Update 15 of LOTRO not only opens up more of Gondor than what was previous available through The Paths of the Dead, but also sees the introduction of a new class, the Beorning. The Beorning is based on Beorn and his kin that was seen in The Hobbit after the dwarves and Bilbo escaped the goblins and their warg allies. Along with the new class there are 3 new regions to explore as well as a new Epic Battle, Retaking Pelagir. Pelagir is a city on the banks of the Anduin river and is besieged by Corsairs and the men of Haradrim which is south of Gondor. Update 15: Gondor Aflame – Now Available
Let us take a look at how the new class, Beorning, is created. Right off the bat the class is actually a race as well and you are able to play male or female, unlike a dwarf. The class is rated as an advanced player class so be prepared to learn how to play all over again. If you do not know who Beorn was from the films or books, the important part is that he was skin-changer. Able to turn into a bear, especially when angered. One of the reasons Gandalf was a bit apprehensive taking the dwarves and Bilbo to Beorn’s house. Beorn was also a protector of nature as was his kin and hate orcs and goblins with a passion. Once thing to note, the class has to be purchased, even for VIP members. The areas themselves are a free update for those with life time or VIP membership. So what does this mean? If you want the class start grinding for those TP (Turbine Points) or be willing to spend hard cash to get the new class.
So… After a 3 hour grind of slayer deeds I had the points that I needed to get the new class. As to back history and such, the Beorning are descended from ancient man and able to change their skin to that of a bear. They distrust any other than their own kind and the creatures of the natural forest. They despise and detest anything orcish more than anything else, even uninvited guests. Watch the movie or read the book to know what I am talking about there.
The character model would seem to be a blend of Dale and Rohan, which would make perfect sense sin the Beorning are from The Vales of Anduin, the lands between the Greenwood, it is called Mirkwood now, and that of the Misty Mountains. As to their names, they are Norse based, what isn’t on the east of the Misty Mountains. So with my Cute Girl, Sotjenta made it was time to enter into the game.
You start out in the Vale of Anduin talking with your brother Sterkist when Radagast the Brown shows up at the compound. Neither of you know why he is there but you want to find out. In the process of asking about the visit you are promptly told to leave it alone and get to work helping out. Then as always you meet up with someone that wants to “train” you. That means you have to go into battle. Granted first time players will find this helpful but experienced players just try to click through it mindlessly just to get it over and done with. Seeing as this is a new class I am sure that is not going to happen the first time through.
One of the new abilities of this class is the ability, when enrages, to change into the form of a bear to do battle. In bear for you have a totally different set of skills and attack options. When not in bear form you are using a 2 handed battle axe at the beginning.
As to why Radagast has come? He is there to get Grimbeorn, son of Beorn, to send messages with his children to the major powers about the evil that is brewing once again in the world. Grimbeorn will not do this but instead says that you, his own child, will be sent instead of you and your brother and sister. Of course Sterkist doesn’t like that idea in the least and changes into a bear to show his wrath about the idea. The wizard is sending you to Bree-land to talk with and assist Aragorn. So onto your horse you go and you fade into Archet.
As to the story of the Beorning, it was interesting, but was rather short compared to all of the other races that are in the game. Maybe in time it will be expanded more so that there is much more to do in the starter area. As it is now you get to fight goblins and sickle flies and then you are level 5 when you get off your horse in Archet. I am actually enjoying the new class and I usually don’t like to play straight up melee. I am a ranger player usually in games.
As to the rest of the content that has been added with Gondor Aflame, that will just have to be a review for another day. So enjoy your new character and race class and share your experience below.