So yes, I’m a little late on this one but it has been a long week for me. Turbine released the first bit of news on the upcoming new content that continues the epic story. Certainly there’s more info coming but it appears that one of my early predictions is already wrong as it doesn’t look like there’s any new area to explore. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good things in the update but I’m a little worried that this seems a bit light.
By far, the most exciting thing is the Rift (Nurz Ghashu) skirmish that is the first attempt to revive older group/raid content. I’m not only looking forward to getting back in there – but it does sound like an interesting story line as you’re called to help one of the rangers and his daughter from the depths and evils of the area. Although I do find this to be a very similar storyline to Goldir and Amarthiel but we shall see how it plays out. Since they’re doing this via the skirmish system, it does bring a faint glimmer of hope that we may see similar ideas (and raids) in places like Fornost, Garth Agarwen, and Helegrod.
The rest of the epic story line is centered around gathering up the scattered rangers and marshalling them South the help defend against the growing threat. I’m curious about the story, but this does smack of the epilogue to Volume 2 Book 9 that sent us all over the land doing various small tasks. Thank god I’m a warden, but these “travel the world” quests do get a little old. Hopefully it is more then just talking quests as the war should be spread pretty far and deep across Middle-Earth by now that there should be some good opportunities for battles and/or skirmishes.
In addition to the Rift skirmish, and the epic story there are a few other items we’re teased with, starting with lots of new love for crafting!
- New level 65 crafting recipes and updates to crafting abilities
- Updated icons and stats for Jeweler recipes
- New recipes and updates for Cooks!
- New class items for Weaponsmiths and Woodworkers
- New crop recipes for Artisian, Master, and Superior Farmers
I’m happy they’re doing something with farming and cooking, as it really only seems like there’s a couple worthwhile recipes/ingredients and the rest is for cosmetic purposes.
Also, a new set of four skirmishes that appear to be re-formated versions of the Dol Goldur existing skirmishes are opened up with a raid option. I’m really not sure how this will work as the rewards will have to be tweaked quite a bit. Meaning I”m not sure I really want to raid for skirmish marks – unless they expand on that system. But it will be interesting to see, and might be a good way for people to get used to raiding. The four skirmishes are:
- Defeating a powerful Olog-Hai at the Necromancer’s gate
- Disrupt the plans of “creatures of nightmare” who are setting a deadly trap before the Gate of the Ringwraith’s Lair
- Defend Thangulhad from capture leveraging the catapults and defenses in place
- Free captured elves from the dungeons of Dannenglor
So we’ll see what other information comes out as we get closer to launch but for now there is some good stuff but it seems a little light on content and more focused on upgrades, which for all we know could’ve slipped out of the Siege of Mirkwood expansion. And certainly I’m a little worried that we’re not getting any new land-mass as there’s still a pretty big gap between Mirkwood and Rohan (assuming that’s the next large area). In addition, we still haven’t seen much with regards to our characters progression – hopefully they’re just saving that for the upcoming dev diaries!
Here’s the link to the full notes on the start of Volume 3 – Oath of the rangers,and I’m sure there are lots of posts and such on the forums and other bloggers talking about this as well.
I have some other posts coming out this afternoon, but wanted to get my Volume 3 thoughts out before too much time passed.