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LOTRO Update 9: take such friends as are trusty and willing

Monday, 17 December 2012 12:00 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Lord of the Rings Online: Update 9 – Against the Shadow releases today. Stephany Nunneley saddles her horse and rides forth into Middle-earth to see what’s new.

When Lord of the Rings Online’s Riders of Rohan expansion released in October, the inhabitants of Middle-earth were expecting not only the long-awaited addition of mounted combat, but new group instances spread across older, more well-trodden areas. Originally slated for a September release, various factors contributed to the expansion’s delay, and Turbine held back the release of the new instance clusters in order to fine tune them a bit.

But group instances aren’t all that’s new. Bree and Moria have both been revamped and the tweaks include more than just a fresh coat of paint; Hobbit-themed content has been added to coincide with the release of the first film in the series; and open-tapping – introduced with Riders of Rohan- is being rolled out across the land.

Down, down to Goblin Town

Update 9: Against the Shadow will contain new three-man instances which take players back to the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood, and while the later instance wasn’t available when I had my playthrough with producer Aaron Campbell and digital communications manager Leo Tan, I did get to participate in the two, new Misty Mountains instances.

Iorbar’s Peak was the first path we took, and is an instance in which player Fellowships will be tasked with rescuing the Great Eagle Gwaihir’s egg from the clutches of a Stone Giant and his Dourhand companions.

Players will make their way up a mountain path dodging boulders tossed by giants, and waves of Dourhands. Upon reaching the summit, these nemeses of the Longbeards from Throin’s Hall, are packing powder kegs and you must defeat the dwarves before the egg is destroyed. Players will need to be careful, as any explosion near the egg will crack it. The egg can only take so much damage before it is destroyed and the instance is failed.

The main egg thief, a Stone Giant, will start tossing boulders at you, but thankfully you can see where these aerial attacks will land due to a notification on the ground. The circumference of the notification is important to pay attention to: if the outer edges of the circle are close to the egg, the shockwave will damage it. However, players can also use the mechanic to their advantage by leading enemies into the line of fire.

Goblin Town was the second instance I participated in, and while the timeframe is before the events in Lord of the Rings, it’s many years after Bilbo ventured there. Upon entering, players will notice Goblin Town looks quite different than what they’re used to.

In Seat of the Great Goblin, players will venture back into the throne room to defeat the latest incumbent to the throne, making their way through garbage strewn passages, defeating goblins who’ve been living off trash for sustenance over the last 80 odd years.

Upon reaching the main seat of the Great Goblin, the ruler kicks the players through a hole in the floor and upon landing will they find themselves in the bowels of Goblin Town. The area is nothing more than a massive trash pit, where a giant troll and goblins who haven’t had the best diet in the world start attacking. Like the aforementioned mechanic in Iorbar’s Peak, players will need to dodge aerial attacks from the troll, which are again, noted on the ground around them.

Once the starving troll and his goblin minions are defeated, players will take on the Great Goblin and his lickspittles. Once defeated, a new Great Goblin contender is waiting in the wings and you must defeat him as well, and once he’s ascended to that great trash pile in the sky, yet another contender will arise, until players finally beat all the gumption out of the surrounding would-be rulers.

As I mentioned earlier, the third instance wasn’t available for my playthrough, but it will bring players back to Mirkwood during the time Bilbo, Thorin, and their merry band of dwarves ventured through on their way to the Lonely Mountain. If you have read The Hobbit, you will recall the dwarves were captured by spiders and it was up to Bilbo and his magic ring to save his boon companions.

Well, that is exactly what Webs of the Scuttledells is – a rescue mission. The instance will take players further north into the spider infested region than they’ve been before in the great, dark forest. Players will be tasked with rescuing elves from cocoons, and not all will contain the fairer folk, so be prepared to fight.

While it’s fun to revisit areas players have already been to, there’s more in the works: another instance cluster is expected to release in February, which will see LOTRO players participating in a six-man instance in Dale.

Even better, we’ll finally get to see the Lonely Mountain and take on Smaug via two 12-man raids.

Higher ups won’t be the only ones able to access the new instance clusters, as those as low as level 20 will also be able to participate.

Where the warg howls, there also the orc prowls

New instances are just the start of the content included with Update 9, as many familiar locations have also been re-worked, giving veteran and new players alike something to gawp at.

While I didn’t get to have a look at it, I was told Bree-town has been given a fresh coat of paint, has new neighborhoods around the wall surrounding the city, and animated inhabitants will make the town feel more alive.

Instances in Mirkwood’s Dol Guldur have been updated as well, are now scaleable to level 85 and feature item drops pertaining to level.

The largest overhaul, however, has been given to the game’s first retail expansion in which players descended into the underground dwarven complex of Moria.

Along with a bit of spit and polish, older quests in this massive area are now more clean-cut, and less disorganized, so players returning to the area will notice the questlines with better flow. Areas of the expansion which seemed devoid of quests have been overhauled as well, so should you venture back into the depths, you’ll find 70 new quests have been added.

A number of quests were also replaced or removed entirely due to not being up to “current design standards,” but this also means there will be less back-and-forth between quest areas. Monster density has also been been thinned a bit, and by Durin’s beard! – that’s really good news, indeed.

The days are fated to be filled with marvels

Remote quest looting and bestowals along with open tapping, introduced with Riders of Rohan, have also be been implemented across all areas of the game.

Remote looting will also affect rolling on loot culled from boss chests in instances, giving players the opportunity to win a rare item. Before, players would roll and only one player would get the item, but now, all players in the group have a better chance at sweet, sweet loot. This is a nice touch because, speaking from experience, some players just don’t have Hobbit’s luck on their side when it comes to rolling the imaginary dice.

Another nice change to the loot rules, is that each character will only be able to roll on class-specific items. This will keep pesky Burglars in your group from rolling on that nice cross bow your Hunter so desperately wants.

Travel to Quest Objective is another new feature, which will show a ring in the Quest Tracker next to quests eligible for travelling immediately to. The feature will be available for most quests which require a player to have a chat with an NPC hellbent on telling you his sob story. The feature was designed to make it easier to return the quest-giver, saving your back and your horses legs from having to travel clear across a zone or begging a Hunter in chat for a port to the closest town.

Hopefully all the streamlining and re-working will be a hit with new and returning players, and I have to admit, the thing I am most excited for is game-wide remote looting, quest bestowal and open tapping features. It’s been a long time coming.

I also have to say that even though I have out-leveled Moria, I plan on entering the sunless caverns just to see how things have changed.

Lord of the Rings Online: Update 9 – Against the Shadow releases today, and patch notes will be available while you wait for the servers to come back up.

New screenshots are below, mixed in with a few I took during my playthrough. I played a Hobbit hunter and Leo, my intrepid companion, played a Guardian.

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2 Comments

  1. SplatteredHouse

    I didn’t imagine before this weekend, that all the bits of LOTR media tied so crisply together. I watched a half-hour Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey premiere special, and I saw the character list and was surprised to recognise clearly two of the Dwarves from LOTRO: Dwalin and Dori! Additionally I started watching Fellowship again, and it was intriguing to pick up on allusions to Bilbo’s earlier adventures…Comparing the Bilbo character in that, to what they showed of Martin Freeman’s performance in the new film showed a believable fit. It was charming, to see all these different parts coming together, connected around their inspirations.

    Very good article!

    #1 2 years ago
  2. deathm00n

    @1 Actually they didn’t have much work to do, Tolkien was the one who connected everything, when you read the books, especially The Silmarilion, you can’t beleive how only one guy created something so natural. The games and movies just had an excellent base.

    #2 2 years ago

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    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]