Update 14.2 is knocking at the doorstep of Bag End with another adventure for us to undertake. This time, it’s a short jaunt through the Dead Marshes. Additionally, there are several bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements, the most apparent of these being the Collections system. All in all, it’s a seemingly substantial update for lore and cosmetic junkies especially for a non-major release.
The Dead Marshes
The main attraction in Update 14.2 is the mini-zone of the Dead Marshes, the swampy area that Gollum led Frodo and Sam through on their way to Mordor. On the Bullroarer preview server, which is, of course, subject to change, there are around 10-15 quests total in the area including two warbands, the rewards of which might gain you a frog cosmetic pet. Think of the Dead Marshes as an expanded interlude as you’re meant to come across it when you venture into the Cave of the Avorrim while completing book one of new epic volume.
Atmospherically, many players on the test server were very impressed. The view toward Mordor is appropriately obscured by ever-present gloom, there are corpses and frogs littering the murky waters and wisps dance playfully among the reeds. Despite this, I overheard many concerns on the World chat channel about the lore: “Why are there orcs in the Dead Marshes?” and “Won’t we attract the attention of Sauron’s army by being in the marshes?” or “Why so many slayer quests?” These are questions that I cannot answer but warrant further investigation. LOTRO’s new Community Manager, Frelorn, will be hosting a preview of the new update on Thursday, September 11, at 12:30 EDT on their Twitch.tv page in which you can ask these questions and much more.
All in all, it’s at least a solid hour or two of content implemented to give fans of the books and movies something to connect themselves to the main story line and likewise serves to deepen the game’s connection to the lore. And at the end, we’re reward with a session play as good ol’ Sam Gamgee.
The other big addition coming with this update is the Collections system. All you horse and cosmetic pet collectors can finally rejoice that your hard work will be rewarded with titles such as “Foreman”, “Rustler of Fallen Leaves” or “Lord of the Croaking Host”. The collections of horses revolve primarily around the theme of festivals and events. Many of those mounts are now only accessible with Mithril Coins or the Pick a Mount boxes found in lootboxes. There’s also a title for purchasing all the class mounts in the LOTRO Store.
The collections menu also reveals that there will be more frog pets coming with Update 15 and Central Gondor, but I’m sure most will be playing the Beorning class by then and not even notice the additions until much later. If I could get a frog cosmetic outfit to go with all the other frog-related goodies, I could finally fulfill my newly realized dream of recreating Mario’s frog suit in LOTRO just to irk the hardcore lore fanatics.
The question I’ve seen asked most often, though, is when does Update 15 come out? Better yet, what’s coming with Update 15? So far, we can count on Central Gondor, a new Big/Epic Battle, the Beorning class, a Legendary Item system revamp plus imbuing and an update to the music system. That seems like a hearty chunk of content to keep players busy for a while.
Also be sure to check out PvMP Andang’s video preview of the Dead Marshes on YouTube.