LOTRO: Spring Festival

Following the recent launch of Book 7 for The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO), Turbine has released a new developer diary kicking off the LOTRO Spring Festival, which begins today and runs until April 7th.
During the Spring Festival, the world will explode in celebration as the free people of Middle-earth ring in the season with special decorations, festive costumes and special quests.
Here’s the Dev Diary:

No Admittance Except on Party Business

As a cruel, bitter New England winter ambles reluctantly toward milder days, we denizens of Middle-earth have been preparing for a party of special magnificence. Spring shall soon be sprung, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that the inches of ice allover the sidewalks will indeed be melting away soon! If that isn’t good enough reason for a celebration of Spring looming hopefullyon the horizon, I don’t know what is. The new hotness: a Hedge Maze with so much green, leafy goodness that we’ll all be thoroughly tired of the color by the time the festival comes to a close this year. My goal is to use this excuse to override my guilt when I inevitably neglect going outdoors during the fairer seasons, and I encourage you to do the same.

I’ve been a rabid fan of the LotRO festivals since the game launched, well before I started working at Turbine. Maybe you can imagine my excitement when I was given the opportunity to take on these events for my first project as a brand new addition to the dev team. After a great deal of flailing around aimlessly with some crazy ideas, a lot of input from some very helpful teammates, and a significant fear that I wouldn’t be able to make any of my goals for this event fall into place, things actually started to magically come together.

Amazeing, right? Yuk, yuk. (I couldn’t help it.)

This Spring Festival will feature all of the games and good cheer that have been present in the past, but this year brings a sizeable new landmark to the festival grounds in the Horsefields, courtesy of a very talented gardener on the World Team. If you are new to the game or unfamiliar with the festival content, try to make it to the Shire’s Greenfields for the Bullroarer celebrations, as well as the usual stomping grounds for our seasonal events: Hobbiton, Thorin’s Hall, Duillond, and the Horsefields.

My favorite aspect of the festivals (and the element that inspired me most when planning and implementing the content for the Hedge Maze) is the heightened sense of community that arises from the players around Festival time. It is a very palpable thing during these limited events, and players of every level can actually find common ground in playing and enjoying the offered content. All playstyle differences are laid aside as folks clamor to drink the smoothest ale, learn the latest dances, and emote-mock the one Hunter that can’t seem to do the fence walk after countless tries. It’s a side of LotRO that contrasts heavily with the constant uphill battle of advancing your character, and is a very enjoyable diversion for many.

The Hedge Maze is intended to bring players together for a new challenge that will take place in a more close-quartered public instance than we’ve seen previously in the game. There are chickens to be caught, Elves to be scolded, signs to be posted, records to be beat, and a very sinister surprise at the center of it all. I highly recommend joining the Inn League this year if you have not done so already.

A new notification system was also implemented for this update, made to announce much of our expanding content going forward. In-game mail will be sent to those of you who log in during certain events; we want to alert players who might not read the forums regularly that there is a new feature in Middle-earth, or that a limited-time-only event may be running. If you’re worried about missing the festival, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll be getting an informal invitation in the mail from an overworked Party Planner from Hobbiton.

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