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.