LOTRO Expansion : Siege of Mirkwood

Ulric | 19 September 2009 | Comments off

LOTRO Expansion : Siege of Mirkwood

War is brewing in Lord of the Rings Online in Fall 2009!

At least it is according to Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel, who introduced the second expansion for the game: The Siege of Mirkwood. However, unlike the previous expansion, the well-received Mines of Moria, Mirkwood will be released in digital form only – bad luck for all of you who collect huge expensive boxes, complete with superfluous packaging and the little plastic Gollum figurines!

The few minutes of demonstration by Steefel and some of the snippets of information I’ve managed to find online do make the expansion look quite impressive. For a start a whole new area is opening up: the titular Mirkwood. The glimpses that have been leaked thus far show that the graphics team have excelled themselves once again. You can almost taste the stench of corruption in the warped, decaying trees, and gloom hangs heavy in the air; Mirkwood is silently waiting for our arrival.

There are some things that we all have come to expect from an MMO expansion, and we won’t be disappointed this time: we’ve been promised hundreds of new quests, new three, six and twelve- man instances and a level-cap raise to 65. But what else is there? What about the nice little touches that keep us all coming back for more?

It certainly appears that the powers-that-be at Turbine have been listening to their players.It certainly appears that the powers-that-be at Turbine have been listening to their players. Shared bank storage is coming for all toons on the same account - at last there will be an end to transferring goodies between your own toons in the post! There will be a boat to Lothlorien (though I personally hope it won’t be fast travel, as I would quite enjoy punting slowly down the Anduin taking in the sights as dawn breaks). Crafters haven’t been forgotten this time either, with a new fourth rune slot for legendary weapons which can only be filled by crafters.

The big twelve-man end-game raid is based at Dol Guldur, former stronghold of Sauron, and the final boss for the raid is a Nazgul lord. Steefel’s quick run-through only served to whet the appetite for this; LOTRO raids have so far been well-crafted and tricky, and Dol Guldur should prove no exception. These raids generally seem to suit the mentality of the average TOG player - we like having to think about how to beat the next boss, we don’t want ‘quick fixes’ and we enjoy the challenge of working with a group of people we’ve built into a team (even if RL means that the team is constantly shifting).

This expansion will also see the introduction of the new skirmishes system. They will be repeatable and scalable, so hopefully this will mean that kin from different levels will all be able to play together in the new three, six and twelve-man skirmishes. And, if no-one else is online, there will also be solo skirmishes. We’ve no real idea yet as to how many different skirmishes there will be, but one of the best aspects from my point of view has to be the world join option – namely, join in from wherever you are, no more waiting to be summoned, for folk to be ready to ride down, for the group to assemble… just ‘click’ and you’re all there. It sounds like bliss to this raid organiser - and a device that will look familiar to anyone who has played Champions Online or Warhammer, which both use the mechanic for PvP combat!

In my opinion, the absolute best thing that Turbine has ever done since they first developed the concept of LOTRO… They’ve reworked the mount system.And now, for what is, in my opinion, the absolute best thing that Turbine has ever done since they first developed the concept of LOTRO… They’ve reworked the mount system. Emotes will now work properly when you’re on horseback, and mounts will become a skill, so no more taking up a space in your inventory (or 5 or 6 spaces in my case because I can’t bear to part with Mr Snuffles - my first horse - or any of his successors). But best of all - and it’s only a rumour - is that you will be able to officially name your horses. Please, please let this be true: Mr Snuffles and his friends deserve to have a voice!

I know this is only a quick run through of the things that caught my eye. I’ve missed out anything that didn’t sound exciting to me, changes to combat and legendary weapons among them. If they prove to be exciting after the expansion is actually here, I’m sure I’ll give them a mention then. But it certainly doesn’t sound as if we will be able to complain that there’s nothing to do. RL will just have to take its chances for a while in my household…

Article provided by Pander Bear

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