Siege of Mirkwood presentation (lotro.jeuxonline.info)
Translated by seekingerin
1. The elf-camp on the shore of the Anduin, through which we enter Mirkwood, is named Echad Sirion.
2. Initially, we'll be confined to a small area at the very western end of the zone, around Echad Sirion; there's a wall with a locked portcullis that blocks progress further east. We'll have to complete a series of quests--three separate arcs, judging from some of the images in the article--to unlock the gate and proceed into the rest of the forest. This sounds comparable to book 1 of volume 2 and the "Walls of Moria" area of Eregion that blocked access to Moria. Presumably this is the way Turbine will lock people who haven't paid for the expansion out of Mirkwood.
3. It sounds like the new social hub for Mirkwood will be on the eastern side of the wall; this is where we'll find class trainers and reputation traders, as well as crafting facilities. The crafting area will actually apparently be in a separate underground room, much like the crafting hall in the 21st. There's a screenshot of the crafting hall in the article; it's actually a pretty cool-looking space.
4. Reputation rewards for the Malledhrim (the new faction for Southern Mirkwood) will be handled with barter items that we'll recieve as quest rewards, similar to the gold leaves and silver branches in Lothlorien. It appears there's only one barter item for the Malledhrim, though: "Malledhrim Silver Feathers".
5. The writer of the article assures readers that the portion of Mirkwood we're getting in the expansion is--his word--immense. Though he acknowledges that Southern Mirkwood has been reported to be smaller than the North Downs, he thinks it may in fact be larger. In any case, he seems impressed with the size of the zone.
6. The writer does predict lines for some quests immediately after launch (though this may simply be speculation... it's reasonable to expect, though).
7. Mirkwood is much less linear and much more open than Moria, as well as being more accessible.
8. The writer praises the atmosphere and immersiveness of Mirkwood; he says it's gloomy, foggy, and immense.
9. Mirkwood is much different than the Old Forest. No tree-walls, hooray! Instead of being a narrow maze like the Old Forest, Mirkwood is less confining while still feeling threatening. (As someone who loves forests but looooaaaathes tree-walls, I'm extremely glad to hear this.) There's a nice video attached to the article that illustrates the differences between Mirkwood and the Old Forest pretty well; watch the video labeled "Vue d'une zone de la FÃ´ret Noire " and you'll see what he's talking about. Watching this video, I think the devs did a nice job of capturing the creepy and claustrophobic feeling that Mirkwood should have without resorting to tree-walls.
10. The type of mobs varies from area to area: undead in one part of the zone, spiders and barghests in another, etc.
11. The elevation gradually increases as one moves to the east through the zone, and there's a wonderful view of the entire forest from the gates of Dol Guldur. (Again, there's a nice video of this; watch "Panorama de Dol Guldur" if you're interested.)
12. The fortress of Dol Guldur is a very large, non-instanced space, with doors through the area leading to the new instances and raid. It sounds comparable to Carn Dum (and it's consistent with what I'd expected): instances set within a large non-instanced space. One interesting point the writer raises in his summary at the end of the articles: apparently there aren't many enemies in Dol Guldur itself. This strikes me as odd, so perhaps it will change by the time the content goes live.
13. An interesting point: apparently the Prison and Arena instances, and presumably the other instances as well, open with scripted sequences. This is relatively new for LOTRO, but it sounds like it will be a nice cinematic touch that will help to introduce the spaces and make them feel more dramatic and more "real" (though if this is overdone, they may get tedious as we do the instances over and over). A video of the Arena shows what looks like fell beasts flapping through the space, while the Prison apparently opens with a scene between a nazgul (possibly the Lieutenant/Khamul?) and the prison guards. It sounds like the Lieutenant and his fell beasts will be a constant presence through the lesser instances, which should make finally facing him at the end of the raid very satisfying. All in all, it sounds like Turbine is moving toward a tighter and more cinematic narrative structure with its instance clusters, which I find promising.
14. The deeds attached to the instances offer "Malledhrim Gold Stars". No word yet on what these are for...
15. Apparently the French are as upset by radiance gating as the rest of us, suggesting anger over this aspect of LOTRO's design knows no cultural or linguistic boundaries. That said, the writer assures his readers that the radiance system has improved in the expansion; he says that it's much more flexible, and between this and the fact that it will take more gloom now to make us cower, it will be easier for players to overcome the challenges of the radiance system.
Time to consolidate some information from this article and its images with information I've seen in a few other sources. It appears that the Mirkwood instances will use a single type of barter token for distributing gear: "Medallions of Dol Guldur." Each boss will drop at least one token, and the challenge modes for the instances will offer further tokens. Each piece of armor will cost between 15 and 25 medallions. The +15 pieces that were released with the book 8 instance cluster can be obtained with these medallions, along with a complementary set of +25 shoulders, boots, and helm. (Note that +25 radiance actually means that these pieces contain more radiance than the DN armor). No word yet on how much radiance will be required for the new raid, but presumably the +15 and +25 set will be enough when used together. All in all, it sounds like we'll have a lot more freedom now as we go about building our radiance sets, which should make getting the radiance required for the Moria raids and Barad Guldur much easier (and, hopefully, much less "grindy").
16. In the dev chat last night, it was announced that the virtue cap will not be raising above 10, but the devs did mention that they are considering introducing new virtues. As of the build used for the European preview, however, there were no new virtues in the game, which suggests that these new virtues probably won't come in SoM but at a later date.
17. There's now a ninth tier of relics. Interesting point: it will only take two tier 8 relics to create a tier 9 relic, rather than the five telics required for relic forging at other levels. Given how long it takes to obtain tier 8 relics, this is probably welcome news for most people.
18. The scrolls that let us alter our legendaries will be obtained through the new instances.
19. Some UI changes: there's a new menu that will consolidate the various icons to the left of the quickbar (as well as show the shortcut keys for each window), and the data in the character journal will be displayed and broken down differently. There are images of both the new menu and the changes to the character journal in the article for those who are interested.
20. Hunters and wardens will be able to purchase ports to Echad Sirion from the Malledhrim at level 62 as long as they have acquiantances with the Malledhrim.
21. The books required for the three initial legendary traits can now be purchased from class trainers.
22. We can now zoom in on our heads in the dressing room.
23. There will be new poison, wound, disease, and fear potions; the new potions will cover effects up to level 75.