LOTRO Book 14 detailed
Vol. 1 concludes in the Ringforges of Eregion.
GameSpy has a preview of Book 14 of Lord of the Rings Online - the final free update to the game before expansion Mines of Moria is released this Autumn.
Book 14: the Ringforges of Eregion is the closing book of Volume One of the game, The Shadows of Angmar. Turbine is concentrating on storytelling in the update, which means bringing the first phase of the game to a satisfying close and paving the way toward Moria rather than adding a ton of new features.
The epic quest line of the game will be wrapped up in a new story instance at Rivendell; expect a non-combat mission where players will be thanked and bid farewell by Frodo, Aragon and crew. It will bring in a new cinematic camera system to make these less interactive parts of the game more interesting.
Book 14 will also be heavy on session play, the out-of-character experiences so far characterised by the game's silly chicken quest and the ability to play as Trolls and Rangers in player-versus-player battles. From now on there will be more story-based session play, tying into the epic quest line.
Book 14 also adds a new outdoor area, Eregion - the ruined Elven lands near the entrance to Moria, where orc forces have taken over the legendary Ringforges. Players will join with Dwarven expeditions in search of the entrance to Moria.
The update will also include a greater number of live server events and server-wide goals for players to aim for. These include a chain of randomised, tactical 'battlefield' instances that open up in series according to the number of times they're played and beaten, allowing players to participate in the War of the Rings itself.
Beyond that there will be a new bartering system for obtaining epic items, and Town Crier NPCs who will keep players up to date with the latest news on their server.
Lord of the Rings Online has a reputation for providing the most regular, exciting and feature-laden free updates in MMOs, and it looks like this won't change with Book 14. Check out the GameSpy preview for the full details.