Tons of screenshots from a northern holiday!
Note! I have added more screenshots after beta round 2 as well, you can see those here.
The beta of update 22 of Lord of the Rings Online was released on the Bullroarer test server yesterday. After the dark and gloomy areas of Mordor, we get a bit of fresh northern air this time.
Below are tons of screenshots from the new areas. This is pretty much a sightseeing post looking at the new landscapes, without any discussion about quests, leveling, armour, crafting or any other game mechanics. However, before the sightseeing, I briefly show some of the quality of life improvements that come with the update. And I have a couple of videos showcasing the new additions to the music system: Four (!) new fiddles.
The usual disclaimer: If you want a pristine game experience and want to go into the new regions without knowing much about them, you should probably stop reading now, if not before! I have zipped across a lot of the new areas here. You have been warned!
You can see larger versions of pictures by clicking on them. If you want more details, you can find the latest patch notes on Standing Stone’s Bullroarer forums.
What new areas do we get?
From the patch notes:
Visit the Strongholds of the North! Encounter the Elvenking Thranduil, discover what is causing trouble in Dale and Lake-town in the Dale-lands, and help the renewed dwarven kingdom of Erebor. Accomplish unique goals with new deeds, and defend yourself against the scourges of these three kingdoms. This update includes over 125 new quests, which can be accessed by travelling to any hub in the Strongholds of the North. Additionally, we have a new musical instrument to preview: the fiddle!
Region Description: Eryn Lasgalen
The name Mirkwood is no longer. The Wood-elves are reclaiming their forest with the name Wood of Greenleaves, but all is not cleansed yet. Trouble lurks in corners, and mysteries confound the Elves. Where have the spiders gone? Who would steal from the Raft-elves goods? What else has long dwelled, unseen, within the woods?
Region Description: The Dale-lands
Nearly eighty years have passed since a company of Dwarves, a Wizard, and a very short burglar woke a dragon and Lake-town was set aflame. A new Lake-town has been built, Dale has been re-settled, and the Kingdom under the mountain thrives, but change has not lessened its pace. Mere days have passed since Jangovar Easterlings were repelled from Dale. However, new Easterlings have arrived from far Rhûn, dressed in rags, and telling tales of sorrow.
Currently, there are no good maps of the new area. Above you’ll see the placeholder map. I’ll update once the real maps are added. The new area is huge, though. My arrow in the low left corner is at the crossing of the Enchanted river along the path through the forest, and there is a huge chunk of land west as well towards the western Forest-Gate.
Legendary items updates
There are a few quality of life updates to the legendary items system. You’ll see some of them in the screenshots below:
- You can now deconstruct all unlocked Legendary Items at a Relic-master by pressing the Deconstruct All button.
- When applying XP Runes that are part of a stack to a Legendary Item, you can now designate how much of the stack to apply to the LI. The system will not consume more than is needed to reach cap.
- Relic-masters will now refine a complete stack of relics if you click the Refine Stack button.
- To destroy an imbued legendary item, you must now confirm by entering the name of your item.
- You can no longer imbue Legendary Items while mounted.
- You can now unlock multiple imbued legacy tiers at once using Mithril.
- Forge-masters can now identify all unidentified Legendary Items in your inventory at once.
- Relic-masters can now now auto combine relics in groups of 10 or 50.
Identify legendary items + relic combining
Deconstruct all items + refine relic stack
The new area has new types of fish to catch! This unlocks a deed where you get a title + new trophy after having caught all the new fish. There is also a new fishing rod available with +10 fishing skill.
Fishing rod + deed
All races will get a new passive skill at level 5: Fiddle use. That means you can use one of the four new fiddles in the music system pretty much from the get-go.
Four fiddles? Yep! From the Bullroarer forums:
- Basic – plays long held notes that stop when you stop the note
- Sprightly – plays staccato notes that always finish
- Lonely Mountain – plays vibrato notes that stop when you stop the note
- Traveller’s Trusty – plays pizzicato (plucked) notes that always finish (barterable with anniversary tokens)
I have a couple of videos of the new fiddles. In the first one, you can hear a short song with the basic fiddle:Basic fiddle preview
In the second video, you can hear clips of all four fiddle types, also compared with the lute of ages.Four fiddles to rule them all
The four fiddles should be a lot of fun to play around with. Hopefully the designers will take a pass at cleaning up samples + adjusting volumes. The two staccato/pizzicato fiddles come across as much louder than the long-note ones.
