The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria

Spotlight

The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood

Exploring the mini-expansion with producer Jeffrey Steefel.

The Lord of the Rings Online

Part two: looking into the future - Books, expansions and beyond.

The Lord of the Rings Online

Part one: looking back on LOTRO's first two years.

Key events

New Lord of the Rings Online expansion Helm's Deep raises level cap again

Meanwhile, in Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings Online plods on through J. R. R. Tolkien's great fiction one hairy overgrown foot at a time.

A fifth expansion pack, Helm's Deep, has just been announced for the autumn, and will bring the game's story up to that eponymous battle as well as raise the level cap a further 10 levels to 95.

If you're level 10 or above you can fight for Helm's Deep, but don't forget to look to the East at dawn on the fifth day etc.

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More detail on LOTRO Riders of Rohan expansion

More detail on LOTRO Riders of Rohan expansion

On mounted combat, and when the game ends.

Lord of the Rings Online's autumn expansion Riders of Rohan was announced yesterday, and Eurogamer galloped after developer Turbine to find out more.

The headline feature of LOTRO's biggest ever expansion is mounted combat. Kate Paiz, the game's executive producer, told us more.

These War Steeds will only be available to buy and use in Rohan, and from character level 75. The price of a War Steed is TBD.

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LOTRO: Confront Saruman next year

"Important revisions" to Monster Play, too.

The Lord of the Rings Online may never get another proper expansion pack, producer Aaron Campbell has told Eurogamer - the free-to-play relaunch has taught Turbine "a lot" about "pacing" of updates. But don't worry - next year's trip to Isengard will be just as good.

Euro LOTRO free-to-play relaunch dated

Euro LOTRO free-to-play relaunch dated

Next week Samwise to you?

The European free-to-play relaunch of The Lord of the Rings Online will happen on Tuesday, 2nd November, Eurogamer can exclusively reveal.

Mandatory monthly subscriptions will be dropped and replaced by three tiers of membership - VIP (has a monthly fee), Premium and Free - and a LOTRO Store. There you can buy expansion packs, premium add-ons, thousands of convenience items, additional character slots, potions and character customisation options. The LOTRO Store works within the game.

The free-to-play overhaul introduces other new features, too: a new Wardrobe storage system for cosmetic items, an updated character creation system, a revamped new player experience and redesign for the vintage dungeons of the world, which will become not only repeatable, but feature scalable content to keep the challenge fresh.

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LotR Online F2P delay explained

Codemasters: "Launch is imminent."

The delay of the free-to-play Lord of the Rings Online update is down to "contractual issues", publisher Codemasters has confirmed.

LOTRO free-to-play relaunch delayed

The European free-to-play relaunch of The Lord of the Rings Online has been delayed so that Codemasters can better prepare for the anticipated "massive increase" in players.

Book 2: Ride of the Grey Company and the Free to Play Store will now be available "later than expected".

"We are really pleased with the performance of the game and excited about the response to Free to Play from our players," said Rowland. "Given the complexities and challenges faced in the preparation and implementation of the new store to work within our infrastructure, we feel more time is needed to deliver the high level of service our players have quite rightly come to expect.

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LOTRO to relaunch as free-to-play

LOTRO to relaunch as free-to-play

Worldwide this autumn, DDO-style.

Warner Bros. has announced that Turbine's The Lord of the Rings Online MMO will relaunch worldwide this autumn as a free-to-play game.

The move will follow the model established by Turbine's successful relaunch of Dungeons & Dragons Online in the US last year, with a large chunk of the game available for free and extra content, items, features and services on sale via an in-game store.

Alternatively, you'll be able to pay a VIP subscription for unlimited access to premium content.

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Codemasters retains LOTRO Europe

Turbine's new owner Warner co-operating.

Eurogamer has learnt that The Lord of the Rings Online will continue to be distributed and run by Codemasters in Europe, despite Warner's recent purchase of developer Turbine.

LOTRO starts Vol. III with next update

LOTRO starts Vol. III with next update

Book 1 has new skirmishes.

Turbine has detailed the next Book update to The Lord of the Rings Online. This takes the MMO version of the Tolkien saga into Volume III: Allies of the King with Book 1: Oath of the Rangers.

