style="width: 640px; height: 238px;"
alt="November Update Preview"

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Change is a-comin' to href=""> the Lord
of the Rings Online
. The
November update, with the clever and apt official name "November
Update" (the name personally chosen by Aaron Campbell, Producer for
LotRO), goes live Monday, November 29th on North American servers,
right after American Thanksgiving. European servers, which are still in
launch mode for free-to-play, will see these changes "a couple of
weeks" later, according to Adam Mersky, Director of Communications at
Turbine. This will be LotRO's first update since free-to-play launched
in September, and f2p players are certainly in for a treat. So is
everyone else, for that matter.

To start off, on the f2p front, Middle-Earth will be greatly
opened up. All of the epic book quests are now free content, available
to any and all. Free players will be able to explore the depths of
Moria and the dank gloom of Mirkwood without having to purchase the
expansions. They will still need to buy quest packs to run quests in
these areas, the same as anywhere else in the game, but access will no
longer be restricted. 

Even better: the level cap has been lifted from 50 to 65 for
everyone across the board, f2p and Premium alike. So if you're a f2p
player who has been drolling over the legendary weapons wielded by the
great and powerful level-capped legends showing off in Bree, you can
wipe that spittle off your chin, go out there and get one of your very
own, free of charge.

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Changes to the System

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 188px; float: left;"
alt="Vault with Icon-Only View"

Vault 3.0. Click for expanded view.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 174px; float: left;"
alt="Vault with Text-Label View"

Vault 3.9. Click for expanded view.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 172px; float: left;"
alt="New Crafting Panel"

crafting panel. Click for expanded view.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 277px; float: left;"
alt="Recipes in LOTRO Store"

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 145px; float: left;"
alt="INgredient Pack in LOTRO Store"

and ingredient packs in LOTRO Store.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 170px; float: left;"
alt="Hunter Focus Potion recipe"

for Hunter potion. Click to see the item.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 360px; float: left;"
alt="Lore-master Talisman of th Polar Bear and the skill it gives"

talisman and the new skill it grants when used.

Responding to the raving, unruly hordes of the disgruntled
visual sorters who loathed the revised "all in one giant box" vault
system, the dev team has done some retooling. The new, improved vault
system has been very much reworked, allowing players to sort their
stashes into separate containers, which can all be seen at once but
which are clearly separated and distinct from one another. Chests can
be renamed, and stored items can be viewed by name or in the old-school
icon-only format. Handy tabs along the side allow the player to view
individual chests, and search filters allow the player to see all items
of a given type. Also, the vault panel can be expanded horizontally AND
vertically, so if you're a hoarder like some of us, you can see all
your stuff at once on a giant panel instead of having to scroll up and
down a long, narrow wall of item names.

The wardrobe system works pretty much the same, with some
minor tweaks here and there. It can also be expanded 2-dimensionally
and has search filters and the like.

One handy, all-new system being implemented is the barter
wallet. This is a compact, separate storage space for all those coins,
marks, tokens and medallions you have taking up precious, precious
vault space. Eventually, anyway. In its current state on the Bullroarer
test server, it only accepts skirmish marks, campaign tokens and
"special" marks like the ones from the Annuminas, Helegrod and Great
Barrows instances.

Also seeing some drastic change is the crafting system. The
first thing you will likely notice when first opening the crafting
panel is the new, bigger, easier-to-see-stuff layout. Basic recipes now
appear in the same space as the crit component - no more tabbing around
and then forgetting what it was you needed. It's all right there. The
new crafting panel is considerably larger than the old one - roughly
double the size - and allows you to see more of the recipe tree at
once, plus the whole recipe. This is similar to some of the
better-designed custom UI skins. As an added bonus, there is no longer
need to wait for those rare recipe drops. There's a button for that!
Crafting recipes can be purchased at the LotRO Store by clicking the
"Get Recipes" button in the crafting window.

