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The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (commonly abbreviated to LOTRO, LotRO) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for Microsoft Windows set in a fantasy universe based upon J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth writings. It takes place during the time period of The Lord of the Rings.

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar was developed by Turbine, is subscription-based and free to play. It launched in North America, Australia, Japan and Europe on April 24, 2007. In China, beta testing started in July 2007 and the game is expected to be released by the end of Q3 2009. The first expansion pack, Mines of Moria, was released on November 17, 2008.[2] The second expansion pack, Siege of Mirkwood, was announced on September 4, 2009[3] and released on December 1, 2009.[4]

Gameplay

The game's milieu is based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. However, Turbine does not have rights to any other works in Tolkien's legendarium, such as The Silmarillion or The Children of Húrin.[5]

Much of the gameplay is typical of the MMO format: The player controls a character avatar which can be moved around the game world and interacts with other players, non-player (computer-controlled) characters (or "NPCs") and other entities in the virtual world. Camera angles can be switched between first-person and third-person options. Characters are improved by gaining levels. A character's level increases after it earns a set amount of experience points through the player versus environment (or "PvE") combat and storyline adventures. Characters' abilities are improved by increasing in level, but character skills must be purchased from specified NPCs after gaining a new level.

The main storyline (also known as the "Epic Quest Line") is presented as a series of "Books", which consist of series of quests called "Chapters". There were initially eight Books when the game was released, with new books added with each free content update.

Tolkien's Middle-earth as represented in The Lord of the Rings Online implements magic in a different manner than other MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft. There are only five "wizards" in the fictional world, none of which are player-controlled. Instead, there are active skills which require "power" (the equivalent of magic points). Some skills behave like magic (like healing or throwing a burning ember at an enemy), but are based on "lore".[6] In addition, objects and artifacts are used to create effects similar to magic.

Other features include a fast travel system and a detailed quest log with tracker and history.

PvP

Player versus player (PvP) combat is included in the form called "Monster Play" or "Player vs Monster Player (PvMP)".[7] Monster Play is unlocked when a player's character reaches level 10; players can then play a level 65 monster. These monster players (also known as 'creeps') have their own quests, titles and deeds, and fight the Heroes (player characters of level 40 and above, and known as 'freeps,' derived by joining the words 'free peoples') in the Ettenmoors. Both heroes and monsters fight for the control of various keeps in the Ettenmoors, of which 5 are able to be taken. When one side holds 2 outposts (after a period of time the outpost will return to the NPC forces), they are able to go into the Delving of Frór, a dungeon area beneath the Ettenmoors. Outposts are smaller versions of keeps and require fewer people to overtake. As of the expansion Mines of Moria and Siege of Mirkwood the amount of outposts required to enter the Delving of Fror has dropped to two, so that both the 'Freeps' and 'Creeps' can enter the delving of Fror simultaneously (5 outposts overall, 2 required to enter).

Both monster players and Heroes gain ranks in the Ettenmoors through defeating the opposing side. Monsters receive infamy for killing a Hero, and Heroes receive renown for killing a monster player. There are 15 achievable ranks, starting at Footman, and ending at Captain-General (for Heroes) or starting at Tracker and ending at Tyrant (for monster players). Gaining ranks allows you to purchase specific equipment and armour (for Heroes) or core upgrades, like health, armour and power (for Monsters).

Another aspect of character development is the inclusion of Destiny Points. Destiny Points are awarded for leveling and completing quests and can be used to temporarily increase some of your abilities or skills. As a creep, destiny points are used to buy skills and traits. These points can also be earned through combat in Monster Play. Monster players earn destiny points for controlling a keep, killing 'freeps' (the player controlled Heroes) and completing quests. A player's destiny points are shared across all their characters, whether heroes or monsters.

Deeds

Characters obtain titles and traits by completing "deeds" in the game. Deeds are earned in each area of the game, by killing a set number of monsters in an area, using a certain ability a set number of times, completing a number of quests in a given area, or finding certain locations or unique items. Completion of these deeds yields a fixed amount of experience points to the player, and usually awards traits or titles.

Titles

Titles have no direct impact on gameplay. Instead they provide another means of customization by adding additional information to your name. Some titles are common while others can be difficult to obtain. Each character starts with one title that indicates their origin. Titles are earned by completing deeds and quests and by mastering tiers in professions. Only one title can be active at a time. Characters who are ranked in the Ettenmoors can also have a prefix to signify their rank. You can also receive a title of Kinship rank.

Examples of titles:

  • <your name> the Wary (received by attaining level 5 without being defeated)
  • <your name> of Bree (One of the many origin titles that players start with)
  • <your name> the Undying (received by attaining level 20 without being defeated)
  • <your name>, Spider-Foe (received by defeating 30 spiders in the Bree-lands)
  • <your name>, Pie-eating Champion (received after winning a pie-eating contest)
  • <your name>, Master Apprentice Woodworker (received after finishing both the basic and master-level tiers of Apprentice Woodworking)
  • <your name>, Vanquisher of Thaurlach (received after defeating the Balrog in the Rift of Nurz Ghashu)

Examples of prefixes:

Footman <your name>,<your title>, shows that you are rank 1 in the Ettenmoors.

