Dusty stairs and goatee beards.
We must face the long dark of
Moria Gundabad! A preview of LOTRO’s Update 31, the new expansion pack “Fate of Gundabad”, was released on the beta test server Bullroarer today. This adds a new region north-west of Elderslade, and it even ties to the old Angmar area (albeit through a portal).
You can read the beta patch notes on the Bullroarer forums. These notes are subject to change before the update is released, as usual, and some of the features in the expac are missing still.
Below are the new maps of the region plus some screenshots from a ride-around. As usual, the screenshots might be seen as spoilers for those who like to explore new lands, so you have been warned: Don’t read on if you like to be surprised in-game.
Are you looking forward to the update? Do you enjoy previews like this? Please add yer thoughts in the comments below!
The new maps
Below are the maps, along with SSG’s own descriptions of the different areas, which I have
stolen shared from the beta patch notes. I have also added some screenshots from each area.
There are nine new maps: two overviews of the whole region, plus seven more detailed area maps.
This is the main “Mount Gundabad” map, including the old Elderslade area in the overview. Note the exit to Angmar in the upper left.
Another overview map, this is of the underground Gundabad area.
Just north of Gundabad lies the bleak vale of Câr Bronach, the easternmost marches of the fallen witch-kingdom of Angmar. Steep-walled, chill, and barren, it is a haunted glen, dominated by shattered ruins of that evil land, which have stood dark for a thousand years; now, in the days after Sauron’s fall, some of those who once served him have come here once more in search of foul relics long thought lost.
Pit of Stonejaws
Despite its fearsome name, the Pit of Stonejaws was once a place of great beauty, a web of tunnels and chambers twining amongst graceful pillars and shards of shimmering crystal. The Dwarves revered these caves, laying their dead to rest in crypts that took years of care to delve. Sadly, the Orcs have long since corrupted these reaches and desecrated the tombs, dimming the splendour spoken of in songs of old.
Mattugard and Deepscrave
The stronghold of Máttugard was once one of the Dwarves’ mightiest citadels, hewn out of the white stone of Gundabad and shining with light channeled from above. Long years of war between the Orcs and Dwarves have scarred it, but its stark majesty remains, yearning to be reclaimed.
Deepscrave was one of the wonders of the Dwarvish world, a yawning cavern through whose center runs a huge pillar, out of whose sides were carved level upon level of mansions and smithies, with cunning lifts running up and down, day and night. The Orcs plundered and despoiled it long ago, and swarms of bats swirl in the cave’s smoky shadows.
Unseen for centuries, thought by many to be only a legend, the dark lake known as Gloomingtarn is among the most hallowed sites in all of Dwarfdom. Surrounded by soaring columns of stone, its waters stand clear and glass-smooth about a dark isle where, the wise whisper, Durin the Deathless first drew breath, and learned to work iron, silver, and gold for the first time.
Clovengap is a sight few would expect to behold in any Dwarf-hall: a thriving, lush region of forests and meadows,. Once a vast cave where swift rivers ran, it was laid bare to the sky long ago. After, the Dwarves shaped the riverbanks into terraces, making gardens and groves to feed the folk of Gundabad. Now wild woodlands grow among the ruins, a home for Wargs and other wicked beasts.
High above the halls of Gundabad, on the western slopes of the mountain, the wind-swept crags called the Welkin-lofts. Snow-mantled even in summer, these frozen reaches served as a sacred gathering-place for the lords of the Dwarves, who held great councils, known as Dwarrowmoots, in times of strife. Now the halls lie buried, and the wastes are the haunt of giants, hobgoblins, and other fell things.
Gundabad is set to release in three weeks’ time, on November 10th. That’s not too much time to test things on Bullroarer, so hopefully things shape up well before that.
The region is larger than I expected, especially the indoors area. Although the eastern part (Mattugard and Deepscrave) feels a lot like Moria v2.0, there is a bit more variety in the western area of Clovengap. My biggest worry is that things feel pretty linear. The whole region is really a huge circle from Car Bronach, through the interior, and out through Welkin-Lofts. And admittedly, by now I am more or less overdosed on dwarven storylines in LOTRO, so I hope for more variety in future updates. Still, always grand to have new lands to explore.
Are you excited by the new area and the expac? Leave yer thoughts in the comments below!