Last night I found I was left to my own devices, Adam had gone out and Baby Dwarf was in bed. Usually I would have spent the free time levelling up my Cappy Barandis, who is now 47 and has her Legendary Weapon and In Defence of Middle Earth (awesome skill!) However, Baby Dwarf is getting his teeth through and was being particularly grumpy, so rather than play the Cappy in Eregion, I decided I would get my Hobbit Minstrel out of the box. I’d made Dandylion back when the character slots were on sale, and she completes my Hobbit set (I now have one of each Hobbit and Dwarf classes available) though I hadn’t played her.
I figured if I started the intro, I could go AFK without worrying about where I was, nothing attacks you in the intro without you first having a go (except Blackwolds) so I knew I would be ok. Now I had done the new starting instances back when F2P first launched, and we rolled a couple of alts on a F2P US account, but November seemed a long time ago, and what struck me this time around was how nice Archet looked. Before F2P it looked like a grim little one horse town with only the quest givers in there. Now it looks like an actual bustling town with townspeople wandering around and you can even see some inside the buildings. I spent a few minutes just wandering round to sight-see, and because it looks so good now it shows the contrast when you revisit after you go into the real world.
I took the time to look at the sequence of the instance which completes the intro, rather than just clicking “yeah” and going on ahead because to be fair I’ve probably done that starter zone like 10 times at least. It flows really nice, looks awesome as the whole town is on fire, and now you work your way around the town fighting minor skirmishes with John Brackenbrook, then meet up with Atli Spiderbane, then go to the centre of the town outside the inferno that was the Mad Badger Inn and fight with Captain Brackenbrook. You then face Calder Cobb and a couple of waves of Blackwolds, spurred on by two Carguls. Amdir, who was fighting with the Captain is called by the Carguls and he follows, now a servant of Angmar. I really liked this addition, it really sets up the start of the first Epic Book, where you aid Strider to try to rescue him.
All in all I thought I would be spending half an hour or so getting a Hobbit out into the real world (handy for current storage problems) in a fairly mindless sort of way, having done it a thousand times before. In fact I was pleasantly reminded of all the good work which is going into revamping the game. We’re currently touring the revamped Lone Lands with the Loremasters, which I’m thoroughly enjoying, and if the new tweaks to Evendim are half as good as the new intros and Lone Lands, then I can’t wait!