The Lord of the Rings Online
The Lord of the Rings Online (commonly abbreviated to LOTRO or LotRO) is the common name for an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) that takes place in the world of Arda during the time of The Lord of the Rings.
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While the majority of quests in the game are original content created by Turbine based on the history and lore of Middle-earth, the quests flagged as "Epic" quests depict specific events and scenes from the The Lord of the Rings storyline. While conducting Epic Quests, players interact with the main characters from the books, and assist in the advancing of the story toward the War of the Ring and the destruction of the One Ring.
The game also attempts to mimic The Lord of the Rings by being broken down in volumes, books and chapters. The original game is called Volume I, the following expansion is Volume II and the current expansion is Volume III. Each one of the epic quests are broken down by "Books" and "Chapters".
Turbine has gone to great lengths to faithfully recreate the fantasy world created by J.R.R. Tolkien with a high degree of attention to detail. Essentially every character named in the books appears in the game and can be interacted with during quests and other activities.
A closed beta was announced on September 8, 2006. An open beta began on March 30, 2007, and was open to all who pre-ordered the game's Founders Club edition. On April 6, 2007, the beta opened to the public.
The Lord of the Rings Online is an "open-world" game in which players can travel to any land or region. Regions progress in difficulty and the content of some must be purchased with game expansions. Players acquire quests from non-player characters (NPCs). A special Epic Quest line contains the main storyline of the game, running parallel to events in The Lord of the Rings.
Monsters and unfriendly creatures are found throughout the landscape. Players battle these using learned skills and attacks. The game is mainly Player vs. Environment (PvE). However in the Ettenmoors region, players can participate in Player vs. Player battles (PvP). Most gameplay is solo but players can team up in Fellowships to perform quests, skirmishes, or raids designed for larger groups.
Completing quests and special deeds allows players to advance in Level and acquire new skills, armour, or weapons. Legendary Weapons can be customized, renamed, and enhanced with Relics.
Towns and settlements provide Vendors where players can purchase or repair their armour, weapons, and supplies. Towns also often include Mailboxes, Auction Halls, Class Trainers, Forge-masters, Relic-masters, and Stable-masters who allow swift travel between regions.
The player interface allows other aspects of gameplay such as Character screens, Quest and Deed Logs, a Social Panel where players can interact, and a Crafting panel where players use skills to craft new items.
Players are able to play as any of the Free Peoples -- Elves, Men, Dwarves or Hobbits. Male or female characters can be created, except in the case of Dwarves. As per Tolkien, Dwarf women are very rare and seldom leave their mountain halls.
Several Classes are available to players, each with specific skills, strengths, and weaknesses. These include Burglars, Captains, Champions, Guardians, Hunters, Lore-masters, Minstrels, Rune-keepers, and Wardens.
Shadows of Angmar
- Main article The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar
Shadows of Angmar was released on April 24, 2007. It included books 1 through 8 of the epic quest line. Approximately once every two months a major free update is added to The Lord of the Rings Online. Each update is an extension to the epic quest called a book.
Book 9: Shores of Evendim
The first free content update was released on June 14, 2007.
- A new region - Evendim - is added, including locations like Annúminas.
- The epic story is expanded with book 9, Shores of Evendim
- 100 new quests are added.
- A 24-player raid is added, Battle for Helegrod.
- Nine new monsters are added.
- New Collectible armour sets are added.
- Updates to the music system.
Book 10: The City of Kings
- Main article The City of Kings
The second free-content update was released on August 21, 2007 in North America and on August 24, 2007 in Europe.
- Continuation of the Story Line.
- Legendary Play – Players can now use Destiny Points to play as a Ranger of the North or as a Troll.
- Critter Play – Players can now explore Middle-earth from a different viewpoint as a chicken.
- New Reputation and Bartering Systems – The Reputation system enables players to earn positive and negative standing with different races and groups in Middle-earth based on both monster kills and quest completions. The Bartering system allows players to trade trophies earned in battle for rewards, such as armour sets or mounts.
