LOTRO VIP Subscriber Gift Available This Month

LOTRO VIP Subscribers will be able to get a special gift all month long, just for logging in. When anyone with an active VIP subscription logs in before the end of September they’ll be gifted with a free Armour of the Isengard Dispeller cosmetic set. Each of your characters will have to be logged in individually to get the set on them. The item will be found in your inventory. This gift will be available until September 30th for VIP and Lifetime VIP Subscribers. The items are Bound to Account, but getting them couldn’t be easier.

In addition to that from now until the 12th of September, you’ll be able to get 20% off select expansions and expansion quests, Enhanced XP Supply, HornburgToken, Skirmishes, Instances, and the 100% Mark Acquisition Boosts.

There’s also a new item to be found in the LOTRO Store, the Enduring Universal Toolkit.

The weekly coupon, which also lasts until September 12th will get you a Tome of Tracking. To get it use the code TRACKINGTOME in the store.

The armor is proving to be quite popular at the moment, so if you hope to stand out from the crowd…well, still get it, but maybe don’t put it on just yet or else you’ll end up looking like everyone else. It’s fantastic that the developers are offering free gifts to VIPs like this as an incentive to keep their subscriptions going. There are a lot of MMOs out there that could do with this sort of thing.

Source: Official Site

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Lord of the Rings Online Announces a Progression Server

It would seem that the hunger pangs for starting brand new in an MMORPG are strong, noisy, and require lots of meat. Lord of the Rings Online is the latest to heed the call of this ravening desire with the announcement of LotRO Legendary World, which is a progression server by any other name.

lotro legendary world

The Legendary Server will bring players back to the very start of the MMORPG’s launch with 50 as the level cap and Angmar as the high-level location. That said, this server will bear a few difference from the launch version, including the ability to play as a High Elf and the Boerning class, and the ability to take advantage of the game’s trait trees. Updates to the server’s content are slated to come every four months after that.

The Legendary Server will only be accessible to those who are subscribers to LotRO. That said, you will not have to purchase any additional Quest Packs or other expansions a second time, as those will unlock as the server’s story hits the appropriate milestones.

The LotRO Legendary World is set to open at some point this fall. More information is expected soon, but for now an FAQ can be read here.

Our Thoughts

We’re almost positive that there will be more than a few fans of LotRO pleased to see this news. Progression servers do seem to have something of a strong draw for many and we hope those interested in starting completely fresh have a great time once this Legendary World opens up.

Source: official site

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Middle-Earth Enterprises Offers Reassurance for LotRO’s Future

Even if one of the game’s community managers already offered some consolatory words about the safety of Lord of the Rings Online, maybe you’re still a bit nervous. One such fan was and went so far as to write Middle-earth Enterprises about it, then shared the company’s response regarding LotRO’s future.

lotro's future

In short, the candid reply from MEE wanted to make it pretty plain that Lord of the Rings Online and the license with Standing Stone Games is secure:

“The expanse of Turbine’s interpretation of Middle-earth, with regard to the lore and the actual geography, is incredibly immersive and satisfying. (I recently dived back into LOTRO after taking a few years off and love the polish and streamlining implemented by SSG.)

“Please be assured that all parties involved intend to proceed exactly as you hope; LOTRO and Athlon will co-exist within the Middle-earth universe, and create complementary experiences for fans.”

This further bolsters our own assumptions about the timing in the LotR canon for both games, which line up in such a way that they seem to try to not step on one another’s toes. Still, getting direct assurance from someone within the controlling interest is likely good news.

Our Thoughts

We’d like to offer some thanks to whomever wrote that response within MEE for their candor. It’s very obvious now that the issuance of the license isn’t just being done recklessly or with the hopes of burying Lord of the Rings Online. Now that we’ve got that concern out of the way, we can look forward to the updates that are due next to the overall story in LotRO and what new things Athlon Games will do.

Source: LotRO subreddit via Massively Overpowered

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Lord of the Rings Online Outlines Loot Box Changes for Update 23

Lord of the Rings Online Update 23 is, ostensibly, going to bring some adjustments to the MMORPG, but the subject of LotRO loot boxes was the focus of a forum post made by the game’s executive producer. Come the game’s next major content patch, there will be a variety of tweaks to their contents along with ways for players to circumvent the monetization if they so choose.

lotro loot boxes

The post opened up by outlining what loot boxes should not be in LotRO, specifying that any gear earned from a loot box should also be attainable from playing the game. Additionally, gear earned from higher level instances should always be more powerful than loot box kit.

