I was expecting to have a little more time to pull this together and also test some of it out more, but getting content quicker is never a bad thing.  Overall I think there’s quite a lot of good things coming with Update 6 and there’s already a lot of information on the forums scattered all over the place.  I wanted to put up a post on my thoughts as well as try to capture some of the information.  There are a few major areas that I’ll cover, but I’m not going to cover anything regarding the new Epic line or the new quest areas.  Partly because I want to save them for live and also because I don’t want to spoil them for anyone else.  I’ll also have a separate post up on the Wardens as there’s a ton of stuff to work through and I want to get a chance to play around some over on Bullroarer to really see for myself how these changes really effect the class.  Also, I highly recommend folks interested in any of these changes including those areas I’m not knowledgeable in (RKs, PvMP, etc.) to hop onto Bullroarer, while you can, and check them out for yourself.

I’m going to try to break this up into some semblance of logic but I can’t guarantee it will make sense for everyone.

One of the big marketing items for this update is the ability to call your soldier out in the landscape.  I was never really excited about it and after seeing the costs involved, I’m even less interested in it.  I’m actually not sure what sort of benefit this change really has but hopefully this is just the first stage of implementation as it falls well short of any sort of “companion” system.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, the cost for a 1 hour token is either 100 Turbine Points or 1500 Skirmish marks AND 75 medallions.  At this cost I can only see it helping in those rare cases where your trying to do something you shouldn’t ;)

The other controversial item is the new and improved barter wallet.  Many feel this is a long overdue item that we were promised and as such Turbine is robbing us blind by charging for the new wallet.  And I’ll admit I was a little upset when I saw the price for the wallet but when you consider that things like the Wardrobe and Shared Storage have always had a charge associated with them, this charge seems quite in line.  And then once I started using the wallet that 1000 SMs is a VERY reasonable price especially considering it is an account wide upgrade.  For me I was able to clear up over a bag of inventory and vault space on each of my characters with the new wallet.  The one argument I really don’t get is the people who claim this is contrary to the “convince not advantage” slogan the Turbine has used, as for me this is exactly the kind of convenience I’d want from the store.  Now, the one thing I would’ve like to have seen is some sort of discount for VIPs as I’m gradually growing unsure what real benefits VIP membership has since the removal of Destiny Point accrual and this could’ve been a real bonus for them.  But that’s probably another post for another day :)

In addition to the soldiers, there are a number of other skirmish related items that are changing with Update 6:

  • level 45 class items are dropping in cost from XX SMs to 680 SMs
  • Worn Symbols of Celebrimbor are either 2394 SMs AND 207 Medallions or 1710 SMs and 518 Medallions
  • Greater Scrolls of Empowerment are either 1045 SMs AND 95 Medallions or 174 SMs AND 42 Marks
  • You can trade 50 SMs for 1 Medallion

Probably the other big system wide change is that to the PvMP side of things.  In addition to the Commendation and Audacity systems there are also new armor sets.  I have to admit I’m quite the armor set junky so these are intriguing to me.  There are some pretty slick looks to these sets and it is also quite nice that they’re no longer tied to your rank. (Set Looks and Set Stats)  It also is nice that gaining these sets are purely tied to PvMP combat with the new Commendation system.

And of course, the main item in this update is the new zone and the associated goodies with it.  The new zone does feel pretty darn big and quite impressive visually.  I can’t comment on the number of quests but it does seem similar to Enedwaith from a quest hub perspective.  There are 2 new factions, the Riders of Stangard and the Limlight Gorge, to gain reputation with and they have their own goodies you can barter for like we’re used to.  New legendary titles are available with some nice combinations of mitigations and stats or BPE as well as Belariand plus stats or BPE.  There’s another tier of crafted relics which is another nice bonus to the strength of that system.  There’s a ton of new crafting items and the continuation and expansion of the item upgrade system introduced with the Update 5 instance cluster.  Another surprising inclusion in this update is a new 6-man instance which ties directly into that upgrade system!

Of all the stuff in the update, I honestly think one of the biggest changes in this update is the incorporation of so many store-exclusive items back into the game via reliable and deterministic means.  I could honestly care less about store exclusive cosmetics or things like that as that should be what the store’s all about, but my issue and many others are with the “advantage” items like the relic removal scroll and exclusive relics.  Needless to say I’m quite happy that these items are coming into the loot table and the relic melding panel respectively.

Despite the speed at which this update seems to have rushed through Bullroarer, I do think overall this is a great update for Turbine and these kinds of things are exactly what the players have been asking for.

What are you most looking forward to when Update 6 hits live?