[CC] 99 instance – Fornost

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Leaving Radagast and his critters to fend for their own (they can take care of their own). We’re following the epic book towards the North downs. This will take us on the doorsteps of Fornost. It’s big, scary filled with evil. The rest will go towards Esteldin, but we’re heading into the instance.

The instance area itself is an ancient fortress taken over by the by the forces of Angmar in the middle of the Third age. Retaken a year later, but it fell into ruins soon after. In lotro the city is still in ruins and the surrounding area inhabited by all kind of ghastly creatures. Inside the instance you fight the four elements of water, earth, shadow and fire. Each area has a wraith centered around that element and challenges like defeating the shadows by lighting brziers or not falling into the tainted water. Fornost gives a great look into the focus of Angmar and historic evil set afoot in middle earth again.

Bearly stays away from Fornost as well

Launch
When the game launched Fornost was focussed on level 40. But fornost always felt a little bit at odds with North downs being an area for level 25-35. Back in those days you had to physically walk into the entrance of the instance. Not once for a discovery deed, but every time. The fact their neither Thestlebridge or Amon raith had no swift travel (and still don’t) didn’t help alot.

History – Entering an instance
Ctrl-F, look for your instance, set the level and difficulty. Get a pop-up and everyone can begin. How simple it is in this time of convenience. Alas that’s not how it has always been. Lotro wasnt the only game, but the journey towards defeating that evil bag of loot started with a travel to the physical entrance of the instance. Dark delving or Carn dum quest and entrance were a good 15 mins journey from the usual major cities where people dwelled. Each place had a summoning horn, but bless the poor soul that had to go there. One milestone, hunter camps and alts were your only hope.
With the release of the instance finder we can remain in our own corner of ME where we quest, do auctions or kill 5000 trolls until the instance starts. Just don’t mention it to any hunter or old raidleader or he might get vietnam flashback to these times.

Gear drops from Fornost wernt good enough to pull in players. When Evendim got added to the game most people skipped the level range in the North downs that Fornost was made for.By the end of Evendim you would go for the first Armour of fem from Aughaire. It didn’t have the zinger that other areas had. Neither the epic story or enough normal quests to make it an entertaining and good place for xp.

Four bosses inside the old map of Fornost

Scaled revamp
If one instance got a good deal in the scaling it was Fornost. The quest areas level was decreased to level 30 making it more align with the North downs. It went from a maze of thrash mobs you had to navigate to find each boss with the multiple heights and paths toward them to 4 wings that each had their end boss and 1 or 2 sub bosses. And everyone’s favourite old gal was still there to escort, Sara oakheart. There was a very linear unlock of each wing where you had to do 1 after each other if someone in your party didn’t have it unlocked. But the length, difficulty and challenges are still fun to this day to do. Fornost shadow with his 3 brazier,adds and the challenge that limit the time you have is still pretty complex for a classic instance.

Later revamps
While the great barrows has remained the same since mirkwood, Fornost has gotten 3 more boosts in attention. After the Sambrog marks and medaillions were reduced earth and water wing were about the same level of rewards. And not being run into the ground by the free people of middle earth it quickly became a good alternative.
The second time was after the overhaul of the North downs as a quest area. The prequests to most Fornost quests were now aligned with the quest flow. By this time lotro was f2p and a lot more people used north downs as an alternative to the Lonelands/Evendim combo.
The most recent influx came from the Featured instance system. In short, a 6 week rotation that introduced an extra reward to the instance being run by level 100+ players. Fornost earth and water were included in multiple cycles.

The ancient kingdoms of men (http://themadhobbit.weebly.com/blog/previous/3)

History of Middle earth in lotro (Eriador ruins)
The fortress of Fornost takes an important place in the history of Shadows of Angmar. The original game was focussed on the witch kings seat in Angmar. Before you could venture into Mordor we would have to lay siege to Angmar itself. The fortress of Fornost was build and maintained by several kingdoms  (including Arnor, Arthedain and the reunited kingdom) to protect the lands between angmar and the watchtower of amon sul (The weathertop). These kingdoms of men had a vast empire west of the Misty mountains of which the ruins are still scattered across the landscape. Esteldin, Fornost, Amon sul and the Cardolan (barrow downs) all were part of effort to network of forces to keep the witch king in check.

Today
The instance could hold a special place in any regular group that has a nice mix of casual and more experienced players. Each wing has their own set of mechanics of which a lot of them make their first appearance. Compared to the great barrows it’s a step up in difficulty. Fonrost water with his silence effecting all casters and tanks taunts. It’s a great practice in positioning. Fires challenge having everyone on their toes with the lights that do a massive aoe when killed near you and movement to let the entire room fill up in flames. The braziers in shadow introduce the off-tank and doing as much damage in a specific time. It being in the same range as Evendim still hurts its chances with Evendim still being superior questing for a first time character and such that being the suggested buy from the store.

A full run of Fornost with a group that’s on level still feels special and every time you can accept Sara oakheart and just let her run and let her meet her maker still give each player that has done volume 1 that special tingle.

One comment

  1. nice posting!

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