what Butterbur told the fellowship, as I didn't quite remember what he said. Early in 3019, after a heavy snow--around the time the fellowship was passing through Eregion--Harry Goatleaf and Bill Ferny opened the gates of Bree so brigands could come in, and there was a "real set-to" that killed three humans and two hobbits. The people of Bree were able to drive the bandits out of town, after which the brigands retreated to the Chetwood and the area north of town. Bree increased its guard presence significantly after that to keep the bandits out. Butterbur also mentions wolves and "dark shapes in the woods, dreadful things that it makes the blood run cold to think of." The devs have interpreted this as brigands controlling the streets on the south side of Bree and a fight outside the Prancing Pony; I think there's enough there to expand the story just a little bit and make a "January 3019" version of the Bree-Lands.
    Well, haven't thought about it this way, but literally what you said - it doesn't really justify this story at this exact time period when they stay at Princing Pony or are already on their way towards Bree, it would have to be done as a flashback or what you said below, but the Bree visited by the Fellowship and our character prior to the Scouring would be the same we have now, the 'regular' mostly peaceful one. So not sure whether they think it's worth to bother with the potential idea and the confusion of two Breelands existing in Eriador.

    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    As I write this, I realize that, if the Royal Road is a level 50ish region and build out an alternate levelling path through southern Eriador, they wouldn't really even need to do this as a flashback. Since this takes place at around the same time the fellowship is in Eregion, it would take place at around the same time we're level 50. Perhaps the plan is to have us go to the Royal Road, learn a bit more about the brigands and half-orcs--who, after all, came to the Bree-Lands from the south along the North-South road--and realize that, OH NO, BREE'S IN BIG TROUBLE. And so we rush north to save the day. In this case, Bree-Lands Besieged might be, say, a level 60-65 region, but it would fit perfectly into the story at that point. (And, you know, we should probably look into the Shire while we're in Bree, but maybe Radagast shows up and tells us that shenanigans are happening in the south and we get pulled away.)

    And honestly, an alternate levelling path could even have us experience the War of the Ring by going north to protect Lothlorien and Erebor. I just think it's a shame that we missed some of the other interesting events of the War of the Ring because we were busy following the fellowship, and there are ways to allow us to experience those events, either through an alternate levelling path or a Tales of Yore-type scenario where we experience someone else's story or War Stories with Radanir. There are ways to make it work.
    If that's any sort of an ongoing plan with a good, well-crafted game design behind it - why not, I bow my head and wouldn't mind that at all. If it was good and not confusing. However, 1) it's doubtful they would feel confident about such definitive, long-term project that requires lots of thought put into it and excludes lvl cap players (for the most part) 2) it's easy to create in one's head and easy to say it's quite feasible, especially since we've already been though the entire storyline of the game and can never experience it anew, only able to replay it but never actually relive it, either way we've got it all sorted out in our heads, we experienced it all. But if I was a new player and there was this huge branching off of potential storyline paths, taking me into completely different directions that both progress 'the timeline' of events in equal measure which means I'm locked out of another experience, that's another thing entirely, especially that it's entire zones worth of heavy story content, not some side quest stuff like Yondershire that mostly agrees with your personal Epic progression on the timeline, no matter if you decide to do it at lvl 45 or even now. So if they've done what you propose, may start to look like the game doesn't know what main story it wants to tell anymore and could be extremely frustrating for players who actually put their heart into it, read all the quests, thought they're closer to newer chapters only to find out they gotta choose either the brand new B or the old good A now, both presenting them with the completely different POVs of the experience! Let's not even delve into the newest After the Fall chapters because how would that work from there? The players who were on the path B wouldn't even be in such a close ties with most of the characters from path A and the game, up to this day, is clearly written with only path A in mind - it's assumed that you're familiar with it, old characters pop up, old loose ends suddenly make sense. It's part of entire appeal even. So any new path, while fascinating from lore perspective, would probably make people miss some of the juiciest, original story threads such as Mordirith/Gothmog and make them suuuuper confused.

    Which makes me think there is just no good way to implement it - so probably that's not on the table. So Tales of Yore-type scenario that happens on-cap sounds like the best option for this sort of untold stories. They can always cook up something but I don't think there is even a need for Dale/Erebor battle to be told in questing-region format, perhaps they should just introduce the instance-retelling better, put the NPC in MT or something? Because it appears somewhere in Rohan, bestowed by I-don't-even-remember-who, before that battle even happened, which is... ugh, weird, especially now looking at it from a time perspective whereas at cap back then you accepted it at face value because Dale hasn't even existed in the game yet and you thought it probably never will, so like oh, that's weird but ok. Now gotta be more confusing though and one of the more unique confusing parts of the game completely out of touch with chronology, albeit slightly more acceptable than anything that could appear as a questing region since it's just the instances without much lead-up to them - they're not THAT hurtful to the experience, just kind of off, but most people won't even notice them now.



