06/29/06 Riddle Contest!
The Development team for Lord of the
Rings: Online is holding a contest for short and tricky
riddles. Come up with a great riddle and it may be
used in the game.
06/27/06 Dev Diary: Rick Schmitz
Various Valuable and Unlabelled Things
Hello there! Rick "October"
I'm the Lead Content Support Artist on The Lord of
the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ (LOTRO).
You may be wondering, "What the heck kind of
title is that?" Well, it's the sort of title
you get when you're crazy enough to work with Content
folks and Artists.
While the majority of the LOTRO Art team is toiling
away on all sorts of things you might expect to find
in a game based on J.R.R. Tolkien's amazing books
(like Orcs, Dwarves, Rivendell, hobbit holes and
so on), the Content Support team makes some of the
unexpected items that the Content folks dream up
along the way. Though Tolkien may not have expressly
mentioned many of these things, they're just the
sort of items needed to make our Middle-earth feel
realistic and believable. They are often things you
would take for granted and only notice in their collective
6/22/06 New and Useful Calendar Wallpapers!
6/20/06 Point of
Interest : Thorin's
Situated prominently high above the fine stonework
floor of Thorin's Hall, adventurers will come upon
the great, empty Throne of Thorin, named for Thorin
II, known also as Thorin Oakenshield, King Under the
Mountain, the last of the line of Dwarf-kings to sit
within these halls in Ered Luin. More than 150 years
ago (in TA 2845), Thorin ascended to the throne of
Durin's Folk after the disappearance of his father,
Thrain II. Thorin, however, was a King in Exile, his
people having been forced from their rightful home
by the great dragon Smaug. It is from these halls that
Thorin and Company set out to reclaim their kingdom
beneath Lonely Mountain (picking up a certain Burglar
along the way). The throne, crafted by the greatest
of the Dwarf-artisans, is a work of art unto itself,
carved from the very rock that forms the foundation
of the towering Blue Mountains overhead.
6/15/06 Game Systems: Traits
In The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of
Angmar™, a Trait is an interchangeable ability
that alters your character in some fashion. Traits
allow a great deal of skills customization, so two
characters of the same class and the same level can
still be significantly different from each other depending
on how their players have used Traits to modify their
The most basic Traits do fairly simple things –
like increasing your Might stat or your block rate
in combat. These Traits take a number on your character
and make it bigger. Simple, but effective, these
basic Traits are the first ones you will see throughout
the course of your character's advancement.
More complex are the Traits that modify skills (or
groups of skills). For example, one Trait may add a
new effect on a critical hit that it didn't have before,
while another may make a skill uninterruptible or reduce
the power cost of an entire group of skills. Yet another
type of Trait works only after a specific combat event,
allowing you to gain power on a critical hit or increase
your defense on a successful block.
The majority of Traits are passive; once the Trait
is slotted it is always "on," providing its
benefit to the player. However, there are some Traits
that are active – these Traits, when slotted,
give you an entirely new skill. Like other skills,
they must be placed on your hotbar and activated to
Your character doesn't start with active Traits –
far from it. Traits must be earned through completing
Accomplishments (more info on Accomplishments will
be released soon!). When a player earns a Trait,
it goes into their Trait pool. Much like the equipment
in a character's inventory, Traits don't do anything
until they are "equipped" (in our case,
dragged to a Trait slot).
Trait slots are unlocked through leveling. Combined
with Accomplishments, this allows the player to "grow
into" their specialization, building upon their
preferred play style rather than being inundated with
confusing choices at the beginning of the game that
have repercussions much later down the road.
While Traits can be slotted and unslotted, slotting
a Trait is not free. A player can only slot and unslot
Traits while speaking with a Minstrel NPC in a town;
Trait slotting may also have a cost associated with
it. This allows players to re-spec their character
(customizing it to better fill a role, like a healer
in a fellowship, or to better function in solo play)
while still making their choices meaningful.
All Traits are not the same kind. Traits are grouped
into four families: Common, Race, Class, and Legendary.
Each Trait can only be slotted in a slot of the matching
Common Traits are the simplest Trait types and are
available to all players. These are typically the first
slots to be unlocked and the first Traits to be earned.
Race Traits are slightly more complex. A player can
only earn race Traits of his corresponding race (e.g.,
Hobbit may get better at eating but he won't be able
to gain the toughness of a Dwarf).
Class Traits are the bread and butter of the Trait
System. The majority of slots the player will earn
are class slots, and these are the ones that directly
modify class skills, providing much more power and
depth than most race or common Traits.
Finally there's the top tier of Traits: Legendary
Traits. These Trait slots are not unlocked until the
higher levels, and the Traits themselves are more difficult
to earn than others. The goal is for Legendary Traits
to be truly legendary – something the player
can be proud of earning and slotting.
Traits are an incredibly flexible system that provides
enormous flexibility and in turn gives the players
room to develop a unique character of their own.