Last Round of Dev Diaries and Screenshots for Update 2: Echoes of the Dead

In order to prepare players for the grand, shiny new coming on
Monday, March 21, Turbine has released a matched pair of developer
diaries - one detailing the changes coming to Evendim and the other
discussing what's going on with Volume III Book 3.

In the  href="http://www.lotro.com/gameinfo/devdiaries/1083-update-2-evendim-revamp-developer-diary">Evendim
Revamp Developer Diary, Joe "jwbarry" Barry
talks about smoothing out the leveling hump that Evendim represented by
releveling the entire area and adding over 100 new quests. In answer to
the question, "Why Evendim and not somewhere else?" Joe had this to
say: 

After we completed our revamp of the Lone-lands, we
wanted to
know where our game was thin and in need of attention. We data mined
our quests, focusing on their level ranges, distribution, quest type
and experience offered to find any gaps in our content. The 30s stood
out pretty dramatically to us as being a place where some time and
attention would benefit the game. Evendim was selected because it
already covered this level band and was in pretty solid shape. It
needed a boatload more quests (see what I did there?) but not a ton of
world-building work or extra resources.

And it's not just almost twice as many quests, fancy
re-leveling and facelifts to Tinnudir. There are new quest delivery
mechanics involving self-updating inventory items, barter tokens
similar in concept to those used by the Malledhrim and Galladhrim, and
more boat travel destinations (no pre-visiting the destinations
necessary). All in all, this is a great update for players who feel
like they have hit a wall after the long walk of the North Downs.

The href="http://www.lotro.com/gameinfo/devdiaries/1089-update-2-volume-iii-book-3-quest-notes-developer-diary">Update
2: Volume III, Book 3 Quest Notes Developer Diary, by Jeff
"MadeOfLions" Libby, discusses what's in store for the continuation of
the Volume III epic storyline, plus the story behind the new instance
cluster. That's right, there's an actual quest chain involved with the
new instances.

The new instance-cluster story arc is called "In Their
Absence," and starts with Barliman Butterbur after the player has
completed the deed for finding all of the mysterious relics that
foreshadow the delivery of this new stuff. To explain why these things
are popping up now: 

The lands of Eriador were long kept safe through the
efforts
of the Rangers, but now the DĂșnedain have another charge: to ride to
the aid of their chieftain, Aragorn, in the wide lands to the south.
Indeed, they have already departed and you played a key role on the
first leg of their journey. But now, in their absence, a new threat has
risen…

That threat, of course, is the Gaunt-lords, each of which is
tied to one of the new instances.

As for the epic saga, the story picks up in Thror's Coomb
where Book 2 left off, with an addled dwarf Nar and the ranger Corunir.
The theme of this book is one of ancient history - the story of Isildur
and the creation of the Oathbreakers. This book contains a few
instances which can be played solo (with the same Inspired Greatness
buff players get for Volume I instances) or with a group. And there's a
session-play chapter where you get to meet Isildur himself and witness
the actual breaking of the oath during the end of the Second Age, that
made the Oathbreakers what they are today.

And to keep your appetites whetted for Monday, here are some
official screens of the new instance cluster.

alt="North Cotton Farm"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/96684">

alt="North Cotton Farm"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/96685">

alt="Lost Temple"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/96686">

alt="Stoneheight"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/96687">

alt="Stoneheight"
src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/96688">


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