- Over 100 new Quests.
- More customizable user interface.
Book 11: Prisoner of the Free Peoples
- Main article Prisoner of the Free Peoples
Updates included (complete release notes):
- Continuation of the Epic Story arc, including 13 quests.
- Player housing – players will be able to customize their houses with items such as furniture and doormats.
- Second raid called "The Rift" – 12-player raid in which players encounter a Balrog for the first time. Turbine has stressed that this is not the Balrog from Khazad-dûm.
- Two new areas – Tâl Bruinen in the Trollshaws, where Gollum will be introduced for the first time, and Goblin-town in the Misty Mountains, featured in The Hobbit.
- More than 100 new quests.
Book 12: The Ashen Wastes
- Main article The Ashen Wastes
The fourth free content update was released on February 13, 2008 in North America; and February 14, 2008 in Europe.
Updates included (complete release notes):
- Continuation of the Story Line.
- Character customization - Increased character customization "ranging from haircuts, to some (possible) additions to the trait-system." In addition, the Outfit system, along with special social clothing designed just for it, will be introduced where a second or third set of clothing can be slotted and displayed while retaining the statistical bonuses of the currently equipped items.
- The Delving of Frór - A new Monster Play PVE (and PVMP under certain circumstances) area was introduced: An expanse of caves and catacombs located beneath the Ettenmoors.
- The Great Angmar Revamp - A revamp of the most high-level region of the game's current 9 PvE regions. The revamp included the reworking of many quests, areas and other changes, such as new horse routes.
- Barbershop - You can customize the look of your avatar in-game with around 50 new haircuts and second set of details.
- Updates to the Burglar, Guardian, and Champion classes.
Book 13: Doom of the Last-King
- Main article Doom of the Last-King
The fifth free content update was released on April 24, 2008 in North America and on May 1, 2008 in Europe.
Updates included (complete release notes):
- A new playable map area: the Ice Bay of Forochel.
- Players being able to see the ocean for the first time, confirmed as the Ice Bay of Forochel in recent developer chats.
- Fishing - the first of a new system in Lord of the Rings Online, called 'hobbies'.
- New PVMP Monster Healing Class - Orc Defiler.
- Looking For Fellowship- and Quest-panel improvements.
Book 14: The Ring-forges of Eregion
- Main article The Ring-forges of Eregion
The sixth free content update was released on July 22, 2008 in North America. It was released on July 24, 2008 in Europe.
Updates included (complete release notes):
- Climax of the "Shadows of Angmar" storyline.
- Added selected sections of Eregion (Region leading towards the Gates of Moria).
- Epic Quest events that will allow interaction between players regardless of server.
- Prelude quests for and leading up to the Mines of Moria expansion, which would have updates leading to Lothlórien, Fangorn, Rhovanion and Rohan.
Book 15: Daughter of Strife
- Main article Daughter of Strife
The seventh free content update was released on November 18, 2008. This update was released in tandem with the Mines of Moria expansion for players who did not purchase the expansion release.
Updates included (Epic - Vol. I, Book 15: Daughter of Strife Quests epic):
- Conclusion of the "Shadows of Angmar" storyline.
- Added the zone of Eregion expanding on the selected sections from Book 14. The zone does not include the Hollin Gate leading to the Black Pool.
- Added UI enhancements
Mines of Moria Expansion
- Main article The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria
Mines of Moria was released on November 18, 2008. It included Vol. II books 1 through 6 of the epic quest line. Like Shadows of Angmar, Mines of Moria continued to regularly release updates. Updates were less frequent than Shadows of Angmar.
Book 7: Leaves of Lórien17 March 2009. This update included:
- Continuation of the Epic Storyline in Book 7, Leaves of Lórien.
- Expansion of the Lothlórien Area, including Caras Galadhon.
- A new raid, named Strange Happenings, has been added.
- The Galadhrim are added as a new reputation faction.