Sergeant of the Guard <your name>,<your title>, shows that you are rank 5 in the Ettenmoors.

High Warden <your name>,<your title>, shows that you are rank 9 in the Ettenmoors.

Traits

Each character has the ability to equip traits earned during the game. Traits give characters a myriad of different bonuses or abilities. Any trait combination can be equipped as long as they have enough trait slots. The number of free trait slots depends on their level. The first virtue trait slot is available at level 7, for example. Virtue, class and racial traits offer a maximum of five slots, and legendary traits offer three slots. Traits can be easily changed by visiting a bard found in most towns, and equipping traits costs a certain amount of money.

Types of traits include:

  • Virtue
Virtue traits are common amongst all races and classes and can be earned by completing general goals, such as killing a set number of monsters, or completing enough quests in an area. These traits generally improve stats, resistances and total morale and power, including regeneration. There are a large variety of goals, and each has multiple levels that can be earned during the course of the game.
  • Class
Class traits are specific to a certain class. These are generally earned by using a class skill or power often enough, or meeting certain conditions with these skills often enough, such as achieving enough critical strikes with a certain skill. These skills improve the power of certain abilities and often give an additional passive bonus to character statistics.
  • Racial
Racial traits are specific to each of the races. These traits confer special abilities or improvements, and only a relatively limited number can be used at one time.
  • Legendary
Legendary traits confer rare bonuses. They are obtained by collecting class-specific books and their pages which drop from specific enemies, from a series of level 45 class-specific quests, or from combining five class traits of a single type.

Music System

Characters that reach level 5 can learn to play the lute and, depending on their class, other instruments. Minstrels can learn to play all of the instruments and to teach other players, of all classes, to play them, including bagpipes and cowbells. Using macros, the instrument can be played in real time on three octaves and abc notation, with the music broadcast to nearby players who have not disabled hearing it.

Setting

As of the Siege of Mirkwood Expansion, The Lord of the Rings Online is set during The Fellowship of the Ring. The player starts simultaneously with Frodo and company leaving The Shire. The timeline is currently set at the Fellowship's recent escape from Moria and their resting in Lothlórien.

In the initial release, only the area of Eriador was available. Eriador was further divided in Ered Luin, The Shire, Breeland (this included the area around Bree, the Old Forest and the Barrow-downs), North Downs (Fornost), Lone Lands (the area around Amon Sûl), Trollshaws (the area surrounding Rivendell), Misty Mountains (then excluding Goblin Town), Angmar and the Ettenmoors. There have been 2 new major regions added to the game since launch, The Shores of Evendim update added the region surrounding Lake Evendim and Annúminas, about 100 miles north of the Shire. Book 13, Doom of the Last King added Forochel, a snowy tundra, as a new zone, while other books have added areas such as player housing, or expanded already existing zones, such as the addition of Goblin town and the High pass to the Misty Mountains. With the release of the Mines of Moria expansion, Turbine also released Book 15 for players not purchasing the expansion pack. The free update allowed players to travel to the main part of Eregion. Players who purchased the Mines of Moria Expansion have access to the entirety of Eregion, Moria, and Lothlórien. This type of expansion was continued with the release of the latest in the series: the Siege of Mirkwood, this released the region of south Mirkwood including Dol Guldur and the latest storyline continuation Book 9 to those who purchased the game. Turbine have stated that their intention is to eventually fill in the entirety of Middle Earth, but prioritizing the areas visited by the Fellowship.

Races

There are four playable races in Lord of the Rings Online.[8] Players can choose a male or female gender for each race apart from dwarves.

Classes

There are seven classes that can be played in The Lord of the Rings Online: Burglar, Captain, Champion, Guardian, Hunter, Lore-master, and Minstrel. There are two additional classes that can be played in the Mines of Moria expansion: Rune-keeper and Warden.

