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Lord of the Rings Online Rise of Isengard Expansion Preview.


Rise of Isengard Preview


  The Isengard expansion for LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) is right around the corner with a release date set for September 27th, 2011. So what does the Palantir we keep in the corner reveal about the changes coming in RoI (Rise of Isengard)?


Rise of Isengard Preorder Horse and Armor


  First of all the level cap is being increased from 65 to 75, along with this increase will be the removal of the cap on primary stats (Might, Agility, Vitality, Will, and Fate). No longer will you find yourself trashing good gear because you have reached the stat cap.


  Virtues have had a major overhaul, not only will this change everyone's builds but the cap on each virtue is now 12.


  There are three new "zones" for you to explore, Dunland, The Gap of Rohan, and of course Isengard. With at least 300-400 new quests spread out across these three zones, including a new 24 man raid with a very large dragon boss.




  Crafters will be delighted to know that a new seventh tier (Westfold) will be added to the game. With the recent removal of radiance (a form of gear gating that Turbine was using before), this means that crafters will once again be able to produce high end items that will be sought after. There will also be a new tier of craft reputation above kindred called master of the guild, which crafters will need to reach. One new addition to the items available to craft will be pocket items.


  LOTRO's unique PvP system known as PvMP (player versus monster player) will be expanded so that F2P (free to play) creep side players will have access to the Reaver class.


  Some of the older instances are being revamped to scale to level 75. This includes the Great Barrow, Annuminas, Helegrod, and the School and Library. This should squeeze out some more life from some of the older content.


  For better or worse every class is getting tweaked or overhauled with the expansion. Expect some classes to operate completely differently from what you are used to now.


Nerf MMO demotivational poster

Balancing a game, why not just divide by zero?



  Now for some concerns about the Rise of Isengard expansion. First off what you see is what you get. The level cap has been raised to 75, the Virtue cap has been raised to 12, level 75 legendary items and weapons. There are also 3 new "regions", a new 24 man dragon raid, and about 300 new quests including an epic line with 30 chapters.


What you see is what you get

With RoI, What you see is what you get.


   Most of the expansion seems to be behind the scenes stuff such as system mechanics consolidation.


  Some of the things that did not make it into the expansion include; no new 3-6- or 12 man instances or skirmishes, no new promised PvMP map, no new classes, no non combat pets, and no mounted combat. There is no wow factor that I could find for Rise of Isengard. The expansion feels very light on features and content.


Minstrel Moors Armor Level 75

Moors more of the same...


  Healers who left World of Warcraft for Lord of the Rings Online after the changes to power management and healing introduced with the Cataclysm Expansion, are about to feel a serious case of Deja Vu.


MMO Millstone


  The 3 new zones are not in my opinion, 3 new zones. It is one new zone broken into sub zones. Think of the way the Bree zone is broken up including, Archet, Bree Town, The Old Forest, and The Great Barrows. We do not call these four zones, we call it the Bree zone.


  The new area is exactly like this, I think that there may have been a fairly large miscommunication between the marketing department and the development team.


  A new and very important stat known as Finesse will be placed on certain gear. This stat will be used by both players and monsters to bypass resistances, evading, blocking, and parrying.   


  Unfortunately Finesse feels like a backdoor reinstatement of the much hated radiance system. The reason the radiance system caused such hard feelings in the community in the first place is that it breeds a level of elitism. It is also a slap in the face to all the people who grinded out radiance gear only to have radiance removed later on with no compensation. Will this also happen with finesse in the future?


  Very few of the old instances were scaled to the new level cap, some of the ones that were are nearly 4 years old at this point.


  The MMO community is pretty well seasoned at this point and can tell when something is being rushed and Rise of Isengard has all the feeling of being incomplete and rushed out the door. This could be a terrible mistake on Turbines end as Blizzard has finally entered into the F2P arena and both Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2 are right around the corner.


Wulfs Cleft


  Gamers are no longer as forgiving as they have been in years past with buggy, broken, or releases that lack sufficient content. It could be a very cold fall season for Turbine.


We're off to see the wizard

We're off to see the wizard, the wonderfully evil wizard of Isengard.


  Overall this is the weakest expansion I have ever seen released for an MMO, if you are a casual player I suggest skipping the expansion until you can purchase it on sale with turbine points in the store.





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