After getting into the revamped Evendim more than half way through, I was interested to see if the whole zone had been truly improved or if I had managed to go straight to the good stuff in Annuminas. The zone has been updated since the last time I ground through it.
Previously Evendim had a dubious reputation, having plenty of those “run/swim across the zone, kill something, run back, get update that tells you to run/swim back and kill something next to the thing you just killed” sort of quests.
Now though, some of that has been amended. The quest hubs tend not to send you so far afield. And sometimes those that do send you far can be completed in the field and new objectives gained. There is also a new pattern to quest hubs, where you will speak to one central person at a given hub, and they will give you a quest to help certain people in his area, giving you a sort of meta quest for the area.
So I made it a goal to get through all of the quest hubs in Evendim.
Fortunately, I had a couple of characters at level 30, which looks to be about the optimum level to start, despite the zone being advertised for levels 32 and up.
You arrive in Evendim following the famous/infamous Lone Lands Oatmeal Problems quest, which leads you to the first quest hub in Oatbarton. (I think this may be the first time I actually completed that quest!)
Oatbarton is in Evendim, but it is part of The Shire as well. I received updates for Shire deeds while in the area, but got credit for completing Evendim quests.
The first hub is a very Shire series of quests, where you have to help a group of hobbits tidy up their little enclave in time for some sort of hobbit event… like 3rd lunch or something.
As such, the quests are more of the fetch, find, and carry variety, focused on things that hobbits like… such as sheep and hoes.
You can view this as an amusing distraction from the usual find and kill quests… or you can view it as tedious and time consuming, just like real farm work.
The actual area where most of these quests take place works against you though. Its tight and tiny maze of hedgerow surrounded fields make the Bocage seem like West Texas. You will spend a good bit of time figuring out how to get from point A to point B while you harvest, round up stray animals, and generally tidy up after the hobbits.
You do end up having to kill a few animals as you run around. They have problems with rodents it seems.
For pests like crows, you will have to slay a few, but will eventually be offered another solution.
The only problem I had was that one of the meta quest objectives is to help a couple of hobbits that are not in the general area but are, in fact, on the far side of Oatbarton. Once I figured that out, I was able to find them without issue, but there was some frantic running around looking for the missing hobbits for a bit.
Those quests are in more of the usual find and kill vein, though each with their own twist. Once I accomplished those, I was able to head back to the initial meta quest giver and collect a nice purple Runekeeper stone for my guy.
There is a task board in the middle of town, and the tasks in Oatbarton raise your standing with the Mathom Society, the Shire faction. However, you slay so few creatures that you will be lucky if you have enough drops to fulfill more than one or two of the tasks.
Still, if you want to get in with the Mathom Society, you are still set, as each of the quests in Oatbarton has as a reward, a gift mathom. You can head back to Michel Delving to the Mathom Society house and turn those in to raise your standing.
Getting back to Michel Delving is a bit of a pain. There is no direct flight to Michel Delving, and unless you have the stable master at the main hub at Tinnundir on your list, you end up taking a few hops before you get to your destination.
But once there your standing will get quite a boost. I had 27 gift mathoms when I completed the area. There is a quest at the Mathom house to turn in your first one, which gets you 1,200 points of faction. After that, each gift mathom you turn in gets you 700 more points, which adds up quickly.
That was enough to get me from 300 points of faction and neutral standing (I completed ONE task in Oatbarton) to past half way into Acquaintance standing in one shot. I am well on my way to having a bunch of hobbit pals.
After that it was bunch of connecting flights back to Oatbarton where I had a quest to head on down the road to the next quest hub at Dwaling.
I left it there for the night. The next hub looks like it is facing trouble and will require more fighting and less collecting.
The Oatbarton section of Evendim took me about two hours to run through the first time, though I was admittedly lost trying to find the last two hobbits for a good chunk of time. My second run went through the quest line, now that I had figured out the kinks, in about 75 minutes.
As to whether this section was improved, I cannot say. I never ran it before the zone was updated. It certainly has a Shire quest feel to it though, so if you like that you are set.
And if you don’t, well… there is some fighting to be done just down the road.