It's been seven months since the Mines of Moria expansion has been released and we're just about to see Book 8 come to out computers. Where Book 7 took us out into Lothlorien and with Book 8 we'll travel into the depths of Moria.
With every new book comes many small bug fixes and tweaks and Book 8 is no different of course. The character classes have all had small bug fixes and adjustments, but everyone will be happy to hear that none of it is major. The Devs assure me that all of the changes are bug fixes or tweaks that help the characters or stop potential exploits. So good news there. One game tweak that will be brought in that has me a little unsure of is a limitation of how many instances you can enter in an hour. The limit will be five instances and hour and should only apply to raid instances.
With Book 8 also comes the next festival. Turbine has added a couple of things in the festivals this time around. First is the races that can be bet on with tokens. At the location of each race's festival is a Race Master that allows you to use a race token to bet on one of the runners to win. The race master will appear approximately 3 minutes before the race begins and the races are every 10 minutes. The one I think is the most fun is the Hobbit race. After you've placed your bet the 4 Hobbits run from table to table eating their way through the race. First one to the finish line wins of course, but you may miss the end like I did as I was laughing so much at this.
The festival games you know and love are still there, like the drinking game. Once again you can earn a horse from the festival, only this time it's a little bit different. This time around you collect tokens from the festival activities to buy your festival mount.
Now unlike the last book we've got several raids coming in Book 8. To be exact, there are 4 raids awaiting players. There are two 3 man raids, one 6 man raid and one 12 man raid. In these raids you'll be traversing further down into the depths of Moria.
The first three man raid will take you to a familiar place, the Waterworks. In here you'll be giant water wheels and puzzles for opening doors. While this area will feel kind of familiar it will also feel like a very new area as you traverse through the large waterwheels and platforms. The immense size is hard to convey in just words. Let's just say that there's a falling hazard that could be detrimental to your health. When you first start this raid you may think that it's going to be easy, but you can quickly be overcome and the end boss certainly needs some good planning and thinking on one's feet.
The second three man raid is the Mirror Halls. As the name implies you'll be seeing the Dwarf mirrors in this area and the puzzles you'll need to solve involves them. Like with the Waterwheels you'll need to activate the mirrors to solve puzzles to continue from area to area. These mirrors aren't quite like those you've seen previously though. Instead these are massive scallop shaped mirrors that are turned to reflect light. One thing to be said about this area is that it's very vertical in a couple places, especially at the beginning, so watch that first step. The boss at the end of this raid is a bit of a doosy, so come prepared. It may just be a three man raid, but it can still be a challenge.
My favourite of the new raid areas is the six man raid in the Flaming Deeps. The Halls of Crafting are absolutely vast. Think of the hugeness of Thorin's Hall and you'll have an idea of how big everything is inside this raid area. As mentioned, this is the six man raid and you'll need every person to be on their guard. The goblins in this area are smart little blighters that'll overwhelm you fast if you're not careful. They're s smart as they are ugly and they'll poison you the first chance they get. At the end of the raid you'll meet Thaguzg in a large room. It may seem like a very big space to fight one creature, but you'll fast find out that he has many friends and that room just might not be big enough for all of you.
The last is the 12 man raid, Dâr Narbugud. Into the Foundations of Stone for this one. Here you are in the deep caves of Moria where The Nameless reside. Mixed in with the nameless are corrupted creatures such as goblins and trolls. They'd all as soon see you dead by their hand though so be glad you've got 11 of your closest friends with you when you begin to be attacked. Here you get the joy of not one but two bosses to fight. The first is an incredibly ugly corrupted goblin by the name of Istum. He's a fast one so get in there fast and take care of him. You'll run into him about half way through the raid. After killing more butt ugly Nameless and even more corrupted creatures you'll get to the The Blind One. Now this guy may be blind, but don't let that fool you. He's got plenty of tricks up his sleeve to take care of you and will have no problems finding you.
Overall I was rather happy to see a range of new raids added instead of just big or small ones. You may not be able to please everyone all the time, but maybe they'll make a whole lot of them happy. Also, even if you're not into the raids I would highly suggest you do these 4 at least once each for the visuals. Turbine's artists keep turning out lovely areas and these raids are no exception. Just wait until you see the goblins in The Crafting Halls; you'll see they've been improving their models as well as their environments.