In a departure from the usual end-game grind, Standing Stone Games' latest update to their mmo, The Lord of the Rings Online, will see mid-level players get some fresh content with Update 29.
Update 29, Wildwood, will bring with it a new questline and zone to the MMO, all set for players around level 45. Considering most of LotRO's updates have all been primarily geared towards end game and max level characters, it's nice to see some of the lower level population get some love. The new zone will allow for some more flexibility as well when leveling alts, helping to alleviate the monotony of doing the same zones over and over again with something new and fresh. The new zone looks like it'll be an extension of the current Bree-land zone, based on the description in the patch notes.
Beyond the Bree-fields lies the lightly travelled wilderness of the Wildwood. This heavily forested area has drawn the attention of two groups of Free Peoples who vie for its resources. The League of the Axe, a group of game hunters and miners down on their fortunes, seek to tap the land's resources and ferry their bounty down the Brandywine from Trader's Wharf to markets abroad. Meanwhile, a group of villagers in Trestlebridge have formed the Woodcutter’s Brotherhood, with the goal of taking advantage of the Wildwood to benefit the folk of Bree-land and rebuild Trestlebridge to its former glory. Both factions must decide the fate of the Wildwood as they work against unsavory Brigands and the Tarkrîp Orcs. The update also includes two new 3-player scaling instances set in Eriador, "Woe of the Willow" & "Agoroth, the Narrowdelve".
Adding content for all levels is something Rob Ciccolini, LotRO's Executive Producer, told us last year in an interview around The Great Wedding content. In the interview, it was alluded that content updates would, from time to time, include content for players not just at the max level, but also players of all levels. This seems to be a continuation of that philosophy.
Also coming with Update 29 are some changes to virtua caps, bringing it up to 74 for those characters who are level 130, though this change isn't without its detractors in the forums thread . Additionally, improvements to the lighting in LotRO are coming with new advanced graphics options for DirectX 10 and 11, enabling softer lighting, as well as what the team calls "more consistently used normalmaps and specular highlights."
Wildwood will be closing on the public test server tomorrow at 5pm EST, so if you want to jump into the new zone and check out the content before it's live, now is your chance.