On December 19, Executive Producer for Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online announced developers would split off from Turbine and Warner Brothers taking both games with them. Lotro and DDO will now be under the wings of new independent studio Standing Stone Games and publishing company Daybreak Games. From here on, Turbine is shifting their focus towards mobile gaming with their new game Batman: Arkham Underworld.
Who are Standing Stone Games?
Standing Stone Games consists of people who have worked on Lotro and DDO for years already. Those passionate people who have taken players through the magic of Middle Earth and Dungeons and Dragons are still here and they have big plans for the future of both games. In developer Rob Ciccolini’s announcement, he said
Our success has always been possible because of your support. As we move forward, this is more important than ever. The ultimate goal of our new studio is to continue to bring you amazing experiences. We are excited for the future, and we’re thrilled to have you with us on this journey.”
What does this mean for LOTRO and DDO?
Fortunately, both games should not see much change at first except for logo changes on Lotro and DDO’s websites. Developers said there will be no effect to gameplay and no extra downtime. Moreover, lifetime subscriptions remain as they were and both games will continue their free-to-play models. Additionally, Turbine points will now be called Lotro and DDO points instead.
Could this be the revival of Lord of the Rings Online?
The news of this major developer and publishing change is especially great news for fans of Lotro. Since its initial release in April 2007, Lotro has expanded Middle Earth to massive extents and taken fans right into the stories they are familiar with.
Those of us who played during beta got to experience the first raid, the Rift of Nûrz Ghâshu at its heights. Raiding continued being fun after that with the addition of skirmishes as well. However, when Turbine partnered up with WB and went free-to-play many players became unhappy. Additionally, Player Versus Monster Player content has room to improve still. This is a point strongly supported by victims of rampant packs of insane warg players.
Raiding was neglected when updates and expansions added skirmishes and not 12-man multi-boss style raids. Fortunately for PvPers, in 2015 developers added another PvMP map after 8 years of playing in the Ettenmoors. Furthermore, recently players got the Throne of the Dread Terror 12 man raid with 6 bosses and 2 tiers this year. Current players have said Throne of the Dread Terror is super hard, even in the first tier. The first raid tier is available for players to run multiple times a week, unlike the second raid locked tier.
Standing Stone Games have a great outlook that really could see both stunning worlds of Lotro and DDO finally see the love they deserve. With this new freedom in mind, developers might take Lotro back to its full glory and into Mordor in 2017. DDO may also see updates to some of its more dated features which no doubt will cause delight for a ton of D&D fans.