After far too short of a testing period, LOTRO pushed Update 26: Mists of Wilderland live late this month, giving us the Wells of Langflood zone, a new epic book to explore, the anniversary festival, and anniversary presents. It was a lot to take in on the live servers, especially since it had been a good long while since Update 25 (November’s Minas Morgul expansion).
Happily, I had finished up with my progression server adventures (at least until the next unlock) and was able to devote my full attention in the game to this and this only.
I’ll start with the bad, which is the usual disappointed sigh that this patch was rammed through after too little public testing. That meant, as usual, a lot of bugs and problems slipped into the mix, the most notorious being the presence of mounted combat mobs where there really shouldn’t have been any. SSG said that this was a simple error in file names, that one type of warg rider wasn’t specced for mounted combat and the other one was, but however it happened, we ended up with these mobs that are zooming around the landscape on lightspeed and really impossible to fight unless you also want to mount up and then ride off cliffs. There was also a ton of lag over the first couple of days, so much so that a couple of times I had to log off until it got better.
On the plus side, hey, it’s never a bad day when we get more LOTRO zones and questing content. The content creation team’s been doing amazing stuff since Mordor, and I’m really glad that we’re getting a “happy” zone instead of a grim, depressing one. In this case, we’re returning to where we left off right before Minas Morgul, going north from the Vales of Anduin into the Wells of Langflood.
The zone has that riverside quality to it, although there are deeper gorges and more difficult landscape traversing than down south. One thing I really like is how SSG experimented with giving players two options to approach the Wells. The normal world questline starts at the south and goes north, whereas the epic book starts at the north and presumably goes south. I’m going with world stuff first, the epic later.
For the occasion, I decked my Lore-master out in a new outfit. I wanted something different than robes and tights, so I went with this nerdy battle-master look. I really like this ravaged armor piece and gave it a few touches (such as with the Grey Company shoulder piece), but then softened it up with a floral headpiece and a backpack stuffed with maps and books.
I do admit that I’m having a problem getting back into the swing of LM combat. It’s just not as smooth and instantaneous as the Minstrel, and the mobs have that high-level toughness that requires me to be more cautious than ever. I don’t hate the class, but I do have some serious envy for how quickly Rune-keepers and Hunters burn down mobs all around me. If I ever do roll up a serious third main character, perhaps for the new server later this year, then I’m 99% sure it’s going to be a Hobbit Hunter.