LOTRO: Back to the Future of Ered Luin – November Update Preview

The upcoming changes to LOTRO that I posted about a couple of days ago have gotten me sufficiently intrigued that I decided to brave the 10 GB download, and go check out the Bullroarer server for myself. As I like to do, I’m going to play and take notes as I go.

The Dwarven tutorial is much changed, and for the better I think, with more of Thorin’s expedition members making an appearance. We see Thorin officially transfer stewardship of the hold to his friend, Gormr Doursmith. I won’t spoil the story for you, but its many changes add quite a bit of background to the tale. It was a little jarring for the roles within the story to be given to different people now, but if I hadn’t played the previous version, I would definitely say that this new telling is superior.

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Elvish Treachery!!! Where's my city gone?? Oh, there it is.

What Elvish treachery be this??? Upon finishing the tutorial, and quickly travelling 75 years into the future, I was shocked to not find myself standing outside Thorin’s Hold, but over near the Refuge of Edhelion where Elf characters would usually start.

In that picture you can also see the new quest window. I was happy enough with the old one, but the new one seems fine too.

The early Dwarf and Elf Introduction quests, which used to be separate up to a point before converging, are now more or less unified, though with different quest-text in some places. The map too is changed. I shall venture forth, along this shiny new quest-path.

Oho! What’s this? On the body of a Cave Burrower in the Silver Deep mine I find a Tin Token. The wiki tells me that that’s for the yearly Anniversary events. I guess that they’ve been enabled to make it easier for people to test the new Barter Wallet, which greedily intercepted the token before it could reach my inventory.

Back outside I follow the quests onwards, nervously passing a pack of barghest. You didn’t used to meet barghest until the Barrow Downs, so it’s a little weird to see these level 2 ones glaring at me. The barghest are FAR from all that’s changed around here though.

LOTRO Ered Luin Revamp Bergold Becomes Skorgrims Tomb 550x324

The Berghold. I don't like what they've done with the place.

The Dourhand have been busy, and transformed the old Berghold storage depot into a rather sinister tomb. I do a couple of little jobs for Gormr, then head off to Dwalin to report my findings.

Dwalin sends me westward, and if I had thought the changes to the land I had already seen were significant, nothing could have prepared me for this:

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Strip Mining! It's Undwarven!!!

The landscape has been strip-mined bare, and weird machinery spews smoke and fumes into the mountain air. Technology of this sort is always associated with corruption in Middle-Earth, and these vile machines could almost have been designed by Saruman himself. I find out where all the aurochs have gotten to; they are now being used as ill-treated beasts of burden by the Dourhand mining operation.

Fighting my way up through Dourhand guards I head into the Mirkstone tunnels, only to find that they have been overun by wights and corrupted spirits! Good gracious! All those silly humans and hobbits have to worry about in their introduction version of Archet is a few bandits! The corrupted spirits are even causing dread! This might be a little over the top, as undead really aren’t supposed to be all over the place in LOTR, and fighting them at level 6 feels a bit odd. This isn’t Toril!

Having finished up there I head back to Dwalin for what I suspect will be the big finale. Before I do that though, I’d better make a quick video of the changes to the land, as I don’t know for sure that the main Ered Luin zone has been changed. I’d hope that once the Longbeards have driven the Dourhands out that we can at least clean up some of this mess and corruption.

The Elven and Dwarven introduction quest-lines are completely redone, with nothing remaining of the old quests. That would normally make me a little unhappy, but the new quest-line does a much better job of storytelling, in my opinion, and I think it will quickly become popular amongst players. On entering the “real” Ered Luin, things return somewhat to normal, so far as quests are concerned, though I don’t have time to play all the way through the zone so there may be changes.

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