A Book 12 Session with Turbine - Part 1
Book 12: The Ashen Wastes is the fourth free content update for Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO). This week Ten Ton Hammer was granted a session play of the new Book 12 content hosted by Turbine staff members Adam Mersky, Aaron Campbell, and Jeffrey Steefel. The Ten Ton Hammer staff was treated to a full preview of all the content slated for the Book 12 update. Such new features included a massive overhaul of the customization system, which will include a new Outfit System and Barber Shop, the depths of Middle-earth's newest piece of real estate, The Delving of Fror, an overhaul of Angmar, and some of the new customization options for player housing.
The night began as the developer's provided pre-created characters for the Ten Ton Hammer staff complete with an inventory full of social clothing. The adventure began in The Delving of Fror and then moved to the elvish housing neighborhood, Falathlorn Homestead. The night's adventure ended in the newly revamped land of Angmar. Along the way the Ten Ton Hammer staff was treated to a preview of all the new customization options, several new housing items, and other new content. Let's get started.
The Delving of Fror
The Delving of Fror is a new open dungeon beneath the Ettenmoores. Steefel pointed out that in order to enter this dungeon your side (Free Peoples or Creeps of the Ettens) will have to control three of the five keeps in the Ettenmoores. Those that control the entry rights can enter this dungeon and fight any of the solo, group, or raid content within. We were curious as to how many raid encounters were inside The Delving of Fror and the Turbine crew answered. There will be five key raid encounters within the dungeon that players will be able to take down with one or multiple raids.
If your raid is within The Delving of Fror and your faction loses the entry rights to the dungeon, you will not be able to send more people in or reenter and those still inside will be at the mercy of not only the non-player character (NPC) mobs, but also the opposing factions Player vs Player (PvP) armies.
Gaergoth The Unbound the Rogmul of The Delving of Fror.
The Outfit System
Do you hate the look of your Polished Ancient Armor? When Book 12 goes live that will no longer be a problem as you will have the option to change that look to anything your class is permitted to wear. The Outfit System will come with over 60 new items and a new character window that will allow you to wear a variety items while retaining the stats of your main armor. There are some limitations to the system. A Burglar can not look like a Guardian as you are restricted to wearing the appearance of items that you are able to equip. Light and medium armor classes can't equip heavy armor. The outfit system is also disabled when in the Ettenmoores to prevent any player deception. You can wear the appearance of either social clothing, or regular gear if you prefer, but the benefits of your main armor will remain so long as you equip the item appearance of your choosing in the outfit window.
The outfit window will provide you with two set options. What this means is you can store the look of two complete sets of clothing to be displayed when you choose. When you buy an item and want to use the appearance, you simply need to drag that item to the appropriate outfit slot. The item will remain in your inventory leaving you with one of two options. The appearance will be stored in the outfit slot once you drop it there, and so long as you don't replace it with another item, it will remain. You can then delete the item if you choose, but if you replace the appearance in the window, you will need to get the item again if you ever wish to use that appearance later. Since the item itself does not actually equip, it can create storage issues given the large amount of items you will be keeping on hand for appearance, unless you choose to use the appearance and then delete the item or store it in one of your storage chest. The outfit window also gives you the option to only turn on certain item slots. If you want to wear a Hauberk and boots from the outfit window but keep your main gear helmet appearance; you can do so.
The "Month of the Guardian" has finally arrived and with it new updates and changes for the Guardian class. Anyone that has played a Guardian can tell you they are great tanks and can take massive amounts of damage before succumbing to wounds in combat. The drawback, however, is that the Guardian does poor damage. This will change with the Book 12 update.
The Outfit System will allow greater customization
One key skill the Guardian class will be receiving is the Overpower Stance. This stance will allow for Guardian's to deal more damage at the expense of defense and at an increased power cost. This stance will come with a few stance specific skills such as Force Opening and Stagger. These skills will allow for the Guardian to perform a more effective role in both solo play and as a back up tank to deal extra damage. The Guardian will also be receiving several new defensive skills such as Shield Wall which will allow the Guardian to intercept all damage aimed at a given target. The drawback is that the Guardian can not mitigate any of the damage he intercepts from the target causing him to take 100% of it without the benefit of mitigation.
The Burglar class is already one LotRO's more solid classes. This may have made the job of the developer's a lot easier when it came time to provide them with their "Month of" update. The class will receive a fill out of skills in the level 40-50 range along with a few other lower level skills to make the class more fun and engaging such as Mischief. This skill can be acquired at level 20 and while it is active all of the Burglar's Tricks and Twists cost less power to use and the recovery timer of Riddle is reduced. The Burglar class will also receive new skills that will allow them to capitalize on Fellowship Maneuvers after they have been performed and even a shared invisibility skill. Skills like this will help make the Burglar an even more important and desired class for any fellowship.
The Delving of Fror was an excellent way to start this adventure. Steefel and crew allowed us to preview the new content openly and we remain impressed by Turbine's efforts to continue bringing high quality free content updates. While this update is not focused on increasing the size of the gaming world, it does add a slew of new customization content. The Delving of Fror is sure to bring players who would normally not participate in PvP to the Ettenmoores, and that alone is an accomplishment.
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