Greetings LOTRO Players! In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the new sights that are coming soon when Update 19 goes live later this month. I’ll give my thoughts on the new region below, and also be warned that you should not continue past this point if you want to experience these wonderful new views firsthand!
Ithilien, the Land of the Moon, was long called the Garden of Gondor by its denizens, but foul orcs from Mordor drove the brave citizens west of the river many years ago. Now, its beauty lies undisturbed by civilization, seen only by a select few roaming warriors and hidden rangers. The journey into North Ithilien begins at the Cross-roads, a landmark set beneath the boughs of enormous shade trees. It is dominated by a statue of a King of Old whose head has been replaced by orcs with a crude stone bearing the mark of the Eye of Mordor.
The Cross-roads connects Minas Tirith to its sister-city Minas Morgul, with Osgiliath lying in between. Following the road east and south, we come quickly across a sinister gate leading to the infamous city of the Witch-king.
Unfortunately, the barrier cannot be crossed. Turning our sights north, the land slopes gently upwards, revealing fields of flowers and blooming trees set with ruins all about.
Stately ruins dot the landscape, echoing the glories of Ithilien when its enemies lay dormant across the mountains.
Continuing north brings us to Henneth Annun, the hideout of the Rangers of Ithilien, led by noble Faramir. They dwell within a cave that leads behind a roaring waterfall. On an interesting note, this cave is not instanced off from the landscape content; you can simply wander into the entrance of the cave and continue down to where the Rangers are stationed without ever hitting a loading zone.
To the west, we get a fantastic view of the forests below and Cair Andros in the distance.
Riding west towards Cair Andros and turning a little north, we come across the Field of Cormallen. The beautiful King Crimson trees that line the clearing are a sight to behold, and I can’t wait to see this area in action for the party after the war is won!
Finally, heading north from Henneth Annun, we come upon Aragorn’s War-stead and our first glimpses into the wastes that surround Mordor known as Dagorlad.
As promised, here are my thoughts after riding through the region for an hour or so:
The landscape looks beautiful. There are plenty of new art assets used, such as new types of trees and flowers, that keep the game visually interesting into update 19. Additionally, there is a good deal of variety, from the dark woods near Minas Morgul to the beautiful views of Henneth Annun. The world builders did a fantastic job of creating some breath-taking views in various places around this zone and cleverly winded the main pathway through the region to provide many of these moments. The new barter-flowers which are harvested in exchange for gear can be found in plentiful amounts all around the region; I was not particularly searching for them, and I harvested a good handful.
The wandering creatures in the area are more-or-less similar to what we’ve been seeing in most of Gondor: Bears, goats, birds, spiders, a few mountain-lions, and the occasional lizard. Of course, near Cair Andros were a great deal of Corsairs and orcs. Many were scaled above the level cap of 105, and I frequently saw mobs of level 107 or higher, making them more difficult to fight than anything in Far Anórien.
Lastly, the blue skies and bright colors that occupy most of the new region are a welcome breath of fresh air, relieving the ‘gloom-and-doom’ look of Central-through-Beacon-Hills Gondor. I was having a fantastic time exploring, and I hope you all will too when Update 19 launches later this month!
Please let me know in the comments below if there are any particular places you’d like to see more of. I’d like to also provide an article with pictures from the new housing neighborhood, depending on the status of Bullroarer this weekend!