Hero's Guide to the North Downs

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The latest addition to the Hero's guide from the official site takes us to the North Downs. This is a place that is only briefly mentioned in the books and simply appears as a place name on the maps, with very little detail of what that land was like. Turbine thus had a bit of wiggle room to create an environment for the North Downs. For example, the town of Trestlebridge, the southernmost settlement, doesn't appear in the books at all. Interestingly, many lore fans argue Trestle should have been the size of town for Bree, and of course that Trestle shouldn't have existed at all. Oh well.

As to the land itself, the guide does a good job of overview but I'd like to mention that the North Downs has a great emptiness atmosphere to it. While the zone isn't any less full of mobs than most other zones, combining the music and the art of the landscape gives it that stark wilderness feel. In that respect, I enjoy the zone. What I find not so enjoyable is the fairly bland scenery. On occasion you'll find a nice composition here and there but for the most part the North Downs is forgettable in terms of imagery. We can't win them all every time.

Playability is pretty good although this zone falls into the mid-level squeeze from 20ish to 30ish along with the Lone Lands - so whatever the quality of the quests and other activities, there's that shadow. I hope we'll see a new leveling path somewhere else but that's a discussion for another day.

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