Lord of the Rings Online: Fate of Gundabad Expansion Review

First released on April 24, 2007, Lord of the Rings Online quickly became a beloved MMORPG retelling the story of Frodo and his quest to take the One Ring to Mordor. Fast forward to 2021 and we are now welcoming the Fate of Gundabad from Standing Stone Games. What surprises lie in those mountains near the Lonely Mountain dwelling of the Dwarves? Find out what’s new in our review below.

A new class of warrior has emerged with the newest update to LOTRO in the form of the Brawler. A class that frees you from the traditional need for weapons while also providing you brawling gauntlets that scale with you as you travel through Middle-Earth. With the fan pack, we were provided with that meant also getting some extra goodies such as armor cosmetics a carry-all case for coloring your clothes, and in cases of leveling your character all the way up to one hundred and thirty, gear that will help you survive your new station. When you start from the beginning all of the extras make sense to have as they help move you along through the story.

At the higher level, some of the gear is worthless but the cosmetics and buffs are still very helpful. It has been a lot of fun fist-fighting my way through hordes of wolves, bears, and wights. The attack combos work similarly to the Champion class as you build up your attack stat to get to the stronger skills. Some of my skills can even one-tap an enemy unit which makes for quicker fights. This is especially good when going up against groups. Being able to level up on a server where you gain extra experience points is also a plus for catching up to everyone else if you start a brawler from scratch.

Once a character level increase token has been used your level one hundred and thirty class can really begin the story of Gloin and his kin. It is great to explore the wilderness areas of Gundabad while helping the Dwarves fight through enemy armies. New enemies await the adventurers old and new in the forms of Crystal Wargs and a new beast called the Ukhrash. The heights of the mountains to the depths of the deepest mines give you more areas to explore and new challenges to overcome. I have been all through the marshes and the mountains and every area explored has been created with the utmost attention to detail and care. It is always fun to jump back into my lifer account and explore everything new that has been launched. This update has been no different. At least with the size of the new areas, we will have lots of hours to explore. Gundabad’s areas seem to be as big as Moria or bigger. Into the mountains of Gundabad, deep into some hidden mines, and travel directly there from Angmar or travel into Angmar to face the evil that dwells there. Every area is becoming more connected with every patch and update and the world of Tolkien is growing ever bigger.


One of the key changes to LOTRO since I last played was Legendaries 2.0. This change removed the ability to level up your weapons and to choose the different skills that each weapon would have. Now we have a new system where your weapon has always been a legendary weapon but it adds traceries. Traceries are skills that are still able to be added to different slots on your weapon. I took advantage of my level-up token to take a Loremaster up to max so that I could test out these traceries for myself. Some of them went into the weapon easily but others wouldn’t allow me to use them. I guess more trial and error will be needed to fully open this up. Traceries can be found in barrows and dungeons and can also be crafted at a high enough skill level. I also know that there were some delays to other portions of the legendary program so we will have to see how that turns out in future patches. This is similar to the raids that we were waiting for with patch 31 which have been pushed out a little bit further down the road.

This is one of the first expansions that I have gotten one hundred percent into and it has reignited my love for LOTRO. Being able to play as a brawler has also given me a new way to play without having to worry about getting the best weapons because as of right now after each class checkpoint you get new gauntlets. You also receive differing levels of gauntlets if you get the fan packs all the way up to level one hundred thirty. Now is just as good a time as any to jump back in if you have been away for a long time and since it is a free-to-play game you can get back in right away.

Note: Our copy was reviewed on the PC with a code provided by PR.

Overall, The Fate of Gundabad expansion is a huge addition to the LOTRO world, even without some of the key pieces missing from this patch. I didn’t want to give away any of the stories but be assured you will be doing a lot of running around helping the dwarves so get your best horse ready. Currently, the cheapest version of the expansion is the standard edition for 39.99 USD and then you have the Collector’s Edition for 79.99 USD and of course, the version we reviewed was the Ultimate Fan Bundle for 129.99 USD. With all of the perks awarded the fan bundle would have been the way, I went even without the review code from Standing Stone Games. I highly recommend old players reinstall LOTRO and jump back in for fun in a community that is still as big as ever.
  • Huge new areas to explore
  • Brawler is very fun
  • New creatures and challenges
  • Legendaries system was delayed out of patch 31
  • Key raids were pushed back
Written by
Long time game enthusiast and writer. I have beta tested a lot of Mmorpg's since I was thirteen including Star Wars Galaxies, Lord of the Rings Online, and Star Wars The Old Republic. Currently attending The Art Institute of Pittsburgh for a degree in Game Art and Technology.

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