It’s no secret that we here at Cheat Code Central absolutely loved Lord of the Rings Online’s newest expansion, Riders of Rohan. The one thing that was missing from the expansion, though, was a new cluster of dungeons to explore and loot. Well, Turbine is looking to fix that with a couple of updates, the first of which goes live today.
In anticipation, Turbine’s Leo Tan and Hannah Foell took me on a guided tour through three new three-man dungeons that fans can expect to get their hands on in Update 9: Against the Shadow. Each of these new dungeons should take players about 45 minutes to complete, though we were blessed with the wizardry of admin powers on our journey, and we got to see most of the new content in about an hour.
I should probably mention that these dungeons start at level 20 and are scalable up to the cap (which is currently 85), so they’ll be a tasty treat even for lower-level players. To start the new instance cluster, you must travel to the Prancing Pony and talk to Gandalf. (Yeah, these instances are set a bit earlier in the timeline than Rohan, so it’s like traveling back in time for level-capped players, though if you take these on at level 20, they’ll be more accurately placed in your own personal storyline. Sort of. They supposedly take place while the Fellowship is in Rivendell, so I’m not entirely sure why Gandalf is still at the Pony at this point.)
Oh, and I’m about to describe these instances in detail, so if their magic could be spoiled by knowing too much about the boss fights and such, you might want to turn your eyes away. That’s my way of saying there will be spoilers ahead.
First off, we hopped into Iorbar’s Peak, which is set high up in the snowy peaks of the Misty Mountains. Essentially, what happened was that a bunch of Stone Giants had stolen an egg from the Eagles, and we must rescue it before they dine on a gigantic Eagle omelet.
As was explained to me, the Stone Giants were something that can be found in Tolkien’s work, though there’s no real description of their physical features. That means that Turbine got to be a bit creative with their appearance, so they look almost like they are made out of stone themselves. And they look pretty awesome.
A good portion of the time, these jerks will be hurling boulders at your party. You’ll see hotspots show up on the ground, and you’ll want to avoid these if you don’t want to be clobbered in the noggin with a slew of falling rocks. On the flipside, you can draw enemies into the hotspots, where they will be damaged.
At the end of the dungeon, there is a boss fight against a massive Stone Giant named Guthfinn that takes place around the aforementioned Eagle egg. There is a bonus objective to try to bring down the giant without the egg taking any damage (at various points during the fight, the egg will be in danger.) Of course, if the egg takes too much damage, it breaks and you will lose the fight.
Our next stop wasn’t too far from there. The Seat of the Great Goblin is set beneath the Misty Mountains, in the famous halls of Goblin-Town. Essentially, ever since Gandalf had defeated the Great Goblin (an event that takes place in between the pages of The Hobbit), they’ve been a bit disorganized. A new Great Goblin has appeared, and you’ll eventually make your way through a bunch of goblin-trash (literally, you will be traversing through piles of goblin refuse) to get to the throne of the new Great Goblin. Of course, even if you beat the new Great Goblin, another will replace him by picking up the crown of the fallen. That means the boss battle in this instance is made up of several fights against several Great Goblins. As soon as one falls, another rushes toward the crown to be the new temporary Great Goblin. (My personal favorite is Uloga.)
By the time we got to the final dungeon, The Webs of the Scuttledells, we were getting pretty short on time, so I never got to see the end of it. This one, though, takes place in Mirkwood and requires you to fight tons of spiders. In fact, when I asked what to expect in the rest of the instance, Hannah Foell awkwardly told me, “A bunch of spiders. And a huge spider.” So this is not a dungeon for the arachnophobic.
A side note about these dungeons: Turbine has smartly implemented the same type of loot rule that appears throughout Rohan. That means that rather than having to manually loot each fallen foe, the loot will appear on the edge of your screen, where you can accept or decline it. Additionally, when you find a chest, only one person needs to open it and the loot will automatically be divvied up. Personally, I love this, as it frees up a lot of time that can now be spent killing things rather than trying to loot every corpse along the way.
We also talked very briefly about some of the newly upgraded content we’ll see in Update 9. On top of these new instances, we’ll see another revamp of Bree (the folks at Turbine promised me they are very passionate about Bree), and Part 2 of the big Moria revamp, which streamlines the quest flow. Since Moria was the game’s first expansion, it was definitely showing its age, and I can see how a new quest flow could be a positive step forward. Additionally, the Dol Guldur instances from the Mirkwood expansion will now scale up to 85. This is good, because the twelve-man Barad Guldur raid contains what I consider to be one of the coolest boss fights in the entire game.
All in all, there’s not a ton of new content here, but it’s all free to some extent. I mean, the dungeons will be free to anyone who’s purchased the Riders of Rohan expansion, the Moria update will be available for anyone who’s purchased Moria (and really, if you’re a serious LoTRO player, you should have purchased this one ages ago), and the scalable Mirkwood instances will be available to people who purchased Mirkwood. Also, free players can look forward to the revamped Bree-town, as this is one of the game’s free areas.
A final note: It’s been revealed that Part 2 of the dungeon cluster—which includes three twelve-man, single-boss raids and a six-man dungeon, and allows players to meet Smaug—will be available sometime in February. We can’t wait!
Editor / Social Media
Date: December 17, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*