Additionally, there's another new crafting mechanic coming
into play: store-bought crafting mats. You want to craft that sweet
sword from that recipe you just found but don't have the inclination to
run out and compete with 15 othere people for the ore? No problem,
there's a button for that. Click the store button, open up the LotRO
store and you can buy an Ingredient Pack that automagically contains
all the ingredients you need for one item. The cost for these packages
is quite small, but keep in mind: that 25 points can represent a lot of
deeding, and buying multiples can really add up. Harvesting nodes the
old-fashioned way is still going to be the most economical and
practical method to level crafting, but if you want something RIGHTNOW,
this new way works just fine. Another thing to keep in mind: items
crafted with LotRO Store-bought mats are bound to the player's account
and can't be sold at auction or given to friends.

More crafting fun: there are scads of new recipes. New class
consumable recipes can be purchased from class trainers. Hunters, for
example, get Potions of Focus, which can be made by scholars. These
potions are rather like Moloko-Plus, instantly increasing Focus and
sharpen the Hunter up, making him ready for a bit of the old
ultra-violence (by increasing Devastate magnitude.)

Lore-masters get a couple of new toys; the old
pet-appearance-changing necklaces are being scrapped and replaced with
single-use talismans, so the Lore-master can now wear the same
necklaces as everyone else and still summon cooler-looking pets. Using
these talismans grants the Lore-master a new skill - it does not simply
slap a cosmetic on the pet summoned with the original skill. Also, pets
that didn't have extra cosmetic appearances before get a bit of love -
sabretooths now come in colors besides white. This means the
Lore-master can build up a massive Pokemon collection by collecting all
the talismans.  Just be prepared to run out of quickslot space
if you decide to do this.

Additionally, attentive Lore-masters can now feed pets other
than bears with the addition of new pet foods. These items can be
purchased from the LotRO Store or crafted by cooks, and come in a
variety of flavours for all the different pet types.

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In With the New

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 155px; float: left;"
alt="Character renaming option in LOTRO Store"

a character costs 995 points.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 290px; float: left;"
alt="Some cosmetics in the LOTRO Store"

of the new cosmetics.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 247px; float: left;"
alt="New dyes"

of the new dyes as seen in the dressing room.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 338px; float: left;"
alt="Task Bulletin Board in Esteldin"

bulletin board in Esteldin.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 240px; height: 170px; float: left;"
alt="Revised quest dialogue"

quest dialogue panel.

Remember back when you were first picking a name for your new
toon and you thought it would be high-larious to name him after a part
of the human anatomy? Remember how grumpy you were when someone took
offense and /reported it and it got changed to RenamedXX, and now it
looked like you belonged to some kind of silly club? Or how you labored
and struggled to come up with The Perfect Name and were perfectly happy
with it until you discovered that you had made a typo? Or how you
thought up a pretty good name that had some kind of appeal at the time
but now you're embarrassed to play the character because the name is no
longer funny or awesome? GOOD NEWS! There's a button for that! Redeem
your shame for 995 Turbine points and give your character a brand new
name and a new lease on life.

Also new with this update are cosmetic satchels for
Runekeepers. If you're tired of that boring old brown bag hanging from
your hip, get yourself a snazzy new green one with red dragon wings, or
a matched pair for ultimate symmetry. There are other new cosmetics for
everyone else, too: hauberks and helms and a whole slew of new cloaks,
hooded and hood-free. And scholars will be delighted to see that there
are a bunch of new dye recipes: Rose will probably be a hit with the
ladies, and Ered Luin Blue and Crimson will be popular with the fellas.

Though cosmetics are a nice touch, it's the new quests that
are going to really matter. Enter the new Tasks system, a supplemental
sub-quest pack for characters of every level. Tasks are essentially
bounties that can be accomplished while deeding or running other
quests; the player collects base "vendor trash" trophies from common
creatures and turns them for XP and rep. Tasks are 100% free for all
players, available for most level ranges. Tasks are very tightly
level-gated. They do not become available until the player reaches the
required difficulty level, and are only available for 5 levels. For
example, a level 15 player can start doing level 15 Tasks and repeat
them over and over up to level 19, but at level 20 those tasks are no
longer available. Tasks do not count towards regional deeds, but have
their own deed with unique rewards. They have a daily limit (five a
day), but this limit can be increased by completing deeds or by
purchasing increases at the LotRO Store.

