The Lord of the Rings Online is a little over two years old now. In that time the game has grown dramatically, receiving numerous free content updates and two full expansions. The first expansion was called the Mines of Moria. I reviewed that expansion and gave it a whopping 95%, concluding that
The Skirmish System
With the Mines of Moria, Turbine introduced a truly unique and game changing weapon system, called Legendary Weapons. This system gave the players access to weapons that leveled up and were highly customizable. This feature added depth to the game and changed the way it was played. With Siege of Mirkwood, Turbine has introduced another innovative featured called the Skirmish System. This new system offers highly customizable instances that can be joined by players in a group no matter where they are in the game world. It works like this: The group leader opens up their skirmish panel and chooses which skirmish they want to do (There are over a dozen to choose from), then they select the size of the group that will be playing, there are options for solo, 3-man, 6-man and even 12-man skirmishes. Next the leader will select the desired level, most skirmishes will range from lvl 30 all the way op to level 70. Finally, the leader has to select the tier of the skirmish, with tier one being the easiest and tier three being the hardest. Once the skirmish has been set, players in your group will then be transported to the skirmish instance no matter where they are in the game world.
Adding to the appeal of the skirmish is your soldier. Every class type now has the ability to hire soldiers to fight alongside them while in the skirmish instance. Just like your main character, these soldiers have the ability to level up and gain more powers through the use of skirmish marks. There are several different types of soldiers to choose from and most of them fit into a class role within the game, there are tanks, DPS characters, spell casters, healers, etc. Choosing which solider you carry into battle will depend heavily on what type of class your main character is. What
Turbine has tweaked other aspects of the overall game to improve the experience. The most significant tweak comes from treating player mounts as a skill rather than an inventory item. It may seem silly but the game used to require players to dismount from their horse in order to talk to vendors, turn in quests and travel from loading zone to loading zone. With the change, players can now go about almost all of their business while mounted. Like I said this may seem trivial, but the old system was a real pain in the ass, having to mount and dismount all the time. Thank you Turbine for listening to your fans on this issue.
Another huge change comes from the implementation of a Medallion system. Medallions are used to obtain the best armor (Radiance armor) in the game. The old system required you to go through instances with a group and complete the instance in hard mode. This would net the group one coin, which every player had a 1 in 6 chance of winning. The winning player could then take the coin and trade it in for a piece of Radiance armor. Each Moria instance had its own coin that was exclusive to that instance. So if you wanted to get the Radiance armor shoulder pads then you had to find a group willing to go into a really tough instance (in this case The 16th Hall) and beat it in hard mode, then you had to get lucky enough to actually win the role for the coin. In short, this system was a major pain in the arse. With the launch of Mirkwood the coin system is gone and in its place is the medallion system. The upside to this system is that every instance in Moria or Mirkwood now drops several medallions throughout the instance that each party member can obtain. There is one for everybody, no lucky rolling necessary. The coins are universal for each armor set, so if you never want to go into the 16th Hall again, then you do not have to (Yeah, I hate those stupid squishy bugs). You just have to obtain enough medallions to get the piece of armor that you want. It
As with most expansions, Mirkwood adds additional new zones to explore. This time the Southern half of Mirkwood is opened up to the players. Even though this area is treated as one zone, it actually has several smaller unique zones within it. So while there is technically only one new zone added with the expansion, it is fair to say that it is by far the largest zone in the game and it has the most content available in any one zone. Many players were worried that a zone like Mirkwood would be too dreary and dark and as a result would become depressing. I actually suffered from this with the Angmar zone. However, Mirkwood is actually highly atmospheric and it varies enough that it never gets depressing or too dark. This is saying a lot since the main theme of the zone is a dark and dreary forest.
As far as quests go in Mirkwood there are enough to go around and them some. Many players will be surprised to find that most of the Mirkwood quests are actually solo quests. It is quit possible to complete 95% of the new Mirkwood quests without ever teaming up with someone else. It
Players who enjoy a good group shouldn
My next complaint comes from the new radiance gear given out for collecting the Mirkwood Dol Guldur medallions. The problem with the new gear is that in most cases the stats for the new gear are actually worse than the stats for the old Moria radiance gear. The only improvement to the new gear is a major bump up in the amount of radiance they give. Radiance is required to go into the new 12 man raid, but it