LOTRO’s Update 14 will be increasing the level cap to 100 and adding Western Gondor into the game. Since this is the first non-expansion update that is raising the level cap, it has caused some players to become worried if Update 14 will be enough content for a five level increase. Just on my YouTube channel alone, over 20 different people have asked me about this very topic so I decided to write an article addressing the issue.
So, is Update 14 a five-level update?
Update 14 feels like it has the landscape size equivalent of half of the Riders of Rohan expansion. Since the expansion was a 10 level increase, it seems at first glance that Western Gondor is the perfect size for a five level increase.
One thing to keep in mind though is that LOTRO has not had a filler zone since the last level increase. This is the first time this has happened in LOTRO. While there was the small Entwood area with repeatable content in Update 13, it is not the same amount of content players have been given between past level increases.
Every time in LOTRO’s history there has been a full-sized filler zone between level increases. Between Shadows of Angmar and Moria Turbine released parts of Evendim, Angmar and all of Forochel. After Moria we went to Lothlórien before Mirkwood and then between each of the later expansions there was Enedwaith, Great River and Wildermore. This means that with Update 14 players will not have had the extra experience given from a filler zone before heading into a new region.
At the very least, taking away the filler zone will provide less options to the player for choosing their experience path. Some players don’t do the filler zones between level increases because they feel the loss of progression makes the zone a waste of time. This could be part of the reason behind the switch in policy. Another could be that the team lacks the resources necessary to put out a ten-level expansion-sized area and a filler zone in the same year.
So, is Update 14 a five-level update? This will ultimately come down to how many quests are within the new landscape but based on the size of Western Gondor, Update 14 should have enough experience be a five-level update. There will, however, be fewer options to advance to 100 without the middle zone branching the path between Helm’s Deep and Update 14.