Class Races Armour Shields Weapons Dual-Wielding Role
Burglar Man, Hobbit Light, Medium Daggers, 1H Clubs, 1H Maces, 1H Swords Yes Debuffer / CC
Captain Man Light, Medium, Heavy Light Daggers, 1H Axes, 1H Clubs, 1H Hammers, 1H Maces, 1H Swords, 2H Axes, 2H Clubs, 2H Hammers, 2H Swords, Spears, Halberds No Buffer / Pets / Healer
Champion Man, Elf, Dwarf Light, Medium, Heavy Light, (Heavy with Class Trait) Daggers, 1H Axes, 1H Clubs, 1H Hammers, 1H Maces, 1H Swords, 2H Axes, 2H Hammers, 2H Swords, Spears, Bows Yes AoE / Melee DPS
Guardian Man, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit Light, Medium, Heavy Light, Heavy Daggers, 1H Axes, 1H Clubs, 1H Hammers, 1H Maces, 1H Swords, 2H Axes, 2H Clubs, 2H Hammers, 2H Swords, Spears, Bows, Crossbows No Tank
Hunter Man, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit Light, Medium Daggers, 1H Axes, 1H Clubs, 1H Hammers, 1H Maces, 1H Swords, Spears, Bows, Crossbows Yes Ranged DPS / Utility / Nuker
Lore-master Man, Elf Light Staves, (1H Swords with Legendary Trait) Yes (with Legendary Trait) CC / Pets / Debuffer
Minstrel Man, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit Light, (Medium with Class Trait) Light Daggers, 1H Clubs, 1H Maces, 1H Swords, (1H Axes with Dwarf Base Passive Skill) No Healer / Buffer
Rune-keeper Elf, Dwarf Light Rune Stones, (1H Axes with Dwarf Base Passive Skill) No DPS / Healer
Warden Man, Elf, Hobbit Light, Medium Light, Warden Daggers, 1H Axes, 1H Clubs, 1H Hammers, 1H Maces, 1H Swords, Spears, Javelins No Tank

Crafting

In LOTRO, characters cannot choose a single profession, but they choose a vocation which is composed of three professions.

Vocations

Professions are bundled into groups of three called vocations. Most vocations include a gathering profession and two crafting professions that complement each other. Vocations create interdependence in the economy, requiring players to trade for resources. A given character can only specialize in one vocation at a time.

Forester Prospector Farmer Scholar Metalsmith Weaponsmith Woodworker Jeweller Tailor Cook
Armourer x x x
Armsman x x x
Explorer x x x
Historian x x x
Tinker x x x
Woodsman x x x
Yeoman x x x

Professions

Professions are either a gathering or a crafting one. Gathering professions are used to harvest raw materials, which in turn are used to create items using a crafting profession. The higher the tier in this skill, the better raw materials can be used and more advanced items can be made. Each profession requires a specific tool.

  • Cook
Cooks create food items consumed to recover morale and power when not in combat and give temporary bonuses to stats. They also make lute strings that reduce minstrels' threat. Materials for this skill are harvested by farmers, or by the new hobby skill, fishing.
  • Farmer
Farmers grow crops used by cooks. This skill differs from the other harvesting professions in that it requires seeds to grow items. Farmers also provide scholars with rare harvests used to make dyes and straw to make traps for hunters.
  • Forester
Foresters gather and work randomly scattered wood. They are also able to treat leather from hides that drop from animals for use by a tailor.
  • Jeweller
Jewellers create various pieces of jewellery, which confer benefits on the wearer, such as additional stats. They also craft hope tokens, runes for champions and runestones for runekeepers. Jewellers get gems and metal from prospectors.
  • Metalsmith
Metalsmiths create heavy armour and shields made of metal and tools for all the crafting professions. They get materials from prospectors, tailors and jewellers.
  • Prospector
Prospectors mine randomly scattered ores, gems and salts. They smelt ore into metal ingots, which are used by jewellers, weaponsmiths, and metalsmiths.
  • Scholar
Scholar combines both harvesting and crafting. Scholars decipher lore usually found near ruins. Scholar uses lore items and other ingredients to make potions, bow chants, scrolls which serve as buffs for battle, and scrolls that give other crafters a higher critical chance to make a better - 'critted' - item. They also make dyes from plants, animal organs and mineral salts, and scribe books for hunters, loremasters, and minstrels.
  • Tailor
Tailors make light and medium armour, cosmetic clothing, burglar signals, captain standards and runekeeper satchels. Light armour requires cloth from vendors, and medium armour requires leather from foresters.
  • Weaponsmith
Weaponsmiths craft weapons such as swords, axes, and maces. They also produce tricks for burglars, traps for hunters, and shield spikes for guardians.
  • Woodworker
Woodworkers make wooden weapons (bows, clubs, hammers and spears), minstrel instruments, warden carvings and other crafting components needed by other professions. Woodworkers require treated wood from foresters.

Storyline

The main story line, the Epic Quests, focuses on some events that are new additions to the Lord of the Rings story created by the makers of the game.

Volume I: Shadows of Angmar

Book I - Stirrings in the Darkness:

After the introductions, the player is sent to Aragorn, who needs your help to weaken the Blackwolds, a hostile gang within Breeland, loyal to Sharkey. After helping Aragorn and the Rangers, they send you to Tom Bombadil to destroy the evil in Othrongroth, The Great Barrow of the Barrow-downs. Though the Wightlord Sambrog is defeated, the Witch-king, Ivar and Skorgrim escape. Upon returning to Bree, you discover Aragorn has left with the Hobbits and the player meets Gandalf, who was too late to help. As he leaves for Rivendell too, he instructs you to find one of his fellow Istari.

