Lotro: New zone: Enedwaith

Two major updates are coming to Lord of the Rings Online this fall: the recently announced free-to-play conversion and the introduction of a new playable area just south of Eregion, Enedwaith. The new playable content is a good way to explain how free-to-play will affect the game. VIP members (those who pay a flat monthly fee and those who are Lifetime subscribers) will get access to the new area, the epic quest line associated with it and all the regular quests in the land. Those playing for free will be able to travel in the new lands and complete the epic quest line, but they will need to buy the regional quest pack to access that part of the new content.

Lotro: Map of Enedwaith

The new cash shop is currently in testing. As it stands, no gear is being sold — not legendary items, raid armor sets, weapons, etc. Turbine wants to the cash shop to help along players who don’t have a lot of time to play, not to let them pay their way straight to the endgame. Health potions, cosmetic clothing and crafting recipes are what I saw. Turbine is going to watch the player reaction during beta very closely to gauge what should go up for sale and what should not.

No new Skirmishes will be added in this next content patch, but Turbine has something planned that utilizes the Skirmish system. Due to player feedback on their official forums, Turbine will make the old world raid instances available through the Skirmish interface for any group size, from solo to 24-man raid. These aren’t technically Skrimishes so you will receive no Skirmish Marks, but they use the Skirmish technology to set the instance difficulty, port you there and then drop you back into the world when you are done. No word yet on if you be able to solo the raid trophies, but they are working on more cosmetic rewards with the graphical look of the old world raid armor.

New skirmishes are being worked on, just not for this patch. VIP subscribers will get them automatically, others will have to pay for them. The Skirmish tutorial will be available to all.

The last feature coming with the new patch is DX11 support. We weren’t shown the shininess of Middle-earth using DX11 technology, but were promised screenshots soon.

Players will be glad to hear that both Housing and Hobbies are getting some love. No specifics were given other than Housing getting an “upgrade” and a new Hobby is in the works. These plans are long-term and not for the upcoming patch.

Massively will be taking a tour of the new patch in the next few weeks and will report back with more in-depth information about all the new features coming with Volume 3, Book 2.

from: http://www.massively.com/2010/06/16/e3-2010-lord-of-the-rings-online-vol-3-book-2-preview-of-enedwa/

Turbine gives a look ahead to new content at E3 We know many of our readers were anxious to hear what Turbine had planned for E3 2010. Many people speculated that the announcement would be a new Harry Potter MMOG or a possible expansion leading into Rohan for The Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO). Neither of those two speculations panned out. What we did get a look at though is the next content update for LotRO.

Our trip to the Turbine booth here at E3 2010 yielded us a look at the next content update that currently has no title, so it is simply referred to as Volume III: Book II. The next part of the epic story will take players further south through Duillond and into the lands of Enedwaith, where they will march with the rangers on the road to Isengard. Slow down, I said the road to Isengard, not to Isengard. You’ll have to wait for that in the upcoming Rohan expansion for that.

Lord of the  Rings Online store
A look at the LotRO store.

The next part of the epic story picks up where Volume III: Book I – The Oath of the Rangers left off. With the rangers assembled, players will be tasked with carrying a banner crafted by Arwen to Aragorn in the south and that is the focus of the next part of the storyline.  The new lands in the south will be home to many tribes that Sarumon has yet to turn to his will. So players will have the chance to see the area before it has been heavily corrupted by Sarumon. This also leads to some possible changes in the future as Sarumon tightens his grip on the area and extends his influence.

There are also some new features that will be introduced with the Volume III: Book II update. Turbine Executive Producer Kate Paiz explained one of the most notable ones to us with a new system that will allow the dungeons of LotRO to scale by level. This will allow players to return to older dungeons such as The Great Barrows and experience it all over again at an appropriate level. Loot will also scale, so there should be plenty of shiny items to go around.

Another feature will involve new Session Play content that will allow players to experience the game as a Ranger and learn about Aragorn’s forefathers. Previously, Rangers could only be used in PvMP, so the new Session Play missions will offer a chance to experience one of the Rangers in PvE and learn more about the lineage of one of LotRO’s most notable characters.

Enedwaith will introduce four new dungeons to the game that will be associated with the new epic storyline. Three of those dungeons will be solo instances and the fourth will be an open world dungeon, much like the Bree reputation dungeon of Haudh Iarchith. While there won’t be a focus on the group instance game with this update, Turbine representatives ensured us that new instances are on the books for the following update.

Lord of the  Rings Online store
A look at the LotRO store.

With LotRO’s free-to-play switch coming up we also had to touch on the change and Turbine was happy to talk about it. The pricing for the quest hub content will range from $5 to $10 depending on the size of the content. One of the shop items we learned about is a potion that will help with grinding out all those deeds. Free-to-play beta begins tomorrow (Wednesday, June 16th, 2010). So if you’re interested head over to the website and sign up. LotRO’s free-to-play and Volume III: Book II update is scheduled to release this fall.

Free players will also have access to lower tiered housing as they can’t hold enough gold for the Deluxe. However, if you’re hoping for Monster Play you’ll have to pony up the cash to gain access as free accounts don’t have initial access to the Entenmoors (LotRO’s PvP zone).

We did manage to squeeze a few more details out of Turbine about some future content. Legendary Items will be getting a few changes with the next update Volume III: Book III. For fans that have been concerned about mounted combat possibly being cut, Kate Paiz confirmed that it is still on the table for the Rohan expansion.  Along with that will be more we were also told that Rohan will be set post-orc work camps, so much of the Ent forest around Isengard will already have been destroyed, but players will have the chance to experience the forest in its full past glory through Session Play.

The new content certainly looks interesting and the new land mass will provide between 80 and 200 new quests. And while it was a bit disappointing that the reveal was not the anticipated expansion into Rohan, this update will certainly set us on the path to get there sometime next year.

from: http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/e3/2010/lotr-heads-south-at-e3

Just to show where Enedwaith sits in relation to the other areas.

Middle Earth Map

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