Sapience has come to the forums today bearing news of Update 9, Against the Shadow, as well as news on the Rohan Instance Cluster. For the most part it looks like Update 9 will consist of fixes and updates and the meat of this update will be part 1 of the Rohan cluster.
Yes, I said part 1.
The biggest news here is that the Rohan Instance Cluster will be split into two groups and we will be getting the first half with Update 9 and the remainder instance in an update expected for February 2013.
The delay of Rohan compounded and caused a delay with the instance development while they worked on polishing Rohan for release. They had stated we would get the Rohan Instance Cluster by the end of the year and have decided to give us the instances they feel are ready (or will be ready for Update 9 release) and save the remaining instances for a future update in February rather than giving us a bunch of broken instance or nothing at all.
The instance cluster will consist of seven new instances in total and does not change the cost of the instance cluster. If you purchased Rohan, you are still getting this cluster included with your expansion purchase.
We want to be very clear that if you purchase the Riders of Rohan expansion, the entire instance cluster is free. You will have access to all instances listed below released as Part I in Update 9 and Part II when it releases at no additional charge. As long as you’ve purchased Rohan, you’ll get all of the instances listed.
Instances shipping with Update 9: Against the Shadow
Riders of Rohan Instances (Part 1):
- Iorbar’s Peak (Misty Mountains / Stone Giants-3-man)
- Webs of the Scuttledells (Mirkwood 3-man)
- Seat of the Great Goblin (Goblintown 3-man)
Shipping in 2013 (Currently Planned for February)
Riders of Rohan Instances (Part 2):
- The Bells of Dale (6-man)
- Flight to the Lonely Mountain (12-man; single boss)
- The Fires of Smaug (12-man; single boss)
- The Battle for Erebor (12-man; single boss)
It looks like the 3-mans they are releasing may be older zone content and not Rohan related. Sort of like the “In Their Absence” stuff we got with Enedwaith’s release. We don’t have any level information at this time but it does have the look of it at any rate.
The instances are all set in the War of the Ring (our current timeline, not the Hobbit). It will make sense when you get the quest from Gandalf.
The 12-man instances are the Battle of Dale, and could be thought of as wings of the same raid. We separated them to give context to the story as the battle proceeds over the course of a week.
Smaug is dead, but the Easterlings have new challenges in mind for you (and new engines of war).
We are going to Dale and the Lonely Mountain as part of this story, but will not be adding new landscape in the area with these instances.
Given the 12-man raids they have planned and the first Hobbit Movie to launch next month, I think it is clear they had fully intended to have this released by the end of the year. I would imagine it would have been a great benefit for Hobbit material such as “Flight to the Lonely Mountain” or “The Fires of Smaug” and the movie to release closely together. Seems it wasn’t meant to be.
No date has been given on Update 9. We know Bullroarer (the public test server) is scheduled to be loaded and ready this week for us to take a peak at least. Given past update schedules we’ll probably be seeing launch of Update 9 around December 10th (that is a guess, not an actual date).
I suspect some negative comments from those serious raiders who are eagerly awaiting new raids to participate in and are now being told to wait until February. I’m not saying your wrong and had I had any raiding intentions, I would feel the exact same way. For the casual player that I am, this works ok for me. I’m not even 85, yet so some three-mans would be welcome.
Also there’s the case that early purchasers (myself included) paid money for this expansion starting back in June but won’t be getting the complete package until February now. Pretty long timeline on that investment we were hoping for in Fall 2012 and latest December 2012.
Turbine is in a lose-lose situation here. They either hold it all back and receive the ire of all who are waiting for more content or release what they can and get the ire of those waiting for more advanced content. Either way those taking previous claims seriously will degrade Turbine for failing to release the entire cluster as promised.
I never was in the camp of some who really railed on Turbine for the delay of Rohan. Companies should give realistic timelines for their products and that I agree. However, I’m always more in favor in waiting a little longer for stuff that’s playable rather than broken junk being forced on us in the name of meeting a deadline.
I’m really not trying to defend Turbine’s actions. It seems they could have possibly predicted a December 2012 release of the instances was pretty aggressive given the Rohan delay but I do think they are trying to take the bad news they had to give about the instance cluster and make the best out of it.
Oh and props to Andang who had an April Fools post about “Adventures with Bilbo coming Spring 2013”. They seem to be more true than he had probably imagined.