November Update Goes Live for the Lord of the Rings Online
Now that everyone is full of Thanksgiving turkey, it's back to business for the Lord of the Rings Online. The November Update is live, and Middle-Earth has opened up to the F2P crowd like never before.
From the Official Announcement:
As part of our continued mission to make The Lord of the Rings Online the best Free to Play game in the world, weve now made all epic storyline quests in the game free allowing players to level all the way to 65! This grants all players access to all the epic storyline quests in Moria, Lothlórien and Mirkwood. All players can now delve into the depths of Moria, visit Galadriel in the Golden Wood and lay siege to the fortress of Dol Guldur.
Note that while access is free, actual content is not: players will still have to purchase the relevant quest packs of these newly-available areas in order to do any questing there outside of the epic book line. But the cost of these quest packs will be offset somewhat by the fact that the Lone-Lands quest pack is now free.
This has caused a bit of a stir among players, particularly the players who recently spent their hard-earned Turbine Points on content that has since been made free. Also expressing concern are a number of VIP players who feel that too much of the game is now being given away for free, making subscriptions seem like less of a value. There's a discussion on these and other issues at the bottom of the Release Notes.
The new Barter Wallet System was originally supposed to hold all barter items - festival tokens, anniversary tokens, skirmish marks and all other such items used to barter for select items - in a separate vault-type container outside of the player's inventory or regular vault, where space can occasionally be at a premium. This has been "slimmed down" for the November Update, and now the Barter Wallet holds only skirmish marks, with plans to expand upon it in future releases. Players who had skirmish marks stashed safely in their vault can now find them in the Barter Wallet instead.
This update is not completely bug-free. Turbine has identified a list of Known Issues related to the update, and plans to resolve them with future patches.
And, of course, there are some changes to the Lore-master and Runekeeper classes. Detailed Ten Ton Hammer guides for these updated classes are in the works (Lore-master: December 9; Runekeeper: December 23) and will incorporate these changes.