“Yay, another reputation grind” might be your first thought upon hearing about the Allegiance System, coming in The Lord of the Rings Online‘s Mordor expansion. While that’s not entirely inaccurate, Standing Stone Games is putting a little more into its implementation than “cool-looking hats,” as explained in today’s developer interview.
The Allegiance System allows players to pledge their loyalty to one of LotRO’s four factions, each representing one of the races of the Free Peoples: The Kingdom of Gondor (men), Hobbits of the Company (hobbits), Durin’s Folk (dwarves), and The Court of Lothlorien (elves). You can join all four, but your second, third, and fourth factions will be increasingly difficult to level up with. You increase your standing with them by doing missions within Mordor.
So what do you get for all your hard work? Each allegiance has its own unique storyline that you only experience by teaming with that faction. As SSG’s Erica “FriendlyHat” Ng explains:
“Your choice order of Allegiances will not affect the availability of endgame gear. Your choice really just affects the order in which you experience story and gain certain cosmetic appearances.”
So yeah, it is still “do stuff, fill a bar, get rewards,” but 1) That’s pretty much every MMO, and 2) At least the rewards are kinda neat, especially if you appreciate the story of the Lord of the Rings. And if you don’t, why are you playing LotRO?