Book II - The Red Maid:

Radagast the Brown asks for your help in cleansing Garth Agarwen from the evil wights that inhabit it. Ultimately you and Radagast will fight Ivar the Bloodhand, their leader and servant of the Witch-king. After succeeding, you are urgently sent to the North Downs to aid the Rangers there.

Book III - The Council of the North:

You are asked by Halbarad to aid in the defense of the North Downs against Angmar's forces, by uniting the three main armies of the North Downs: the Men of Trestlebridge, the Dwarves led by Dori and Gildor's Elves. After this, You are sent to Rivendell, where the Fellowship has now safely arrived.

Book IV - Chasing Shadows:

The Black Rider that survived the Flood of Elrond is still in the Trollshaws, making it impossible for the Fellowship to leave. With the help of Legolas, Elladan and Elrohir, you chase the Nazgûl, destroying the Trolls he has corrupted, and forcing the Ringwraith to retreat to the Misty Mountains. You are sent to pursue him, where Glóin and Gimli have set up camp.

Book V - The Last Refuge:

Your search for the Nazgûl brings you to the final stronghold of Skorgrím and the Dourhands. An assault led by Gimli will result in the fall of Skorgrim and the Dourhands. But the Nazgûl has fled to Helegrod, where the ancient Dragon Thorog has been revived in order to serve the Dark Lord. You arrive just in time to stop the Nazgûl, defeating him and making the Dragon harmless, for now. Now that Rivendell is safe, it is time to move on to Angmar itself.

Book VI - Fires in the North:

Rangers, led by Corunir and Golodir, have gone to Angmar and their kinsmen want to know what has become of them. Upon entering Angmar, you find Corunir safe in a friendly Hillmen village. He begs you to find his lost company, who passed through Rammas Deluon: a great series of statues that weakens (or even kills) those who pass it. But after destroying the spirits within them, you are able to resist the power of Rammas Deluon, and find a Dwarf settlement, where a part of the scattered party lives.

Book VII - The Hidden Hope:

You are informed Golodir settled at Gath Forthnir, far in the North. When arriving there, Golodir is gone and the Rangers are led by his daughter, Lorniel. Lorniel reveals that Golodir has been captured by Mordirith, Steward of Angmar, and has been locked away in Carn Dûm. As leader of the remaining Rangers, and with the help of Laerdan, Lorniel launches an assault on Carn Dûm, where she is slain by Mordirith, who then releases Golodir, to continue his torture.

Book VIII - The Scourge of the North:

Golodir's grief for the death of his daughter has almost destroyed him, yet he sees a chance to avenge her. Reclaiming an ancient sword, he travels with you to the heart of Carn Dûm, defeating Mordirith with the blade. Mordirith drops his palantír, a great seeing stone, which is quickly taken by the mysterious Sara Oakheart.

Book IX - Shores of Evendim:

You learn Sara Oakheart is no less than Amarthiel, the Champion of Angmar. She has set up a plot from Barad Gularan to use you to weaken Mordirith. Now she has the palantír, she can communicate with Sauron and challenge Mordirith's position. You are sent to kill all of Mordirith's Knights, in an attempt to further weaken his power. But despite your victories over Mordirith, Amarthiel only grows stronger. After losing Fornost and Barad Gularan, she moves to Annúminas, the ancient capital of Arnor. The Rangers there, led by Calenglad, need your aid.

Book X - The City of Kings:

A massive battle in Annúminas ensues, the wise Elf Laerdan offers his services to Calenglad. One of Amarthiel's captains is captured, but while in captivity, he angers Laerdan, making the Elf decide to fight Amarthiel on his own, in an attempt to make up for his mistakes in the past. Again the Free People have been tricked by Amarthiel and her servants. Together with the Rangers of Evendim, you are able to wrestle the palantír from Amarthiel's clutches, but Laerdan is lost. But within the palantír, Amarthiel saw a glimpse of where Narchuil, her ancient ring, lies. She is now determined to possess its power once more.

Book XI - Prisoner of the Free Peoples:

Amarthiel's captain Mordrambor breaks free, killing many rangers. Soon he leads an army out of Annúminas, to find Amarthiel's Ring, Narchuil. You attempt to find Narchuil before Amarthiel can, searching the ancient ruins of Trollshaws. After much searching, it turns out Narmeleth, Laerdan's daughter, who originally caused Amarthiel's fall in Fornost, has become possessed by her. But all searching seems in vain, when it is revealed Amarthiel has already found Narchuil. However, Elrond does not fall for her trickery again, he realises Narchuil is still out there, and Laerdan knows where.

Book XII - The Ashen Wastes:

Amarthiel has Laerdan transported to Angmar, where she learns from him under torture where her Ring is. In a brave attempt to save both Laerdan and the ring Narchuil, you are able to get to them before Amarthiel does, despite losing another Ranger. But only half of the ring was found. Laerdan confesses to Elrond he has broken the Narchuil in two, and where the other part should be. But then he swears an oath upon Elbereth that he will not rest before he has saved his daughter, and leaves the Council.

