"NOW FOR YOU, INSECTS! BOLDLY, YOU SOUGHT THE POWER OF RAGNAROS. NOW YOU SHALL SEE IT FIRSTHAND!"
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
"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.