The next release is all about class balance. It's going to change a lot of skills. See the notes here.
Of more fun, the Summer festival looks to be really interesting:
Summer Festivity: The Perfect Picnic - We have a new Summer Festival activity which is currently listed under Skirmishes, but will be known under another name soon (possibly "Festivities"). Fellowship sizes: 1, 3, 6, 12.
Summer Boss-fight: Thrang - We are revisiting the Thrang encounter as part of the Summer Festival. This fight will be familiar to those who've fought Thrang before, but we are tweaking this version to provide a new experience with special awards. Fellowship size: 6.
We are currently through much of our DPS testing; mitigation and healing throughput and utility will be trickier but we are working on them.
We are currently eyeing Hunter Blue and Runekeeper Red lines as our base line trees that define what a DPS should be doing. Runekeeper is probably a bit high, but we'd rather adjust up then do a lot of nerfs.
Rather than doing class passes and doing massive changes to each class and each tree in turn we plan to do distributed changes to classes that need it, coupled with bug fixes. That means each class will see ~3-6 meaningful changes that are put out more quickly, and when we do that we can re-evaluate and begin the process again. Each stage will fine tune class balance. Our goal is to bring changes to many classes in stages rather than hitting each class in turn and leaving some classes waiting on changes and fixes for a long time.
The weakness of this approach is that players who are passionate about their favorite class (which is essentially all of the players) will have the initial reaction after the first pass that much more work needs to be done on their particular class. It is a side effect of this distributed tuning strategy where fixes and improvements come in waves.
The other weakness of this approach is that the classes in most need of overhauls *cough*Beorning*cough* will probably need more work because they are in need of more than bug fixes and tuning, so they might break this strategy a bit.
Nonetheless, our current thought is that this approach is preferable to a cycle of doing each class in turn where some classes don't see changes for months or years.
We do still have some systems work for U22. That said, we hope to have the first wave of balance changes out to Palantir in early to mid March. Obviously that will create rounds of feedback and Bullroarer will follow when adjustments have been made based on initial feedback and internal testing.
We are as excited as many of you to get into Mordor, but we have some unfortunate news: we have to adjust the release date. While preparing over the weekend to release the expansion on Monday, we discovered an issue in the build that impacted the ability of monsters and NPCs to move around correctly. This problem was specifically identified in older content.
While correcting this issue is not a problem, the process to correct it takes too long to be able to release Mordor on Monday. So, we have to adjust the release date. We will have more info on the release date soon. We will know a lot more in the next 24 hours or so, and will pass along the info as soon as we can.