Warsteed

Galloping in at ramming speed is Riders of Rohan, the newest expansion to Lord of the Rings Online from Turbine. Legendary stories take place in these huge plains and are arguably the most popular area of all of Lord of The Rings books. Did Turbine capture the lore and legend of these epic lands? Lets explore with the Rohirrim and find out!

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Pros and Cons

Entering this expansion is very unique from the get go. The musical score brought Rohan to life instantly. It was indescribable the feeling I had when entering the new area for the first time. The music helped it feel like I had just stepped into Rohan. Then I got into combat and the game switched to battle music. I suddenly felt a bit reckless fighting to it like I was some sort of hero! It is amazing how a full orchestra can make you feel like something larger then life is about to happen. Chance Thomas did a amazing job composing this.

The epic story picks up from where the Great River Region left off and tosses us into the breaking of the fellowship. You can play out some of those important moments from the book in session play. My favorite one was to play the fall of Boromir, where you try to slay waves upon waves of orcs as they try to take you down! The story then moves you into the Rohirrim plot and is well thought out. I think they did a excellent job with the epic story this time, and it reminds me that I’m not out here to just grind out ten wargs for the nearest warg eating npcs.

The six new areas are The Wold, The East Wall, The Norcrofts, The Sutcrofts, The Entwash Vale, and The Eaves of Fangorn. These areas are all huge! I expected them to be very boring because they were mostly described as all plains in the books. That was not the case. Each town has its own charm. If you’re like me, you will be exploring every corner of them. There are children running around, men chopping wood, soldiers practicing horseback formations, and women scolding their children. One woman is even shoveling horse poop! Who puts a poopsmith in their game? I was so happy to not see NPCs just standing around doing nothing.

openeing
In Riders of Rohan, Turbine introduced a totally new mechanic, mounted combat. Riding across the fields at lighting speed and destroying your foes is the highlight of this expansion. There are three War-steed types: light, medium, and heavy. Light is made for speed and helps the caster type classes. Heavy is for the big damage dealing classes. The medium is a all around War-steed and is free for all players. They level up with you, and you spend points to make them work with your style. Learning to control your bucking bronco will take some time, kind of like driving a car on ice. You’ll be sliding around for a while, but in the end, you’ll fly!

With each War-steed, you get three skill trees that are adjusted for each type: defense, damage, and speed. These change depending on what type of War-steed you choose, but most of it is the same. You can spend points on new skills, defenses, speed boosts or offensive bonuses. Or you can spend it all on buffing up your War-steed’s stats. The best thing is, if you don’t like what you spent them on, just hit refund and all of it goes back to zero and you can spend the points you earned again! You can do this whenever you like and as many times as you want. It only costs a few silver to make the change.

ettenmoors

Killing your friends has never been more fun with the updated Ettenmoors! The camps have been recreated with new graphics. The outposts now give damage buffs to the side that holds them. Keeps now give renown and commendation bonuses. Needless to say, anyone controlling all of them gets a massive bonus. Luckily there is a way to take all this back with stealth. Remember that underground instance through the Ettenmoors that was under-used? That is now revamped and is a underground tunnel system to the camps and keeps. Creep raids running into Freep raids underground is pure chaos. You never know if the raid bosses will suddenly come walking in and rip both sides to shreds!

The new endgame is rebuilding a town called Hytbold. You do this by taking five quests a day from -four of the main cities. There is plenty of variety in them. It’s not just your typical kill ten rats quests. You can walk a tightrope to deliver arrows to the rangers. Or even climb a tower like an old school platformer game. My favorite is going into a sewer system and unclogging gears while killing big toads that like to fling you around like a ragdoll. Each quest gives you tokens that you can spend on rebuilding anything in the city. You can also spend it on housing items or raid armor sets. I really liked this idea because it gave me something to log in for everyday that was different than grinding rep and doing deeds.

There are plenty of things to do here for every type of MMO gamer, and the addition of so many quality of life tidbits that were added makes the game flow in a way it never did before.

As fun as the War-steed system is, it’s not perfect. It can be a real pain just to ride into town. Also at max level there is nothing else to use them for, other than just ride around to collect resources or chase after War-bands. This really makes me feel like they left us hanging.

The new War-bands are a neat idea, but they are just another mob walking around to kill over and over. I didn’t find them very entertaining at all. Especially when all but one can be soloed easy by most classes.

Some of the prices in the turbine store have skyrocketed! Storage bags jumped from 595 tp to 995 TP. Thats close to $10 per storage bag! The color packs for your warsteeds are 595 TP for four colors, and you don’t get to choose the colors in the pack. So you’re buying one you want and three you don’t want.

Pros&Con

It’s the Little Things…

  • Open tapping lets anyone hit your target with no penalty.
  • Resource gathering is allowed from horseback.
  • Auto looting of mobs, even for creeps in the moors!
  • Quest chains have a direct path and makes leveling that much quicker.
  • There is a new loot roll system.
  • Moria has been completely revamped. Its all smooth questing.

Rating

4 – A critical hit. If you ever wanted a good reason to play Lord of the Rings Online, it doesn’t get any better than this. And if you’re looking to come back, you’re in for a fantastic surprise!

A quick note. Three new three-man instances were recently added. As well as the newly scaled Mirkwood instances. Turbine will be releasing three more twelve-man single boss instances soon, as well as a scaled version of all the “In Their Absence” instances. All together this brings us to a whopping 16 skirmishes, 11 3-mans, 14 6-mans, 10 12-mans and one 24-man raid to do at level cap. Better quit your job and invest in Hot Pockets.

Our Ratings:
1 out of 4 – Miss: Disappointing, just like rolling a 1 to hit
2 out of 4 – Glancing Blow: A good attempt that doesn’t quite connect
3 out of 4 – Hit: Solid, but falls short of greatness
4 out of 4 – Critical Hit: So awesome it makes us want to /dance

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