Lord of the Rings Online - Book 12 Preview, Part Two
Late last week, managing Editor Jon Wood was given a preview of the upcoming Book 12: The Ashen Waste by the dev team from Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online. Today, he talks about new additions in Housing, the new Delving of Frór and more!
In yesterday’s Part One of this article, I talked about the customization that is coming to roost in Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online when they launch Book 12: The Ashen Waste, the newest free update to the popular MMORPG.
In part two, we will talk about some of the other aspects of the upcoming free update, including an interesting and public PvMP dungeon, housing, classes and more that I learned about the update on a recent guided preview:
The Delving of Frór
The Delving of Frór
When I first entered the Lord of the Rings test server to take part in this guided preview, the first thing that the developers wanted to show me was The Delving of Frór, a new non-instanced dungeon that takes place right there in the middle of the Ettenmoors. For those who might not be familiar enough with the game to recognize that name, it’s the setting for Monster Play in Lord of the Rings Online.
Under three towers, players will find a dungeon space that allows them to leave the surface of the dangerous PvMP lands and head into adventure underground. The delving itself is artfully (and darkly) created and presents some pretty major challenges to players who travel into its depths. The dungeon itself was designed to be a large group instance, with two fellowships working together.
Even on its own, from what I could tell, the zone really does hold up as a dungeon on its own. Still though, there’s a catch that makes this particular area an interesting one beyond the possibility of entering another dungeon. The catch is that this is indeed a PvMP zone, and in order to access the Delving, your side must control three towers. Once this happens, the passage becomes available to you and you may descend. The fun still doesn’t stop there though. In a PvMP zone, there is always a risk that the enemies will gain control of any points that your side currently enjoys. If that happens while your fellowship is in the Delving, the opposing side gains access to the entrance and can follow you down.
By making the dungeon a public, non-instanced space, the developers have added a second and deadly challenge. The area in and of itself is deadly and must be considered carefully by players, when you add to that the possibility of brutal PvP attack from behind, it adds a whole new dimension to the game.
In Turbine’s last free update, they introduced the denizens of Middle Earth to a brand new housing system. When they released the system, they knew that they were giving players something functional that they could use to make their game experience a better one. In Book 12, the developers hope to improve upon the pre-existing system by giving players some of the things that they have been asking for since the feature’s launch.
The first of the features that have been added to this system is the ability to rotate items that are placed in your house. Previously, while you could place an item virtually anywhere you wanted, you couldn’t rotate it. Now, players will have the ability to face their home decorations in any direction they see fit. While this may not seem like an important feature to some, it does help to add to the immersion of the world and certainly to the fun and creativity of the housing system.
Second, this new update will add interactive items to houses. No longer will fireplaces burn unheeded (or not at all), as players will be able to light and snuff out fires, candles and the like. Flammables aren’t the only interactive items in the game, as I had an interesting run-in with a giant keg of beer, drinking from which sent me on a bit of an odd adventure…
Finally, Book 12 is adding new trophies that players can collect and display in their homes or on their lawns. These trophies can be earned by doing great deeds and can sometimes be dropped as loot when a particularly nasty enemy has been slain. Remember, nothing says Post-Modern home design like a giant sword mounted in your front yard and a Dragon’s skull on a pole is sure to keep those pesky door to door salesmen at bay.
In Book 12, not two, but three different classes will be getting at least a little bit of extra love and care. The Guardian and the Burglar will receive the bulk of the attention, with Turbine having announced the Month of both of those classes, but this time around, there’s also a Week of the Champion, a class that the devs stated in the announcement suffered from not having had the kind of feedback that the other classes have had during their original update (they were the first).
Starting with the smallest and working our way up, we can see a number of changes have been made to the Champion:
Champions have gained a new stance, called Ardour. Gained at level 10, this new stance bridges the gap between the current Glory and Fervor stances, allowing you to regain power and pips more quickly than when in the defensive Glory, but less than the offensive Fervor.
