“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.” - We were treated to a VIP preview of the LOTRO expansion Before the Shadow.
VIP Preview Insights: LOTRO Before the Shadow
The new LOTRO expansion, Before the Shadow, is finally upon us. It's a moment that many returning players have been waiting for, and one that we managed to get a sneak peek at ahead of its release. Here's what we discovered:
Swanfleet & Cardolan
These two new locations are among the biggest that LOTRO has ever seen, both rich in a history conveyed by their ruined buildings.
Swanfleet in particular offers a breath of fresh air to players - quite literally - as a landscape that's far wider and brighter than what they are typically used to. Befittingly, this dilapidated elven stronghold is exactly where the Rings of Power were forged. And there was even a hint that Celebrimbor himself will fight alongside players in one Skirmish.
There are also ruins aplenty to be found in Cardolan, though a little more sinister than the elven location. Wide open fields give way to dark wilderness, disused thoroughfares and rocky terrain. The Old Forest has also been extended so that there's more to explore. And the Nazgûl are also lurking, cooking up something unpleasant in Cardolan's seat of evil.
New Starting Location
In a bid to maximize the time that friends get to spend playing with one another, a new starting location has been introduced with a whole new set of events leading up to the Council of Elrond.
This new start does away with race-based starting locations, lumping all players into the same place from the first instant. Needless to say, this is perfect for returning players who fancy a fresh start with old friends while experiencing something new in the early-game.
As for the endgame, one of the most exciting features to be introduced with Before the Shadow is the new Delving feature. This will see endgame players at the level cap in full control of mission difficulty, allowing them to ramp-up the stakes and reap the corresponding rewards.
Turning the difficulty up to max will bestow on single players gear that is similar to Tier 3 raid gear. This commensurate raid gear will provide similar stats to raid gear, without players having to take part in a raid. Though the best of the best gear is still reserved for raiding with a crew.
Before the Shadow can be bought in three bundles: standard, collector, and ultimate, with later tiers featuring auras, armors, cosmetic armors, pets and more.