A couple of caveats about Tasks: though they are claimed to be
"infinitely repeatable," there are limits to the number of times they
can be done. The quota of 5 per day can be increased to 10, and this
number can be reset up to 5 times per day with a token earned by
deeding or purchased from the store. Doing the math, that equals 50
times per day, which is a lot. Generally, if you do 50 quests, you gain
some levels... which may bump you out of the level range for the given
task. So the number is, in actuality, technically finite.

Secondly, tasks offer no cash or item rewards. Pawning vendor
trash is a steady and reliable source of income at lower levels, and
advancing through the levels rapidly can leave a character constantly
broke. Since these Tasks use this vendor trash as quest tokens, this
(admittedly small) revenue stream is narrowed even further. Players
will need to find a balance between rapid leveling and earning enough
money to buy skills and other needed things. Keep in mind, though that
this system is in beta, and is subject to change according to player

The deed log is expanded once again, this time with a new
Reputation tab. Reputation deeds (all of the Known to the X deeds) have
been moved from the Race and Social page to a brand new one, and new
deeds have been added to the roster, with new rewards. Earning Kindred
status with Rivendell, Galadhrim and Malledhrim factions, for example,
earns the character a handsome reputation mount. Quest dialogue windows
also got a bit of tweaking, making them wider and more book-like, with
more visible information in the dialogue box. The core objectives and
quest rewards are on the right-hand "page" and the bestowal text is on
the left, so you can see what the quest offers as a reward without
having to scroll all the way down to the bottom of a long, wordy
request. And when you click on an
NPC with multiple dialogue options, there are some handsome new icons
to help you select the desired option.

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Class Changes and Area Revamps

If you play a Lore-master or
Runekeeper, you've probably already heard about the changes coming for
these two classes. Each class gets a few new skills, and a few old
skills get some tweaking. The scope of these changes is somewhat beyond
this article, so for the sake of brevity and clarity, the dev diaries
can be found here:

|   href="">Runekeeper

Most classes get a bit of reworking in this update. Burglars
will (finally!) get some much-needed HIPS surgery, and the changes made
to this skill also apply to the Warg Stalker's skill Disappear.
Everybody gets a few new class consumables, all of which can be made by
crafters or purchased from the LotRO Store. Again, there are really too
many to mention in detail in this article, so href="">read
more about them on the developer diary.

have also gotten a nice upgrade. Earlier plans called for characters to
be able to block, parry and evade while mounted, but some issues came
up during beta testing and this feature is currently unavailable.
However, reputation mounts get a big morale boost to 250, so riders are
much less likely to be unhorsed when barreling through enemy territory.

One of the more drastic changes in this update is the
revamping of Ered Luin. The starter areas for dwarves and elves has
undergone a rather dramatic overhaul, with the Dourhands making some
sweeping and horrible changes to the landscape. While the new
introduction may have rather more empty running and boring
resource-gathering than some players will like, the latter half of the
intro is much more action-oriented and dangerous, with a more urgent
feel. The Dourhands really feel like bad guys now, and the changes they
have wrought to the landscape of Thorin's Gate are an enduring
testament to their villainy:

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 635px; height: 376px;"
alt="Ered Luin during new character intro"

Dourhands are ushering in a new era of industrialization and hard-core
necromancy. This is looking up toward Mirkstone Tunnels. Click for
larger view.

style="border: 0px solid ; width: 635px; height: 376px;"
alt="The aftermath"

heartbreaking aftermath of the Dourhands' brief-but-not-brief-enough
rule of Ered Luin; this is in the main part of the game, after the
introduction is finished, looking down from the Arming Cave. Click for
larger view. 

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Looking Ahead

The November Update is looking like a good sign for the months
between now and the release of Rise of Isengard in next fall. Check
back soon to see what Aaron Campbell, Producer for the Lord of the
Rings Online, and Adam Mersky, Director of Communications for Turbine,
had to say about what's in store for the rest of 2011.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Lord of the Rings Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016