Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Quest Pack Reviews: Breeland

This starting zone for Men and the place where every race gathers. Another free zone that'll take you the rest of the way to lvl 20.

Breeland is a crossroad. North leads to the North Downs, east to the Lonelands and west to the Shire.
(That's why you'll generally want to get the port skill from kindred Men of Bree.)

ruins and forests
Men starting here will find themselves in a familiar surroundings: the town of Archet. You can see Archet as a prelude to what else is before Bree. Towns where men and hobbits and the occasional dwarf live, some grass, a foresty region where bandits roam and some spider nests. Quests in this part before Bree flow nicely and at the end, you'll find yourself in Bree itself.

There're some secrets and lore locations in Bree itself. The Prancing Pony is a must for lore-fans, but there's also other stuff like the cat house. (Note that in U7, more interiors will be made in Bree which means more depth! Bree is the rp center. This means that you'll generally find yourself surrounded by loads of people in costumes riding around their horses (or goats). If you don't lag during prime time, you must have one hell of a rig.
the Prancing Pony!

Around Bree, you have some choice where to go and it may not always seem clear where to next. This bogs down the flow somewhat, but there's enough quests around to make it. Eventually, you'll follow the quests into the old forest and to the barrow-downs. While the old forest isn't for everyone, the quests in the barrow-downs prepare you well for the Great Barrow, the first group instance in the game (3 6-mans).

Quests range from the general fedex (kill and delivery) to more interesting dungeon crawls. The epic story keeps strong and provides some nice (though sometimes a tad difficult for some classes) boss battles.

the Barrow-Downs
Atmosphere is strong, especially in the old forest (where Tom Bombadil lives!) and the barrow-downs. The other parts are varied enough, with some rocky terrain and a swamp with annoying bugs. Bree looks bustling at some times and never really empties. (Make sure you're on a local server though.)

The Great Barrows

Once you get to lvl 20, you get to join the first instance of the Great Barrows: the maze. Try to get into a group for one, because it's invaluable grouping experience and later on, you don't want to ruin it. Once you've done the first 2 instance, you'll complete a key which will allow you to enter the third one.
The great Barrows is still run now and then and if you're in an active kinship, someone will surely guide you around and explain stuff.


Level 20 also marks access to the first 2 free skirmishes (the others are either bought in the store or unlocked through the epic story in Moria and Mirkwood). Skirmishes are either offensive or defensive and provide decent xp and gold, while also giving access to good barter equipment for the next dozen levels.
They also provide some rep for the Mathom Society (shire) and Thorin's Hall (ered luin).
They can be run solo or with other people and are a nice way to bridge low xp moments.
(Note that these aren't included in the score as they aren't really a part of breeland.)

Price/Value: 5/5 (Yup, free)
Storyline: 3.5/5 (While there's good lines, there's also boring ones)
Quest Progression: 3.5/5 (Quest progression is good but gets in a little dip at Bree where you have to decide between Adso's camp, northern bree, southern bree. There's also some quests no one ever seems to find, like the dwarf east of Hengstacer's.)
Atmosphere: 4/5 (While the fields aren't spectacular, the old forest and barrow-downs are and Bree itself looks decent as well.)

Overall: 16/20
Another free pack and more good content. There are several hotspots every lore-fan should have seen. (I'm looking at you Tom.)  Enough content to easily get you beyond lvl 20 and the first fellowship instances in the Great Barrow.

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