Lots of screenshots from the new areas!
Update 21/8: Added new maps for Eriador + The Iron Hills, plus new hobbit avatar update pictures (now with new hair models).
The beta of update 23 of Lord of the Rings Online was released on the Bullroarer test server yesterday. This is a pretty dwarf-centric update, where we’ll explore more of their northern lands: an extended version of Erebor, the Iron Hills and the Grey Mountains.
Below are tons of screenshots from the new areas. This is pretty much a sightseeing post looking at the new landscapes, without much discussion about quests, leveling, armour, crafting or any other game mechanics. I’ll mention some of the new stuff, though.
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:
Update 23 features a journey into the homelands and histories of the dwarves, including the Longbeard descendants of Durin the Deathless. Beginning with an expanded Erebor, you will adventure into the fabled Iron Hills, and finally arrive in the lost dwarf kingdoms of the Grey Mountains.
What new things do we get?
A quick version (excluding lots of minor things and some quality of life improvements):
- 100-ish new quests plus more epic book chapters.
- In the beta, we’ll get a preview of some of the avatar changes for hobbits.
- The level cap is increased to 120. The level cap for legendary items has also been raised.
- Three new resource instances have been added, for groups of three with daily and weekly rewards.
- Two new 3-player and one new 6-player instances have been added, with solo versions available. A new raid will come in the future. “These new Instances will soon playable up to Tier 3, and are available this Bullroarer preview at Tier 1. Tier 3 is a new challenge level that replaces the former T2C difficulty, and offers a new challenge in addition to other awards. Tier 3 difficulty is expected to unlock several weeks after the release of Update 23.”
- There are changes to the way ratings are calculated, apparently to “provide a more even gameplay experience throughout levelling, and to make gearing at end game more compelling”.
- There is a new tier 12 crafting tier, with new gear, class items and new musical instruments for minstrels.
- For player musicians, there are also three new bassoons available. Basic, Lonely Mountain and Brusque.
- Two new trait points have been added.
Hobbit avatar updates
The hobbit avatar update is a work in progress. So far, they have mostly changed the faces, although some hair models have also been updated.
This video should give you an indication of how the bassoons sound currently. There are three in the game: Basic, Lonely Mountain and Brusque (and not “Rustic”, which I wrote in the video very very late at night when making it…)Bassoons preview
So, here we go. Screenshots from the new areas.
One thing to note is that SSG has updated the map of Eriador, to the same style as used for Mordor and Rhovanion. In beta round 1, there was a typo in the map that made a lot of hobbits sad (Michael Delving). This has been fixed in round two.
Erebor has been extended, with a whole new area between the Mordor alliance hall and the Dale-lands entrance. The map and pictures below shows some of the new area. It got a new theatre too, which I suspect might be popular with dwarven musicians.
Home of the Longbeards and rich in iron, the Iron Hills look rather grand, with sloped fields and large dwarven footholds. And there’s this huge monument which you can see from almost every spot in the area.
Ered Mithrin in Sindarin for The Grey Mountains, a large mountain range towards the Misty Mountains. Mount Gundabad, the dwarven holy site where Durin 1 first woke up, is at the crossing between the Grey Mountains and the Misty Mountains. Gundabad was later the capital for orcs in the north.
The area contains ruined fortresses and lots of dragon bones. The Withered Heat is an ancient breeding ground for dragons.
I hope yer enjoyed this preview of the update! No release date has been set yet, but it typically takes 3-6 weeks of beta testing before new updates are released. Sometimes late summer or early autumn, then!
Comments or questions about the new update? Just add them below!