    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    I do prefer that they let Saruman be kind of a pathetic figure after the events in Rohan, though. I think a better approach would probably be to use Southern Eriador as an alternate levelling path that takes place when Saruman is still at the height of his power, so Saruman's influence in southern Eriador can still serve as a story hook without betraying the spirit of Saruman's defeat.
    Yeah, although that's my point - then they have NO reason for delaying anything to begin with because Saruman can be dead but stories about him still being told if they introduce them as part of lower lvl content. Same with any character really. So I don't get the 'Scouring takes too many characters out of the picture' -> sounds like total, fatal, cognitive error or blatant lie, which would be sad if they're lying like that on the streams :P And if they're worrying about killing off some of the less significant hobbit NPCs or characters we might yet see during some festival celebrations from time to time - or festival timeframe integrity to begin with, with Frodo being absent, not at Bag End and all that, even though we did the Scouring already - then SERIOUSLY. Take care of actual storyline chronology and its believability because those festivals were pretty out of the context of time to begin with and no one ever treated them THAT seriously. Like, gosh, they play the same damn play every year at Frustbluff! I don't treat it that seriously whereas the overall chronology of the timeline, that it feels believable and not thrown completely out of balance, that's something crucial and to be taken more seriously because part of the ongoing story narrative


    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    Then--and I'm probably very much in pipe dream territory, but hear me out--we get a Scouring Expansion that covers the Shire, Yondershire, and the Southfarthing, and which also includes a lower-level unscoured Southfarthing. A lot of the landscape work would already be done, so I don't think it's TOO crazy to think.
    Not crazy in the slightest since I don't even think it needs to be an expansion? Like you said, lots of work is done, basically the task is 'corrupting' the Shire/Southfarthing that's already there (or will be there in case of Southfarthing), maybe remove some old mob spaces and then what remains is questing stuff to be designed. For Yondershire, the landscape probably wouldn't be much effected so maybe they can just attach a part of it where most of Yondershire resistance/NPCs are gathered - the Yondershire content made it very clear they won't fall for it and that's probably the only part of the Shire that will remain untouched by Lotho, Brigands and Saruman. So they don't even need to do much work with Yondershire during the Scouring development.