With that in mind, equipment earned from loot boxes will still be a thing, but mostly as a means for players to catch up to those sitting in the higher echelons of item power. That said, gear found in loot boxes will also be available to earn by spending an upcoming end game currency called Embers of Enchantment at a special vendor if players want to avoid buying keys. Embers can be gained from doing weekly quests or deconstructing unwanted gear.

“We absolutely want to reward players who are awesome enough to support the long-term success of the game by opening lootboxes, and get joy in doing it, but we don’t want players to feel like they are forced to open lootboxes in order to play or excel in the game,” explains the post.

Our Thoughts

In our estimation, putting gear in a loot box is still not exactly a brilliant idea, even if said gear can be earned in-game. As it stands, there’s no clear way of knowing how much time it will take to earn enough Embers to get the right equipment, and loot boxes that offer a “pay to avoid grind” option are only marginally better than “pay to win” ones.

Source: official forums

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Standing Stone Games Reacts to New Lord of the Rings MMO News

Most people’s reaction when they heard about the upcoming new Lord of the Rings MMO appeared to be concern for the future of Lord of the Rings Online. Well, we’ve got the first official Standing Stone Games response and it appears to be one of “meh”.

standing stone games response

In a response to a player-started forum thread both announcing and discussing the news, one of LotRO’s community managers offered a simple enough reaction to the upcoming new MMO. “The news will not have any impact on our development plans or licensing,” it reads. “We always welcome competition, and wish them the best of luck!”

The licensing issue, of course, refers to the license of the IP to Standing Stone Games, which many believed was due to run out on the developer or otherwise was an indication that Middle-earth Enterprises were somehow displeased at the studio’s handling of the property.

That said, it’s important to note that the Lord of the Rings license has been handed out to a number of different games. Additionally, the timeline of this particular MMO puts it before the events of LotRO, which means it lines up chronologically behind the currently running game.

Our Thoughts

If nothing else, this welcome of competition could mean that Lord of the Rings Online decides to put its foot on the gas and crank out more content. Since we just don’t know anything more about this new MMO, it’s far too early to claim doom one way or the other.

Source: official forums

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LotRO’s Weatherstock X Gets a Full Schedule

It’s time once again for fans of Lord of the Rings Online and incredibly well-written musical macros to gather at Weathertop. Weatherstock X has published its full schedule, heralding the community event’s ten years and announcing this year’s performers.

weatherstock x

Weatherstock X will take place this coming Saturday, July 21st on the Landroval server. Interested attendees can gather up starting at 10am EST, then the festivities kick off at 10:30am EST with the hosting Lonely Mountain Band and a megaband opening set.

From there, competing bands will start their sets at 12pm EST. A total of 17 bands will be performing for a combined total of four hours. After that, voting will open at 4:15pm for 30 minutes, with the winners announced and playing an encore at 5pm, followed by a mounted procession for an afterparty at the Bree-land Festival Stage at 5:30.

If you’re not able to attend the event yourself in-game, you can catch the whole affair livestreamed by Druidsfire on Twitch. The complete schedule and list of bands can be seen here.

Our Thoughts

It still astounds us to this day that LotRO’s music system – and by extension this event – has grown in the manner it has. We would like to congratulate those who have been running Weatherstock for so long a hearty congratulations and hope everyone attending has an awesome time.

Source: official forums

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Lord of the Rings Online 11th Anniversary being Celebrated

The Lord of the Rings Online 11th Anniversary plans have been announced. This means the annual anniversary event will be coming back very soon, April 19th to be exact. There’s also a treat for any characters that have been around all 11 years. They’ll receive an 11-year gift box, a title, and a new emote. The gift will initially be sent out on April 19th but you will be able to get it so long as you log in before March 31st, 2019. No, that isn’t a typo, you have all year to get your gift. All previous anniversary quests will be available immediately but players will have to complete a prior quest before they can get the next one. Players will also receive three additional Treasure Hunt Cards focusing on the history of the game and core themes from Lord of the Rings.

Along with the anniversary event, there’s information on Update 22.1 which has a handful of changes. New fiddles have been adjusted and a Bardic fiddle has been introduced as an anniversary award. The new Fishing Deed now works properly and there have been some UI and bug fixes too. Of note, there has been further work done to fine-tune the chat filter. Also, there are new dropdown menus for Forge-masters and Relic-masters. Update 22.1 was released on April 10th, so if you’ve logged in you may have already seen the changes.

The game launched on April 24th, 2007 and since then has had two developers and four different publishers! It is currently being worked on by Standing Stone Games, a group of former-Turbine employees who moved with the game when it was handed off to their new publishers Daybreak. Congratulations on 11 fantastic years LOTRO team! We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next.

