ZAM encountered goblins, giants and much more on a tour of Against the Shadow
The boss encounters are enjoyable, with managing the adds proving very important on the surly Dourhand Guthfinn to avoid repeated problems with AOE and the main target being constantly healed.
Helf himself is an imposing, brutish figure, his stone hide crashing down blows around you as you attempt to protect Gwaihir’s egg. Taking out the dwarven sappers before they can damage the egg means victory and a good look at the happy and impressively designed great eagle.
I’ve always liked the atmosphere of LOTRO and how Turbine’s design is very much aimed at imbuing their version of Middle Earth with an authenticity that fans of the books and the films will enjoy.
In the Seat of the Great Goblin, the second of the instances, that immersive atmosphere is exemplified once more. Set 80 years after the events of The Hobbit, the goblins are in a bad way, their emaciated bodies surrounded by garbage and filth.
Though time has passed since Gollum once inhabited the tunnels, the events surrounding that time and his presence in particular are still evident.
The goblins have a vicious ongoing power struggle, once you have fought your way to the throne room, the current leader soon finds his support has waned and others will replace him as soon as he is defeated. Not that they find you to be pleasant company to have around - be prepared to defend yourself from all comers.
Turbine has faced a number of tribulations this year, including the initial delay of Riders of Rohan, but the eagerness to continue building on their interpretation of Middle Earth and the care taken in crafting an enjoyable, rich adventure for players is palpable.
Update 9: Against the Shadows is being tested on the Bullroarer server right now.