Even after a decade-and-a-half of constant expansion, Lord of the Rings Online’s Middle-earth has more left to show us than is currently on the map. Personally, I always feel a jolt of excitement whenever a new zone or region is added to the game, because it’s just that much more Middle-earth to explore and love.to give our beloved Trollshaws zone a revamp. Not only did the autumnal lands receive a new map, but it also effectively doubled its size by adding the Angle of Mitheithel region.
Even though my main character is vastly overleveled for the Angle, I felt compelled to experience it all the same. So I saddled up and headed to Rivendell to see what lay south of those mountains that blocked us previously.
I was a little dismayed to find that all of the stable masters were reset in the region. It’s not a huge thing to have to rediscover those, but it is annoying — and I doubt SSG wanted players to come into this new addition feeling irked.
In any case, I found the feeder quest (it’s at Thorenhad, if you were confused as I was) and quickly rode down to the first little quest hub. There are about three — Gaerond, Tornhad, and Tham Lumren — and as I moved from one to the next, I updated my milestone for a quick return after accomplishing various quest objectives.
First impressions? The Angle of Mitheithel is just as pretty as I hoped it would be. We don’t often see “autumn” as a zone theme in MMOs, so I’ve always felt that Trollshaws stood out because of this uniqueness. Getting more of those colorful trees along with waterfalls, hills, and postcard-worthy ruins made the whole area feel quite inviting. I kind of went on a screenshot spree, especially when the sun rose or set to coat faraway hills in pastels.
Since this is a level 45ish region, the Angle is certainly not meant to be terribly challenging. If you’re at-level, you’ll be doing a lot of constant fighting, but I didn’t identify any spots or mobs that would make an average player sweat too much. The quest design and flow is quite polished, spending the right amount of time at a hub before gently shooing players onward to the next. All in all, it took me under two hours to complete — and that’s with all of the screenshots!
The quests themselves are fine. Again, it’s not save-the-world level of scale, but actually I find that ideal. I really loved the feel of poking through a region that is littered with ruins while learning about the history from the Rangers, Elves, and locals. Some of the highlights included a doofy guy looking for a lost locket, an elderly couple trying to get to safety, and an Elf attempting to leave Middle-earth on good terms with friends being left behind.
One landscape highlight was stumbling upon the ruins of an old Hobbit village. There is even a creepy Hobbit hole that is filled with bones, wargs, and roots that you have to climb through for a mission.
My only real disappointment with the zone, when all was finished, is that it offers no new cosmetic or armor designs that weren’t already lurking in my wardrobe. The rep vendor — who should be fully accessible once you do all of the quests — is limited to map skills, a couple of housing items, and a trio of pets. I won’t say no to pets, but I wouldn’t have minded a new look!
While I was a little resistant at first to SSG going back to old zones such as Bree-land and Trollshaws to flesh them out, I’ve really warmed up to the concept after experiencing the Wildwood and the Angle. It offers more leveling options, to be sure, but also more of the world that we know and love so well.