The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

Spotlight

VideoLord of the Rings Online dev diary

Epic battles await in The Gap of Rohan.

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.

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.

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.

Turbine opens new West Coast studio

LOTRO curators hire Flagship, Blizzard staff.

Online curators of the Lord of the Rings world, Turbine Inc, have announced the opening of a new studio in Redwood City CA, as well as the hiring of key new members of staff.

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.

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: 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.

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.

Lord of the Rings Online: Class Guide

From Captain to Minstrel, every LOTRO class explained.

If you're not so enchanted with decapitation, burly men in thongs and the low (cut) fantasy of Age of Conan, how about popping over to Middle Earth for a bit of posturing high fantasy? Following our two chats with producer Jeffrey Steefel, we've knocked up a few tips for the classes of Lord of the Rings Online. If you fancy starting belatedly, this is a good way of getting an overview of the classes, and an idea of what role they play in a group. We've ordered them in increasing order as to how many of the developers at Turbine play as them, a sort of top ten of the best. Except it's actually a top 9, as there's only 9 classes.

Raze the Shire in LOTR Conquest

Step into Sauron's boots in the Evil campaign

Pandemic lead designer Sean Sourcy has dropped a few more precious nuggets of information about the studio's upcoming Lord of the Rings title, Conquest - revealing that the game's Evil campaign will let hobbit-hating players live out their darkest fantasies at last.

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.

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

More from Steefel: Ents, graphics, Xboxes and Asia.

Last week, we interviewed Lord of the Rings Online executive producer Jeffrey Steefel about Book 13, the next major content update for Turbine's splendid Tolkien MMO. Today, in part two of our interview, we shoot the breeze on a broader range of topics: how they're handling the lore, how they can improve the game's lacklustre player-versus-player, what the plans are for other platforms, why EVE Online is great, and who wants to be an Ent, anyway?

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

Fishing for details of Book 13 with Jeffrey Steefel.

When you've got as much material to deal with as the Turbine boys have with the Tolkien legendarium (we're using the poncey word for his mythos out of pure pretention), then you'd think there would be no need to create whole new realms for players to explore. Yet the new books of Lord of the Rings Online - updates to you and I - are mostly exploring areas on the edge of the books, stuff that was barely written about. The upcoming Book 13 is a pertinent example, seemingly extrapolating from a single paragraph in one of the books an entire culture, environment and array of foes. We spoke to Jeffrey Steefel, executive producer on LOTRO, about what they're planning for Book 13 and what new mechanics they're introducing to the game.

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.

If you cast your mind back to last April, you might remember something curious about the launch of Lord of the Rings Online: how smooth it was. There were very few bugs, despite the usual array of gameplay complaints, and a straight 9/10 score from our resident hardman Rob. No launch had been so professional in the MMO world since World of Warcraft's. And, unlike its near-contemporary Auto Assault, LOTRO is still going; in fact the number of people playing has been rapidly increasing. So what's changed since then, and why is it drawing new gamers in?

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".

Euro LOTRO trial tomorrow

One week for free.

Codemasters Online Gaming has waved its wand and confirmed to us that the Lord of the Rings Online free trial will be available in Europe tomorrow.

LOTRO gets housing, Balrogs

Turbine shows off Book 11.

Developer Turbine has sneakily revealed the first details of its upcoming Book 11 content patch for Lord of the Rings Online.

Plenty of life in MMOs

All-star panel says so.

In a packed Games Convention Developer's Conference today, four of the industry's leading online game developers discussed the prospect of Life After World of Warcraft, GamesIndustry.biz reports - and all agreed that there's a lot more to come for the genre.

MMO players not loners

Study talks social interaction.

Nottingham Trent University has dispelled the myth that online gamers are socially a bit backwards, GamesIndustry.biz is reporting.

New LOTRO content on way

The City of the Kings.

Codemasters Online Gaming will be releasing its second free content pack for Lord of the Rings Online on 21st August.

Shores of Evendim dated

LOTRO update next week.

Codemasters Online Gaming has sent us a fat little Hobbit spouting news that Book 9: Shores of Evendim will be available on 14th June.

LOTR Online boss talks gold-farming

Says biz model's bound to change.

Turbine executive producer Jeffrey Steefel believes MMO business models will change in the next five years to accommodate using real-life money to buy in-game currency and items.

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

Turbine's vision of Middle-Earth.

Since its release on 24th April, Lord of the Rings Online has enjoyed number one spots in both the North American and European charts, suggesting that a fantasy MMORPG can not only survive in World of Warcraft's shadow, but flourish.

