Prior to update 7, it had become apparent that two of the T2 fights in the Tower of Orthanc raid were never going to be completed – Fire and Frost challenge and Saruman (with or without challenge). Despite an intense amount of effort that had been put put into these fights by some of the more hardcore raiding kins over the past 5 months, particularly some German kins, there had been no progress for months and basically everyone had given up on them both due to difficulty (or literal impossibility) and the lack of any sort of loot incentive. In response to this, the dev in charge announced some nerfs to these fights which were implemented in Update 7.

As expected, these changes quickly resulted in a breakthrough, with Legion der Freunde ([DE-RP]Belegaer) completing the Saruman challenge mode, which involves completing the hardest and longest fight in the game with no deaths, very shortly after Update 7 launched. Another German kin followed shortly, with a non-challenge kill, and two other kins have now completed the challenge mode and one other has completed the regular mode. Interestingly, all but one of these kinships are from EU servers. As always seems to happen with these things, this new progression has not been short of forum drama, with unsubstantiated accusations being levelled against some kins (not necessarily those involved in the actual kills) that they are exploiting some new macro bug which apparently enables a certain notoriously exploitable class to get insane (50,000+) DPS by bypassing the game’s internal cooldown clock. However, it seems that these current kills are legitimate (unlike some pre-Update 7 exploited kills) and so the current final raid boss in LOTRO has finally been taken down, more than 5 months after the fight was released.

Well, actually, Saruman should be the final boss, but it seems that the very first lock in the fight – Fire and Frost – is actually proving to be the hardest challenge to beat, which seems odd from a design point of view to say the least. While groups were initially expressing some optimism that the nerf to the fight would make it possible, no one has yet managed to beat it after a full raid cycle’s worth of attempts. It seems that something’s a little off in the mathematics of this fight, surely it wasn’t intentional that the first fight would have the hardest challenge in the raid!

A recent dev post from jwbarry announcing that there is a special title for any group that completes the entire raid, on challenge mode, in one sitting might give some incentive for groups to get this down. Time will tell if anyone manages to complete this deed before RoR, of if it becomes another raid achievement that is only completed after a level cap increase.