Making the World: Fate of Gundabad
The Fate of Gundabad expansion pack takes you on an epic journey through Middle-earth, including the stronghold of Mattúgard, Gloomingtarn, Deepscrave, Clovengap, Câr Bronach, the Pit of Stonejaws and more!
World designer Scenario recently took viewers on a Casual Stroll Through Gundabad, offering players a peek inside the area and the process that went into making it. This Casual Stroll series takes places about once per month on our Twitch channel (Twitch.tv/LOTROstream) and we'd love to see you join us live!
After completing the initial quests of The Legacy of Durin and the Trials of the Dwarves, you will be able to access Gundabad through the Elderslade. From there, you can survey the grand hall of Máttugard. In the distance, a giant Grodbog hive is visible across the deep drops. Scenario explains that one of the goals of the design team was implementing more of a vertical space than previous dwarven areas.
"There's a lot of verticality in Gundabad. It really helps to sell a taller, deeper, darker space," he says. "With Gundabad, we’ve achieved a scale that has surprised a lot of people, both internally and in our preview communities. A lot of that is thanks to us playing with that verticality and going with a layered approach to how we're creating this vast city space."
In Deepscrave, a lift system eases travel, allowing players to easily reach levels from the very bottom all the way to the highest catwalks. Call boxes offer transport to the Catwalks, the Ground Floor, the Middle Tier, and the Upper Tier. With all that verticality comes risks, though; Gundabad is rife with plummeting cliffs, deep chasms, and sheer drops just waiting for you to take a wrong step.
Scenario notes that Gundabad's various areas each have a unique look and feel while staying thematic to the region. For example, Clovengap is a vast cave open to the sky. Rivers ran through Clovengap long ago, but the former riverbanks are now lush with dwarven-sown plant life.
“Being open to the sky provides an opportunity for flora and fauna that doesn’t typically exist in cave system, but it’s still got that high walled, enclosed cave feel as you’re going through it,” Scenario says. “The idea here was to see if we could create a more jungled cave garden experience.”
The Welkin-lofts are a steep, snowy region on the western slopes of Mount Gundabad. From there you can look down into the crevasse where Clovengap lies , if you can tear your eyes away from the expansive view!
Câr Bronach, the easternmost part of Angmar, is north of Gundabad. It’s here that you will find Mur Shatraug, the Witch-gate, which Scenario describes as a, “fun mashup of Angmarim and dwarf architecture.”
From Fellgát, the entry point to Câr Bronach, players can see Tûr Fúar, the Drearspire. Each section of the spire represents a different faction of the forces claiming ownership to the tower. Areas include a sewer garden, an industrial water works, and a scholarly section, with plenty of staircases to get you from one level to the next. “Those stairs do not look OSHA-approved,” Scenario jokes. “I feel like the Angmarim are the kind of people who will tell you to tough it out if you fall down a flight of stairs.”
Scenario says Câr Bronach is one of the first areas to be built using a new landscape development process that effectively allows designers to sculpt the landscape in Photoshop. In keeping with SSG’s efforts to make getting around Gundabad as convenient as possible, Câr Bronach connects to existing areas in Middle-earth.
“We have the ability to travel from Angmar in Eriador to Câr Bronach in Rhovanian,” Scenario says, adding that while the connection point is open to players of any level, “low levels coming into this area will likely get beat down pretty harshly.”
Several mission areas lie in Câr Bronach, including the Cradle of Pain, Cútaig, and Skáilag, the latter full of undead and mists. “I’m really happy with how the ambiance in this space turned out,” Scenario notes. “The purple fog mixed with the mist all over the place just feels really disturbing.”
Perhaps the most intriguing new mission space is the three-person instance Den of Pughlak in Gloomingtarn, a “fun, fun place to build”. Full of glowing, psychedelic plant life and mesmerizing light effects, the mission sends players on a kind of battle tour into areas such as a drowned tavern, a torture chamber, a farm, and a water-works.
“Gundabad is a lot of work from our team. We were super excited to be doing all this,” Scenario said. “It’s the culmination of the story we’ve been telling. I hope you find a really enjoyable experience in Gundabad.”