- Crafting instances enable players to gather resources.
- The Ered Luin Introduction and, on lesser scale, the Bree-land Introduction are revamped.
- Several new Monster Play emotes are added.
Book 8: Scourge of Khazad-dum
- Book 8, Scourge of Khazad-dûm, continues the epic story.
- A radiance-gated multi-boss, 12-man raid - named Dar Narbugud is added.
- One 6-man instance is added: The Halls of Crafting.
- Two 3-man instances are added:
- Continuation of the revamp of the Bree-land Introduction.
- The Crafting system has been revived.
Siege of Mirkwood Expansion
- Main article The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood
Siege of Mirkwood was released on December 1, 2009 in North America and December 3, 2009 in Europe. Unlike the second expansion this edition was only available via a web-based download. It included Book 9 and the epilogue of Volume II: Mines of Moria.
Kate Paiz, Executive Producer for The Lord of the Rings Online, released a letter on October 22, 2010 stating that updates will be more frequent but will not always be accompanied with a new book continuing the epic story.
Book 1: Oath of the RangersOath of the Rangers
Updates include (complete release notes):
- The beginning of Volume III in the epic storyline.
- The ability to solo the Volume I epic storyline.
- A duo mode for most skirmishes.
Book 2: Ride of the Grey Company
- Main article Ride of the Grey Company
Book 2 was released on September 10, 2010 in North America. (September 8, 2010 for subscribers). It was delayed in Europe because of contractual reasons and was finally released on 2 November, almost two months after North America.
Updates included (complete release notes):
- New region: Enedwaith.
- Lord of the Rings Online Free to Play subscription.
- Book 2 in the Volume III epic storyline.
- Scalable instances.
- Improvements to the vault, and a new wardrobe system for cosmetic items.
- Updates to the Captain class.
- The LOTRO store, where players may purchase convenience items. Points either earned through gameplay, through the VIP program or by being purchased.
- The introduction of Lua Scripting.
- DirectX 11 support.
- Ranger session play.
Update 1: Journey to Winter-Home
- A Barter Wallet for skirmish marks and anniversary tokens.
- Opening of Moria, Lothlorien, Mirkwood and Enedwaith to free-to-play players. Volume II and Volume III will also be available, as well the legendary item system, and the level 65 level cap all to free-to-play players.
- Vault improvements.
- Tasks: a new quest type for all levels.
- Improved reputation mounts.
- Updates to the Lore-master and Rune-keeper classes.
- Ered Luin starting area revamp.
Update 2: Echoes of the DeadMarch 21 in the United States and March 24 for Europe.
- Two 3-man's, two 6-man's, and a 12-person raid were added for level 65 players.
- A special item required to craft a First Age weapon which drops from the above raid.
- Radiance was removed.
- Legendary Items were updated.
- Character panel and cosmetic system were revamped.
- The Minstrel, Hunter and Burglar classes were updated.
- Volume III Book 3: Echoes of the Dead was added.
- Volume II was revamped and made soloable, including three instances which have been converted to skirmishes.
- Improvements to the PvP starter tutorial.
- Evendim was revamped, with Annúminas being scaled down to level 40.
Update 3: Lost Legends of EriadorMay 23, 2011 and included: (complete release notes):
- Two new 3-man scalable instances starting mid-game.
- Two new skirmishes.
Rise of Isengard Expansion
- Main article The Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard
The third expansion for The Lord of the Rings Online is entitled Rise of Isengard. The expansion was made available on September 27, 2011 and only as a digital download.
Update 5: Armies of Isengard12 December 2011 and included (complete release notes):
- Four new instances and a 12-man raid in and around Isengard.
- Book 5 of Volume III is released.
- A new Instance finder, to form groups more easily.
- Barter currencies of skirmishes, classic and instances are unified.
- Changes to Reputation items.
Update 6: Shores of the Great River12 March 2012.
