Of course this is all subject to change, but there are some pretty cool aspects to Update 11 that I wanted to share with folks.  I also will have a couple of suggestions for folks towards the end.  Don’t get me wrong, Update 11 isn’t perfect and it won’t keep end-game folks busy until the Helm’s Deep expansion, but this update is better then what I was expecting.  And I haven’t even done any of the Epic line, which always have good stories tied to them.

Visually, the area is quite stunning and unlike the other winter zones in the game – which is quite nice.  Turbine always impresses me with how they’re able to keep creating different and unique zones.  Adding to the beauty of the area, Turbine has stepped it up with their armor designs in this update.  The end-game sets with Rohan were honestly pretty disappointing as the Hytbold sets were incredibly un-inspired.  As some examples, check out some of the gear below:

Metalsmith CraftablesTailor Craftablesmore costmetics

Now as you can tell from these shots, we have all sorts of new tiers:

  • new guild obtainable craftables
    • requires mastery of the eastenment tier (double anvil)
  • More reputation to obtain
    • although this time tasks do boost reputation
  • More barter items to gather, including another set of dailies
    • some have likened the progression to Limlight Gorge

I also wanted to share a completely non-real item as I just thought it looked cool and I thought might be interesting to see if they actually use it anywhere.

Bullroarer snapshot

I would be curious to see if they decide to do something like the weapon glow already in game for armor or shields.

In addition to all the cool looks of these sets, there are actually some interesting things going on with stats in this update.  The guild crafted items all have 5 variants to choose from to give you lots of flexibility.  I’m not sure about everything, but at least the Tailor, Metalsmith, and Jeweler items all have 5 options, which is pretty impressive.  Granted, you won’t have set bonuses, but for many classes those bonuses aren’t that useful so here’s another series of pieces you can mix and match.  Here’s an example of one of these pieces compared with the Hytbold piece.

One example of stats

This kinda makes my head spin a bit from a min/maxing perspective as there are now ALL SORTS of options to play with.  As another example, here are the stats for the pretty eye-popped barterable bauble items available in the new zone.

New Barter ItemsNew Barter ItemsNew Barter ItemsNew Barter ItemsNew Barter ItemsNew Barter Items

So there’s some pretty cool stuff coming with Update 11, but it would really be nice if they find a way to squeeze in some sort of other update prior to the expansion.  If they could do something like last year and add a couple instances and/or skirmishes I think that would go a long way.  However, I have a feeling that the reputation grind is all we’re going to have to keep us busy until the expansion hits.

As for those looking for things to do, I’d suggest working on your crafting as the new goodies may require some work.  First off, they all require mastery of the Eastenment tier (double anvil) where as the previous build recipes just required access to the tier, not mastery.  Also, they do require the large guild items (the weekly cooldown ones) so it might be a good idea to stock up on those.  Another option for you is that you can now trade up symbols such that small symbols can be turned into medium ones, and those can further be upgraded to large ones.  I haven’t looked at the tasks yet, but it is possible there could be a re-use of item drops – but I’d honestly be surprised if they didn’t introduce new items.

While not a total cure-all for what’s going on with LOTRO, I really think Update 11 is a significantly good update that if more updates (and more often) were of this quality, LOTRO might be in a better state.