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The upcoming Before the Shadow expansion for The Lord of the Rings Online is going to introduce Delvings as a new system that will allow you to replay the game's Missions with extra challenges and rewards. Basically, this feels like LotRO's take on World of Warcraft's Mythic+ system.
Here's how it's going to work:
Delving too greedily and deep speaks to the Dwarf-folk of Moria and their digging for Mithril, which led to their unleashing of Durin's Bane and their ultimate destruction. This line from Tolkien also provided the inspiration to our game designers for our newest high-level system!
Delvings are a new mechanic debuting with Before the Shadow's Missions. When you complete your first new Before the Shadow Mission you'll get a special Delving gem called an Unnerving Zircon, which sets you on your path to additional challenge for additional reward!
Completing the quest gets you a Delving Zircon to increase the difficulty of any Mission offered in Before the Shadow to Tier 1 Delving difficulty. If you succeed, you'll get the next tier of the Delving Gem, which you can use to run your next eligible Mission on Tier 2 difficulty. Completing a Mission on Tier 2 gets you a Tier 3 gem and the process continues up to Tier 10.
Success and Failure:
Failing to complete a Mission on a Delving difficulty gets you back a “cracked” version of your Delving Gem. You can trade this cracked gem to a Mission Barterer for another gem of the same level. Players can always barter a higher tier Delving gem for a lower tier gem if they wish as well, and players can trade lesser gems and some coin for higher tier gems. Delvings allow you to set your own difficulty!
Completing a Delving rewards you with treasure, the next tier of Delving Gem, and Delving Writs, which are used to trade for various rewards. Since Delving difficulty can be...well, difficult, it is also possible for Mission Givers to award chances at getting the items they sell along with reduced versions of those items! The chance to get rewards you would normally purchase from the barter vendors increases with the difficulty of the Delving that you complete.
What they do:
Delving Gems can be placed into Delving Stones, located at the entrance of new Before the Shadow Missions. This unleashes their malice and enhances the denizens of the Mission throughout the space! Unlike regular Mission Twists, these malices rotate on a daily basis, so the nature of the additional threat can wane, grow, and change over time. The greater the malice, the more potent the enemies are and the greater the chance for immediate rewards and advancement! Be careful, though, lest you too delve too greedily and too deep and unleash your own version of Durin's Bane.
This system understands you want greater challenge for greater reward, and therefore offers the ability to earn gear that is equivalent to raid gear for those able to succeed! Delving rewards currently feature two “best in slot” items, armour equivalent to Tier 3 raid gear without Set Bonuses, new selectable Traceries for your Legendary Items, new Crafting recipes for Craft Traceries, items to enhance your gear, and much more! Players will speak to Mission Barterers to trade their Delving Writs for the rewards they want.
We intend to update the system as well so that once future raids are released on Tier 3 difficulty we'll introduce commensurate Delving system rewards. We also intend to add Delving difficulty to not just Missions but also other forms of previously-released content such as Instances in the future.
How deeply will you delve?