Countdown to Mordor - Day 2
Ride now, Eorlingas!
The Riders of Rohan was perhaps the most anticipated expansion to ever release for the Lord of the Rings Online. Rohan, it's people, and it's lands was probably, with the exception of the Shire, one of the most exciting and anticipated areas in all of Middle-Earth.
Following the trend of bringing new systems in place per expansion, the Riders of Rohan introduced mounted combat. This was a really exciting prospect and I was truly looking forward to it. However, when introduced, I must admit I was not a fan.
The concept was great but the execution at the time was not perfect. I remember the horses feeling very sluggish and difficult to control. To complement the mounted combat, SSG also introduced Roving Threats. These were powerful monsters that could only be defeated in mounted combat.
Honestly, they were a ton of fun especially with groups but it would be a while until SSG improved the tech so the rubber-banding and maneuvering was resolved.
The next huge new feature of the expansion was open/remote tapping. This seems like something that has always been core of the game but it was actually introduced in 2012. However, it was only available in Rohan at first. It was released everywhere else in the next update.
Update 10 was a really odd update in regards to the overall story telling that was happening in Rohan. However, it's purpose, while never confirmed, is pretty clear. SSG, then Turbine, had been acquired by WB and the release of Update 10 which featured areas predominantly featured in the Hobbit movie, which was released at the same time, was to coincide with the movies release.
Rohan was, in short, spectacular. The zones, the quests, everything about it was fantastic. However, RoR fell short in one aspect: It was predominantly concerning Eastern Rohan. The "big" lore-areas of Rohan, Helms Deep and Edoras, were not accessible during this expansion.
This was quickly rectified however as in a few short months, the next expansion "Helms Deep" was announced. Helms Deep brought Western Rohan and once again a brand new core mechanic; Big Battles.
Big Battles were the natural progression of Skirmishes. Big Battles focused on a new technology that rendered hundreds to thousands of enemies and made for large-scale battles.
One of the biggest complaints about this expansion was the lack of raids. In place of them, Big Battles were a large focus. Raiders were unhappy with this decision and SSG would eventually listen to the playerbase regarding how they wanted endgame content but this marked an interesting time in the life of LoTRO.
With the release of both these expansions, we had all of Rohan proper to explore and it was an incredible experience. This was perhaps the most fun I had in LoTRO since Strawberry LoTRO. (See how I brought that back?). Although real endgame raiding was not present, the overall experience was a ton of fun and I look back fondly.
But the time had come to travel with the Grey Company towards Gondor and to our final destination.
See you guys tomorrow!