Book XIII - Doom of the Last-King:

Trying to find out more about the other half of Narchuil, you are sent to Forochel. However Amarthiel's forces have already arrived, and are already searching. In an attempt to find the ring before the Angmarim, the player receives help from Arvedui's Ghost. In the final chapter, it seems Mordrambor has betrayed Amarthiel; the two start to battle and disappear from view. The player then retrieves the second half of Narchuil and returns it to Rivendell.

Book XIV - The Ring-forges of Eregion:

Still seeking to save Narmeleth, Laerdan travels with the two halves of Narchuil to Eregion. Amarthiel, baiting him in, reclaims Narchuil for herself. Elrond sends many Heralds of Rivendell to all corners of Eriador to help him in his search for the lost Ring-lore. But all efforts are too late, for Narchuil has been reforged when the Free People reach Eregion. It quickly becomes clear none are able to withstand Narchuil, until Mordrambor, Amarthiel's former servant, arrives. They go outside, where Mordirith arrives. Mordirith is in power once again, but Amartiel does not surrender and believes she can defeat him with Narchuil. But Mordirith has the power of the Witch-king and defeats her. Mordrambor claims Narchuil as his own, and when he is about to finish Amarthiel, Laerdan appears. He now knows Mordirith is actually Eärnur, the last King of Gondor. Mordirith orders Mordrambor to kill Laerdan, after which the two leave. Amarthiel is crying over her father, and set captive by the Free People.

Book XV - Daughter of Strife:

With the death of her father, Narmeleth is once again freed from the evil influence of Amarthiel. Narmeleth becomes a captive of the Free Peoples and she sacrifices herself in order to help defeat Mordrambor and aid the Free Peoples. The book ends bittersweet with Narmeleth's redemption and her death.

Book XV - Epilogue:

After Mordambor and Mordirith are slain and the player returns to Rivendell, it is revealed by Elrond that a package was found for you in Laerdan's room. In the package is a note describing Laerdan's reasoning for wanting to save Narmeleth and many rewards

Volume II: Mines of Moria

Volume III: Allies of the King

Group Instances

One of the most challenging aspects of the game is grouping to do big private instances. This can be done in six-man fellowships, such as Fornost, Carn Dûm or Annúminas. There are also harder instances for raids like The Rift (12 people, or a double fellowship) or Helegrod (24 people, or 4 fellowships). Due to the difficulty of the encounter and the many players involved, each of the nine classes is usually assigned a specific task by the raid leader.

Volume II Book 8 The Scourge of Khazad Dûm saw the introduction of two 3-man instances intended to be quick and puzzle based. These are: The Water-Wheels (Nala-Dûm) where players must attempt to repair the broken water wheel system that normally provides power to Moria whilst defeating the evil that has come to corrupt it, and The Hall of Mirrors in which players must clean and align mirrors to continue through the instance and provide light to the dark pits of Moria all the while defeating forces of evil which have come to live within the halls. 3-man instances were available prior to this point (e.g. The School at Thám Mírdain in Eregion) but had not been part of the main storyline. However with the release of Book 8, Players were required to complete both instances (without necessarily killing the final boss in each) in order to continue with the book.

This type of instance play has seen a return in the release of the Siege of Mirkwood expansion, wherein players must complete 3-man instances: The Warg Pens, The Sword-Halls or The Dungeons of Dol Guldur in order to obtain Medallions of Dol Guldur which can be bartered for more advanced equipment and items.

Development

Sierra On-Line first announced the development of a licensed Middle-earth MMORPG in 1998.[9] Sierra had financial troubles in 1999 and replaced the staff working on the game. Sierra continued to confirm development of the MMORPG but did not release any development details.

Vivendi Universal Games, the parent company of Sierra, secured eight-year rights to produce computer and video games based on The Lord of the Rings books in 2001. Vivendi announced an agreement with Turbine in 2003 to produce Middle-earth Online (at that time expected to be released in 2004). In March 2005, Turbine announced that it bought the rights to make an MMORPG based on Tolkien's literature and that Turbine would publish The Lord of the Rings Online instead of Vivendi.

A closed beta was announced on September 8, 2006. An open beta began on March 30, 2007, and was open to all who pre-ordered the game's Founders Club edition. On April 6, 2007, the beta opened to the public.

Mines of Moria Expansion

On March 14, 2008, Turbine announced the first commercial expansion. The expansion was released on November 18, 2008. This expansion in addition to adding new areas set in Moria, added two new classes and leveling items.[10]

The three areas added focused around Moria, but also touched Lórien and Eregion (Hollin). Turbine announced that Books 13 and 14 would be released before Mines of Moria, and Book 14 would be the climax of the storyline. Mines of Moria included the first six books of a new storyline centering in Moria.

