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Developer Diary: Warbands

Riders of Rohan Developer Diary: Warbands

By: Jared "Amlug" Hall-Dugas

With the Riders of Rohan, we knew that we had a major update that you have been anticipating for quite some time. We knew also that we had to do it right and look at as many aspects of our game as possible. One of the moments we wanted to capture was the idea of roving packs of monsters travelling across the massive rolling plains of Rohan. We wanted to ride over the distant hill only to find a pack of Warg-riders cresting the hill across from us. With danger imminent, do you engage or flee? Or do you gather some nearby heroes to help?

Warbands were then born. A pack of Easterlings or a man and his Crebain pets, these long-ranging patrols will be throughout Rohan, ready to spoil your day or fill your bags with spoils. Gather friends or passing strangers and fight these beasts solo or together.

History of World Mobs

In The Lord of the Rings Online and other MMOs, world mobs have been a pretty constant thing. Generally they serve as rare mobs or spoilers that you need to stay far away from. Any seasoned MMO player has felt the earth shake as a large raid-level world mob is storming the countryside or has found that rare monster in LOTRO who with the help of some friends or strangers, you defeated.

However, usually the rewards for killing these mobs are iffy at best and the race to spawn camp or kill steal makes them no fun. Also, these mobs have often been so highly statted in the past that you can’t kill them without the help of 20 of your closest guild-mates. So many times, I, as a player, have wanted to kill that random spawn. I’ve either tried and failed or avoided it like the plague, knowing I would be a bug on its windshield. I would much rather feel like I had a chance, or if I saw someone nearby trying to engage I could join in and fight too.

With Warbands, we aim to try and achieve this.

The Anatomy of Warbands

Encountering a Warband

Warbands come in all shapes and sizes. There is no restriction to how many mobs will be in a Warband or what type of mob it will be. It can range from a pack of Warg-riders to an angry troll stomping through the landscape. They will patrol long distances across all of Rohan. When you get in the vicinity of a Warband, your map and mini-map will update with a new map note, letting you know that there is a Warband nearby. As you ride to the scene, you will have the chance to accept a Warband quest. This quest will be repeatable daily and will grant you rewards but also a special giftbox.

Wait! What? A special giftbox? Yes, we’ll get to that in a moment.

Engaging a Warband

Whether or not you have accepted the quest, you will be able to fight the Warband regardless of your party status. No more will you have to find others, create a party, wait until the mob is untapped, and then take your turn in the long line of people who want to kill the mob(s). Warbands will be using our new open-tapping system which allows anyone to get credit if they are helping kill the mob or healing those who are. Everyone pile on! The Warband must be stopped! Since the Warband won’t drop loot directly (only the quests will), helping your neighbor is a good thing. Everyone will get full XP and kill credit for destroying the Warband.

Defeating a Warband

Ok, ok, I know. The giftbox. When you complete one of your Warband dailies, you will obtain one of several different giftboxes depending on what area the Warband is in. These boxes contain crafting materials, incuding rare materials, housing items, potions, marks, medallions, jewelry, shards, relics (including mounted relics), 2nd age symbols, and exclusive War-steed appearances. You can get over ten of these giftboxes a day if you end up doing all the dailies in Rohan. This, along with our new end game mechanics, should hopefully fill your inventory bags for quite some time.

We are hoping that with the new systemic changes we have made in Rohan. Warbands will become an engaging, exciting thing to do while you are leveling and beyond. Thanks for taking the time to read this far and we hope to see you in Rohan with us very soon!


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