Four Skirmishes will be added at Dol Guldur, the fortress from last year's Siege of Mirkwood mini-expansion. They'll be playable in a new 12-person mode. There'll be an additional Skirmish called the Depths of Nrz Ghshu as well.

The level cap for crafted items will be increased to 65, and a new epic quest line involves marshalling Rangers scattered across the Northlands to meet the shadow spreading over Middle-Earth.

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The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood

Exploring the mini-expansion with producer Jeffrey Steefel.

As executive producer Jeffrey Steefel points out, it's been about 11 months since The Lord of the Rings Online MMO had a proper expansion, which is why Turbine is about to release mini-expansion Siege of Mirkwood. This raises the level cap, adds a new adventuring zone (Mirkwood) and introduces the Skirmish system. With Skirmish, players can set up and join dungeon instances from anywhere on the map; take an AI-controlled and fully customisable Soldier with them; and re-run the dungeons with randomised objectives on tougher difficulties to earn Skirmish points for special prizes.

LOTRO: Mirkwood priced for Europe

Plus, Codemasters pre-order plans inside.

Codemasters has revealed its European pricing and pre-order deals for The Lord of the Rings Online's digital mini-expansion, Siege of Mirkwood.

LOTRO: Mirkwood in December

Free with renewals or account upgrades.

Turbine has announced that it will release the Siege of Mirkwood digital mini-expansion for The Lord of the Rings Online on 1st December.

LOTRO's new Skirmishes mode detailed

Plus: Mirkwood expansion to cost $20.

Turbine has explained how Lord of the Rings Online's new Skirmishes mode will work when it's introduced as part of the Siege of Mirkwood digital expansion later this year.

LOTRO to get DLC expansion this year

LOTRO to get DLC expansion this year

Level cap raised in Siege of Mirkwood.

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.

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LOTRO Book 8 for EU on Thursday

US today. Many dungeons inside.

Codemasters will introduce Book 8: Scourge of Khazad-dum to Lord of the Rings Online this Thursday, adding a new raid, new small-party instances, gameplay tweaks and a Summer Festival. The update launches in North America today.

Next LOTRO update coming in June

Next LOTRO update coming in June

Small-party content, crafting revamp.

Turbine has revealed in a Twitter post that it will release the next update for The Lord of the Rings Online in June. The update's full title is Volume II, Book 8: The Scourge of Khazad-Dm.

Going by the test server patch notes, the highlights will be a new chunk of epic storyline with an emphasis on content for small parties of players, a revamp of the crafting system, and the Summer Festival.

"The plans of Gorothl, sorcerer of Dol Guldur, begin to be made clear as ancient evils stir again in the depths of Khazad-dm. Small fellowships must form to combat this emerging threat before the hopes of the Iron Garrison and the Elves of Lothlrien are ended by the darkness," say the notes.

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Survey suggests LOTRO for 360

New evil storyline and races hinted at.

A consumer survey turned up by GameDaily suggests that an Xbox 360 version of The Lord of the Rings Online is in the works, and that developer Turbine is considering both subscriptions and micro-transactions as business models for it.

The Lord of the Rings Online

Part two: looking into the future - Books, expansions and beyond.

Earlier today, Eurogamer and Codemasters Online Gaming celebrated the second birthday of The Lord of the Rings Online by giving away 2000 free copies of the game in digital form. These were not trials but full products, complete with 30 days' free game time. They have all gone. It only took around 20 minutes, with five codes claimed every three seconds, you greedy lot.

The Lord of the Rings Online

Part one: looking back on LOTRO's first two years.

The Lord of the Rings Online turns two years old tomorrow. That may sound unremarkable, but Turbine's recreation of Tolkien's world prospers despite launch-attacks by Age of Conan, Warhammer Online and of course World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. Turbine, then, must be doing something right.

LOTRO: Moria updated to Book 7

LOTRO: Moria updated to Book 7

Happens in US today, "soon" in Europe.

Codemasters and Turbine have confirmed that their Lord of the Rings Online MMO is about to receive the first major update since last year's Mines of Moria expansion, in the form of Book 7: Leaves of Lorien.

The update goes live on Turbine's US servers today. Codemasters will bring it to European servers "shortly after this date". On previous form, you shouldn't have to wait too long.

