LOTRO: Volume II: Book 8: Scourge of Khazad-Dûm Preview

Posted Wed, Jun 03, 2009 by Dalmarus

A dungeon crawler's dream.

To keep your current customers happy, you've got to provide new content to them on a regular basis and few companies manage that task as well as Turbine, the company behind The Lord of the Rings Online. It seems like just a few months ago we were bringing you preview screens for Volume II: Book 7: Leaves of Lórien. Oh wait, that's because it *was* only a few months ago. Not content to sit around and make their players wait another six months for anything new, the team has been hard at work on Volume II: Book 8: Scourge of Khazad-Dûm.

Last week, Aaron Campbell, the Live Producer of LotRO was kind enough to give me a sneak peek at some of the things they've been cooking up: Two 3-man instances, one 6-man instance, and one 12-man instance. For most companies, that would be more than enough to justify a "release" but as I mentioned earlier, the folks at Turbine don't take on anything lightly. Not only did I see some of the new instances, but Aaron also told me how they'll be releasing a completely upgraded crafting system and giving some older areas in the game a bit of love as well.

With the release of Volume II: Book 8: Scourge of Khazad-Dûm, players will be introduced to a new mechanic in the instances I got to see. Every mob (not just bosses) has its own set of corruptions (or buffs). Some of these make them highly resistant to melee, ranged, or damage by magical means. While providing an added challenge, this new system should also make combat more interesting for players as well. Those "trash" mobs you were used to beating the snot out of with little thought on your way to a boss will now require a little more attention in terms of tactics.

The first instance Aaron brought us to was, a 3-man instance called The Mirror-halls of Lumul-nar. This isn't the first time the LotRO team has created an instance designed for a smaller number of players than most MMO veterans are used to. Since they've proven to be quite popular with their player base, the team decided to create a few more. It's another example of how a company can cater to the wants of its customers without losing that intense sense of adventure found in areas requiring larger groups. Not only does it take less time to gather a group of three players, but it also ensures that the entire group will be engaged with what's going on.

Harkening back to the dungeon crawls of old for Pen-and-Paper RPG players around the world, your party is going to have more than just the monsters of the Mirror-halls to worry about as you attempt to make your way through. Scattered throughout the dungeon are massive mirrors on rotating stands. You may not have to use *every* mirror in the halls, but you will be required to have that first beam of light you discover in the beginning travel the full extent of the Mirror-halls. Just as there should be with any puzzle of this nature, there are multiple ways to accomplish this goal. It should provide a good challenge for any group daring to risk its dusty hallways.

The next place we went was another 3-man instance, called The Water Wheels: Nalâ-dûm. Similar to The Mirror-halls of Lumul-nar, this is an area where players will have more to worry about than just keeping their hide in one piece. Along with the need to have the water flow through the entire instance (by the use of *huge* water wheels), players will also have to do a bit of jumping.

LotRO's new class comes late to the party, but it is certainly an interesting choice.
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