In addition to the new classes, Warden and Rune-Keeper, the level cap was raised to 60. Turbine promised that the increase in the games level cap by 20% would affect crafting, raids, PvMP, and everything else.

According to Turbine, the Mines of Moria would be one of the greatest environments of any RPG yet. Creatures would use the environment to their advantage, such as sneaking through dark water or jumping out of the shadows. Parts of the mines would change to reflect your progress.

The two best-known creatures connected with Moria, The Watcher in the Water and Durin's Bane would both be encountered within those four books.

After the introduction of the hobby system in Book 13 with fishing, Turbine was expected to extend the amount of hobbies available in one of the free content updates after the Mines of Moria expansion was released.

The official presentation on Books 13, 14, and Mines of Moria can be found at: Part one: Youtube.com Part 2: Youtube.com Part 3: Youtube.com

Siege of Mirkwood Expansion

On September 4, 2009, Turbine announced the second expansion. Release date was on December 1, 2009[11] and in Europe on December 3, 2009.[12] This expansion raised the level cap to 65 as well as open up the southern part of Mirkwood around Dol Guldur. It also included new traits, virtues and skills. The biggest change in the expansion was the new "skirmish" system that allows for repeatable, randomised and scalable combat based instances that can be accessed from anywhere in the game world for 1, 3, 6 and 12 players and new 3, 6 and 12 player private instances that take place in Dol Guldur proper.[3] Game play enhancements have also been added and include changes to the combat, mount and legendary items systems.

Free Updates

Until 2008, approximately once every two months a major update was added to the Lord of the Rings Online. Each update was an extension to the epic quest called a book. Despite the Mines of Moria being an official expansion to the original game, it will not be required for subscribers to continue receiving the free content updates. However, any new content exclusive to Mines of Moria, including any area past Eregion, will not be accessible. In the case of items such as legendary weapons, they will be viewable but unable to equip.

Book 9: Shores of Evendim

The first free content update was released on June 14, 2007.[13]

Updates included:

  • Discovery of Evendim
  • Over 100 new quests
  • Raid in the Battle for Helegrod
  • Nine new monsters
  • Collectible armour sets

Book 10: The City of the Kings

The second free-content update was released on August 21, 2007 in North America and on August 24, 2007 in Europe.[14]

Updates included:

  • Continuation of the Story Line.
  • Legendary Play – Players can now use Destiny Points to play as a Ranger of the North or as a Troll.
  • Critter Play – Players can now explore Middle-earth from a different viewpoint as a chicken.
  • New Reputation and Bartering Systems – The Reputation system enables players to earn positive and negative standing with different races and groups in Middle-earth based on both monster kills and quest completions. The Bartering system allows players to trade trophies earned in battle for rewards, such as armour sets or mounts.
  • Over 100 new Quests.
  • More customizable user interface.

Book 11: Prisoner Of The Free Peoples

The third free-content update was released on October 24, 2007 in North America[15] and October 25 in Europe.[16]

Updates include (complete release notes):

  • Continuation of the Epic Story arc, including 13 quests.
  • Player housing – players will be able to customize their houses with items such as furniture and doormats.
  • Second raid called "The Rift" – 12-player raid in which players encounter a Balrog for the first time. Turbine has stressed that this is not the Balrog from Khazad-dûm.[17]
  • Two new areas – Tâl Bruinen in the Trollshaws, where Gollum will be introduced for the first time, and Goblin-town in the Misty Mountains, featured in The Hobbit.
  • More than 100 new quests.

Book 12: The Ashen Wastes

The fourth free content update was released on February 13, 2008 in North America; and February 14, 2008 in Europe.

Updates include (complete release notes):

  • Continuation of the Story Line.
  • Character customization - Increased character customization "ranging from haircuts, to some (possible) additions to the trait-system." In addition, the Outfit system, along with many special social clothing designed just for it, will be introduced where a second or third set of clothing can be slotted and displayed while retaining the statistical bonuses of the currently equipped items.[18]
  • The Delving of Frór - A new Monster Play PVE (and PVMP under certain circumstances) area will be introduced: An expanse of caves and catacombs located beneath the Ettenmoors.
  • The Great Angmar Revamp - A revamp of the most high-level region of the game's current 9 PvE regions. The revamp included the reworking of many quests, areas and other changes, such as new horse routes.
  • Barbershop - You can customize the look of your avatar in-game with around 50 new haircuts and second set of details.[citation needed]
  • Updates to the Burglar, Guardian, and Champion classes.

Book 13: Doom of the Last-King

The fifth free content update was released on April 24, 2008 in North America and on May 1, 2008 in Europe.

Updates include (complete release notes):

  • A new playable map area: the Ice Bay of Forochel.
  • Players being able to see the ocean for the first time, confirmed as the Ice Bay of Forochel in recent developer chats.
  • Fishing - the first of a new system in Lord of the Rings Online, called 'hobbies'.
  • New PVMP Monster Healing Class - Orc Defiler.
  • Looking For Fellowship- and Quest-panel improvements.

