Home is behind, the world ahead. Edit 6 APR: Map + more screenshots added!
Note! I added the new map + a fair few screenshots from the inns directly below the intro. The rest of the original post can be found below the new images.
A preview of LOTRO’s Update 33 was released on the beta test server Bullroarer yesterday. This adds a new region north-west of the Shire, Yondershire, filled with hobbit goodness. It also links the Shire directly to Ered Luin, without having to go through a teleport. Grand!
You can read the full beta patch notes on the Bullroarer forums. These notes are subject to change before the update is released, as usual.
Yondershire is a rather huge area, likely comparable to the old Shire map in size. It offers lovely hobbit villages and a LOT of wilderness: dense forests, highlands, marshes, wild fields akin to the Lonelands, old ruins, rivers and waterfalls, etc. It really is a grand area if you like to explore, not just run through a linear corridor.
Below I have added tons of screenshots from the new area. 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. If you like to see larger versions of the images, just click on them!
As for the state of the beta: There is no new map of Yondershire yet, some of the artwork is placeholder, some areas are a bit rough, and the inns do not have myriads of NPCs which are apparently planned within. Still, the images should give you a flavour of what to expect when Update 33 goes live later this spring.
The screenshots are grouped, showing:
- The entries to the new area: From Needlehole, Little Delving, Oatbarton, Falathlorn (Ered Luin) and Bindbole Woods.
- The four hobbit villages in Yondershire: Nobottle, Tighfield, Gamwich and Long Cleeve
- The inns in the four villages: The Fox and the Fiddle, The Elbow’s End, The Brimful Quiver, and The Roaring Bull
- Lots of sights from the landscape
Are you looking forward to the update? Do you enjoy previews like this? Please add yer thoughts in the comments below!
New stuff April 6th
The initial post is below, but I figured I’d add some new things from today’s Bullroarer build.
First of all, they added the new map of the new region. It is pretty sizeable.
Next, they tinkered a fair bit with the inns. All four new inns now have their own signs.
The Fox and the Fiddle in Nobottle.
They added a lot of hobbit NPCs inside.
There is even a band playing in one corner.
The Roaring Bull in Long Cleeve also got a new sign.
Nobody puts baby in a corner, but the bull has been put a bit further behind the bar now.
Lots of NPCs here too, so if you were angling for a favourite chair…
Here’s the Elbow’s End in Tighfield.
It also seems to be a popular haunt with the locals.
… with its own noisy band in one corner.
You didn’t think the Brimful Quiver in Gamwich would lose out sign-wise? Naw.
Lo and behold, another popular inn.
The villages have generally gotten a lot of new NPCs. Here’s a fishing pond in Gamwich.
And for some reason, the area is crawling with chucks. Perhaps this is were the Sandson fowls end up when they roam Middle-Earth?
So, the Yondershire is still shaping up as a lovely area.
One note, though: While adding lots of NPCs to the inns makes sense for creating ambiance for regular questers in the area, they are an absolute nuisance for anyone looking to roleplay there. It is hard to find a single table that isn’t occupied, and two of the inns have bands playing audible, repeating music samples.
Thankfully, the NPCs don’t spam your chat box with repeated /say messages too, which is something.
How do we go yonder? Entries to Yondershire
There are several ways into the new area.
Through the Rushock Gate in Needlehole, which was the old portal to Ered Luin. Now you can go through and meet a familiar fellow on the other side.
The rock cliffs at Little Delving have been chipped down, opening a new road headed west into Yondershire.
There is also a new road headed west out of Oatbarton.
From Ered Luin, the old portal near the Falathlorn homesteads is now open.
And less known, but still a viable option: The river flowing between Overhill and Brockenborings has dug through the rock cliffs east of the Bolestones and opened a passage into Yondershire. Although you’ll have to take a bath to use it.
Good hobbit homes. Yondershire villages
Nobottle is likely the first settlement most will head to, after going through the Rushock Gate. This is a large village, with lots of burrows and facilities
West of Nobottle we find Tighfield, another huge village.
Going north from Tighfield you’ll enter Gamwich, a smaller and more secluded village.
Long Cleeve is another secluded village, just north of Nobottle. This village is notable as being the home of the North-tooks, descendants of Bullroarer Took.
The ins and outs of the inns
Note that when going live, the inns will likely be filled with hobbit NPC tavern visitors, enjoying a drink at their local.
The Fox and the Fiddle
The Fox and the Fiddle is the Nobottle inn. Although I am sure they have lots of kegs.
The Tighfield inn is called The Elbow’s End
The Brimful Quiver
In Gamwhich, you can slake yer thirst in The Brimful Quiver.
The Roaring Bull
When in Long Cleeve, you can go for a drink at The Roaring Bull, trying to forget the sight of the wall-mounted goblin head in one of the room. Perhaps you could use the golf clubs to chip it away?
Sights, and lots of them
Below are various screenshots I took while riding around the land.
I started out in the forest and highlands outside Gamwich.
From outside Tighfield, I rode south through the Wilderness towards Little Delving.
From Little Delving I went north past Rushock Bog and towards Needlehole.
The road towards Long Cleeve
Going west from Tighfield towards Falathlorn and the Ered Luin gate.
From Falathlorn, I went north, eventually meeting the River Lune and the old fortress which has long been visible from the river. You can now ride up there from the Yondershire side.
Various forests, highlands, valleys and rivers between the River Lune and east towards Gamwich.
From Nobottle I went east towards Oatbarton.
You can gawk down on Golfimbul’s hole from Yondershire.