Apart from the additional text, header and branding is © The Lord of the Rings Online/Standing Stone Games. I (in my guise as FJ or under my real name) am not associated in anyway with LOTRO or SSG. While stocks last, that kinda thing.
Boromir’s journey North to Rivendell ahead of the meeting of what will eventually become the Fellowship of the Ring while the Nazgûl search for “Baggins” in the peaceful land of the Shire.
This ties in with how the Hobbit race story begins where you and some notable Hobbits encounter one such enquiring Nazgûl.
Before the Shadow Regions
Swanfleet, or Nîn-in-Eilph in Sindarin, lies South-East of the Barrow-downs in Bree-land. If I have this right, it should be past the South-Guard Ruins.
It seems to sit South of the Mitheithel river and the Glanduin per the Fandom Wiki. If this is right, then it borders the Angle of Mitheithel.
Per Tolkien Gateway, many Stoors lived here until a plague hit the region. So we’ll likely get some history in Swanfleet, and perhaps some Stoors that are descendents of the minority that stayed behind? It’s pure guesswork, but previously, our only interaction with any Stoors is in Enedwaith.
Cardolan was one of the Kingdoms of Arnor and, within LOTRO at the moment is known only as reputation items for Bree-land! But the reason these items are found in the Barrow-Downs is that they were part of Cardolan.
As you can see from the map, some of that Kingdom is already in LOTRO: Buckland, the Old Forest, the Barrow-Downs, the Greenway and the southern part of what LOTRO calls the Lone-lands. This means the new quests of Before the Shadow will likely take us South-West through Minhiriath.
Using LOTRO’s Map
So, if I have read things correctly, this is where they sit on LOTRO’s world map.
Most of what is North of the Old South Road is already accessible in-game as it’s in the Lone-lands and/or Bree-land.
So, the regions LOTRO is taking us to are steeped in history and relevant backstory before the Shadows of Angmar base pack.
What Level Range is Before The Shadow?
Interestingly, it’s for Levels 1-32 and will include four new Epic books for new characters. Offering this gives players a choice about how to approach their early levelling experience. In theory, you could run Before the Shadow, then journey through Evendim and level beyond L50 in those regions alone!
So this is a new LOTRO Starter Zone?
Yes. Scenario referred to it as a “beginner zone” in this forum post.
It also makes reference to a “new leveling experience”, so I’ll be interested to learn more about that the closer we get to the Release Date.
Is There a New Race with Before the Shadow?
I don’t believe anything’s been officially stated about that yet. World Chat has an opinion on the matter though.
Other Announced Features
- A new 6-person instance
- A new Skirmish, which involves a fight with Sauron!
- A “Delvings System”.
The Delving System
This Delving System is a way to increase the difficulty of new LOTRO Missions so you can challenge yourself with them.
Do note the word “new” here. The Delvings System appears to only apply to missions added with – and after – Before the Shadow, not those already in existence. At least initially.
Before the Shadow Release Date
When Is It Coming Out?
The date has changed! The release of Before the Shadow is scheduled for the 15th November 2022. This is a week earlier than the originally-announced date (see this tweet from @lotro).
Pre-Purchase is now open!
As is normal for LOTRO expansions, there are three tiers. However, the basic content is (in my opinion) an affordable £16.99. But there is also a VIP Discount for Subscribers. Click/tap the image below to open the LOTRO site with the feature comparisons.
Click/tap this to open a snapshot, or use the button underneath it to see the responsive site on your device.
If you’re a LOTRO VIP (Subscriber) then you get a 10% discount all bundles.
- Standard Edition: £15.29 / 17€99
- Collectors Edition: £44.99 / 53€09
- Ultimate Fan Bundle: £75.59 / 88€19
When Can I Buy “Before the Shadow” With LOTRO Points?
Per the FAQ, you will be able to buy
Base Edition (includes the new regions, Missions, & Instances only)
For 1,995 LOTRO Points in March 2023.
Before the Shadow Teaser Video
Though it is a paid-for expansion even for VIPs, I am looking forward to it. And to writing about it too.
Update: A huge thank you to SSG for granting me account, allowing me to write about the Before the Shadow Ultimate Fan Bundle!