TsiengLiu released today a Dev Diary focusing on the instances that are being released in the upcoming Update 2, Echoes of the Dead. As you recall strange things have been occurring around the world of LOTRO and as TsiengLiu states, “…it falls to heroes such as yourself to keep the peace.”
- One 12-man raid (Ost Dunhoth, Enedwaith)
- Two 6-man fellowship dungeons (The Lost Temple, Trollshaws; Glacier Fortress, Forochel)
- Two 3-man small-fellowship dungeons (Stoneheight, North Downs; Northcotton Farm, Evendim)
All but one of the instances will have three boss encounters, while the raid will have six. (More information about the raid will be featured in an upcoming Developer Diary by jwbarry.) The instances will also include their own Deeds, challenges, and meta-rewards. All of the instances will also be able to scale in difficulty similar to Skirmishes allowing the leader to set the instance to “Tier 1” or “Tier 2”. It should be noted that “challenge/hard modes” can only be implemented on “Tier 2” difficulty. However, as a reward for completing the meta-deeds TsiengLiu states,
This time around our meta-deed reward is visually distinct from other rewards we’ve given in the past. Keep your eyes open for players capable of tackling our greatest challenges. You might find yourself quite surprised by the reward!
Also waiting for those willing to push the limits of our game is a special Deed for the first group to… Well you’ll have to figure that one out on your own. ~_^
So it looks like there will be a bonus for those who are enthusiastic about running dungeons, which is definitely a good thing! I look forward to seeing what the rewards are and how they encourage players to explore and play the instances.
For those who ran the Mirkwood dungeons for the radiance gear (Sword Halls, Warg Pens, Dungeons) you probably ran a lot of Sword Halls because it was considered the shortest and easiest way to get the barter tokens. For those who have never run those dungeons, you would defeat the bosses and then your small-fellowship would each loot the three chests and get a barter from each for a total of three tokens per run. And really, for the amount of time that you had to put into the dungeon it was the most efficient dungeon to run; especially if you were able to complete hard mode and earn even more tokens. In order to discourage this behavior of players favoring one dungeon over the others, Turbine is changing the way that barter tokens are awarded in these new instances.
Starting with this group of instances, barter currency is now only awarded by completing instance-bestowed quests. Thanks to some new technology, these new quests will be completable only twice per week. These quests reset just as though they were on the twice-a-week raid reset timer. Your ability to complete them and then retry them behaves in the same manner.
What does this mean for our players? You will only get barter currency the first time you successfully complete the quests associated with one of these instances during each lock period. After that, you will either need to tackle a different instance from the cluster that you haven’t already or you can wait for the next lock period to try the same quest again.
Please note that you are perfectly free to run any given instance as many times as you like if all you want is to try and get that shiny new piece of loot you know drops there. The quest simply won’t be bestowed upon you again until the next lock out period. Also, should you fail to complete the quest; you are free to try again. You are only “locked” to the quest once you have completed it.
I am honestly unsure about how I feel when it comes to this change. Considering that the armor rewards are not a requirement (via radiance) for the raid, there shouldn’t be that much of a complaint in that regard. However, my initial impression is that twice-a-week sounds like a low amount of time. I will wait and see what the calculations are for the amount of time it takes to earn the new armor before I make a final call, but I do have some reservations especially since “…the costs for barter currency have been inflated significantly.”
The ultimate goal of these changes is to keep players from being burnt out on running the same content or from others who can’t play as much from falling behind. All of which means that Goldenstar will be happy to know that I will not be dragging her to the same instance over-and-over again. (This is a long time complaint of hers; as well as others in general.) TsiengLiu also states that if they notice an imbalance of one instance being run over the others they will adjust the barter token rewards to compensate. However, there is still a nagging part of me that doesn’t like that they’re prohibiting those with more play time from getting the rewards sooner.
Armor Sets & Rewards
There are now two sets of armor available for each class; one epic (purple) and one incomparable (teal). (Note: I believe since this version of the Developer Diary they have added an additional epic and incomparable set for each class meaning that there are now four available armor sets available for each class.)
They are essentially the same set and will feature many of the same bonuses, but the incomparable version will feature more bonuses as the set is acquired as well as bearing two skill modifications. In contrast, the rare set will only feature one skill modification.
There will also be different ways of purchasing the items. The rare version can be purchased with just barter currency (the longest way) or with the barter currency and a special token from the “Tier 1” version of the raid. For the incomparable version you have the option of using the “Tier 2” barter token and the barter currency, or “If you have the Tier 2 token and the Tier 1 armour piece for the same slot you can upgrade to the Tier 2 armour piece at the cost of some barter currency.” Every option will require the use of barter currency in each case.
Additional rewards outside of the Armor Sets are:
- A set that rewards you for having any two pieces equipped. There are several pieces in the set so players can pick and choose the items they deem most valuable and still gain the benefits of the set bonus.
- Some very interesting weapons:
- A dagger that lowers the target’s armour!
- A sword that increases light damage taken by the target
- New shields! (You can put the turtle shell down now.)
- Cool new pocket items
- A cloak that will make the collective jaws of the tactical-based dps drop to the floor
- Super rare housing goodies
- First age crafting components
- A second set of raid armour with different skill mods applied. This should satisfy those players wishing to support their non-traditional, non-group-focused trait line.
I am very excited about the new instances that are coming into the game. I have found the ones that I have gone through to be fairly fun and somewhat unique in their designs. A number of the bosses are very interesting and avoid the standard “tank the boss and kill the swarming adds” that are prevalent in some of the other dungeons. I love bosses that make you think and rely upon strategy rather than brute force. I think my only contention here is on the limit of how often you can earn tokens running instances, but I trust that if there are any issues they will be ironed out in the future.