Lord of the Rings Online players will have a new character class to play sometime this year, and the MMO's executive producer Aaron Campbell has finally spilled the Moor-boar Beer: it's the Beorning.
Holy orc head on stick, Gandalf! That's pretty damn cool.
Beornings, for those unfamiliar with The Hobbit, are a race of men who were skin-changers - the most famous being Beorn who would turn into a bear.
The race lived between Mirkwood Forest and the Great River and weren't omnivores like most men and bears, as they ate mainly cream and honey. They were friends with all wild creatures.
In The Hobbit, Beorn provided shelter and rations to Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves as they ventured to The Lonely Mountain. He also provided aid during the Battle of the Five Armies, particularly against the Goblins, which the Beornings loathed the most.
Now that my history lesson is over, let's get to Campbell's producer's letter.
"Recently we confirmed that LOTRO will be releasing a new class this year. I’m pleased to announce that this class is the Beorning," he wrote. "This will be LOTRO’s first class since the Mines of Moria expansion introduced the Warden and Rune-keeper.
"Beornings are noted in The Lord of the Rings trilogy as a race of Man, with close origins to the Rohirrim and the Men of Dale. Most Men are not shape-changers, so we envision the Beorning as a light armor casting class with a focus on control of the battlefield. When a Beorning gathers sufficient rage, they may transform into a mighty bear.
"We’ll be sharing early class designs with the new Players Council. Expect more details later this year, as the class progresses through alpha and beta."
There's more in the producer's letter other than information on the new class, such as plans for the remainder of 2014 such as: the postponement of the housing revamp; venturing into the Paths of the Dead and Dol Amroth, the first Gondorian city and seaside port; the Dead Marshes; and journeying to Pelargir, the great port on the delta of Anduin.
Kinships will have a system of crafting tied to the Kinship house to encourage more social play as well as Kinship deeds.
Combat re-balancing to make high-level combat less easy, the addition of siege weapons to PvP, and improvements to Epic Battles as well as new additions are also part of future plans.
A new festival will also take place: Hobnanigans, better known as Chicken Hockey. The special event is for the Bree-fields, and more weekend boosts and events will be added going forward.
Plans in place for 2015 include taking the fight deeper into Gondor which will find players at Osgiliath which is a land contested by Sauron’s armies.
The Pelennor Fields and Minas Tirith will be added by the end of 2015, which is the battle before the walls of Minas Tirith. This is where the massive battle took place in Return of the King, which is close to the culmination of the trilogy.
Sounds like there will loads of new content coming to Middle-earth between now and the end of next year.
You can read the full producer's letter through the link.