I was surprised when I saw on MassivelyOP that Standing Stone Games, the developers of Lord of the Rings Online, announced a new race for the game. The news was originally shared and posted by Drac from LOTRO Players, who was there for the announcement at Gen Con. Additionally, being able to change your race will be possible in the future as well. The race/class-restrictions will still apply, though. Too bad, a little hobbit runekeeper would have been fun (yes, I know it doesn’t make sense lore-wise at all, I’m just saying it would be fun!).
The second link also has a short video of the announcement. It happened at their meetup with players, so it’s rather casual and not happening on a big stage. The video is a bit difficult to understand as you can hear the murmuring of other people in the background, but it gives you a little bit of information about the background of these dwarves. They will apparently be a bit taller than the dwarves in the game right now and they will have their own starting area. Oh, and they can be female!
Not much else is known so far, but it still came as a surprise to me. The game’s not the youngest anymore, so getting a new race is not something I expected (although we did get Beorning and High Elves, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise). Of course, it’s not really a new race, but basically just taller dwarves. On the other hand, since this is Middle Earth and a setting created by Tolkien, the developers can’t just add anything they want… Pandaren, for example. They have to stick to what Tolkien gave us and I guess, in that regard, Runekeeper and Beorning are two classes that stretch the lore already in some ways.
As long as they don’t go overboard, I think finding a compromise between variability and the world’s background and lore is worth it to keep players engaged in an ageing game.
Update (Aug 5): MMO Central has their interview transcribed now. It starts with DDO, so scroll down to the part that starts with ” So, Lord of the Rings Online side of the party. ” to read about Lotro!
Speaking of LotRO’s age, Syp also published a timeline of LotRO’s development from 1994 to 2019, in case you want to see what’s been happening recently or how the game came to be!