Remember how Turbine kept saying that the company was performing extremely well financially due to the implementation of the Free to Play model? I think there was an addendum to that as well saying that we really wouldn’t start seeing the results of that boon until much later. After previewing Update 6 on Bullroarer, I would say that we are reaping the rewards from those investments. “Big changes” are an understatement after what I’ve seen so far, and there will likely be plenty more to discover after Shores of the Great River is officially released.
Drawing upon the recent developer diary about the Great River region, I’ll elaborate upon the two new reputation factions and group content coming with this update. Based out of the large settlement in the region are The Riders of Stangard and Heroes of Limlight Gorge. Here’s what the developer diary has to say about them:
For solo and duo players, there is a new reputation faction with notably better barter items than the rep stuff found in the Rise of Isengard release. Quests will also give upgrades to the level 75 quest rewards found in Dunland/Isengard.
If you prefer to do more challenging content in groups, there is a new landscape division just for you: the Limlight Gorge. There is a separate reputation faction just for the brave folks who want to tempt their fate against terrifying trolls and enraged huorns, with higher-end loot to barter when you earn rep with that area.
The loot those paragraphs keep talking about come in many forms, but of special note are six sets of barterable jewellery. Each of these sets come in six parts, three rare (an earring, a ring and a pocket item) and three incomparable. You’re meant to upgrade the rare jewellery to their empowered incomparable form using Unhatched Spider Egg tokens from the new instance. If that doesn’t make sense, maybe this image will shed some light:
The Limlight Gorge is a place full of Elite Master and Nemesis-level huorns, trolls and spiders that should strike caution into any would-be hero with a good head on his shoulders. Everything there is so much bigger and spread out; it feels like Texas or something. Somebody on the test server remarked that the huorns looked like “walking, evil Christmas trees.” I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise because the area skirts the perimeter of Fangorn, that wild, untamable forest which the forces of Saruman were decimating from the other side to fuel their industry.
And at the very edge of the forest, lies a dungeon for the Heroes of Limlight Gorge to conquer, Roots of Fangorn, a 6-person instance — more on that forthcoming.