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The Fight Continues
The Book 14 plot ground to a halt as Elrond sent the whole server looking for 70 000 pieces of ring lore, but now that players have obliged, the chase for Amarathiel begins anew.
People who have completed Book 14 up to Chapter 7 can continue just by paying Elrond a visit. Having a hunter in group to chauffeur will speed things up a lot: Elrond sends you to Celondim (the Elf starting area) to talk to an Elf that hangs out towards the docks called Eglamir. Go ahead and set your map home to Celondim: you’ll be back. Eglamir sends you to Bree to find some information about a tomb in the in Barrow Downs. Bree’s resident expert on the Barrows is of course Newbold Leafcutter, remember all the lore you gathered for him in your late teens/early twenties?
He will send you to the Bree Reputation dungeon, Haudh Iarchith, in the southern Barrow Downs, to find the tomb of Maenadar. It used to be possible to make the run solo, but they added some elites that will cut you apart now, so you’ll either need to fight through with a larger group, have a tank grab agro and sacrifice himself while you follow and finish the Quest, or follow some strangers in and try to make it that way. You want to go straight from the entrance (east) through the first chamber, then continue east through the large room and out the hall way at the far end. A short way down this hallway is a hall to the left and the right, take the latter (south), and follow it to the end, which will be Maenadar’s Crypt. Stun, mezz, tank, etc. the guard and search the crypt. No matter how quickly you get there, it will be too late. Go report your failure to Newbold in Bree and see if he has any other bright ideas.
He’s at a loss and sends you back to Eglamir, who sends you to Forochel to run around, talk to some people, and do an Instance. You’ll be too late this time as well, and sent on your way back to Eglamir. Though the running around is a little frustrating, the plot serves to have you feel like you are hot on the heels of evil and that you aren’t just tearing around for the sake of subsidizing the Middle Earth Travel Ration Industry.
Eglamir sends you back to Elrond, who has a final desperate strategy. This will take you to a very long, but not all that challenging Instance. The end features the new cinematic system Turbine is rolling out for this fall’s Mines of Moria Expansion. Instead of running around and trying to follow the scene by adjusting your own camera, the camera cuts, zooms, and otherwise follows NPC action, while you do nothing and you and your Fellowship appear in the background watching the action. It makes it a lot easier to follow the plot than swinging the camera around while your character is stunned or frightened and can’t move, without taking you totally out of the game the way a full-on cut scene would.
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The Battle Heats Up
In addition to those polishing off Book 14, players who aren’t as far along on their Epic Quests but still have some reputation with the Council of the North (the East Angmar good guys head quartered at Garth Foronir) can take part in open war against Amarthiel’s forces. The Herald of Rivendell outside of GF now has three Rangers and a new Barter NPC for company. Initially, one ranger offers one quest, the Battle for Aughaire. After this Battle is won several times, another Ranger offers the Battle Before the Rammas Deluon, and finally the last Ranger will offer the Battle of Rhunendin. In each case the reward is a Mark of Victory for that Battle and some Reputation with the Council of the North.
These Battle quests are not only intense and offer a great challenge to the end-game player but the rewards are phenomenal. The new Barter NPC will take the three different Marks of Victory and Vile Silver Coins in exchange for jewelry that in addition to a nice collection of traditional buffs also carries a bonus to one of your traits. So if you have Determination Rank 5 and equip the Ring of Intent, for instance, you will receive buffs as though you had a 6 in Determination. These are difficult quests, but the rewards and challenges are hard to pass up. Check the above links to the individual Battles for some strategies and tips so that you spend more time choosing rewards than repairing
This series describes the changes that came with the Book 14 expansion, gives tips on the Epic quests and strategies on the new Battle Instance Quests.