Book 14: The Ring-forges of Eregion

The sixth free content update was released on July 22, 2008 in North America. It was released on July 24, 2008 in Europe.

Updates include (complete release notes):

  • Climax of the "Shadows of Angmar" storyline.
  • Added selected sections of Eregion (Region leading towards the Gates of Moria).
  • Epic Quest events that will allow interaction between players regardless of server.
  • Prelude quests for and leading up to the Mines of Moria expansion. Which will have updates leading to Lothlórien, Fangorn, Rhovanion and Rohan.

Book 15: Daughter of Strife

The seventh free content update was released on November 18, 2008. This update was released in tandem with the Mines of Moria expansion for players who did not purchase the expansion release.

Updates include (Epic - Vol. I, Book 15: Daughter of Strife Quests epic):

  • Conclusion of the "Shadows of Angmar" storyline.
  • Added the zone of Eregion expanding on the selected sections from Book 14. The zone does not include the Hollin Gate leading to the Black Pool.
  • Added UI enhancements

Soundtrack

The soundtrack for Lord of the Rings Online has received much praise for its quality and variety.[19][20] It features compositions from acclaimed video game composer Chance Thomas as well as original songs from Turbine. According to Thomas, all references that were made to the music of the peoples of Middle-earth in the books were used to extrapolate as much information as possible about the instruments and styles that each race would have used to create their music. This information was then used as the base for creating the score.[21] Additionally, 61 songs from the game were made available for free in mp3 format using a download manager released by Turbine.[22]

Reception

 Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 87% (42 reviews)[23]
Metacritic 86% (40 reviews)[24]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com A[25]
Eurogamer 9 of 10[26]
Game Informer 8.5 of 10[27]
GameSpot 8.3 of 10[19]
GameSpy 4.5 of 5[28]
IGN 8.6 of 10[20]
Awards
Golden Joystick PC Game of the Year 2007
GameSpy MMO of the Year award 2007
MMORPG readers choose Lord of the Rings Online as best MMO of 2008
MMORPG.com Best MMO Expansion of 2008 for Mines of Moria
MMORPG.com Studio of the Year 2008
The Top 10 Money-Making MMOs of 2008 (#8)
Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria named 1Up's Reader Choice "Best MMORPG"

The Lord of the Rings Online has been received very positively thus far, as reviews continue to appear since the game's initial release.[29]

GameDaily awarded the game 9/10, praising its rich, fantasy-themed universe, well-integrated trait and title system, and a story that remains true to the works of Tolkien. Yahoo! Video Games wrote a review with few negative mentions, awarding the game a score of 4/5,[30] while Computer and Video Games called the game an essential purchase for Lord of the Rings fans, scoring the game a 9.2/10.[31] Eurogamer scored the game a 9.0/10, calling it tough to resist.[32] Gamespy gave it 4.5/5 stars, claiming the game "opened up Middle-Earth to the masses" but commented negatively on its weak PvP content,[33] while GameTrailers awarded it 8.5/10,[34] citing its interesting tweaks to the MMO genre. IGN.com ranked it a similar 8.6/10, praising it for its solid experience, though criticizing it for its lack of major improvements to the genre.[35] GamerNode.com awarded the game an 8.8/10, calling it the best MMO launch experience since Ultima Online.[36] The New York Times called the game "a major achievement of interactive storytelling, the first game truly worthy of the ‘Lord of the Rings' franchise and a must-play for just about anyone with an interest in Tolkien or the future of online entertainment."[37] In a GameSpot review, the product was awarded an 8.3/10, praising its appealing polish and intriguing Monster Play feature.[38] Gamepro.com's review gave it an overall 4.25/5, pointing out how engaging the epic quests are, as well as how faithful to the novels the game managed to stay.[39] GameSpy declared The Lord of the Rings Online 'Game of the Month' for May 2007.[40]

Midway announced that the game sold over 172,000 copies in North America during its second quarter.[41]

In August 2007, Codemasters announced that The Lord of the Rings Online had received five Golden Joystick Awards nominations for the five applicable categories for the game,[42] and in October 2007 that it had won the "PC Game of the Year" at these awards.[43] And again won the same award on October 2008.

In December 2007, GameSpy awarded The Lord of the Rings Online 6th place in the top 10 PC games of 2007.[44] On December 18, Turbine announced it had also won the GameSpy MMO of the Year award.[45]

In January 2009, mmorpg.com awarded Turbine both MMORPG studio of the year 2008,[46] and MMO Expansion of the Year for Mines of Moria.[47]

Releases and subscription model

In North America, players who pre-ordered the game were offered a special founder's offer, a lifetime subscription for $199 or reduced cost of $9.99 per month. Standard monthly fee is $14.99 with three, six, twelve month, and lifetime discounts available. European players had a similar program from Codemasters. A Holiday subscription was available in December of 07 and January of 08 for $9.99/month for a 3 month commitment. A one year anniversary addition includes a $9.99/month subscription or a $199.99 Lifetime subscription, which was again offered during the lead up to the release of Mines of Moria.

