LOTR Online – Dev Diary – SoM Skirmishes: Overview
Turbine’s Brian “Zombie Columbus” continues his series of developer diaries about the new Skirmish system coming in The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood
Hi there! Zombie Columbus here. In the past, I’ve tried to give insight into how the design and implementation process works, and I hope these diaries about Skirmishes are no exception. The Skirmish system represents a significant addition to LOTRO; it’s a big feature, so this dev diary will be broken into smaller components over the next few weeks. This first installment will focus on what our high level goals are, the initial design of the system and the process of re-design it went through to get there.To cut right to the chase: Skirmishes are short, accessible, randomized, scalable, story instances with incremental rewards. Why Skirmishes became this can best be explained by discussing what the designer’s goals for the system are. Everything we added to Skirmishes was done with a high level “vision” in mind. By sharing this vision with you, I hope that you will see why we made the choices we did, and how we ended up where we are now. Our goals were to:
- Create finely crafted instance content that can be played by different group sizes and levels.
- Keep play-time short, allowing Skirmishes to fit into other activity cycles. Internally we’ve called them- “Pop-corn” experiences. If one is short and good, why not try another?
- Add randomized elements into Skirmishes to keep replays interesting.
- Encourage a rotational play of Skirmishes, to keep them fresh and prevent them from overshadowing existing playstyles. Skirmishes should complement the game, not alter it!
- Set up an incremental reward structure, like the instance barter systems.
- Allow players to feel that any amount of play time was a step closer to a desired reward.
- Give players a feeling of participating in epic struggles, and of being leaders of small armies.