Turbine has announced that Lord of the Rings Online will expand by one zone and five levels with a paid "digital expansion", Siege of Mirkwood, this autumn.
More than a free Book update, less than a full expansion pack, Siege of Mirkwood is billed as the "epic conclusion" to Volume II: Mines of Moria, which was kicked off with last year's boxed expansion of the same name. The price of the update has yet to be revealed.
Siege of Mirkwood increases the level cap to 65 - with the associated new traits, skills, class quests and so on - and opens up the spooky forest of Mirkwood, culminating in the fortress of Dol Goldur, home of the Ringwraiths. Dol Guldur will contain dungeons for three and six players, and a 12-man raid.
You'll also get the new Skirmishes system. Skirmishes are repeatable, randomised instances in which you'll be able to create, command and train up a customisable team of soldiers. Combat and the Legendary Items system will also get an overhaul.
Paid DLC is an interesting new business model for the Tolkien MMO, which has previously followed the time-honoured path of subscriptions plus substantial, boxed expansions. Will LOTRO players be prepared to start paying for content updates as well?
We'll bring you more info on Siege of Mirkwood when we have it.