When The Lord of the Rings Online‘s next expansion – Before the Shadow – releases on November 8, it may cause trouble for current players that don’t take certain precautionary measures. For a game as old as LOTRO, every major update becomes more likely to interfere with some existing system, which may be the case here. While the key features of Before the Shadow don’t mention the game’s class traits, the update’s release notes reveal a change in their functionality to which longtime players will want to pay especially close attention.
Traits are one of Lord of the Rings Online‘s most powerful class features, with a player’s chosen class traits having a major impact on their play style. According to the LOTRO forum, the Before the Shadow expansion will introduce a new progression system through which players will earn class trait points. As a result, all players will be forced to re-spec their class trait trees when the update goes live. This change will be automatic, and will completely wipe existing trees of any current choices, so players will need to record their choices ahead of time if they want to avoid manually rebuilding their characters.
While having to manually re-spec the trait trees for every class will be a frustrating process, it isn’t being forced on players without reason. As it currently stands, by the time a Lord of the Rings Online player reaches the endgame, they’ll have accrued more class trait points than they could ever use. In an effort to streamline the trait system, LOTRO‘s Before the Shadow expansion will grant class trait points upon leveling up, no longer requiring players to complete specific deeds in order to earn them. Despite the temporary inconvenience, this change should make progression a more intuitive experience for new and old players alike.
The Before the Shadow expansion seems to be focused on improving the new player experience across the board, not just with its class trait rework. With a new character creation process and new early-level regions, players will be able to enjoy a modernized introduction to this classic MMORPG. Even after exploring everything Before the Shadow‘s new regions have to offer, there is still much for players to do in Lord of the Rings Online, especially in the wake of its first six years of content being made free to play earlier this year.
Especially for new players, now is the perfect time to play Lord of the Rings Online. In addition to Before the Shadow‘s improvements to its onboarding experience and progression as a whole, LOTRO supposedly has a number of major quality-of-life improvements on the way. Last year, the game’s publisher reported that a graphics update, UI overhaul, and console ports would make their way to the game sometime soon. The Lord of the Rings Online may be old, but it seems to have no shortage of content on the horizon, and this expansion provides an excellent point for new players to experience it for themselves.
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