- A new region, the The Great River, was added, featuring seven new areas - including Parth Celebrant - in the upper Anduin. 
- Mists of Anduin, Book 6 of Volume III, was released, in which the player seeks the wisdom of Galadriel about troubling dreams and fights Easterlings, Brigands and an ancient enemy of Rohan.
- The ability to summon skirmish warriors outside skirmishes.
- Updates to the Instance finder.
- Currency-change in Monster Play: "Destiny" will be replaced with "Commendations". Commendations will be available for both Freeps and Creeps.
Update 7: Shades of the Past and was released on 14 May, 2012.[source?]
- Continuation of the aforementioned currency-change.
- A new instance, "Storm on Methedras"
- Revamp of the Fornost instance and Moria region.
Riders of Rohan Expansion
- Main article The Lord of the Rings Online: Riders of Rohan
The fourth expansion for The Lord of the Rings Online is named Riders of Rohan. The expansion was released on October 15, 2012. 
There are a number of elements that do not appear in any of the published works. This includes characters, lineages, objects and locations.
- Amarthiel served the Witch-king of Angmar during his first reign over Angmar and wore the lesser ring Narchuil. She was slain by Narmeleth at the Battle of Fornost and her soul wandered Middle-earth for over a thousand years. She managed to possess Narmeleth and disguised herself as Sara Oakheart. She eventually revealed herself after the defeat of Mordirith by Golodir and becomes the Regent of Angmar.
- Ronald Dwale was a Hobbit from Dwalling. He's an author and a member of the Inklings, that meets in the Bird and Baby Inn. He's based on J.R.R. Tolkien himself.
- Éogan was the second in command of the Blackwolds and took over leadership of the group after William Skunkwood's death.
- The Huntsman was a spirit found in Enedwaith who took the shape of a large man with horns of a stag. Many players thought this was Oromë. The developers confirmed that it wasn't Oromë but a Maia of Oromë.
- Mordirith was the Steward of Angmar.
- Narmeleth was an elf maiden of Rivendell and daughter of Laerdan. She slayed Amarthiel during the Battle of Fornost and became possessed by her soul over a thousand years later.
- Skorgrím was a dwarf and leader of the Dourhands. He was slain during the Battle of Edhelion. His corpse was used as a vehicle by Ivar the Bloodhand who possessed it with a fell spirit to trick the Dourhands to ally themselves with the forces of Angmar.
- The Dourhands was a clan of dwarves aligned with the forces of Angmar. They were the dwarves that stayed behind to rebuild the Dwarven Halls in the Blue Mountains which were destroyed during the War of Wrath.
- The Inklings are a group of Hobbit-authors who discuss literature. They meet each other in the Bird and Baby Inn. Prominent members are Ronald Dwale (J.R.R. Tolkien), Owen Farfield (Owen Barfield), Carlo Williams (Charles Williams) and Jack Lewisdown (C.S. Lewis). The group and members are based on the real Inklings.
- Agamaur was a vast swamp of the Lone-lands. It was a site of a major battle between Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur. To the west were the ruins of Ost Guruth, a fortress of Arnor claimed by the nomadic Eglain. To the east lay the ruins of Garth Agarwen, a fortress of Rhudaur ruled by Hill-men loyal to the mysterious Red Maid.
- Esteldin was a ruin of Arnor in the North Downs. At the time of the War of the Ring, it was used as a base of operations by the Rangers of the North.
- Falathlorn was a green and beautiful region of the Ered Luin favored by the Elves. It contained the Elvish havens of Duillond and Celondim. Not far from this region were the chilly Low-lands, site of the Dwarvish cities Gondamon and Kheledul.
- Maur Tulhau was a Stoorish Hobbit village in Enedwaith located in the forbidding Gloomgens. It was an remnant of the time when the Stoors lived in this region before most of their number moved north to The Shire.
- Stangard was a Rohirrim settlement near the Great River Anduin. Its inhabitants were mostly exiles sent to protect Rohan's outer borders.
