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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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    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 […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]

  • PS Store Easter sale discounts MGS: Ground Zeroes, Far Cry 4, more

    The Easter Sale is live on the EU PS Store, with Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes for less than £10, FIFA 15 Deluxe Edition for £30 and other savings. Some of the PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita discounts are valid through April 8, other through April 15. PlayStation Plus members can also take an […]

  • Bloodborne video: how to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam

    Here’s a video for Bloodborne players showing a quick way to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam. It also provides a look at things you may have missed in Central Yharnam and The Sewers, courtesy of VaatiVidya. Don’t forget, we have guides posted for the game with more updates coming soon. Bloodborne released in […]

  • Bloodborne issue prevents summons at Vicar Amelia fight

    A Bloodborne bug has prevented players calling on help to take on one of the nasty early bosses. Bloodborne bosses are significantly easier to take down in co-op. Unfortunately, at least one of them is proving difficult to find help for – and not just because not many players have obtained the Small Resonant Bell […]

  • Mass Effect 3 on sale on EU PSN, but not free

    Mass Effect 3 is discounted on the European PSN, but it’s not free. Update 2: The option to add to cart now lets you choose between the free trial or full version. The full version is on sale for £6.49 or £5.84 for PlayStation Plus members. The free trial is of course is still available, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Race to Elite winners announced, one player makes £10,000

    The winners of Elite: Dangerous’ Race To Elite competition have been announced, with one player receiving the grand prize of £10,000. Back when Elite: Dangerous launched, developer Frontier announced a competition that would award players to first reach Elite rank in trading, exploration, or combat, a prize of £1,000 each. The grand prize – £10,000 […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: How to make the most money with Special Bonuses and Elite Challenges

    You’re not hitting heists for the good of your health. Here’s how to max cash rewards. Money. GTA Online players love it. Greenbacks are the core of the entire experience, allowing you to buy the best weapons, vehicles and stupid haircuts. Heists, as promised, gives more opportunities than ever to earn serious cash, but once […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 coming tomorrow

    PlayStation 4 firmware 2.50, codenamed Yukimura, is due for release tomorrow, March 26. Firmware update 2.50 for PlayStation 4 will be launching tomorrow, March 26, Sony has announced. Codenamed Yukimura, the system update is promised to bring suspend/resume feature, trophy sync improvements, accessibility options, and much more. 2.50 has been in beta testing a while […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges and more

    Heists aren’t the only addition in GTA Online’s latest DLC – there’s a lot of content that can earn you big RP and cash payouts. GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges While heists are the talking point and big payoff after more than a year of waiting, there’s a […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: what’s the best Police sniper rifle?

    What’s the best bolt-action, Police sniper rifle for the Professional class in Battlefield Hardline? Let us help you answer that question. As you’re probably aware, Battlefield Hardline weapons are class specific and faction specific. This makes deciding on a good weapon and loadout much harder than it was in Battlefield 4. Which is where Westie […]

  • Evolve 1.3 patch nerfs Wraith, adjusts Kraken

    Evolve is receiving a new patch that aims to put an end to the Wraith’s dominance. Evolve developer Turtle Rock outlined a few of the changes coming in patch 1.3. The patch brings balance changes to the monsters – mainly the Wraith – as well as other various changes to Hunters’ tools based on player […]

  • Bloodborne: watch the opening 40 minutes

    The opening minutes of Bloodborne really do set the stage for what’s to come. They’ll also help you decide if this game is for you. Arekkz Gaming has captured the first 40 minutes of Bloodborne. Complete with the opening cutscene, and the first few obstacles you’ll face. The video is commentary free, so wear headphones […]

  • YouTube will relaunch livestreaming service with focus on eSports and gaming – report

    According to industry sources, Google is preparing to relaunch YouTube’s livestreaming service with a focus on eSports and gaming. According to anonymous sources speaking to TheDailyDot, Google is planning to bring back YouTube’s livestreaming service. The company is said to have started recruiting around 50 engineers with experience in the field, “a pretty big statement […]

  • I think I’m too old for Final Fantasy 15

    Final Fantasy 15 was nine years in the making – and counting. Are we the same people we were in 2006? Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae A demo available for PS4 and Xbox One. Offers a couple of hours of gameplay. More if you jump over the borders. Bundled with Final Fantasy 15 Type-0 and […]

  • New multiplayer mode for Splatoon announced

    Nintendo has sent over three screenshots for Splatoon along with information on the Wii U another of the title’s multiplayer modes. Called Ranked Battle, it keeps track of each player’s online ranking. Splat Zones is one of the additional ways to play online in this mode. It differs from Turf War, which is the main […]

  • 2015 WoW Arena World Championship has a $250,000 prize pool

    Blizzard has announced the WoW Arena World Championship will culminate at BlizzCon 2015. World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams from around the globe will compete for spot at the 2015 WoW Arena World Championship and for a share in the $250,000 prize pool. Online qualifiers will be held for North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New […]