    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    I don't think our adventures in Harad necessarily need to be military adventures. I'm too lazy to look up specifics, but I think Gondor and Harad are officially at the time of the current endgame. Aragorn could send us to Harad to cultivate goodwill among the Haradrim, who are on the whole wary but peaceful. Along with trying to win the trust of the Haradrim by killing ten boars and carrying crates across town, we could encounter pockets of dissent where the Haradrim are still hostile and aggressive toward us, and we could even have to help the Haradrim put down a rebellion led by a faction that's angry about the peace treaty. And naturally, our adventures would draw us to Umbar, where we come not as an invading military force, but as individuals who don't have the power to conquer Umbar, but who do perhaps have the ability to weaken it and deal with some specific threat. The years immediately following the War of the Ring aren't the right time to tell a story of Aragorn's conquest of Umbar, but it would be the right time to tell this kind of story.
    Firstly, while it still allows us to visit Harad it's kind of a bore concept, not really much nuance and not really moderately interesting/different/engaging other than geographical aspect and lore aspect (maybe things like Nazgul origins, but that's like a side story at best) - while I'm all for nuance in Harad so they're not all just bad, corrupted, evil men (incidentally people of color which makes it look kind of racist), I don't want their culture to be turned into misunderstood puppies that are suddenly friends of Gondor just because a rando from the West helped to gather their crops and killed some oppressors of their clan. Not to mention - I want to see peoples vastly different from Gondor and even Dunlendings, for example - who were kind of violent and many clans swayed by Saruman because of their history with Rohan but not really 'imperialistic' of their own accord, mostly rural communities. But Harad? There is evidently slavery there, that's for certain, because all those Umbar slavers need a market outlet and I can't imagine that Umbar practices exist in complete isolation from some Harad ones. Also, Mumaks being literal walking war engines means at least some level of sophisticated administrative infrastructure created for this purpose and that usually means being warlike and ambitious, and perhaps a part of larger cultural sentiment so like Rohhirim and their horses except mayhap in more imperialistic context, not just some sad dude breeders who never really wanted to send their baby mumaks on the front - it was everything the bad guys doing but they woundn't even dream of it nor consider it an honor! Far Harad emissaries spoke against the Serpent and were glad he was dead because they didn't like his rule over their clan but I never got from them the 'war is bad perpetuated by the bad guys in cahoots with Sauron' (evidently, the Serpent WAS in close cahoots with Sauron, most likely, just like Balachor was, but that's beside the point) and more like they're glad to be free from his rule because they strive to be independent and ambitious on their won, so perhaps THEY will start subjugating others now, because it's just how things work and strength is respected. Which makes the cultural context completely different than, say, the Gondorian or even the Dunlending one. So there is already a precedent for what I describe here - already in the lore of the game in that Far Harad interaction in allegiance. Although, I guess, there might be lots of discontent within the Haradrim of all 'political orientations' blaming the Black Numenorian types/other leaders for wrongly siding with orcs and Sauron - even though the prospect of unified Great Harad and confrontation with Gondor *did* appealed to them, just not the way how it was done basically on Sauron's command as his thralls. On top of all that, we can have people who would be glad to just live in peace of course, away from all this, like we have in any society, no matter how cruel or imperialistic. But that's a lot of nuance right there to tackle that I think would be less appealing if we're just a Gondor envoy (that half or more of them wouldn't care about if we introduce ourselves as that) and there is not much going on in terms of heavy military intrigue with Gondor never involved at any point. Secondly... the game story will need intrigue and enemies anyway, powerful enemies at that. Which quickly takes us into the realm of military confrontations, political disturbances that create worries and bad implications for Gondor, and other, similar things. So not much different than Three Peaks, except Three Peaks had the advantage of it being the "dwarves' business" which alleviates things... a bit. Harad wouldn't have that excuse and that would make Aragorn look WAAAAY too ignorant of a king, especially with all those slogans about "paceful middle earth coz Sauron gone" still fresh after War of the Ring... which would appear pretty fake, with all the rumors inevitably being heard from beyond Harad borders and so on. So why not do the Fourth Age anyway? Or even a gentle time-skip at some point so it's not immediately a month into Fourth Age? I know we play as humans too and they aren't ageless but a subtle, barely mentioned 10-20 year time skip would be ok, I believe. Sounds better and like it offers even MORE opportunities because they can actually show Aragorn's reclamation of Umbar (or early attempt at this/major blow to their fleet infrastructure) or even war with Harad/civil War in Harad or something like that. Kind of like Masters of Mordor kind of GoTy intrigue but on the scale of Three Peaks war effort that may even involve help from Eomer and spiced up with some Dunlending vibes - when it comes to some of the Haradrim clans, perhaps more traditional and less imperialistic. Now, THAT would be THE HECK of an expansion or a few expansions worth of content if we get as far as Far Harad and the jungles. And not in the slightest make-belief and extremely off/forced/stretched on the timeline. Now, Eldarion - Aragorn's heir - was born 1 year into the Fourth Age... which would make him a young grown man or nearly grown after the time-skip I proposed. So yeah, another amazing hook... Not to mention if they deal with Harad per 'Fourth Age rivalry' basis rather than 'temporary exhaustion in the immediate War of the Ring aftermath' I guess that's way more opportunities for gentle seeds being planted for a certain untold story during his son's reign (and Aragorn's son, having our character as a mentor in his youth? EPIC, makes our char meaningful and good answer why he'll be capable to maybe rise to the challenge and save Gondor, either though the teachings he in turn bestowed upon his son or some kind of sacrificial act maybe). They might even introduce some stuff or villain origins left open-ended that don't immediately scream a certain name but have us wondering 'is that Herumor?' Seriously, way too much possibilities to say NO to all that...



    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    One, part of the appeal of LOTRO is getting to interact with the characters from the books, so I think SSG would be reluctant to remove so many characters from play.
    As I mentioned, we hardly interact with those specific characters anymore since they usually have no business in whatever is happening in the newest storylines. Only Gandalf is the true 'catchy' one but even then he was pretty absent of late with the entire Durin storyline which proves story can continue just fine without him.

    Quote Originally Posted by seekingerin View Post
    And two, I get the impression that SSG views the departure of the ringbearers as the end of the game. I recall many statements from various devs to the effect that they hope they don't get to the Grey Havens for a long, long time. I don't think the departure of the ringbearers has to be the end of the game by any means, any more than Mordor and the destruction of the ring was the end of the game, but I do think that SSG feels that way.
    If that's truly how they think - sounds bizarrely and obsessively needless, and indeed - forced. Besides, they can have their cake and eat it too without disturbing the storyline with ever-present Pause-Button and - inevitably if they truly are bend on this idea - The Stretch. How? By ending the game with the departure of Legolas and Gimli, in Grey Havens that we've already visited before during the Ringbearers departure. Simple - and equally powerful. Especially if we have an entire storyline about Legolas and Gimli's adventures exploring all nooks and crannies still left to explore on the map prior to that - I would say THAT would be even MORE fitting and symbolic.

