By now everyone has read the press release about the new expansion for Lord of the Rings Online. We'll be getting a new expansion sometime in the Fall of 2008; so later this year we'll be wandering the mines of Moria and the regions outside of our current confines. With so much coming our way in Books 13 and 14 and the expansion, it's hard to find a place to start getting excited about it. All of it sounds too good to be true. Of course listening to Jeffrey Steefel talk about LOTRO always makes me very excited. He's so full of passion for this game that it's obvious in every word he says about it.
With the expansion will come several welcome features and new content. Ten new levels to everything. This includes crafting, which is good news for all those exuberant crafters out there. I did ask Jeffrey about the addition to the crafting and he has assured me that it won't just be more recipes, but genuine advancement and the ability to do more. He wouldn't give details of exactly how the crafting would advance 10 levels, but at least we have confirmation it won't be as simple as a few more recipes.
I know many people have been eagerly awaiting the inclusion of hobby type skills. Well it looks like we're going to finally get one in the form of fishing. While I personally am not terribly excited about this new activity I know many are jumping for joy. We were assured that fishing will have a purpose in the world though, so there may be hope yet. Unfortunately no in depth details were given, but speculations and hopes range from fish to feed us to crafting items for cooks. We'll have to wait and see, but I personally have my fingers crossed that they'll outdo themselves on this and even I will enjoy this new pastime.
Moria has more than just a new hobby to explore, we also get 2 new classes to do it with. Details were sparse, but we will be getting two new classes; the Warden and the Rune-Keeper. No real information was given into what these classes will be like, but speculation abounds. I'm sure everyone will be waiting eagerly to find out what Turbine has come up with for us.
Something that has me very excited is the new Legendary items system. How it will work is, you'll have a weapon and it will have its own spaces for slotting in these legendary items onto them. Basically you will be able to make uber weapons out of something normal. It will be possible to slot these legendary items onto both crafted and regular weapons and even un-slot them so as to use them onto other weapons. This definitely has a potential for greatness and individuality. The legendary items are also supposed to be crafted, so yet another thing for crafters to look forward to.
With our new legendary items we'll of course need new enemies to fight. Jeffrey announced that we'll be getting a couple new bosses to fight. The Balrog of Khazad Dum and The Watcher will be awaiting us along with The Nameless and the Goblin Hordes.
We'll be getting three new regions to explore; Eregion, Lothlorien and the Mines of Moria. Three regions may not sound like much for an expansion, but Jeffrey has said we can expect them to be immense, including the glorious dwarven cities and the Tomb of Legend. In book 13 though we'll also be getting a new environmental damage type, Frost. This means that when you're out in the glacial and snowy cold you'll take damage if you get too cold. This will certainly bring about new use for campfires.
The raid areas will also be expanded with the addition of the new regions. Both large and small raids are to be added, along with new Monster Play elements. New epic level story instances will also be added. So much to explore and so little time. I wonder if many of us will get any sleep once this has all been given to us.
More expansions like Mines of Moria will continue in the future also. The plan is that we will get a new expansion once a year. Also the free content that we've been enjoying thus far will also continue. So no worries about the free content ending just because we're going to be getting an expansion, which is a relief to many.
As always Jeffrey won't give out exact numbers about the population of LOTRO, but he has said that the game is growing and Turbine is growing. This is of course good news for all of us. As long as the game is successful then we'll have much to look forward to in the future.
There is so much that was announced at Connect'08 that I could never cover it all without writing a book. The press release about the expansion covers most of what is to come. There will also be new Dev Diaries soon for Book 13 and then Book 14, so we can look forward to those. I'm personally very excited about the future of the game and cannot wait to see much of what has been promised.
For ongoing information about The Mines of Moria you can register on the expansion's website, www.unlocktheminesofmoria.com. Starting March 31st there will be web games on the site for registered players to play. Jeffrey has said that playing these games will unveil information about The Mines of Moria and also that they may lead eventually to things actually happening in the game for the player. He did not say exactly what kind of effects these would be, but I was so curious that I went and registered immediately and so should you.