When I was first getting heavily into The Lord of the Rings Online back in 2007, a common joke among players, commenting on how slowly content was coming to match the pace of the books, was “Mordor in 2016 or bust!”




Even given some recent news, I still think that’s optimistic.

Earlier this week, Turbine confirmed that their deal with the Saul Zaentz Company, holders of the Lord of the Rings license, to continue making LOTRO would continue past 2014, which was a major relief to concerned players. Well, to some players, at least. Some read “The license was renewed” as some sort of tricksy passive-voice marketing double-speak that says that Turbine has the option to continue making the game but won’t necessarily do so. Or whatever.

In any case, for most rational-thinking humans (and hobbitses), the game will continue at least through 2017. But will we see Mordor – or even Gondor – by then?

To review, here are the game’s major releases and expansions:

2007: Shadows of Angmar

2008: Mines of Moria

2009: Siege of Mirkwood

2011: Rise of Isengard

2012: Riders of Rohan

2013: Battle of Helm’s Deep

“When will we see Rohan?” was the cry from players for years after the game’s launch in 2007, one that wasn’t realized until 2012, five years later. Events and characters in 2011’s Rise of Isengard foreshadowed events from The Two Towers, so one could charitably say that players “entered” the second Lord of the Rings book at that point.

Turbine has stated that there won’t be an expansion this year, which pretty much guarantees we’ll get one in 2015. I’d imagine that updates leading up to that point will flesh out and “complete” any missing bits of Rohan, and that the 2015 expansion will be like Rise of Isengard – teasing the events of Return of the King but not quite getting us there.

Then again, there’s quite a bit of non-Rohan-related material in Two Towers that we haven’t covered yet – namely the adventures of Frodo, Sam, and Gollum, not to mention other major characters. I could easily see an update in 2014 that takes us into Ithilien and introduces us to Faramir, with a 2015 expansion titled something like “Web of Shelob” before a 2016 expansion takes us to Minas Tirith and Gondor proper. Then… Mordor in 2017? Or bust?

Even if Turbine could extend the deal beyond that point, would they want to? Certainly, they could still speculate and create stories that deal with events only vaguely referenced in the books and the appendices – and they’ve done a pretty good job of being imaginative with the lore so far – but would those pack the same “oomph” once the Ring is destroyed and Sauron’s forces are defeated? Not to mention, what will the game look and play like 10 years after its launch? Will it seem too outdated and clunky? Will it be profitable enough to continue?

It was clear from the start that Turbine was going to take things slow with LOTRO. They had to; voluminous as the books are, there’s only so much material, and Tolkien fans, as a whole, don’t give a hoot about adventuring in the Fourth Age. When we see Mordor, that will be a sign that we’re probably nearing the end of the road, so it’s made sense for them to string us along as long as they have.

But it’s probably best not to dwell too heavily on such matters now. For now, let’s just enjoy what we’ve got and be happy that we’ll have at least three more years to play around in Turbine’s and Tolkien’s world.

By Jason Winter

12 Readers Commented

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  1. skypro on February 24, 2014

    … to play the complete game an see mordor – you will shurely have to pay more than 500€ ….

  2. Jack Ryder on January 16, 2014

    Welcome friends. This is Jack Ryder and YOU are WRONG.

    “Not to mention, what will the game look and play like 10 years after its launch? Will it seem too outdated and clunky?”

    Good question–the answer is Yes. It was developed a couple years after WoW and at its core retains much of the same functionality. Ancient history.

    If anyone plans on making an MMO in the future concerning Lord of the Rings, we need to start seeing more TERA-like gameplay because let’s face it; People in the films didn’t just stand in place and trade blows until someone keeled over. There was active defensive maneuvers, active blocking, active combat in general. If they can give us something similar to War in the North but expanded to include the vast realm of Middle Earth and with all the baseline MMO features, it’d stand a far better chance of having lasting appeal.

    A lot of MMOs these days are moving toward action gameplay. DCUO, Dynasty Warriors, Yulgang 2, Blade and Soul and even TERA. Don’t believe in the trend? Well friends, YOU are WRONG.

    • Annonymouse on January 17, 2014

      Action based gameplay has been in certain MMOs for a long time. Using an example you provided, Dynasty Warriors online. It was released 7 years ago. Which, as you say, is a couple years after WoW and ancient history.

      The more successful MMOs to date have mostly all had some form of auto targeting, probably because people are lazy.

      SO yeah, think your the one that’s wrong here, but who knows right?

      • Zhao Yun on January 20, 2014

        imo as far as combat goes i think hes right i mean combat like tera or dwo is a lot better and realistic as he said and as u mentioned auto target is usually made either cause the creator of the game or the people workin on it are lazy or cause people playin the game prefer it to be autotarget cause usually are lazy thats what i think i least i personally prefer a game like tera or dwo(again combat wise not as a whole)over tab target or auto targeting games

  3. Treguard on January 16, 2014

    LOTRO is actually such a good MMO it’s just getting outdated same as most MMO’s these days with the next gen graphics coming in these older MMO’s dont stand a chance…shame!

  4. Adrian87 on January 16, 2014

    I would have been in shock if any LOTRO news was not written by Jason ;D

  5. Allwynd on January 15, 2014

    no hope for this game, and after they shut it down, there wont be any private servers, like for World of Warcraft… what a shame

    • Allwynd is a tool on January 16, 2014

      No hope? please explain how there is no hope?

    • chefmadness on January 16, 2014

      What private server for WOW? All the ones I tried suck. Can you recommend one?

      • shinigamian on January 17, 2014

        Molten-wow.com is the best and most populated out there

  6. LOTRO fan on January 15, 2014

    Maybe they will revert to 2nd age and create some stories about it..that age is full of things even more than the 3rd age..they can make it somehow fits into LOTRO universe.

  7. mounted on January 15, 2014

    mounted mounted mounted mounted mounted.

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