- Tinnudir was an island in Lake Evendim. It was used as a headquarters by a group of Rangers called the Wardens of Annúminas, protectors of the ancient capitol of Arnor.
All American servers are hosted by Turbine.
All Russian servers are hosted by IT Territory.
For The Lord of the Rings Online, Turbine has licensed the rights to the content and lore of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Turbine does not have license rights to the New Line Cinema film trilogy nor The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth books or The Children of Húrin. Turbine was bought by Warner Bros. on April 20, 2010 and through them now have the license right to the New Line Cinema film trilogy and the upcoming Hobbit films.[source?]
Discrepancies from the source material
The Lord of the Rings Online does not follow the story as told in The Lord of the Rings, but rather tells stories about events that happened during the same time period as the events told in J.R.R. Tolkien's book.
The Lord of the Rings Online has been received very positively thus far, as reviews continue to appear since the game's initial release.
GameDaily awarded the game 9/10, praising its rich, fantasy-themed universe, well-integrated trait and title system, and a story that remains true to the works of Tolkien. Yahoo! Video Games wrote a review with few negative mentions, awarding the game a score of 4/5, while Computer and Video Games called the game an essential purchase for Lord of the Rings fans, scoring the game a 9.2/10. Eurogamer scored the game a 9.0/10, calling it tough to resist. Gamespy gave it 4.5/5 stars, claiming the game "opened up Middle-Earth to the masses" but commented negatively on its weak PvP content, while GameTrailers awarded it 8.5/10, citing its interesting tweaks to the MMO genre. IGN.com ranked it a similar 8.6/10, praising it for its solid experience, though criticizing it for its lack of major improvements to the genre. GamerNode.com awarded the game an 8.8/10, calling it the best MMO launch experience since Ultima Online. The New York Times called the game "a major achievement of interactive storytelling, the first game truly worthy of the ‘Lord of the Rings' franchise and a must-play for just about anyone with an interest in Tolkien or the future of online entertainment." In a GameSpot review, the product was awarded an 8.3/10, praising its appealing polish and intriguing Monster Play feature. Gamepro.com's review gave it an overall 4.25/5, pointing out how engaging the epic quests are, as well as how faithful to the novels the game managed to stay. GameSpy declared The Lord of the Rings Online 'Game of the Month' for May 2007.
In August 2007, Codemasters announced that The Lord of the Rings Online had received five Golden Joystick Awards nominations for the five applicable categories for the game, and in October 2007 that it had won the "PC Game of the Year" at these awards. and again won the same award on October 2008. In December 2007, GameSpy awarded The Lord of the Rings Online 6th place in the top 10 PC games of 2007. On December 18, Turbine announced it had also won the GameSpy MMO of the Year award. In January 2009, mmorpg.com awarded Turbine both MMORPG studio of the year 2008, and MMO Expansion of the Year for Mines of Moria.
In North America, players who pre-ordered the game were offered a special founder's offer, a lifetime subscription for $199 or reduced cost of $9.99 per month. Standard monthly fee is $14.99 with three, six, twelve month, and lifetime discounts available. European players had a similar program from Codemasters.
A Holiday subscription was available in December of 2007 and January of 2008 for $9.99/month for a 3 month commitment. A one year anniversary addition includes a $9.99/month subscription or a $199.99 Lifetime subscription, which was again offered during the lead up to the release of Mines of Moria.
Warner Bros. announced on June 4, 2010 that Lord of the Rings Online will offer a free-to-play model starting in the fall of 2010. On August 18, 2010, Warner Bros. announced that the free-to-play model would go live on September 10, 2010. On October 21, 2010, Codemasters announced that a preview of Free-to-Play would be available in Europe on October 25, 2010.
- Official website
- Lotro-Wiki, a fan created wiki
- lotro.wikia.com, another fan created wiki
- ↑ Unlike the other European servers, Withywindle was created in 2010 after The Lord of the Rings Online went free-to-play.
