Are there any more obscure Guardians like Ugluk and Gothmog, who aren't central LotR characters, that you've talked about or can announce?
Tomandl: We will be announcing more in the future. I'm trying to think of anyone that we have already announced that's kind of obscure. I think we've mostly announced Guardians that people are pretty familiar with…but we'll definitely be announcing more coming up, both pretty well-known and pretty obscure.
You mentioned accolades before—challenges with in-game rewards—has a lot of thought been given to how these will affect gameplay?
Compton: I think I can answer part of this. So the different rewards you get for the challenges and accolades are a little more like the staple, more expected items that players can still buy [with in-game currency] ahead of time, but the rewards there are very more in the realm of the standard, that you would expect to get, where you're actually going to be buying with the currency more of the specialized, more exotic, more interesting items on that front. So it doesn't really—totally for the concern you brought up of the meta game balancing, we pretty much alleviated that because of what we allow you to actually access with the challenges and accolades.
Tomandl: And the rewards…are rewarded after the match, not during the match, so I don't think it'll affect the match itself. And the challenges are—so each Guardian has their own ten challenges. So the challenges are kind of based on that play style expected from that Guardian…Galadriel's not going to have a challenge that's, you know, kill three Guardians or you know, like, Galadriel's not going to have a challenge that would make her play badly or encourage her to play badly. The only thing I can say is that some characters do have challenges for them to kill a specific other character. So I think, like, well this isn't a real challenge, for example, Ugluk might have a challenge to kill Galadriel ten times. Which could affect the gameplay, because then Ugluk would be going after Galadriel whereas you know in a normal game without that challenge he might not be. But I don't think—I think that challenges have been examined so that they won't be detrimental. They'll be more additive, if that makes sense.
Can you explain the loadout system? What are gems and relics, how do you get them, etc.?
Compton: Yeah, sure. So what gems are are they are passive bonuses or benefits to your Guardian. You can have up to seven gems loaded out into what we call a gem belt and when you augment—when you actually place in different types of gems into your belt, depending on your relics that you have, it'll allow the relics to be active if you have the gems slotted into those spaces, that would activate that particular relic. So for example, let's say you have a relic that gives you healing regeneration. You might need two green gems and a blue gem, for instance, to power that regeneration relic on.
There's a slight unlocking system that happens based on match level. So at every second level in the game (so at level two, four six, eight, ten), a gem actually unlocks for you automatically when you reach that level. So right when you start the game at level one, you have no gems active and have no relics active. When you reach level two, you have one gem active. Then like if you reach level four, and let's say you have a two-slot relic, at level four that relic would be active along with those two gems.
Tomandl: The way you earn them is with currency that you earn in the game from completing matches.
Thanks very much Scott and Ruth! Do you have any more questions about the game? Do you think LotR and MOBA gameplay are going to make for a good pairing? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter.