Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Quest Pack Reviews: The Lonelands

The Lonelands, dusty road and being overlooked by the Weathertop, used to be a paying zone. A few months after lotro went free to play, so did the Lonelands.

The Lonelands are, in essence, a road from Bree, east to the Trollshaws, called the Great East Road. Don't worry, though, because there's plenty to do on the sides.

You'll first enter the Lonelands by the Forsaken Inn, the last old inn by the wayside. Quests here will take you north to the flanks of the Weathertop, where goblins and orcs have made their camps after the Fellowship passed through.
The road, essence of the Lonelands
After that, you'll go south of the road for some wargs, spiders and goblins. Quests here flow nicely but don't stray far from the usual.
Note that a lot of goblins also give Eglain rep, which most people will want for the return to Ost Guruth skill.
Landscape involves the Weathertop, a hill covered with the remnants of an ancient watchpost and to the south some general ravines with ruins.

Travelling east, you'll pass other ruins and come to Ost Guruth, a ruin inhabited by the Eglain and a more interesting person in the tower. (No spoilers though!) Quests here will take you west and south of it and then also southeast (to a ghostly swamp) and east, into Agamaur.
Agamaur's an entirely different view than the rest of the Lonelands. A bloody red swamp, sprawled with ruins, the dead and corrupted plant-life. I wont spoil the story to why it's so red, because you'll see that in the instances. The landscape portion of Agamaur is solo initially but dabbles into fellowship quests later on, as you go into Garth Agarwen.

Atmosphere in this area is kinda neat, as it's unlike any area you've encountered so far. The evil drips from the trees as you unfold the truth and meet a longtime enemy.

Garth Agarwen

Bloody red pools in Garth Agarwen
At about the end of the Lonelands level-range (about lvl 30), you'll get access to the Garth Agarwen instances. There are 2 3-mans (the Barrows can be hard, even at higher lvls) and 1 6-man instance. The instances have interesting bosses and some minor exploration in them, though the Arboretum has the annoying habit of forcing you to hug the edges to find hidden passageways. Lastly, for those having played the man prologue, you'll find a familiar face wandering among the Barrows.

Price/Value: 5/5 (Free)
Storyline: 3.5/5 (Garth Agarwen has a nice storyline and the traces left on the Weathertop are nice too, but there's also one in a dozen questlines around.)
Quest Progression: 4/5 (Quest progression is as straight as can be, though not the best around.)
The Weathertop
Atmosphere: 4/5 (The Lonelands has a certain Western feel around them that you wont find for a long time and the evil of Garth Agarwen looks awesome.)

Overall: 16,5/20
The last of the free content and about as good as the rest of it. Though the quests aren't all as original as they can be, the instances are awesome and it's sad they're not run as much in public, but rather in kins. Turbine did a good job making this one free so people trying the game out can see more of the game. Note that doing this quest pack completely to the end will get you to about lvl 34, which means you're ready to do Evendim.

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