- ↑ Book 9: Shores of Evendim Release Date Announced
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "Book 9: Shores of Evendim Release Date Announced!" dated 5 June 2007, www.lotro.com (accessed 19 February 2012)
- ↑ | Codemasters Online and Turbine unveil Book 10: The City of the Kings
- ↑ Turbine and Codemasters Online Gaming to Unveil Book 11: Defenders of Eriador for The Lord of the Rings Online
- ↑ Codemasters Online and Turbine to unveil Book 11: Defenders of Eriador
- ↑ Book 11 Preview: The Balrogs are Coming
- ↑ Lord of the Rings Online: House of Commons
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 "Volume II: Book 7: Leaves of Lórien Spotlight", www.lotro.com (accessed 19 February 2012)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 "Volume II: Book 8: Scourge of Khazad-dûm", www.lotro.com (accessed 19 February 2012)
- ↑ Producer's Letter, October-2010 lotro.com, Dev Diaries
- ↑ Volume III: Allies of the King has arrived!
- ↑ Massively, V-E-ME Day: LotRO Europe announces launch date for free-to-play, dated 29 October, 2010 (accessed 11 November, 2011)
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard Official Homepage
- ↑ Justin Olivetti, "Riding into Rohan: LotRO maps out in 2012" dated 25 January 2012, Massively (accessed 29 January 2012)
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 "Update 6 Great River", www.lotro.com (accessed 19 February 2012)
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Jaret Pruett, "http://www.lotro.com/gameinfo/devdiaries/1776-update-6-commendations-developer-diary", www.lotro.com (accessed 19 February 2012)
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 "Update 7", lotro.com (accessed 12 May 2012)
- ↑ "WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT AND TURBINE UNVEIL THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE™: RIDERS OF ROHAN™", www.lotro.com (accessed 30 January 2012)
- ↑ In the game the Witch-king reigned over Angmar again shortly before the War of the Ring.
- ↑ big D, small d Jonathan Rudder, lotro.com forums
- ↑ "Turbine's LOTRO Service Goes Global" dated 24 April 2011, A Casual Stroll to Mordor (accessed 2 January 2012)
- ↑ Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, The - Review metacritic.com
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Review Yahoo! Games
- ↑ PC Review: Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Computer and Video Games
- ↑ Review - Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Eurogamer
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Review GameSpy
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Game Trailers
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Review IGN
- ↑ Lord of the Rings Online GamerNode
- ↑ Lord of the Rings Online Press Release Lord of the Rings Online
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar for PC Review GameSpot
- ↑ Review: The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar for PC Gamepro
- ↑ Game of the Month: May 2007 GameSpy
- ↑ Music and vice top games awards BBC News
- ↑ Gears Wins Big at Game Awards Next-Generation
- ↑ GameSpy's Game of the Year 2007 GameSpy
- ↑ LOTRO Wins Top Honors from Gamespy! Lord of the Rings Online
- ↑ MMORPG.com Best MMO Studo of 2008 mmorpg.com
- ↑ MMORPG.com Best Expansion of 2008 mmorpg.com
- ↑ Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Announces The Lord of the Rings Online™ to Adopt Global Free-to-Play Model Turbine, Inc
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings Online Europe Preview Event
|The Lord of the Rings Online|
|Games titles||Shadows of Angmar · Mines of Moria · Siege of Mirkwood · Rise of Isengard · Riders of Rohan · Helm's Deep|
|Storyline||Volume I: Shadows of Angmar · Volume II: Mines of Moria · Volume III: Allies of the King · Volume IV: The Strength of Sauron · In Their Absence|
|Soundtrack||Shadows of Angmar · Mines of Moria|
|Pack titles||Adventure Pack · Loot Bag|
|Mines of Moria Minigames||King Under the Mountain · Swig and Toss · Eleventy-Seven Morsels|
|Elements||Books · Characters · Locations · Ships · Structures|
|Kinships · Middle-earth Online|