The Shores of Evendim is the first free content addition that Turbine has introduced to Lord of the Rings Online. Evendim introduces the full new area of Eriador for the players to explore. In addition to the new area there are new quests and the first 24-player raid.
As one would expect, the landscape of the Evendim region is as spectacular as the rest of the world. The accompanying ambient music helps to set the feel for the region and make it distinct from the other areas of the game. There have been no major changes to the sound and graphics in this update other than some small improvement fixes.
As you travel through Evendim, you will very quickly notice the new creatures that have been added to the region. The choice to make one of the new creatures a set of humanoids was brilliant. It seems like a simple thing, but not knowing if you can approach someone safely or not adds a lot to the discovery of the new area.
The region boasts its own set of deeds and quests. The deeds are similar to the other regions and are found in the same way as well. The quests found in Evendim are of the same calibre as we've come to expect from LotRO. The fellowship instances are of the same high quality as the others scattered throughout Middle Earth. The time and energy put into these quests is as evident here as it is in the high and low areas of the other regions. Evendim also boasts the game's first 24-player raid.
In addition to adding a whole new region, Turbine has taken this opportunity to make some needed changes to the game and the client. The list of bug fixes is way too long to list here, but it would seem that Turbine has been saving them up for a while now. From graphics to gameplay, they've fixed many problems that were lurking just under the surface.
There were many tweaks made to the gameplay overall. Like the list of bug fixes, I could never go over them all here. One worth mentioning though is the visual change to the use of skills. When you activate a skill to use on your quickslot bar a visual animated outline now shows around the activated skill slot. There is a different outline for when a skill has been queued behind another skill. The reason I mention this is because I've seen many comments on the fact that you cannot tell what action you're taking. To make it easier to tell what skill is queued, an additional UI window has been added called Skill Queue. This UI window is exactly what it promises on the tin, the little window shows the icon of the skill you're using and an hourglass timer showing its use. So between these two additions, it is now a lot easier to see what is happening during combat.
There have also been several changes made to the classes. A majority of these changes seem to amount to the tweaking that is needed to balance and improve them. One of the additions that has been brought in for all of the classes is a set of epic, custom armor for each class. As you gather pieces of the set, it unlocks additional bonuses for your character. These armor pieces are supposed to be available to characters between levels 30 to 50 and look very nice. Now, we can have a nice looking set of armour and not sacrifice our stats.
As mentioned earlier, there haven't been a lot of changes to the sound in this update other than their removal from some skills. There was one audio change though that doesn't fit into that category. Turbine has been tinkering with their unique player-made music, and a few improvements have been made including the ability to sustain notes (play them longer) and the addition of two new instruments.
Turbine has taken the opportunity of a free update to fix and change the game in places they felt change was needed. The Shores of Evendim is a much-wanted addition to Eriador and Middle Earth, but the fixes and tweaks are also a welcome sight. The release of LotRO was very good overall and had only minor problems; this update has fixed many of the small annoyances that have been around since release and before.
Thank you Turbine for this update, which was more than just a small bit of content to make us content.