New art assets for this zone began pouring in not long ago, and we had the pleasure of watching the formation of an entirely new territory in Middle-earth. The Great River not only offers something fresh-feeling and new, but also some fairly epic eye candy. This region delivers the first established Rohirrim-run town, a settlement called Stangard, with interiors and exteriors unlike all others in the game. As you roam through this zone, you will likely feel a rekindling of your early sensations as an explorer of Middle-earth.
And while visuals are so important to having a great atmosphere within the game, there is no doubt that the content within will be of great importance as well. So what’s the breakdown of the zone?
- It will be a 75 end-game region
- It’s focused around solo or duo gameplay
- There will be a new reputation faction “…with notably better barter items than the rep stuff found in the Rise of Isengard release.”
- Quests will give items that are upgrades to those rewarded in the Dunland/Isengard areas.
- “There is plenty of content to help you earn these rewards without having to grind…” (Consider me hopeful, but skeptical on this one.)
And it appears that there will be group content as well:
If you prefer to do more challenging content in groups, there is a new landscape division just for you: the Limlight Gorge. There is a separate reputation faction just for the brave folks who want to tempt their fate against terrifying trolls and enraged huorns, with higher-end loot to barter when you earn rep with that area.
The rest of the article discusses the development process in creating a new region. Anyone who is interested in game design or at a behind-the-scenes look at how these areas are created should definitely check it out.