As we reported recently, the update adds Lothlorien, a faction-controlled zone where players will have to earn the right to hang out with Galadriel and the Fellowship.

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LOTRO introducing Lothlorien soon

Plus new raid, revised early levels, XP boost.

Turbine has created a new test server for its Lord of the Rings Online MMO, and loaded it with the game's next big content update - the first since last year's Mines of Moria expansion - Volume 2: Book 7. That means pre-release patch notes giving us some idea of what will be in the final update.

Amazon vouchers for LOTRO recruitment

Five quid for every friend brought in-game.

Codemasters is taking a new tack on MMO recruitment programmes by offering Amazon vouchers worth 5 euros or pounds for every friend Lord of the Rings Online players bring to the game.

LOTRO social network begins beta

LOTRO social network begins beta

It's US-only for the moment.

Turbine has opened its social networking site for The Lord of the Rings Online to the public for the first time.

The site, My LOTRO, is available for a very limited time as a "beta preview". The preview closes tomorrow, Friday 12th December.

At the moment, My LOTRO is run exclusively by Turbine, the developer of the Tolkien MMO, and so is only available to players on the North American servers operated by Turbine itself.

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Live LOTRO interview at 4pm today!

Producer Steefel answering questions.

Turbine's Jeffrey Steefel, executive producer of The Lord of the Rings Online, will be live on Eurogamer.net this afternoon to answer your questions on the Tolkien-licensed MMO and its first expansion pack, Mines of Moria.

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria

There's too much panic in this town.

It's very hard to build the momentum of a storyline within an MMO these days, mostly because it's very hard to convince several thousand people to follow a straight line, let alone a cogent narrative. The Lord of the Rings Online solved this with solo instances and an almost unavoidable series of quests, and first expansion Mines of Moria continues this trend, insisting you follow the intricate narratives of Turbine's Tolkien interpretation.

Is this a good thing? Well, yes, if you like a good story, a real adventure, and playing an MMORPG that super-glues those last three letters to itself. If you really want to grind yourself into a thin paste, or don't find the Lord of the Rings storyline that enthralling, then Moria is in no way going to save your soul. In fact, it'll most likely annoy you as you romp over hill and dale, or, in this case, into the ruined halls of Khazad-Dum, the seat of the Dwarven empire and one of the most intricately built MMO environments ever made.

You see, the inside of Moria dwarfs (this is not, and never shall be a pun) almost every other game out there. Gigantic, Mount Rushmore-style dwarven faces loom out of the side of cliffs, huge staircases lead down equally gargantuan drops; there's an utterly bewildering and ominous feeling to the environment. It certainly packs the awe-inspiring effect of Wrath of the Lich King's Northrend, but it feels different - instead of feeling as if there's a great world of wonder ahead of you, Turbine has succeeded in creating a foreboding and hostile expanse. Caves - and the attendant darkness - stretch off into infinity, and around every corner seems to be some new nook or cranny that's filled with Goblins, Orcs, or hostile fauna.

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LOTRO and EQ2 expansions out today

LOTRO and EQ2 expansions out today

Mines of Moria and Shadow Odyssey.

It's a festival of MMO expansions today: fantasy role-playing stalwarts Lord of the Rings Online and EverQuest II have both released their latest instalments.

LOTRO's Mines of Moria opens a huge new underground world for players, raises the level cap from 50 to 60, adds two new character classes, and highly customisable Legendary weapons that level alongside your character.

Not bad for the first expansion to a game that's not much more than 18 months old. Check out the Mines of Moria gamepage for exhaustive hands-on, interviews, video, news and more, and expect to read our full review soon.

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More LOTRO items to give away

Hauberks back by popular demand.

The 1,000 in-game items we had to give away with our Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria preview on Monday disappeared pretty sharpish. Turns out a Hauberk of the Mithril Guard is the must-have of Middle-earth fashion this autumn.

The Lord of the Rings Online: The Mines of Moria

What's Mines is Mines... what's yours is an exclusive item giveaway.

Due to popular demand, we have 5,000 more exclusive in-game items for Lord of the Rings Online to give away. Head over to Eurogamers to claim your Hauberk of the Mithril Guard, for use on European servers, and then read on for our impressions of the beta test of the Mines of Moria, first expansion of the Tolkein MMO.

