Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quest Pack Review: Angmar

North from the North Downs, you suddenly find yourself in a bleak arid land. Dread fills you as you realize where you are. The land of Angmar, home of the Witch-King.

There're 3 ways into Angmar. I recommend taking the middle one, which is monster-free and takes you to the first outpost. The earthkin village quests immediately show what makes Angmar different. The quests are harsh at times and a fellow is always welcome and sometimes even needed. Angmar probably features the most fellowship quests in the game. The mob density in some regions is also greater, meaning you'll take a lot more unwanted aggro.

Death beyond this point
You'll want to do the first part of Angmar after doing Evendim as the armor set from passing the rites is decent for most players at this point. Quests in this first part are perfectly doable and I'd recommend doing every solo quest and trying most of the fellowship quests before taking a break from Angmar.

The reason for this is the Watching Stones. This line of statues will kill everyone who isn't past Vol. 1 Book 6 in the Epic Story. I've usually found myself slightly under lvl for that part on most of my times through so I left Angmar for another zone to come back later.

The storyline in Angmar mainly focuses on the hillmen tribes in the first part. A new force seats in Carn Dûm and not every tribe wants to swear allegiance. As you progress further, you'll be helping the rangers who travelled deep within Angmar to stop this new steward of Angmar and the legions of orcs, ready to assault the lands of the free peoples. This is one of the few packs that feels truly epic at moments, where you feel like you are truly battling the forces of evil to defend all that is good and right in this world.

Quest progression is nicely packed into hubs though sometimes you'll have trouble getting further if you can't get a fellow to help out now and then. Some quests also require you to head deep into mob-infested fortresses and can be difficult. In the end, progression is decent though and there's enough content to get quite a few levels.

Atmosphere is depressing, which is to be expected from a barren land as this and sometimes it even feels post-apocalyptic. (Considering some of the monsters, I'd believe it.) The looming fortresses around and the truly messed up sky really oppress you more and the various dread effects all around finish things off. This is a land of despair and Turbine managed to capture that very well. (According to some, too well. Another reason to break things up with another pack.)

Angmar also features a lot of instances. I won't go into much detail about them for spoilers and article length.

Carn Dûm

Dun dun dun
This fortress of the witchking is one of the 2 instances you'll want to run for the class items dropped by the bosses inside. Due to various keys that drop, it's possible to skip certain parts the 2nd time around, but most groups do it completely to give every class a shot at their quest items. This instance features several bosses, some of which are unique battles and others who have tricks up their sleeves. This instance can take a long time to complete so don't be surprised to have members drop halfway through. The instance is still run because everyone needs their items.


Second of the instances that drop the class quest items, this fortress is the breeding ground of the dark armies. Again quite a lot of bosses that sometimes require interesting tactics. This instance is slightly shorter than Carn Dûm . This one is also run now and then for the class items.

Barad Gúlaran

A shorter instance, though a full clear still takes less than 2 hours without wipes. Again boss battles are interesting. Note that 2 of the bosses drop items that help in defeating the other bosses in the instance, so be sure you know who has them and examine them thoroughly. This instance doesn't drop class items and thus isn't usually run in public.

the Rift of Nûrz Ghâshu

I've never ran this raid before, but only saw footage and went inside briefly to take a look. Presumably one of the best (the best according to some) instances in the game. It just isn't run anymore due to the low reward/time ratio, which is sad because most people'd probably like to run it. I've heard it has some of the most difficult battles in the game, the location is spectacular and the bosses featured are highly interesting.

Price/Value: 4/5 (More expensive than other packs, but the amount of content is big and the instances are some of the best in the game.)
Storyline: 4/5 (War is brewing and you get to battle the forces of evil on their own ground. Epic with moments.)
Quest Progression: 3/5 (Quest progression can be difficult because of the Watching Stones, but once unhindered flows decently.)
Atmosphere: 4/5 (The grey plains don't seem that interesting, but the fortresses and evil aura are awesome.)

Overall: 15/20
Despite the high price, this pack is huge, featuring 3 fellowship instances and a raid, loads of quests and great atmosphere. This is another pack I'd recommend.

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