GameZone has cranked out their own hands-on preview of The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood, which includes a small dose of commentary by Turbine live producer Aaron Campbell.
The expansion focuses on the elves as they prepare an offensive to push back the armies of Sauron into a series of confrontations. In related news, there are several new screenshots from the expansion pack up at Voodoo Extreme.
(What we are doing essentially, what the players will be involved in, is a distraction action to pull the eyes of Mordor away from the Ringbearer,) Campbell said.
Using instances tells the story of that offensive, presenting skirmish encampments and giving the game a very martial feel to it. (It's a different vibe entirely,) Campbell said.
All the story-based instances are scalable to party size and difficulty; it is an entirely new layer to the already existing story and brings the conflict that embraces Middle-earth more into focus for the players. One of the instances shown took place in Bree and involved defending The Prancing Pony from a series of attacks designed to destroy the inn. Getting into a skirmish is relatively easy all players need do is hit Control-J to pull up a list of options and then pick a skirmish to join. For participating, players will earn Skirmish Marks, which can be used to purchase a variety of rewards. There is also a Skirmish Trainer in the camps that can offer rewards.