So, here we go. Screenshots from the new areas.
New character display screen at the start
The dwarves got a new background at their character screen too (as have the other races). This dwarf is with the original avatar graphics.
And here he is with new avatar update visible. Note: only some parts of the avatar update has been added, head shapes and face details only. No hairstyles.
The current map for Thranduil’s halls. Might be updated before release
The court of Thranduil’s halls. You’ll find the elven king himself up the stairs behind me.
Them elves are a merry folk. I wonder why?
All those barrels should explain that merriment…
Empty barrel? I wonder what happens if I climb into it?
Arriving at the eastern beaches of Long Lake. Lake-Town behind me on the right. If you look carefully, you might find some spiky things rising from the water at the far left end of the lake too. We’ll come back to that a bit later!
Lake-Town swim at night.
Lake-Town center at dawn.
Also at dawn, looking across the lake from the southern end of town, towards a huge waterfall.
Looks like Tom Bombadil’s distant cousin lives in Lake-Town. Also note all of the mailboxes. There are TONS of them in town. They must have an efficient postal service. Alternatively, Lake-Town is a holiday resort for the Quick Post.
Dale center. Lovely fountain.
Northern entrance to Dale, as seen at night.
Ah, the main entrance to Erebor, utilizing the typical subtleties of dwarven architectural styles.
A view of Erebor main gates again, from further away. The insides of Erebor is the dwarf Allegiance Hall in Mordor, nothing new there.
I’ll take a closer look at the area outside Erebor below, but first… a trip to the forest!
Western Forest gate into Mirkwood/Eryn Lasgalen.
View of the Forest gate from inside the woods.
Lots of cobwebs in the forest.
As well as cocoons from what I’d guess are awfully large spiders. Bilbo and company ran into them in the past.
Outside entrance to Thranduil’s hall.
Ride through the mirky woods.
Apparently, with the update, we also get visual updates to the old Mirkwood areas in the south. That’ll be fun to check out!
Riding along the Elf-path from Thranduil’s gates to the marshes near Long Lake.
Towers in the distance? Still along the Elf-path.
Different bridge across the Enchanted river. I still don’t want a bath.
But just going near the riverbank hits you with a sudden stop, a grey graphical effect and the debuff “Sorcerous Waters”: +50% all skill inductions, -50% run speed and -60% power cost. At least I didn’t fall asleep. Nice wink to the lore, though!
Ah, bright lights shine through the trees.
Exiting through the eastern forest gate at night.
Elven settlement Loeglond in the marshes near Long Lake.
Same elven settlement at night.
Remember them spikes from the first picture of Long Lake above? We’re now at the west end of the lake, and here is a close-up of the spikes, at Old Esgaroth or old Lake-Town. This was a bustling place before some bearded fellers and a hobbit managed to wake a huge dragon, which being in the foulest of morning moods destroyed the town. Partly by fire, party by crushing it after being shot down above it.
Smug looks at the bones of Smaug.
View north across Old Esgaroth towards Lake-Town and the Lonely Mountain.
Passing by Lake-Town, headed north.
View across Long Lake, looking south from the north end.
Another view of Dale, with Erebor in the back.
View towards Dale from Raven Hill, guard post outside of Erebor. This is where Bilbo spent his time during the Battle of Five Armies, noticing eagles arriving before some goblin dropped a rock on his head.
Inside Raven Hill you’ll find a dwarf named Dís, which is one of the few (only?) known female dwarves. She was sister to Thorin and mother to Fíli and Kíli. She does look a bit different than the regular dwarf characters in LOTRO: I wonder if this is a subtle nod to players who want to play distinct female dwarves in LOTRO, or a sign of new updated player models too?
Dwarf female selfie. Smile!
Gee, a secret path of sorts along the Lonely Mountain? I wonder where that leads.
View from the back door towards Raven Hill.
View of the Lonely Mountain beneath the waterfalls outside.
View towards Dale center, from the same spot as above.
And another view of Lake-Town from the lake, this time in daylight.
I hope yer enjoyed this preview of the update! No release date has been set yet, but it typically takes 4-6 weeks of beta testing before new updates are released. Hopefully before Easter then!