LOTRO: First expansion announced: "The Mines of Moria"

Some very interesting bits in the news piece below (from Eurogamer):

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.

Players will face off against bosses famous from Tolkien lore - The Balrog and The Watcher. Steefel promised fighting the former in particular would be an “unforgettable” experience, but he didn’t explain how it would fit into the official Lord of the Rings continuity.

Ten new levels will be added to the game, raising the cap from 50 to 60. In addition there will be two new classes, the Warden and the Runekeeper. Steefel refused to elaborate on these, promising more information in the coming months. They sound like a tank and caster to us but that’s just a guess.

A new Legendary items system will also be introduced. This will essentially allow certain equipment - armour, weapons and shields - to develop its own advancement path alongside the player character, gaining experience, deeds and legacies, and becoming an intrinsic part of high-level players’ character builds.

Other features announced include a large number of instances for groups of 3, 5, 12 and 24 players, new monster player scenarios, a new system of leaderboards and achievement rankings, dynamic lighting effects, more environment-aware AI, and a chance to join the Fellowship in Lorien, tying players even more closely into the Lord of the Rings storyline.

To promote the new expansion, Turbine has just launched a website: unlocktheminesofmoria.com. You can register there now for a chance to play though a web adventure that will unlock in-game deeds and items for your LOTRO character, as well as previewing the events of the new volume. The first web minigame, King Under the Mountain, launches on the site on March 31st.

Steefel also mentioned that LOTRO would be launched in Russia, China and Korea this year, and provided some details of the next free updates to the game - Books 13 and 14. Book 13 will feature a new region, the introduction of a hobby system with fishing, and improvements to the game’s ‘looking for group’ interface.

Look out for further updates from Connect 08 - including more on Lord of the Rings Online and NetDevil’s space combat MMO Jumpgate Evolution - in the coming days.

The mines of Moria as one big zone. Lorien. The Balrog. New player classes and new levels. 3 and 5 player instances that our smallish guield can field. Legendary items that improve through deeds. It all sounds good. does a little happy dance


hmmm…dammit…guess I am going to have to get back into this…

I’m assuming Moria is a level 50 zone, or is it going to scale as you go down?

This died so quickly that I’m hesitant to start it again, but Moria? Hell, I think I have to…

Well, it’s excitement enough that their forums seem to be unexpectedly down at the moment :-)

Press Release is here: http://www.lotro.com/article/514

They say “six new kinds of environment” for Moria. Hopefully its not variations on Dark Cavern, Dark Brown Cavern, Really Dark Cavern, Cant see a thing Cavern, Annoyingly Dark Cavern and Turn the lights up already Cavern - like the Dwarven housing zone :-)

I would have thought Moria would have a range of level zones, and not just be all level 50ish. It sounds like it is pretty big, so you might level past it before you saw most of it if it was all one level.

It will be interesting to see if they introduce a new newbie zone (Lothlorien?) to go along with the two new classes. They obviously can’t introduce any new races without seriously stretching the lore past breaking point.

The already broke the lore pretty thoroughly imho.

Well, assuming they don’t want player characters who are Ainur, Dragons, Orcs, or Trolls, or evil creatures like Barrow-Wights…

The best choice for a new player race would probably be Ents. Beyond that, I suppose you could consider Drúedain their own sub-race of men. And there are more mysterious races in Middle-Earth, such as Giants and Skin-Changers, but adding them would be largely speculative.


They already kind of have Orcs through Monster Play - separate characters you create solely to participate in PvP as the “bad guys”. You can be an Orc (lots of flavours), warg or a spider. There is also and advanced option you can unlock (no idea how) to be a Troll or a Ranger.

Ranger is another word for Dúnedain, so they may have already used that option up. Technically, the Gondorian’s are also descendants of the Dúnedain and you can make

Ents is a good idea for player race, though it probably stretches the lore quite a bit - there are not meant to be hundreds of newbie ents running around fangorn :-)

The legendary items sound pretty neat. Damnit, I just quit WoW. No more MMOs!

LotRO was pretty fun while I played it, and I could suspend my kneejerk critical instincts for most of that time, but the idea that players can take down a Balrog is enough to get my knee jerking. Fail.

I dunno… if a human can chop off Sauron’s finger and a woman can kill the Witch King, while Bard can kill Smaug with an arrow, is it so very outside the realm of Tolkien lore that dozens of heroes could collectively take on a Balrog?

Anyway, if you are going to develop a pve game that includes raiding, Balrog pretty much cries out to be a raid boss, so it’s hard for me to blame Turbine on that move.

The last boss of the present end-game raid instance, the Rift, is a Balrog and many players have already downed him. Not me, though. Will try again this weekend.

I said Drúedain (aka Woses) not Dúnedain. Wild Men (Easterlings and Haradrim) would also be a possibility.

Could be some sort of prestige race you’d have to unlock. But you’re right in that it would be a bit strange to have an Ent in every party…


Having a tree in the party works great in WoW!

Funny thing is we were talking about something like this in our WoW guild a week ago.
It’s such a shame that all the nice BWL / AQ / Naxx weapons are totally useless now. Why not enable people to keep these items “current” by upgrading them through quest lines or something. Like if you kill Archimonde some item drops that boost some stats of said weapons to make them usable as 25 man lvl 70 raider.

I think it’s waste to let those wonderful designed weapons rot in bank. :p

It stretches it a lot, since Ents typically have no dealings with men or elves or any of the other races, and since they are a fading race that should have zero newbie Ents, given the lack of Entwives.

Wild Men and Easterlings seem like bad choices, too, honestly. There really aren’t many (or any?) good choices for new races to add to the game, unless they want to make a wild departure from the source material. That’s one danger of using source material that wasn’t created to be a game setting, unfortunately.

I’ll be curious to see more info on the new classes. Some more magic leaning classes would be great. Minstrel and Loremaster is pretty slim, although I play Minstrel and enjoy it. And I know the arguments about “there’s not that much magic in the books”. Screw the lore purists.

Oh cmon, Feanor fought alone against double figures of Balrogs by himself for hours. Balrogs aren’t unkillable or anything Glorfindel solo’d one.

New race? Oh, oh, DARK [email protected]!111221!!!

Ents would be boring PCs.

Both Feanor and Glorfindel died in those battles, though. And neither of these guys really fall into the category of “average adventuring schmoe,” either. Feanor was high king of the Noldor, the creator of the Silmarils, and the foe of Morgoth, fer chrissakes! Not a great argument for why Joe Ranger from Bree should be able to go toe to toe with a Balrog, honestly.