Lord of the Rings Online expands

Book 9: Evendim awaits.

Codemasters Online Gaming has magically revealed that Book 9: Evendim will be the first of many significant expansions for Lord of the Rings Online when it arrives sometime this month.

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die?

It could have gone so wrong. So badly, horribly, terribly wrong. From the very outset - from the first announcement of a Lord of the Rings massively multiplayer title, nine years ago - we had terrifying visions. The much loved world of Middle Earth, mutilated beyond recognition by the clumsy hand of a developer who needed to bludgeon Tolkien's narrative into a levelling grind. Hobbit warriors slaying dragons. Elves throwing fireballs. Bunny-hopping humans called 4rag0rn-LoL bouncing through Rivendell shouting "rofl elfs r gay".

Given the myriad ways in which Lord of the Rings Online could go wrong, it's perhaps unsurprising that a lot of people approached the game with a heavy sense of pessimism. It didn't help that in the wake of the success of Peter Jackson's movies, the game had the sense of a cash-in product about it. It certainly didn't help that the developers of the original iteration of the game, called Middle-Earth Online, blabbed about crazy features like "permanent character death", which instantly turned whole legions of gamers off the idea.

Which is why, sitting down to write about Lord of the Rings Online as it finally launches worldwide, we're thrilled, delighted and in no small measure surprised to be asking ourselves this;

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LOTRO opens doors

Pre-orders can hobbitat world.

Those of you who pre-ordered The Lord of The Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar can now enrol on the live game servers.

The Lord of the Rings Online

Elves and Men and Nasssty Orcses...

In a long-forgotten cavern deep within the bowels of Middle-Earth, filled with lost treasures and the vengeful, embittered wraiths of an ancient race of warrior men, I am desperately flicking my mouse pointer over my toolbar in the hope of working out where the hell my healing spells are.

Forging the Rings

One Producer to Rule them All.

Only time will tell whether Jeff Steefel has the best job in the world - or the worst. It could go either way for the man who oversees the production of Lord of the Rings Online for Turbine. On one side of the argument, his job is to bring J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth to life in a more ambitious and far-reaching manner than anyone (even Peter Jackson) has attempted before. As a life-long fan of the Lord of the Rings literature, that's undoubtedly a dream come true for him.

Lord of the Rings MMO dated

Plus UK pre-order details.

The Lord of the Rings: Shadows of Angmar is set to launch across Europe on 24th April, Codemasters said this morning.

LOTRO Founder's Program

Mates rates and privileges.

If you show your support for Elf-kind by joining the new Founder's Program for MMO The Lord of The Rings Online, you'll be rewarded with a special USD 9.99 monthly subscription rate, or a minuscule one-off payment of USD 199.

Rings MMO beta details

Rings MMO beta details

Stress test this weekend.

The European beta of Turbine's Lord of the Rings MMORPG Shadows of Angmar will go live tomorrow, 13th January, the developer along with publisher Codemasters announced this morning.

You can sign up on the official website, and if you get involved this weekend you'll be part of the game's first stress test, described as a "major milestone" by producer Jim Brown.

"For the first time we will be allowing tens of thousands of people to join the game and test every aspect to the absolute limit," he explained. "By introducing a great number of new players to the beta, we will be able to gather valuable information on performance of our hardware."

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New Rings MMO trailer

New Rings MMO trailer

Lord of the EGTV playlist.

Codemasters has released a new trailer for Turbine's upcoming Lord of the Rings MMORPG, which it's publishing later this year.

Available exclusively through Eurogamer TV, the trailer shows off lots of Shire-y locations.

And if you've not checked it out in the past, you ought to take a look at our Shadows of Angmar gamepage, where all the cool hobbits hang out.

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There are many reasons to hate Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies. There's the dwarf-tossing. Alone, that's unforgivable. There are the myriad, meaningless plot changes. They're far too numerous to mention. But worst, worse than even randomly altering the flow of Tolkien's epic, is the omission of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry. For that, Jackson, you go to Hell.

LotR Online out this year

Courtesy of Codemasters.

UK publisher Codemasters has teamed up with Turbine Inc. to bring MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar to Europe.

Middle Earth Online news

Renamed, new website.

In news that is almost as old as Bilbo Baggins and tucked away at the bottom of a very dull press release, Turbine has changed the name of forthcoming PC MMORPG Lord of the Rings: Middle Earth Online, which is good, because we were never sure if it needed a middle-hyphen or not.