Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Future Race/Class in LOTRO

A common thought amongst many LOTRO players is the idea of Turbine adding a new class to the game with upcoming expansions. The idea itself is not new to MMOs in general. It is a fairly standard thing in this industry to add a new class with a new expansion, but with LOTRO opinions differ on this idea.

First off LOTRO is based on a very much loved and treasured lore. This is one of the many things that make it stand out in the field of MMOs. But with this particular lore this is not as much wiggle room when designing classes or races. This has in turn started the idea that there is no real place for a new class in the game as it is now, and to create a new race or class would be risking violating the lore of the game thus alienating much of the player base.

Then on the other hand there are many LOTRO players calling out for a new class or race. Many of them have come from other MMOs where there are lots of race/class combination's and find LOTRO bit limiting.

All of this got me to thinking. Being a super fan of The Lord of the Rings books and all of J.R.R Tolkien's work I tried to rack my brain and figure out how adding a new class, and or race, could be accomplished gracefully .

My Answer:

Race: The Beornings

Class: Skin-Changer

First , for those unfamiliar with The Lord of the Rings books and The Hobbit, the Beornings are a race of Men , ( the truth of they're origins is not known for sure) but it is believed that they descended from the Misty Mountains. They live in the Vale of Anduin in the land between Mirkwood and The Great River. They are able to change from a Man to a Bear form at will. They are called the Beornings, being descendents of Beorn.

Beorn is first introduced in The Hobbit when Gandalf , Bilbo and the Dwarves arrive at his house on they're way to the Lonely Mountain. Beorn himself plays a pivotal part in the War of Five armies at the end of the Hobbit, while his son Grimbeorn plays a role in the Lord of the Rings, by him and his folk fighting against Sauron's northern army.

Some say they are men, but they're history is hidden in legend and even Gandalf was not sure what they were. They seem a race onto themselves. Not wholly human, so not of the race of man.

As for the class Skin-changer. I see it as a Druid/Hybrid class. Druid in the sense that they are men most of the time, but when they want to they can change into a Bear. In this form they would have bonuses to attack, sort of like a Beserking ability. They would have natural amour, that would allow them to be strong in battle, like a tank. Maybe there would be an incorporation of current skills that Bears have in the game right now. Possibly debuffing abilities like lowering armor or causing fright. Maybe while in bear form they naturally appear more threatening to enemies.

And what can a Beorning do while in Man form? Well maybe they can do something totally new. In the Hobbit, Beorn can talk to and has many animal servants and friends. Gandalf even says at one point that he" loves his animals like children". Perhaps in Man form the Beorning can call on different animals to aid him. But it doesn't have to be another pet, like the Loremasters and Captains have. Think of it more like a short term ability triggered by different skills only available while man form.

An example would be a skill called:

Cry to the Eagles
: when cast you call upon the eagles to aid you and your fellowship by healing everyone for a said amount.
(Picture an animation similar to the green CJ eagle over everyone's head.)

Or maybe a skilled called:

Bark at the Moon
: when cast you call upon a wolf pack to howl around your enemy causing a miss debuff to them.
(Picture 3 translucent wolves sitting round the enemy howling.)

Let me wrap this post up by saying this. This is just an idea. Have fun with it. Enjoy it. Expand upon it and alter it with your own ideas. I know that designing a new class and race is an enormous undertaking but don't for a second think that everything is set in stone and that there is no room for change. The only limit in Fantasy is your imagination.


  1. Some interesting speculation here!

  2. I'm not crazy about the idea of new races/classes for several reasons:

    1) The lore is stretched enough as it is. The Beornings never left the vales of Anduin because it was their homeland and they were fairly occupied with the task of keeping Orcs out of their lands, along with the Wood-men. I could see this as session play, though.

    2) It seems like there are enough balance issues between our current 9 classes as it is already.

    3) I like that LotRO has a limited race/class selection. It's different. If anything I would like to see a way of branching out in one's class through variant trait/virtue combinations instead of the (more or less) cookie cutters we see.

    That said, if there was room for any new race/class this would be it. Cool ideas for sure!

  3. It would be a cool class, but after the RK, I dont know how much more stretching the lore could take. But I would say your class has more reason to be in Lotro than a RK. Keep up the good ideas though.

  4. So coool! : ) A kindred spirit. I discovered your write-up about a potential Beorning class in doing a google search for Beorning images. I was just doing some research for a reply to someone's comments in my thread about Beornings. This is actually my second thread on the topic - the first one got quite old and I did a re-write. This is the recent one:
    If that link doesn't work (lotro forums seem to be hinky these days) - first just try refreshing - that'll probably fix it. If not, you can find this thread in the suggestions section. The title is: New Class: Beorning

  5. I am pretty sure Beorn is the last of his race.