LOTRO to get social network site this year

Facebook-style profiles with friends, vids.

Speaking at the Tokyo Game Show this morning, Turbine chief Jim Crowley revealed that Lord of the Rings Online is to get a full-featured social networking site late this year.

LOTRO: Mines of Moria dated

MMO to expand in November.

Codemasters Online plans to release Lord of the Rings Online expansion pack Mines of Moria on 18th November across Europe and North America.

Job ad hints at LOTRO for consoles

Mentions possibility of redesigned interface.

The case for a console version of Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online MMO is strengthening, if a job the company is advertising is anything to go by.

LOTRO could be next "mass-market" MMO

Aided by console, new payment models?

Lord of the Rings Online's executive producer Jeffrey Steefel has told Eurogamer that he thinks the Turbine game is the most likely MMO to achieve mass-market success, after World of Warcraft.

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria

Jeffrey Steefel on the first expansion and beyond.

With Lord of the Rings Online, Turbine may not have delivered the World of Warcraft rival some were expecting - but it did deliver a superior MMORPG, and then serve it with so much new content that we thought it was worth 9/10 not once but twice. Now it's winding up to the release of LOTRO's first expansion, and after getting the lowdown on Mines of Moria, we spoke to executive producer Jeffrey Steefel about where he sees the game's present, and future.

LOTRO: Moria pre-orders open

Codemasters lifts lid on Euro offering.

Codemasters has opened the bidding on pre-orders for the first Lord of the Rings Online expansion, Mines of Moria, in Europe - and announced limited pre-order incentives available to early birds.

"It's the iconic dungeon." That's how Turbine's developers describe the vast underground world, former kingdom of the Dwarves, that furnishes the first expansion to their Lord of the Rings MMO with its title and centrepiece. After the slightly forced, if beautifully finished, adventuring in the peaceful lands of Eriador presented in the game's launch volume, Shadows of Angmar, Tolkien's narrative has led Turbine straight to the motherlode.

LOTRO Book 14 detailed

Vol. 1 concludes in the Ringforges of Eregion.

GameSpy has a preview of Book 14 of Lord of the Rings Online - the final free update to the game before expansion Mines of Moria is released this Autumn.

New LOTRO minigame hits web

Drink beer, throw axes in Swig and Toss.

Turbine has added a new mini-game to its website pimping the next Lord of the Rings Online expansion, Mines of Moria.

Free LOTRO weekend under way

To return and see what's changed.

Codemasters Online Gaming is trying to entice past Lord of the Rings Online subscribers back by offering them a free weekend in Middle-Earth.

Turbine gets USD 40 million funding

LOTRO developer to announce plans soon.

Lord of the Rings Online developer Turbine has obtained USD 40 million in a third round of venture capital funding, according to an online report by Private Equity Hub - and also according to GamesIndustry.biz.

The best MMO April Fools

Blizzard wins. Again.

There isn't much in the way of fresh MMO news this morning, because the world of massively multiplayer gaming spent most of yesterday trying to outdo itself - and every other section of the gaming industry - in an orgy of funny fakery. And we have to say it did rather well.

LOTRO producer talks Mines of Moria

The weapons can be your friends.

Lord of the Rings Online executive producer Jeffrey Steefel, speaking to Eurogamer just after announcing this year's Mines of Moria expansion, said that being in Moria would be "very different from anything people have experienced before".

First LOTRO expansion announced

First LOTRO expansion announced

The Mines of Moria due this autumn.

Lord of the Rings Online developer Turbine unveiled the second volume of the Tolkein-licensed massively multiplayer RPG at Connect 08 in Birmingham today.

Speaking at the Codemasters Online Gaming event, executive producer Jeffrey Steefel said it will be titled The Mines of Moria and is down for a release before the end of the year. It will be the first of a series of planned yearly updates to Lord of the Rings Online.

The Mines of Moria will take high-level players out of the kingdom of Eriador and into the goblin-infested underground world, formerly a dwarven kingdom, just after the Fellowship of the Ring has passed through it in the events of the books. The Mines will be a reproduced as a single, continuous space in the game.

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