The special edition, which costs $10 more than the regular edition, includes a full-color manual, an item called "Glass of Aglaral", a cloak of regeneration, which is visually different from the one in the regular edition, a "Making of" DVD, soundtrack, and a 10-day buddy key.

The Lord of the Rings Online is going to adopt free-to-play model.[48]

References

  1. Lord of the Rings Online: Unofficial FAQ. LOTRO Source. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  2. CDC Games Initiates Closed Beta Test of The Lord of the Rings Online. CDC Corporation. Retrieved on 2007-09-03.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lord of the Rings Online continues to grow with “Siege of Mirkwood”. Blast Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-09-04.
  4. Siege of Mirkwood LOTRO expansion dated for Dec. 1. Blast Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-09-30.
  5. "Is The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) based on the movies or the books?" and "What about The Silmarillion?" at the official FAQ. Turbine (no date). Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
  6. "One game to rule them all?". BBC News. Retrieved on 2008-03-08.
  7. "Game Systems: Monster Play Overview". Turbine (no date). Retrieved on 2008-03-08.
  8. Lord of the Rings Online: Races. lotro-europe.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-25.
  9. Middle-earth Online Memories - Part 1. IGN (2007). Retrieved on 2009-04-22.
  10. The Lord of the Rings Online: mines of Moria unveiled at Connect 08. Turbine. Retrieved on 2008-03-14.
  11. VE3d.ign.com
  12. Community.lotro-europe.com, Lord of the Rings Online Europe news, posted 17-11-2009, retrieved 30-11-2009.
  13. Book 9: Shores of Evendim Release Date Announced. Codemasters. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  14. Codemasters Online and Turbine unveil Book 10: The City of the Kings. Codemasters. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  15. Turbine and Codemasters Online Gaming to Unveil Book 11: Defenders of Eriador for The Lord of the Rings Online. Midway. Retrieved on 2007-10-20.
  16. Codemasters Online and Turbine to unveil Book 11: Defenders of Eriador. Codemasters. Retrieved on 2007-10-20.
  17. Book 11 Preview: The Balrogs are Coming. LOTRO Source. Retrieved on 2007-09-06.
  18. Lord of the Rings Online: House of Commons. lotro.stratics.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  19. 19.0 19.1 VanOrd, Kevin (2007-05-10). Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Onyett, Charles (2007-05-11). The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Review. Turbine's latest MMORPG delivers.. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
  21. Chance Thomas Invades Middle Earth. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-06-12.
  22. LOTRO Download Manager Release. Lord of the Rings Online. Retrieved on 2008-06-12.
  23. The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Reviews. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2007-12-11.
  24. Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
  25. Sharkey, Scott (2007-05-15). Reviews: Lord of the Rings Online. 1UP.com..
  26. Fahey, Rob (2007-04-24). Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Review. Eurogamer..
  27. Biessener, Adam. Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. Game Informer. Retrieved on 2008-03-07.
  28. Rausch, Allen (2007-05-04). Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Review. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  29. Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, The - Review. metacritic.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  30. The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Review. Yahoo! Games. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  31. PC Review: Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. CVG. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  32. Review - Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. EuroGamer. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  33. The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Review. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  34. The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. gametrailers.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  35. The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  36. Lord of the Rings Online. GamerNode. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  37. Lord of the Rings Online Press Release. lotr.turbine.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  38. The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar for PC Review. GameSpotUK. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  39. Review: The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar for PC. GamePro. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  40. Game of the Month: May 2007. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  41. Midway halves Q2 losses, delays BlackSite, Wheelman. GameSpotAU. Retrieved on 2007-08-25.
  42. Music and vice top games awards. BBC News. Retrieved on 2007-08-25.
  43. Gears Wins Big at Game Awards. Next-Generation. Retrieved on 2007-10-27.
  44. GameSpy's Game of the Year 2007. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2007-12-19.
  45. LOTRO Wins Top Honors from Gamespy!. Lord of the Rings Online. Retrieved on 2007-12-19.
  46. MMORPG.com Best MMO Studo of 2008. mmorpg.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-08.
  47. MMORPG.com Best Expansion of 2008. mmorpg.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-09.
  48. The Lord of the Rings Online™ Head Start begins September 8th!. Turbine. Retrieved on 2010-09-12.

External links

Template:LOTRda:The Lord of the Rings Onlinefa:ارباب حلقه‌ها آنلاین: سایه آنگمار fr:Le Seigneur des Anneaux Online ko:반지의 제왕 온라인: 어둠의 제국 앙그마르ja:ロード・オブ・ザ・リングス オンライン no:The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmarpt:The Lord of the Rings Onlinefi:Lord of the Rings Online sv:The Lord of the Rings Online

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