 

Source: Official Forums

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LotRO Update 22 Opens the Northern Strongholds

For fans of Tolkien’s franchise, there are plenty of iconic locales for players of The Lord of the Rings Online to visit across digital Middle-earth. With LotRO Update 22, however, that list of locations is growing by some pretty exciting dimensions and one cardinal direction in particular – to the Northern Strongholds.

lotro update 22

Update 22, AKA Legacy of the Necromancer, will grant players the opportunity to visit locations such as the Dale-lands, Lake Town, and the Dwarven kingdom of Erebor. Players can also look forward to new end game episodic adventures in the region every week starting Wednesday, March 14th. All told, over 125 new quests and deeds await players who own the relevant Adventure Pack.

Of course, things aren’t quite cleared out in the land of Mordor, as Update 22 will bring Chapters 5 and 6 of the Black Book of Mordor live. The update also brings several changes to the game itself such as Dwarven avatar updates, new facial options for Humans and Elves, and a pretty beefy list of other adjustments. That beefy list can be read in full on the game’s official forums.

Our Thoughts

We’re certain that fans of Tolkien’s fantasy realm are going to be pretty jazzed at the opportunity to see so many new places of legend. Frankly, we’re just glad that things are moving out of the endless dark shadow of Mordor and into places with water and trees and grass.

Source: official forums

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Is it Still Worth Playing The Lord of the Rings Online?

The modern MMO is a slick, streamlined and very accessible beast. There’s an emphasis on action combat, easy grouping, dynamic content. Launching the client, logging on and getting into the game is all designed to be a frictionless process. The Elder Scrolls Online and Guild Wars 2 are both prime examples of this and as a result are MMOs that are very friendly towards new players. There isn’t any skill bloat and the game’s mechanics and systems are very intuitive, so new players are not presented with a difficult learning curve. Furthermore, despite having substantial game clients to install, new players can frequently access the starter areas while the remainder of the game is still installing.

However, notwithstanding the accessibility of newer titles, some older MMOs still have their virtues and selling points. One such example being The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO), which has remained within the pantheon of MMORPGs for over a decade. It has the benefit of being based in one of the most iconic and beloved intellectual properties available in the fantasy genre, as well as ten years’ worth of content to play through and an established and mature community supporting it. Still not convinced? Let us look further at some of the advantages of LOTRO over other MMOs and consider further why it is still worth playing.

Is it Still Worth Playing The Lord of the Rings Online

The Best Price Around

LOTRO launched back in 2007 with a subscription-based service, as many MMORPGs of that time did. However, the then developers, Turbine decided to move to a hybrid free-to-play business model in 2010, after a similar transition had been successfully made with one of their other titles, Dungeons and Dragons Online. The current business model offers a range of options. The initial starter zones in Western Eriador are free and can provide content up to level 30. This provides adequate material for new players to get to grips with the game. There are then several options regarding progressing further. A subscription of $14.99 a month unlocks all content from the original game, Shadow of Angmar. It also offers additional character slots, bag space and removes the gold in-game cap. Expansions can then be bought for money or LOTRO points. If you don’t wish to invest in specific expansions, you can simply unlock the quests on a zone by zone basis. Furthermore, the in-game currency of LOTRO points can be earned by achieving specific meta deeds. Therefore, the new LOTRO player has a variety of options and can spend exactly as much as they wish.

A Finely Tuned Game

After a decade of development and multiple revisions, LOTRO is now a very streamlined game. The first 50 levels take the new LOTRO player through several iconic zones that have been optimized for progression. Although LOTRO may have an older game engine, the graphics have been updated in recent years and the character models are currently being revised. The vivid colors and stylized graphics suit the virtual world and game aesthetic. There are a wide variety of cosmetic options which allow the player to customize the look of their avatar, as well as a plethora of emotes. LOTRO is one of a handful of games that has a music system which allows players to utilize a variety of instruments. Songs can be played back via files and players can perform in synchronized groups. LOTRO has also adopted some contemporary game embellishments. For example, loot goes directly into your bags if you want. Subscribers can also handle all mail directly from their avatar, rather than via mailboxes.

LOTRO also offers varying difficulty of gameplay, depending on which class you pick. Traditional tank, DPS, and healing roles are available and there are a wide variety of classes that will suit different styles of gameplay. The ranged DPS of the Hunter is very accessible whereas the Warden offers a far more challenging experience and will suit the player who enjoys mastering complexity. If you enjoy competitive PvP and endgame Raiding, LOTRO can offer both. There is also a group finder to facilitate multiplayer content. However, if you prefer to play alone, then you will find LOTRO to be a solo friendly game.

