Featured instances: how do they work?

In tandem with the three Battle of Pelennor instances, the featured instance function arrived on the scene at the launch of update 18 in an effort to recycle old and lesser-run instances for new rewards. Each week one instance is highlighted in the instance finder and for completing that instance at level 100-105, players receive a box of spoils which contain barter items, essences, scrolls of empowerment, slotted jewelry and new essence set gear. Turbine team member EdgeCase shares an overview in the featured instance developer diary, and this guide is intended to expound upon those details.

Instance Finder panel with featured instance selected

When you first open your instance finder (default key: CTRL+J), you’ll notice the shiny new banner declaring the featured instance of the week. Instead of searching for that instance in the never-ending list below, click on the banner to select and launch the instance. Upon entering, you’ll find a new quest with blue text that rewards your box of ancient spoils upon completion of the instance. The quest can be completed once daily (or reset with Mithril Coins) and resets at 3 A.M. /servertime. A weekly switch occurs every Monday around 10 A.M. /servertime when a new featured instance is chosen from the pool of six instances.

Instance Size Tiers Access requirements
The Bells of Dale 6 2 Riders of Rohan expansion or Instance cluster: Rohan
Halls of Night 3 2 Halls of Night purchase or VIP
Inn of the Forsaken 3 2 Inn of the Forsaken purchase or VIP
Ost Dunhoth – Wound and Fear wing 12 2 Enedwaith quest pack or VIP
Ost Elendil 6 1 Evendim quest pack or VIP
Sammath Gûl 6 2 Siege of Mirkwood expansion

Remember that in terms of featured instances, there are three groups of characters: those under level 100 get no featured instance bonus, those at 100-104 get a Grey Box of Ancient Spoils and those at 105 get a colored box according to the featured instance that week. And this may not be working as intended, but players at level 105 can complete the featured instance quest twice a day: once at level 105 for a colored box and once at 100-104 for a grey box, but sadly, it does not work the other way around.

In a grey box, you might receive

  • 5 Long-lost Coins
  • 1, 2 or 3 Anfalas Scrolls of Empowerment
  • Universal Solvent
  • Tier 8 (level 105) major (rare, purple) essences

The long-lost coins are traded at the entrance to Minas Tirith for level 105 single-use essence crafting recipes: 5 coins for greater (incomparable, blue) recipes and 15 coins for supreme (epic, orange) recipes. Each profession can craft two greater and two supreme and they all require Anórien (tier 10) crafting proficiency.

These essence recipes require

  • 1 Universal Solvent
  • 1 major (for upgrading to greater) or greater (for upgrading to supreme) essence of the same type
  • Resources required by your profession (e.g., ingots, leather)
  • 1 zircon shard (available at skirmish camps)

You can also craft two additional versions of supreme Might, Agility and Will essences with extra mastery on the ‘masterful’ essences and morale on ‘robust’ essences. EdgeCase also mentions that in future updates, the offerings at the barterer “will be expanded to let you trade in extra Featured Instance gear that you don’t want with a few Long-lost Coins to get the pieces that you’re missing.”

There are six different colored boxes, one from each of the featured instances in rotation, and in addition to the rewards from the grey box, they can also drop the aforementioned recipes as well as new featured instance set gear. According to EdgeCase in his dev diary, “Each instance has a chance to drop one of three or four different gear pieces.” Every colored box also has a chance to drop a piece of two-essence-slot jewelry as well (bracelet, earring, necklace or ring).

Bells of Dale
Sammath Gûl
Ost Elendil
Halls of Night
Inn of the Forsaken
Ost Dunhoth – Wound and Fear
Head X X
Shoulders X X
Chest X X
Gloves X X
Legs X X
Boots X X

It’s also worth noting that “challenge chests in all Featured Instances will have a small chance of dropping any of that instance’s Featured gear, whether or not it’s currently the Featured Instance.” Gear from the challenge chest is subject to looting rules (need/greed/pass) and sometimes a piece of gear will drop that is not usable by any class present in the instance. Hold onto those, though, since you’ll be able to trade them in for a different piece in a later update.

Featured Instance jewellery
Featured instance jewellery (might version shown here)

All of the new sets have two essence slots and give a bonus 10% run speed with two pieces equipped and a class-specific skill bonus with four pieces equipped:

Class 4-piece bonus
Beorning Gain 1% Parry chance for every 20 wrath
Burglar +40% positional damage with Surprise Strike from stealth
Captain +5 To Arms duration
Champion Battle Frenzy decreases all incoming damage by 10% for 10 seconds
Guardian +20% Warrior’s Heart / Fortitude Heal
+10% Warrior’s Heart max morale
Hunter Swift Bow has a chance to apply a physical and tactical mitigation debuff to the target for 15 seconds
Lore-master +10 second Water-lore incoming heal duration
Minstrel Inspire Fellows stacks up to 3 times
Rune-keeper +5% Flurry of Words Incoming Critical Chance
-40% Frost skill inductions
Warden Sets Marked and Diminished target debuff to -15%

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