Session Play

I don’t really even know what to say about this, other than pointing out that it is not April 1st. Lord of the Rings Online is adding “session play” to the game in the next content update.

Session Play is a new system that allows you to play as a character other than your normal character. These characters do not have permanence, so you don’t keep them like you do your Free Peoples or monster play characters. You could play as a Ranger, a Troll, or… a chicken. It’s an opportunity to explore Middle-earth from a different – and sometimes unexpected – viewpoint.

A what?

In this sneak peek, you can explore as a chicken. Yes, a chicken. As a most unlikely adventurer, you’ll help out your fowl friends defend against the wolf menace. As a feathered fortune-seeker you can talk to other animals and learn more about the world from the point of view of characters like Old Sally, Wolf, Grip, and Fang, and other famous and furry personalities from The Lord of the Rings Online. Talk to a cat in the Cat Lady’s house in Bree, or meet the im-peck-able Radagast. This new experience will give you a view of the story line from a different perspective and introduces unique skills, quests, accomplishments, and even an alternative way to earn Destiny Points during your explorations!

I had to check the forums. It must be a joke.

Rhidden, The Lord of the Rings Online Team, Turbine, Inc.
Re: Sneak Peek: Session Play!

It isn’t a joke.


Playing as a chicken is dangerous, but has its rewards. By finishing the quest line you can earn a unique weapon, and even an egg-sclusive item, for your player character! As a final perk, once you’ve finished the quest line you can roam the land, unfettered, in chicken-form, where you can complete Deeds to earn destiny points.

Why did the chicken cross Eriador? Now you can find out!

I … just don’t know.

More from the forum:

Chicken play has a separate chat channel and chicken players will not be able to speak with regular players.

You will also not be able to fellowship with chicken players.

Book 10 will only be adding Rangers and Trolls for the Ettenmoors and Chickens for Eriador.

You are a level one chicken, the world is a dangerous place! Although you don’t have many hit points and your attack is very weak we did give you a few skills to help you in your travels.

Trolls and Rangers are only in the Ettenmoors.

Chicken play was treated more like a quest arc. We slowly introduce you to the world through a series of sessions each with their own objectives. After completing all of the session ‘quests’ you are given a special session that is more relaxed in its objectives and repeatable.

The chickens can not lay eggs.

You are in the same world as other players.

You will not be able to attack other players and they cannot attack you.

You are playing as roosters.

Significant developer resources were not put toward chicken play. Chicken play is a very small part of the content coming with Book 10. There is no need to cry ‘the sky is falling’ just because we chose to release a small bit of fun information about something that we are adding with our Book 10 update.

Content Team Devs who worked on Chicken Play: 1
Other members of the dev team devoted to Chicken Play: 0

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

20 thoughts on “Session Play”

  1. Why does everyone have to play as roosters? I cannot believe that Middle-Earth is only populated by roosters. Where do their eggs come from, then?

  2. *sighs as he gets a fork out of the drawer, ready to stick it in it*

  3. Fantastic. This is brilliant and inspired. I also appreciate that they highlighted the fact that only 1 dev worked on this.

  4. So, am I the only one that kind of wants to re-up his account just to yell at people on chat as Foghorn Leghorn?

  5. > Brinstar wrote:
    > Why does everyone have to play as roosters?

    Tolkien lore states that the hens are all tended to by female dwarves and Entwives.

    The Silmarillion covers it in detail, somewhere near the back.

  6. That is either ingenious or totally absurd … I’m still deciding.

  7. Oh the agony.

    I thought we had something badass and innovative for Immortal Destiny when we talked about death-chickens and ur-rabbits as character choices. Hell, I wrote a whole chapter in the design document devoted to the Lord of the Flies and the Monkey King.

    Back to the drawing board…

    Aflack! er bwaak bwaaaak bwaaak!

  8. Why can’t we fight? We need CPvCP, CPvP and CPvMP
    I want to be able to keep my chicken and spend destiny points on him. Also we should get chicken battle arenas where we fight – with a destiny point matching system so say every 500 destiny points is a new chicken class.

    Hobbits could make wagers on the arenas.
    For these arenas cooks could learn new recipes like Tamale, Churro, etc.

    (they had to say they only spent one developer, since the forums erupted in whining that they had “NO ONE working on the REAL SERIOUS PROBLEMS of !!!!!” heh)

  9. oops that last line didn’t work, it was REAL SERIOUS PROBLEMS OF (insert class). Especially the guardian forum which is full of whining. I like my guardian, call me crazy.

  10. “That is either ingenious or totally absurd … I’m still deciding.”

    I think it’s a glorius mixture of the two, Stefan.

    It’s also worth noting that Chicken-Play is just a wee portion of the Session-Play system. Rangers and Trolls are more likely the supposed highlight of the system.

    But I could care less… the chicken thing is what’s intriguing. Oddball or not, at least it’s something new. :)

  11. I think it’s ridiculous to play a chicken. There’s absolutely not justification for it that makes any sense.

    As for the Ranger and Troll they are the reverse. The concepts behind them are genius and they should really bolster the monster play side of LOTRO.

    But chickens…I don’t get it. :(

  12. “But chickens…I don’t get it.”

    Well, it’s ‘content’.

  13. I think this sort of “thinking outside the box” is a great thing. The ability to play music was different and had no real value to the game, but it adds some unique fun and flavor to LOTRO. I know a lot of people are learning to play music, joining groups and giving performances, all because some developer said, “hey, look what I came up with”.

    I know some friends already who are really looking forward to session play as a new way to have fun with LOTRO. If all LOTRO offers are quests and instances and raids and PVP, then it really doesn’t have a big advantage over every other MMORPG out there. The devs have done a great job on *how* they’ve offered us all these things, but they’re basically offering us what we’ve already consumed in other games we’ve played. Once we’ve consumed these standard features in LOTRO, it’ll be tempting to see what other flavors of quests, instances, raids and PVP we can find in new games. By offering us gaming experiences we can’t get anywhere else, they build a compelling reason for us to keep playing LOTRO.

    I don’t expect all these experiments to be my cup of tea, but I applaud the devs for offering them to us!

  14. I still can’t believe it’s not a joke.

    That said, I think it’s just the sort of whimsical fun the hobbits would approve of. Awesome.

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