 

Narrative Driven, Social Gaming

LOTRO includes most of the attributes and functionalities you expect from the MMORPG genre. However, it has another ace up its sleeve. The MMO is still strongly associated with social gameplay. Group content, social interaction and communities are still very much the backbone of LOTRO. Guilds or Kinships as they are known in the game, are integral to the games allure and charm. Although it is not essential to be in one, being a member of a kinship provides numerous benefits. There are the obvious logistical advantages of shared resources, the pooling of knowledge and experience, as well as playing through content in a group. But it is the social aspect that seems to shine in this game. Most of the LOTRO players I know are members of a kinship and many have found long-term friendships as a result. Unlike other MMOS, the social grouping is more than just functional. Due to the international nature of the player base, you’ll find kinships of every nationality, race, and religion. If you genuinely want more than a solo experience from your MMO gaming then look no further than LOTRO.

Another aspect of LOTRO in which the game excels is the story structure and quest lines. All are driven by strong narratives, couched in the lore of Middle-earth. The writers have always shown an abiding love and affection for the work of Professor Tolkien and this is reflected in both the main epic storyline, right down to the smallest regional quest. You’ll often find references both big and small to the events of the trilogy of books, as well as links to tales dating further back in the Third Age. For example, there’s a minor quest in the South Farthing of The Shire, in which a young Hobbit falls asleep onboard a small covered wagon. He subsequently recounts a tale of a tower in a circle of rock and a scary old man dressed in white. It would appear that he has unwittingly hitched a ride to Isengard, via one the supply wagons Lotho Sackville-Baggins is sending to Saruman. It is minor asides such as these that embellish LOTRO and delight those who enjoy the source texts upon which they’re based.

 

Role Play and Community

LOTRO presents a golden opportunity to role players and there are two dedicated servers which favor this style of gameplay. As a result, on both Landroval and Laurelin servers, you will find a great deal of in-game social activities. The game’s music system contributes towards this immensely, and there are regular player-organized festivals. Furthermore, many role players extend their avatars activities beyond the game, so you’ll frequently find websites and blogs with fan fiction and poetry. LOTRO still has a healthy blogging and podcasting scene per se, that will keep you informed of developments, activities and provide game guides. The game tends to have a more mature fan base and has a reputation for its friendly and supportive community. Hence, there is no shortage of kinships available, ranging from RP, PvE, PvP and purely social. Naturally, you will find a few malcontents here and there, but overall the zone chat is mainly civilized and welcoming.

The Intellectual Property

LOTRO is unique as there are no other Tolkien-based MMOs available at present, nor is there likely to be in the immediate future. Turbine (now Standing Stone Games) were extremely forward thinking when they decided to take the development of this game forward. I have played LOTRO since 2008 and what I have discovered during that time is that although the game attracts MMO players, it also attracts Tolkien aficionados. Many of those who play LOTRO do not play other games or even consider themselves as gamers. The intellectual property is a magnet for fans and frequently a stepping stone into the world of gaming. Hence you have a community and player base that is very dedicated and forgiving, because of their affection for the source material. Few other MMOs have that sort of community. LOTRO offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in Middle-earth. For many, that vision of Middle-earth is closer to Tolkien’s vision that the movie adaptations. LOTRO has its own original aesthetic and style to the Peter Jackson movies. Furthermore, after ten years there is a prodigious amount of Middle-earth for fans to explore. No other MMO can offer players access to The Shire, or Rohan or the Dead Marshes. So, in many respects, LOTRO is an MMO occupying its own bespoke niche in the gaming market.

Although some may argue that the halcyon days of the MMORPG are gone, there are still several enduring titles that can offer new players an engaging virtual world to explore and quest in. LOTRO is one of these. Not only can not it satisfy your MMO itch, but also provide a franchise-specific experience that no other game can directly compete with. Furthermore, after celebrating its tenth-anniversary last year, the developers have plans to expand the game further, adding yet more of Middle-earth to the game. Northern Mirkwood, Erebor, and Dale are currently in development and will be available soon. So, if you’re looking for an original and immersive depiction of Tolkien’s world, with a narrative driven story and welcoming community, then look no further than LOTRO. Just remember the wise words of Bilbo Baggins. “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

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10 MMORPGs You Should Play in 2018

It’s a question we see asked time and time again on social media, everyone wants to know what MMO they should try. So, in no particular order here are 10 MMORPGs you should play in 2018.

 

Everquest

This year Everquest is turning 19 years old! If you haven’t already played it at least once…well…why haven’t you? It is considered by many the MMO that really got the MMORPG genre going. Still going strong today, and still being made by the same people. The most recent expansion of the game just came out in mid-December, bringing the game up to 24 expansions. The level cap over the years has gone from 60 to 110 so there is a whole lot to do and when you buy the most recent expansion you get access to all the expansions that came before.

