Yesterday evening (GMT) Sapience posted details on the official lOTRO forums regarding the update 9 instance cluster. Not only did he state that they were definitely going to be free for those who had purchased Riders of Rohan but he also provided details such as the title, location and size. He also made a very measured and honest explanation pertaining to the delay and the way Turbine intended to handle the release. Effectively it will be done in two halves, one this year (testing permitting) and the the other next February. However, expect all the usual caveats in case there are delays. Details as follows:
Instances shipping with Update 9: Against the Shadow
Riders of Rohan Instances (Part 1):
- Iorbar’s Peak (Misty Mountains / Stone Giants-3-man)
- Webs of the Scuttledells (Mirkwood 3-man)
- Seat of the Great Goblin (Goblintown 3-man)
Shipping in 2013 (Currently Planned for February)
Riders of Rohan Instances (Part 2):
- The Bells of Dale (6-man)
- Flight to the Lonely Mountain (12-man; single boss)
- The Fires of Smaug (12-man; single boss)
- The Battle for Erebor (12-man; single boss)
Now some people saw the names and started to jump to all-sorts of conclusions, instantly assuming a link with the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Superficially the names of the instances do sound like they come right out of the source text of The Hobbit. Unfortunately, such material does not fall under the terms of the license that governs Turbines output. Rowan AKA Aaron “Rowan” Campbell quickly posted a “clarification” on the matter and promptly put paid to a lot of peoples dreams. These instances are set strictly within the existing LOTRO timeline. However, some lore fans are already disputing how this can be cogently implemented.
Personally, I would have liked to have seen a Rohan themed instance cluster to go with a Rohan expansion and judging by the some of the comments on the forums, I am not alone in this. There are also interesting discussions regarding the pro’s and con’s of 12 man raids. Let’s hope that these new instances are engaging, innovative and offer good rewards. Someone in my kin cynically said perhaps instead of offering new gear, they may just offer Hytbold tokens. That is far from funny and may play on the minds of the more paranoid among us. Fear not. All will become clear when the beta testing starts next week. The truth will out.
Post revised 12:00 GMT 27.11.12