It’s been coming for a while and now the process is finally underway. Turbine has started the shutdown process for about two-thirds of the NA and EU worlds available for their free to play MMORPG, The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). While this news certainly isn’t much of a surprise given the age of the game and its likely future with the Lord of the Rings license coming up for renewal at the end of 2017, it might actually be a welcome change to many LOTRO players who will have their worlds pushed into greater populations.
The shut down process is a bit out of the ordinary though so let’s take a moment to go through it for you LOTRO players out there. Effective today, the following worlds will not allow new players to be created and will be shut down in early 2016:
Players on these worlds will have their characters saved indefinitely and will be able to transfer for free off of closing worlds. Transfers from worlds that are remaining active will be free until October 1st, when the paid transfer service is re-implemented.
Initially, you’ll be able to transfer characters off of closing worlds onto the test world, Bullroarer, but later in August you’ll be able to move to the remaining worlds. Kinships will travel with the Kin leader to the new server and members of that Kinship will be automatically placed in their previous Kinship is they follow the leader to the same new world. Items, account history, character naming rights, and other details are discussed in the transfer FAQ. You can queue up for a transfer directly from the game’s launcher.
Brandywine will be unavailable as a destination world initially while the populations of the new worlds are balanced out and tested since this closing of worlds is being done in conjunction with a move to a new data center for the game.
You can stay up to date on changes and key dates by following the dev diary posts on the LOTRO forums.