Update 18.2: early raid preview and quality-of-life improvements Bullroarer is alive once again for an early preview of update 18.2. After reading the preliminary patch notes, I appreciate these quality-of-life updates almost as much as the major content updates. But it’s not all OCD-appeasing UI and system enhancements — there’s a six-boss, 12-person raid on its way set during the later stages of the Battle of Pelennor. And it should go without saying that on the Bullroarer server the details and numbers are subject to change and should only be used as an indication of the live release. Raid: Throne of the Dread Terror The raid is split into two tiers — tier 2 has raid locks and you will now see the buffs on mobs that makes tier 2 more difficult. The first of the six bosses is the brother of Thrúgrath, Rakothas, a large gorthorog taking advantage of distributed damage to demolish fellowships. The challenge condition indicates “if he is defeated without many attempts to temper his wrath, he shall be shamed in defeat.” Rakothas beating a proverbial dead troll. Your second boss encounter should be a familiar one; the same three mûmakil from “The Foe Resurgent” epic instance return to finish the job. To complete their challenge you must “avoid the foot-falls of the three mûmakil”. Vadokhar, the third boss, is a rogmul from the Void — they sure are pulling out all the demons for this battle. “Vadokhar feeds on flame and shadow, drawing vile strength from both. You must defeat him without allowing him to gather the power of more than one type.” Boss four, The Unbroken One, is a demon kept by the Black Numenórean sorcerers of Minas Morgul. To satisfy the challenge conditions, “only when his corruption is fully drained can you defeat those still under the thrall of the Black Numenóreans.” Two Nazgûl stand between your raid and Gothmog which must be defeated near simultaneously to complete the challenge. And last but not least, to complete Gothmog’s challenge you must “[exploit] Gothmog’s arrogance and all without succumbing to your fears.” That all sounds like a lot of work so hopefully there are some good rewards. Each class has six new armor sets available (with ten classes, that’s sixty sets of six: 360 pieces of armor total) — two for each traitline with one greater and one lesser, all with four essences slots each. The legendary Minstrel lute, coveted by song-singers across the land. In addition to the armor sets, the battle lore barterers at Minas Tirith have a selection of top-end goods including legendary-quality, one-slot class items. I mean, look at that lute. You couldn’t ask for anything better. Beornings, Champions and Guardians get bows since their class slots are filled with legendary items. The masters of battle lore also proffer lesser (2-slot) and greater (4-slot) jewelry with either agility, might or will as a main stat. Right now, pocket items only come in the greater variety. Gardhik provides us with screenshots illustrating the selections available for each class. There is also a generic master of battle lore that exchanges legendary item enhancements, armor and jewelry exchange and token exchange to Morgul Crests. So how do we obtain all these fancy new rewards? It is assumed that a multitude of tokens drop in the new raid, likely with probability favoring challenge mode versus tier 2 and tier 1. One unique token for each lesser armor piece (one for head, one for boots, etc.) One unique token for each greater armor piece (likely only from tier 2) One unique token for each lesser jewelry piece (four total) One unique token for each greater jewelry piece One unique token for a greater pocket item (no lesser version) Ancient Ithil-coins for armor/jewelry exchange, LI modifiers (empowerment scrolls, titles, star-lit crystals), exchange to Morgul Crests (3:1) Housing After prolonged prodding from the community, the developers at Turbine are finally taking a stab at the “too many decorations, not enough housing hooks” dilemma. Instead of a few sparsely placed slots, the test houses on Bullroarer are packed to the brim with furniture hooks, almost claustrophobia inducing. The available housing slots in a Bree-land kinship home In the deluxe Bree home, I counted 74 interior slots versus the previous 47, though I’m sure my counting is a bit off. In the Bree kinship home, I counted 15 slots in the first room, 62 in the large main room, 24 at the bottom of the stairs, 3 on the landing, and 17 upstairs for a total of 121 interior hooks versus 80 previously. There was no change in exterior slots. ohgollygeewhiz gives us a tour of the hobbit kinship home. Stable-masters collection The stablemasters collection panel showing discovered stable routes The collections panel is slowly filling up showcasing some of the sleekest in LOTRO’s interface design this time with all the stablemasters in the game overlayed on a map of Middle-earth. From here you can see how many of the 151 Pokémon stablemasters your current character has discovered, search for specific stablemasters and travel via Mithril Coins although the last function is currently unavailable. You really have to know your Middle-earth geography without the regional boundaries shown, but yes there is room for Mordor stablemasters. Featured instances As promised, they’re swapping out three of the Featured Instances. We’ll see if they keep the same rewards and weekly order. Get those challenge deeds completed! Ost Elendil for Dungeons of Dol Guldur (Malachite – gloves and legs) Inn of the Forsaken for Stoneheight (Marigold – head and shoulders) Ost Dunhoth: Wound and Fear for Helegrod: Drake wing (Obsidian – head and legs) Other highlights There are newish emotes in the collections panel. New store emotes /fountain and /rainbowfountain cause the player to take a swig from a waterskin and spit it into the air. It’s difficult to see in that tiny preview window, but /rainbowfountain either creates a rainbow or your character shoots rainbows from his ears as spits. /dance_hobbit4 is also listed in the panel but hasn’t got a new animation; instead it’s a hobbit dance that got mysteriously replaced recently. It’s worth noting that /dance_hobbit3 is unobtainable except through GM intervention and has a placeholder animation so maybe it’s just oversight that they’re adding a hobbit dance at position 4 and skipping #3. There are five new pieces of wall furniture representing different racial window styles in the item scanner as well as more Gondorian furniture from the Minas Tirith reputation barterers. And for those of you who always wanted to fly a kite, fight alongside a swan knight or tote a miniature mûmak into battle, update 18.2 will have you covered.