As has been noted here previously, one of the many changes coming to Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online this Fall is that old instances will scale according to the level of the group. For example, the Great Barrow instance zone is currently appropriate for levels 20-30, but after the impending update it will have monsters and upgrades for every party from level 20-65. So how will the new system work? Developer Joe Barrow gives us some details in the latest Developer Diary.
Barrow explains that instead of having to create items for every level bracket in every scaling instance, these classic areas will instead adopt the Skirmish token system. All bosses in a scaled instance will drop Skirmish tokens instead of items, and the tokens can then be turned in for level-appropriate gear. Have your heart set on one of the current items? They’ll still be available via a new Classic vendor who accepts tokens.
For players who feel that “just” winning tokens is less exciting than actual items, there are a few surprises in the new scaled instances. End-bosses will drop random Legendary Items, and there is a small chance that players will see a random Tome that will permanently increase their character stats.
Additionally, as Classic instances are scaled the LOTRO dev team will also be reviewing the pace and design of each zone and making small changes. The issues considered were, according to Barrow, “Are the trash fights interesting, do the dungeons feel different from each other, are they challenging, are the bosses memorable, and, most importantly, are they fun?”
The instance scaling will be available to players with the Volume 3, Book 2 update, expected later this year. The update will also include the new zone of Enedwaith and the introduction of free-to-play accounts. Along with the scaling instance news, LOTRO also released some new screenshots of the Man and Hobbit starting areas from the closed beta, which you can see below: