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First an index to the Epics...

  • prolog(s) to Volume I -- Each Race has its own series of Prolog quests, which overlap as one approaches Chapter 1 and a meeting with Strider at the Prancing Pony in Bree.

Category:Epic Quests

  • I created this list because I can never find things -- the names used in the WIKI have not been consistent to be useful ... i.e. Volume 1 chapters are identified only as "chapters"

Volume I

Volume II

Volume III

Change in the Epic Quest Line

All books in the Epic Quest line have been "free" to all players up through Volume III Book 10.

Beginning with the Release of Helm's Deep that is changing. The Epic Quest line is embedded in the concept of the Helm's Deep Expansion.

[QUOTE=Sapience;6914925] The Epic Story in Helm's deep is very tightly entwined with the Epic Battle system. The story in Helm's Deep is the Epic battle we all know from the books. We've returned to the core story line from the lore and that line leads in a direct path, laid out by the Professor himself, into Helm's Deep and the battles and heroic deeds that occur there. As a result, this means the Epic story requires the purchase of the Helm's Deep expansion. Otherwise you'd not be able to complete it as it moves through the Epic Battle system.
[QUOTE=MadeOfLions;6916390] I'm glad you guys enjoy the Epic Story! We spend a lot of time and effort making it, and for me, getting to play in the Professor's sandbox with so many of his creations is an absolute joy. We had a few options available to us when the time came to figure out the contents of the Helm's Deep expansion, and we chose the one that honestly seems like it provides the best value for you guys. I was always a little saddened when players would make lists of 'What am I getting when I buy this expansion?' because they always end with something along the lines of 'And not the Epic... you get that anyway!' It does seem to diminish the value proposition of the expansion when you can experience its featured event or location without picking it up.
We're a Free-to-Play game now, so obviously that requires a change in approach. We gradually modified the way the Epic worked. People forget now, but when the transition to F2P happened the existing expansion packs didn't have free Epic Books - you had to pick up Mines of Moria in order to do its six Epic Books, and if you didn't have Mirkwood then Volume II Book 9 was also blocked away. As the level cap increased and we got further and further into the game (and further along in our story's timeline), we loosened restrictions on what you needed in order to experience those Epic Books. You could play them for free, and you could solo them (if you wanted - except for the Volume II Epilogue. That one's on me, guys. Sorry!)
But those were expansions that were already out at the time the F2P transition happened. In fact, when we were developing Rise of Isengard, I was still designing the Epic under the assumption that it would only be available for players who purchased the expansion. I mean, I was sending you into the ring of Isengard, and into the past to experience it when it was still pristine, and onto the roof of Orthanc, and into the dungeons underneath... basically, no expense was spared. But if you could see all these iconic aspects of Isengard without buying the expansion, well, what were you paying for?
I had a choice to make. We could make the Epic in such a way that it avoided all those iconic locations that are part of the 'expansion content,' and that way the Epic could remain separate from the expansion and stay free. Or we could keep it the way it is and charge for the Epic as part of the expansion, so you only get to play the Epic in Isengard if you bought the Isengard expansion. But there was a third choice, and it's the one we went with: I could refuse to change the Epic, keeping it in Isengard with all of the iconic things and happenings there, and we keep it free. It's certainly the biggest public relations win - I mean, who doesn't love free stuff? We were adored as heroes of the people, and life was good.
But there would come a time in the future when the decision wasn't so easy. What if there were a system looming on the horizon that would be the centerpiece of an expansion, such that everything was tied into it, and the Epic Story needed to interweave with it in such a way that we couldn't separate the two, but we also couldn't give you the entire system for free? Ah, I'm sure our Future Selves will handle it.
Well, here we are in the future, confronted with a system that allows you to experience the Battle of the Hornburg in all its rainy glory, and an Epic Story that would be doing you a disservice if it didn't tell the story of that battle. There are players who play the Epic even without buying the expansions, and I am sorry that this is a change for you guys. But it's a change that serves to reward the players that do pick up the expansion, and makes the expansion a better deal, more worth your time and your money. This is just an expansion change for now - I'm hoping we can keep the Epic Story free in other updates. But for big expansions I'd expect that it'll be featured as one of the Things You Get on the 'virtual box.'
This would all probably have shown up in a Dev Diary at some point, but as the Epic Story Guy I wanted you to know some of the process of what led to this decision. It's okay - I play a Guardian on the Live servers, I can handle any vitriol. But play nice for Sapience's sake. ;)

Helm's Deep expansion

I had more plans for the traitor, but I didn't like how some of the quests in Rohan ended up giving the impression that there were more traitors in the kingdom than good people, so I shelved it. I might bring him back in some form, but it seems every Riding had a traitor and I thought theme might have gotten a little overdone.
[QUOTE=Stasik;7313385]. . . could we get some info on how you had planned to resolve his story?
Certainly! Think of this as a deleted scene, considering that it didn't survive to the final cut of the Epic. :D
The Man With the Blood Eye Brooch was recruited by Grima in furtherance of Saruman's plans for the Kingdom of Rohan, alongside some others (who you root out while working in Edoras). Unlike those allies of Wormtongue, however, this man's true allegiance is to Sauron and the Black Numenoreans who follow him -- his loyalty is unknown to Grima, though Saruman would have been able to discern it fairly easily. The extent of this man's evil is rather deeper than most of Wormtongue's lackeys, as is his cleverness, and he has a glut of false names he uses as he travels: Ednoth, Góding, Ianbert, Merewit.
The player loses his trail after the town of Stoke, partly due to his ability to travel safely among the Uruks, but also because he can blend into the populace of Rohan, given his similar complexion. As a result, he easily joins the defenders at Helm's Deep, and would be one of the characters players interact with during the preparations for defending the Hornburg. Players would piece together his identity shortly after the fighting begins, and we would have gotten some tension out of the knowledge that someone on our side of the wall is working for the Enemy to sabotage the defence. When Gimli is separated from our heroes and ends up in the Glittering Caves, the idea had been that Our Traitor would be there with him, getting ready to stab him in the back when the opportunity presented itself. Obviously the attempt on Gimli would fail, but the traitor would have managed to slay some other defenders in the attack.
I know we sometimes get dinged for 'tricking' players, especially when we plant enough seeds that you guys can say 'But *I* knew this was the traitor! I would never have trusted him!' so I think ultimately removing this part of the storyline was a good idea. The Man With(out) the Blood Eye Brooch therefore lives to possibly complicate things in the future, but in the story as implemented he disappears after Stoke and his whereabouts are unknown.
Also: I don't make the decision for what rewards go where (and it's a good thing, because that's not remotely my area of expertise), but generally we get criticized for not having valuable-enough rewards, not for having rewards that are so in-demand you have to have them! So I apologize if it's tedious to go through long quest stories to get a valuable Trait Point, but I do like rewarding players for playing the Epic. So it's a tricky balance (like so many things!).

Volume IV

Update 14 - Volume IV, Book 1 - The Strength of Sauron - March 9 TA 3019
Update 15 - Volume IV, Book 2 - The Dawnless Day - March ?? TA 3019