New Skills have been added to the Champion, 14th level Second Wind and 35th (Teir 3) and 46th (Tier 4) level Melee Critical Passive Traits.
The Champion’s Legendary Skills have been upgraded and some skills have changed.
You can check out a more detailed overview here.
The Burglar, arguably one of the most complicated classes in the game, gets a whole lot of love with the launch of Book 12:
Book 12 will add eleven new skills to the Burglar’s repertoire. The new skills will begin to be available at level 20 and will stretch through the rest of the game. Please find below a list of the new skills with their level as well as the official game description:
- Mischief (20) - "Instead of Sneaking, you set your mind straightway to Mischief. While active, your Tricks and Twists cost less power to use and the recovery timer of Riddle is reduced. This skill can only be activated out of combat and cannot be used while sneaking."
- Clever Retort (30) - "Mischief must be active to use this skill. Sometimes, you even surprise yourself. Usable on an enemy with an active Trick on them, it does one of four different things from healing yourself to harming your target. This removes the Trick."
- Confound (46) - "Mischief must be active to use this skill. You confound nearby foes which slightly slows their attacks and will daze them if not cured before it expires. This will not work on Beasts, Insects, or Creatures of Nature."
- Knives Out (42) - "You make a quick attack to all foes around you and then prepare yourself to retaliate to attacks made against you in melee. Half of the attacks made against you in melee will also damage your attacker. This skill shares its recovery timer with Touch and Go."
- Well Placed Strike (40) - "With a moment to prepare, you make a carefully aimed strike at your target, causing damage over time. When made at the back of your target, the damage over time is increased significantly."
- Practical Joke (40) - "Whose fault is it if the mightiest of heroes can't take a joke? This skill is only usable while in stealth."
- Share The Fun (42) - "You and one other fellowship member can enter stealth together. You must remain within 5 meters of one another or both of you will be revealed."
- Location Is Everything (50) - "Your next damage-dealing attack skill will deal increased damage if it strikes your target from behind. Only useable while in Stealth. Using this skill will not break Stealth."
- Contact Peddler (26) - "At camps scattered across the world, you can call on your contacts to find a Pedlar to whom you and others may sell items in your possession."
- Escape Clause (48) - "After your fellowship performs a successful Fellowship Maneouver, you can use this skill to reset the recovery timer of Touch and Go and Knives Out."
- Seize Initiative (44) - "After your fellowship performs a successful Fellowship Maneouver, you can use this skill to reset the recovery timer of your Aim skill, Location is Everything, and all the skills in your Critical Response chain."
On top of the skills, the Burglar will also be granted fellowship signals that will allow Burglars to equip a fellowship signal in their ranged slot, giving them a bonus to the specific fellowship skill (the signals are available for each one of them).
You can get a more detailed description here.
When Turbine set out to take a look at the Guardian class, they felt that he was quite good at his Tank role, and so have “largely designed [the changes] to provide interesting and viable alternative playstyles for the class while addressing core concerns such as repair costs and offensive stances.”
There are three different playstyles addressed by the update:
- Force Opening – a middling damage offensive attack
- Stagger – low damage and debuff
- Salt in the Wound – When an enemy is bleeding, this makes it worse.
- Sweeping cut – the after use delay has been reduced
- Shield Swipe – An issue with the damage type was corrected
- Thrust – Damage over time has improved.
The guardian is the recipient of two new skills, Shield Wall and Fray the Edge. Shield Wall allows the Guardian to protect a friend by taking the damage from an attack against that friend on himself while Fray the Edge is a new, ranged taunt that allows the player to “increase the chance that a random conjunction opportunity will occur”.
There are also changes that have been made to: Shield Taunt, Catch a Breath, Deep Breath, Thrill of Danger and Warrior’s Heart.
Book 12 adds the Overpower stance to the Guardian. Overpower allows the Guardian player to increase her melee damage at the expense of defense and power. As a result, a number of new skills have been created and three have been tweaked just a little bit.
These are the new skills:
These are the changed skills:
For a more complete picture of changes to the Guardian, read here.