 

EVE Online

EVE Online: Lifeblood

All of the best stories about epic battles come from EVE Online. This year EVE is also hitting a massive milestone as it reaches the 15-year mark. It is a gorgeous game that is loved by thousands of players. It’s one of the most iconic MMORPGs in history and if you haven’t given it a try yet, you’re missing out. The game is still going strong today with one of the most rigorous update schedules in the industry.

 

Wizard101

If you’re looking for a game that is family friendly, you can’t go wrong with Wizard101. Of all the kid-friendly MMOs there have been through the years, Wizard101 is the longest-lived, having launched in 2008 and still as popular as ever today. The chat system they’ve put in place protects children so they can’t give away information about themselves and they aren’t exposed to any bad language.

 

Guild Wars 2

Five years since it launched it is still one of the most colorful and breathtaking MMOs on the market. It’s a great casual game that prides itself on being accessible to everyone, no matter what their skill level is. It’s a great MMO to get your girlfriend into gaming with, as it goes to great lengths to be newbie friendly. It’s a great game if you love dressing your characters up in flashy outfits that make them really stand out. It does offer some difficulty as well for more seasoned gamers in the form of raids. It’s also one of the most successful online games currently on the market.

 

The Elder Scrolls Online

It may have had a rocky start but once Elder Scrolls Online found its footing it quickly rose to the top, becoming one of the best MMORPGs you can currently play. They put out fantastic DLC content regularly, expanding their world every time. If you’re a fan of any of the Elder Scrolls games this is your chance to play in that world, but with real people this time. It has incredible storytelling, fantastic voice acting, and crafting is a joy instead of a chore like in so many games.

 

World of Warcraft

It’s the most famous MMORPG in the world and once upon a time, it was the King of them all. These days the popularity may have declined but it is estimated to still have millions of players. With another expansion always on the horizon, there is always something to look forward to and something new to play. If you’ve not played World of Warcraft, you’re missing out on a piece of gaming history. Anyone interested in online gaming should give WoW a chance.

 

Secret World Legends

If you’re looking for a game with a modern setting you might want to turn your eye towards Secret World Legends. You’ll find that most of the maps are empty, only allowing 5 people in most instances, but that fits just perfectly with the story and the setting. The cities and main hub allow for players to congregate in much larger numbers. It’s a fantastic story-driven game to play with a small group of friends. If you’ve ever found yourself wishing you were in the X-Files, this is the game for you.

 

The Lord of the Rings Online

For a while there it seemed like Lord of the Rings Online might have been finished. They went 3 years without an expansion. Thankfully, 2017 turned all that around. A newly formed independent studio is now in charge and they released Mordor at long last. But the biggest attraction for LotRO isn’t the development cycle or the graphics, it’s the players. They have one of the most friendly and inviting communities you could ask for.

 

Final Fantasy XIV

Considered by many to be the best MMORPG you can currently play, FFXIV is a no-brainer on this list. They have been killing it with update after update. It has a massive community and supports a wide variety of gameplay styles. If you’re new to gaming or you have a problem with taking part in raids, then maybe this isn’t the best MMO for you, but for many long-time gamers, FFXIV is the place to be.

 

Star Trek Online

Looking for a game you might not usually consider? Give Star Trek Online a try. The creators of this game have been bringing in beloved Star Trek actors to do voice acting for years now so you can meet your favorite Star Trek heroes. One of the great things about Star Trek Online is that it’s also available on console, so you don’t have to own a PC to play. It’s also one of the few games that allow you to play both in space as a ship and as a single person on away missions. It’s a unique MMORPG with a lot to offer. Being a fan of Star Trek isn’t a requirement to play, but having some knowledge is handy. Or at least make sure you have Memory Alpha (the best Star Trek wiki) open.

 

Bonus

If none of these titles strike your fancy, you might consider trying an older game that isn’t being actively developed anymore. They’re pieces of history that won’t be around forever so play them while you still can. You never know when or if you might regret it in the future. At the top of that recommended list are Final Fantasy XI, the original Guild Wars, and Anarchy Online.

 

There you have it! 10 MMORPGs you should play in 2018 with a couple of bonus ones thrown in. Keep in mind of course that this list only has games that were already live at the start of 2018 and there may be some other awesome ones released throughout this year. If there are, you can be sure we’ll add them to this list. If you’re still looking for more recommendations be sure to check out our 2018 MMO Recommendations poll where players are voting for the games they recommend you play.

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