It looks like The Lord of the Rings Online is on track to see a new zone hit the MMO next week, as the upcoming Update 29, also known as Wildwood, is "on track" to release next week.
The Lord of the Rings Online's upcoming Wildwood update marks a departure from how the updates are usually added to the MMO. Update 29 will see Standing Stone Games, the developers of LotRO, release a mid-level zone instead of simply catering to max-level players. This is something Rob Ciccolini, Executive Producer of The Lord of the Rings Online told us the studio was trying to do last year in an interview about The Great Wedding.
With Wildwood, players will see a new level 45 zone come to the world inbetween Evendim and Bree-land, allowing lower-level characters another way to level in the early-going. This content also helps spice up the alt-leveling grind for veteran players working through new players.
Update 29 is on track to release next week, per LotRO's Community Manager Jerry "Cordovan" Snook made the announcement that the team is "on target" to release the new update "next week."
"So the biggest news I should mention is we are currently on target to release Update 29 to the live game worlds next week," Snook said on this morning's Cord of the Rings livestream, albeit with many dramatic pauses. He continued, "And that would be Update 29: The Wildwood of Bree. So stay tuned for more information about that including downtime, release notes, some really good things as well."
Update 29 is going to be a standard content release instead of the recent "mini-expansion" route LotRO (and now Dungeons & Dragons Online as well) took last year with the War of Three Peaks update. The mini-expansion caused some controversy around what exactly VIP benefits got players, especially when it seemed the Three Peaks update felt like nothing more than what was consdered a normal content release.
War of Three Peaks did also start the trend of creating content for all levels as well, though it was still mostly max-level geard, with the Mission sysytem opening up to players at level 20.
The Lord of the Rings Online's Wildwood of Bree update has been undergoing testing on the Bullroarer server for a few weeks now, and while we know it's at least on target to release next week, Cordovan did not reveal an exact date during the stream. If you want to check out Wildwood's new instances from the test server, check out this video from LotRO streamer Bludborn below. Additionally, LotRO's executive producer recently talked about the team's plans for the year, including the update after Wildwood, the upcoming Gundabad expansion as well as the much-requested Legendary Item revamp.