Siege of Mirkwood: Instance Changes and Garth Agarwen

Continuing my posts on the updates coming with , I am writing today about some changes to the Instance system and the changes to that come about due to those updates. This is the post I promised you all in my previous post on the updates:

Changes to Instances

When rolled out the expansion , they introduced a system for Instances known as Hard Mode. Hard Mode allowed players to return to instances and complete them at a higher difficulty for greater rewards, the system was not without its flaws however. Besides having a name that just didn’t quite fit (Turbines words, not mine!) there were also problems in that objectives were not spelled out quite as clearly as was intended; This not only lead to the change I am going to talk about, but to players maligning the system qutie often (apparently).

In order to revamp this instance system, Turbine has come up with the Challenges – here are their words from the developer diary on what these are:

Challenges are daily quests that are bestowed to all players who have not already completed them for that day, and meet all other quest criteria – prerequisites or level restrictions. These quests will appear in the quest tracker and display the success and failure cases for the players. Upon opening the quest journal, players can read the background on the quest and see further instructions on the challenge before them[Rewards for Challenges may vary slightly from instance to instance but, typically, they will be the following: coin, faction, and a barter token of some type. In the case of Garth Agarwen, the barter token is used to purchase rewards from the Eglain at the entrance to the Garth Agarwen area.

It looks like they are taking some of what is being put into the the Skirmish System and using it to beef up instance runs. For those people who enjoy this sort of play, this update should provide them with a lot more fun than the current iteration.

Turbine is also beefing up instances by adding Optional Objectives technology to the game. Optional Objectives will be able to appear within any given instance space, and target mobs within that instance – Optional Objectives may also be different for each player and may be completed daily like the Challenges above. This particular update is being instituted right away in the re-vamped Garth Agarwen instance in the . Here are Turbine’s words on the Optional Objectives:

In addition to the new Challenge system, we have added another piece of tech to allow for Optional Objectives to appear for players inside any given instance space. Like Challenges, these appear in the standard instances and target monsters or other targets within the instance. Also like Challenges, these quests can be completed daily and reward players with coin and/or faction for their completion. There can be multiple optional objectives per instance. The first of these quests, appearing in the Garth Agarwen Cluster, provide up to four different objectives within the instance. Optional Objectives may be different for each player..

Optional Objectives are meant to follow the main path of the instance with minimal extra effort so that groups can work together to achieve each other’s goals. Further, since the optional objectives can each be completed once daily, players will have reasons for entering the same instance multiple times per day.

Garth Agarwen Changes

Garth Agarwen was the first instance introduced into the game and, as such, didn’t have the sleekness of instances that came along further down the line. When the developers were looking it over during the Lone Lands revamp, they realized that the entire instance had to be given a complete make-over. Heres what they said about the upcoming changes to GA:

Garth Agarwen was the first instance created for LOTRO and was in need of a revision. As we set out to make the changes necessary to bring this instance into line with the rest of the game, it became apparent that only a significant overhaul would do. Thus, the Garth Agarwen cluster was born.

The former entrance of Garth Agarwen now houses a small number of NPCs who will provide players with a little more guidance for quests that go into the public area outside of the Garth Agarwen instances. NPCs in the area will also show  players the items they can earn for completing the Challenges within the spaces. These rewards include new consumable tokens to remove defeat Dread — only defeat Dread — of the next tier once in a twelve hour (real-time) period, and weapons and shields for player classes of Incomparable quality. These items can be used at level 32 and should be useful to players well into their mid- to late-30’s; but not so good that they overshadow or replace the better crafted items in these levels. To obtain these items, players must acquire a number of Challenge tokens and then turn them in for the various pieces. All pieces are unique and cost the same amount of tokens, save the Dread-removing tokens.

This sounds great to me – GA could be a serious pain in the butt to get into and through. The mobs tended to be annoyingly tough, and annoyingly close together at times, not to mention how the whole quest system for the area worked (you always tended to pick up the quests for there when they were very very RED to you).

With the launch date for Siege of Mirkwood just around the corner, I find myself looking forward to the update more and more. I am still a little hesitant about the Combat changes I wrote about a little while ago, but overall I am optimistic.

The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood launches on December 1st, 2009. Web Servers (including the Forums,, and the Lorebook) will be undergoing preparatory maintenance on Monday, November 30th from 9AM to 2PM Eastern Time.

(NOTE: Times are provided for reference purposes only, actual downtime may be less than the times provided – or longer. During this the services mentioned may be unavailable for periods of time).



~ by Branadoc on November 27, 2009.

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