    Unless there is something stupid in the licensing stuff that they loose the rights to LOTR once they get to the last chapter of the book or something which the departure of the Ringbearers can be read as. Although I doubt it. But if that's true, by any chance - I would love a blue name come out and say it plainly, there is nothing wrong in that. At least I would be in peace and wouldn't start to view them more and more as misguided/hack writers once we start to see more and more unnecessary delays, butchered chronology and forced additions that would look way better if done better on the timeline hence justified waaay better and at zero cost at that. As I said, the way Gundabad was put on the timeline was a worrisome sound in my brain but maybe they just overstepped a little bit/realized some of the consequences/won't do it again like this.
    Last edited by TesalionLortus; May 23 2022 at 11:16 AM.

  23. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by TesalionLortus View Post
    At least I would be in peace and wouldn't start to view them more and more as misguided/hack writers
    Nice try. Didn't work.

    MoL

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    Quote Originally Posted by MadeOfLions View Post
    Nice try. Didn't work.

    MoL
    That was super quick xD Does the forum text go directly into your brain, MoL, by any chance? :P Although don't take this wrong, never said you're hack writers quite the contrary, but having read all that, evidently, you probably know where I'm coming from with that "threat" of mine above LOL

  25. #200
    Well, back to the main points of this thread, filling-in-the-gaps: I'm glad they are. I'm one of those players who doesn't feel compelled to follow Frodo everywhere. I've played the Epic and enjoyed it. But now, for as long as we have the game, I just want to see what's over that next horizon. I think it would be good to have alternative leveling paths throughout the game. Maybe you have a character who - doesn't - have a good story-reason to be at Pelennor Fields and would rather deal with a threat in Druwaith Iaur or something. That's ok and fine and well and good by me.

    Maybe you have a character who doesn't want to go to Ered Mithrin or Gundabad for "Dwarves, Dwarves, Dwarves." Would like an alternative for that also. It's good to fill-out the map and have different things to do, different paths on the journey. I also think it's high time we had a level-cap area that's elsewhere and doesn't depend on the Gundabad stuff.

    I'd be a fan of "simultaneous storytelling" that, instead of having absolutely everything happen in sequential order, things could happen at the same time as optional paths to follow. It would make more sense for Legacy of Durin, for example, to happen at the same time as the Minas Morgul stuff rather than - after - it; it would've made more sense for the Minas Morgul stuff to happen - immediately after - Agarnaith; the business with the fall of Dol Guldor honestly should've been an alternative to venturing into Gorgoroth. Otherwise, the timeline is a mess. My point on the Midsummer thing is that it was presented as a choice; I could choose to attend Aragorn's Wedding if it makes sense for my character, or not, and maybe I am too busy up North with Prince Durin to attend a wedding very far away in Gondor.

    That's what I want to see: choices. Not, "My character must return to Eriador because the game says so." Frankly, most of my characters would have far more narrative reasons to chase down Karazgar than follow Frodo back to the Shire. That should be a choice, not a forced move, as far as I'm concerned. Players who want to "go home to Eriador" absolutely should; players who want to venture elsewhere should do that. Players who want "the Stretch" and do both should as their choice.

    My favorite time in LOTRO was level 1 - 15. Why? Because the Prologue quests felt more unique for my characters. My Dwarves - belonged - questing in the Vale of Thrain; my Elves - belonged - in Falathlorn. My Hobbits - belonged - in the Shire. When my Elf had to enter the Prancing Pony, because the Epic said so, it felt off; it made no sense. Elves are these mythical beings that Frodo properly found in the wilderness, not drinking at the Golden Perch in Stock. As an avid roleplayer, I care about that stuff. Would love a Northern Ered Luin as an alternative to Bree for Dwarves and Elves; I enjoy that Yondershire gives Hobbits a decent alternative. I'm hopeful that Swanfleet might give Men who are more Dunedain-focused an alternative to Moria, and so forth.

    So, when they do level cap stuff, I'd be fine with having multiple updates per year focusing on different stories. Sure, it would make the progression of each somewhat slower due to development-time, but that's OK by me; I'd rather have the different directions than the "All Players must follow Prince Durin into Gundabad" approach, and I'd like to see them apply their current logic in Eriador to some of the newer level cap stuff (*versus re-introducing the same problem they are working on in Eriador).

    Compromises are always messy things; they are usually the most sensible, and consequently, they tend to get the most folks upset: it means no one gets everything they want, and everyone gets something that they want. Since most "want it ALL" like the song lyric, and "want it NOW," that tends to ruffle feathers: like Gulliver in Jonathan Swift when he dared suggest to Lilliput and Blefuscue that they ought to open their eggs in the messy middle or otherwise not go to war over how to open their eggs for breakfast.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Phantion; May 23 2022 at 03:21 PM.
    Landrovel Player; I am Phantion on the forums only and do not have a corresponding avatar in-game with that name on any server. Cheers! :)

    .

 

 
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