Isengard Expansion Coming

Turbine announced today that Lord of the Rings Online is getting a new expansion, Rise of Isengard. The bad news is it’s going to be released fall of 2011.

Level cap is increasing another five levels to 70. It will feature a new region, Isengard, which will include Saruman’s tower Orthanc, and continue the epic quest line. Monster play is getting a major revamp, including opening it up to non-subscribers and adding a new PvMP region.

Nothing too surprising here really. I think everyone expected the game would head to Isengard next, with Rohan following after that. The level cap change along with new skills, traits, etc. is a mirror for what we saw in Mirkwood.

The monster play updates are interesting. I knew from Turbine comments on the forums that restricting free players from joining in was temporary (because of performance concerns, if I remember right). but the fact that they are doing a full revamp of the system sounds is really good. Turbine has an excellent track record in revamping Ered Luin, Bree, and Lone Lands, so I’m sure that the new PvMP will be an improvement. I probably still won’t participate, but I know some people who enjoy it.

Despite all that, I have to say I’m disappointed. This expansion is a full year out. Hopefully we’ll continue to get small content additions between now and then. My biggest concern is the size of the expansion. With a fall 2011 release date, I’m expecting a Moria-sized release for Isengard and not a Mirkwood one. Unfortunately the announcement makes it sound more like Mirkwood.

4 Comments

  1. YeeboNo Gravatar says:

    I am a bit surprised that it’s so far off. Unless Isenguard is going to be huge, it doesn’t seem as if the pace of content development is really picking up for LoTRO since going FtP. Still, it all sounds like good stuff. I’ll likely be obsessing on WoW for a few months after Cataclysm anyway.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      It’ll really come down to what content they release between now and then. There’s been a bit of new stuff lately, but not much. Turbine’s been making a lot of changes, but revamps and balancing are not quite the same as new content.

  2. LongascNo Gravatar says:

    Docholidayj mentioned an upcoming “Raid cluster” in Eriador. But I do not know much about that.

    I think we have a case of not so good promotion here:
    Because there is stuff that is coming between 2010 and 2011, it is just that only insiders like “docholidayj” know about it.

    Miscommunication or not, I am still a bit afraid they focus on revamping stuff for the new players and that there is not that much coming till Isengard. I share your concern about the size of Isengard: I expect it somewhere between the size of Moria and Mirkwood, and hopefully it is closer to the Moria expansion. We are talking about a year here, after all.

    This year +/- a few month seems to be the standard if one compares expansion releases for Warcraft, Guild Wars and other MMOs. It will also be a test if F2P influences design. Guild Wars 1 suddenly started selling costume after costume, they become almost monthly by now. They also add quite a lot of content, but this simply does not compare to an expansion. Also see the Enedwaith – even if you take it slowly, you have quickly seen the whole area.

    Progress and content zone by zone is little by little. This is not very exciting. I just noticed the same for a proposed Klingon veteran reward in STO: It is a shoulder/cape combo that gets completed over time. First the shoulders. Then the cape. Then some extra. Every 100 days. People bitch about it.

    This is a general design question: A little bit of new stuff every X weeks/months, or not much and a lot of new content after quite some time, say over a year?
    The for developers unfortunate answer is people want and expect it all, a major release after quite a while and a lot of minor content in between.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      I saw Doc’s article and the Massively one too later in the day after I’d posted mine.

      I agree with you they really should have included some of the plans for the interval between now and then in that press release. I think the Legendary Item revamp alone would’ve been good to include.