So, the long awaited U20 is on BR and… Well, I’d say that some have expected more, but let’s see what is going on. The preliminary release notes you can read here.
The whole landscape questing part is very similar to some other regions. It looks very much like a West Gondor + Brown Lands combination, then a little bit of Rohan and Fangorn/Derdingle and it’s done. The West Gondor part is the 2017 Tarlangs Crown, now called Lang Rhuven. This seems to be the quest chain that has the fellowship crafting instance behind it, so it actually has more purpose than TC, but in my opinion no landscape should be that hard that you need a fellowship to beat it. I get a Brown Lands feeling from the Lang Rhuven part where they have made an entrance to the camp similar to BL. Rohan just because of the vast space and Fangorn for the crafting instances. I do like that we got the muster/return skill to the Camp of the Host, but I do not understand the lack of stables in the region.
Speaking of hard landscape… Apart from Tarlangs Crown, Roving Threats have also made their return. So, instead of a bit easier version of that which we had in War-Bands, we have fellowship RT’s.
You will have two areas you don’t want to approach too close for now. One is the black gate, which means instant death and the other one is Dol Acharn, which does 20% morale damage once you get near it. The area is inhabited by Wainrider Horsemen, Bowmen, etc.
Crafting instances aren’t actually giving you the classic crafting material, they have introduced Dagorlad materials. These are nodes that will give you items for crafting or journals that will raise your critical chance of getting the critical version of the output. The number of these nodes is nowhere near the classic crafting instances, so don’t cheer just yet. For now I have just done one for scholar and one for prospector – not sure if these change on a daily basis or are they adding more nodes into these two, so that they can cover all.
The items you get from crafting instances, or rather, the items you farm the crafting instances for, are good, but it will be a farm. And even more so, since these we will be able to upgrade these using items from the raid. So, using 80 metal scraps and 20 armour pieces (new barter item, not actual armour, for some classes it’s weapon, for some provisions) you would be able to get a Master armourers crest of Gondor swiftness that will give you 355 agility and 623 morale. These are items you get from landscape, possibly quests and crafting instances. You can then further upgrade this item by using the item you have and an Ornate Inlay and get a jewelry piece that has 391 main stat and 690 morale. The barter items are very much like Central Gondor ones that were used both for barter and reputation gain or like Far Anorien. For a set of gold jewelry – necklace, earring and pocket, you will need all 3 items – salt and provisions for earrings, which are not unique, so you can have two, broken blade and weapons for necklace, metal scrap and armour for pocket.
I remain hopeful that the Inlay doesn’t have a drop chance of a Pelennor essence or the Officer’s bracelet, since the increase it gives is not much, but it is a great way of catering to both, more casual player base and raiders. Makes me wonder why something like this wasn’t introduced in the first place when flora jewelry came out.
The golden version of the offhand will cost you 80 metal scrap, 20 armour pieces (or any other combination of these) and 3 tarnished sigils of gondor. The sigils most likely drop in the fellowship version of the crafting instance. And the armour upgrade will cost you a supreme armour piece, 60 metal scraps, 15 armour. This will give you an armour piece with 104 main stat and 517 morale, which would be an increase in 10 main stat and 50 morale on one piece. If you remember, we have wrote that we would expect these to become gold here.
Jewelry has the same stats on all the pieces – earring, necklace and pocket – the remaining ones that aren’t gold (not counting the hilt). So there is a pocket, it just seems that for now the graphic for it isn’t ready so it looks like a bracelet or something, with the stats I mentioned it would be better for a dps role, but tank classes may still want to use hilt of Earnil, since it will give you 745 morale.
Ofcourse, there is new flora. I’m still unclear about what it should do, but in this build it doesn’t look like much. The new area has eight flowers, 6 of which are new. Mournweed, Eye-of-Night and Evengleam will give you Gold extracts; and Bonemallow, Dusknettle and Wraithscowl will give you Violet extracts. There are two old flowers around – Horsetail and Larkspur, giving their usual output.
As far as questing goes, you will come across some classic quests, one you will need to be accompanied by a dog who will uncover traps and hidden orcs for you. One disappointing chain was going back to the towers right after you have already been there and turned quests in. It felt a bit like the old types of questing – finish a quest, turn in, go back to the same spot, finish a quest, turn in, go back to the same spot… But it wasn’t too bad as it was the only one of this kind. And as far as deeds go… It has some similarities with North Ithilien. I haven’t come across any treasure caches, but there are some artifacts etc. that need to be found. The virtues still seem to be capped at 19, which is very annoying. We’re constantly getting more and more ways to increase these, but no way to use what we have. I hope something similar to Big Battle points will also happen to virtues and that SSG will remove their cap in time.
Since Epic book isn’t out in this build and I have come across some rangers in the marshes and some Marsh-Lights that aggro if you pass too close, I imagine that one part of it could be rescuing those from drowning or something.
If somebody knows what this item is or what it does, I would really like to know in the comments.
The items are great, it just remains to see how much grind it will take to get those. Legacy increase is also great. It may make certain things easier, but the new landscape isn’t your usual walk-through, so it will actually come in handy. And the additional tabs for chat window is also going to be great. Upgrading jewelry, offhands and armour for those of us with more than one character just might take us untill Mordor.
And in the closing… In the notes you could read that the Reputation accelerators are going up in price. If you’re like me and have a lot of marks, you have nothing to worry about, they are still not too pricy. But you should know that the new area actually unlocks more reputation tiers for Host of the West faction, which are even useful, in a sense that they have something behind that reputation level, compared to Minas Tirith, which didn’t. So, stock up in time, the Waste-land is coming.