Beorn-Again: Siege Of Mirkwood

When the Blighters inevitably gets killed, I'm going to go on a cross-genre cross-game elf-killing rampage. MARK MY WORDS.

How do you besiege a mirky wood? Expect to find out shortly, when Turbine release its Digital Download pack for Lord of the Rings online. It’s a digital download pack rather than something you can buy in the shop, and features… oh, lots of stuff. Raised level cap. Jump-in Skirmish Feature (Which sounds a little like what Warhammer does). Kicking over Dol Guldur, which is a place which has always deserved a good kicking. Lots of stuff, but there’s some interesting bonuses for this. For example, any returning (or current) player who upgrades their sub for multiple months before October 31st will get it for free. Which strikes me as smart. I’m particularly affectionate towards Mirkwood today, as my girlfriend has given me a amusingly photoshopped picture of Beorn in bear form with a Kenickie badge on his ursine lapel. See more of its features here, catch a glance at the first grabs here and watch some footage taken with a camera at Pax below…

How big is RPS’ LoTR community? Still digging it? It’s a game which always seems to be off on one side of the MMO conversations. It’s also, despite not actually adoring it when it was released, one which I’d like to find the time to go back to.


  1. Cooper says:

    1997 was a good year. At the Club was one of my first albums I got on CD. Limp Biscuit, Blink and the bloody Spice Girls can bugger off. We had OK Computer, 6 Underground, Song2 and, I am informed by my flatmate, Barbie Girl by Aqua.

  2. Psychopomp says:

    I’ve tried no less than two trials for LotR. For some reason, despite the slendid ideas behind it, I couldn’t bring myself to move beyond the opening tutorial.

  3. Larington says:

    I just gave in 2/3 months back and bought the £150 lifetime subscription, way I see it, I can return anytime and I’ll get value for money considering that the game has at least enough lifetime in it to tell the rest of the unwritten surroundings to the main story.

    Theres little wonders like the rather sweet first minstrel class only solo quest that simultaeneously helps to make it clear that the game is about players/monsters getting ‘defeated’ rather than killed, a nice way of sidestepping the whole absence of ressurection spells you see in the lore of LOTR itself.

  4. Sparvy says:

    LOTRO is that MMO I really would like to play/buy, and yet never does. I even liked it when I was in the beta, and they seem to have only improved it since. I suppose I just keep getting distracted by shinier and more exciting games.

  5. Kelron says:

    Marketing trickery! I may take them up on that offer if they extend it to EU subs too (LOTRO Europe website currently has no mention of it that I can see). My character is still only level 20-something (played on and off since beta), but I do like the game.

  6. Matthew says:

    I really enjoy it myself; out of EVE, CoX, WoW and LOTRO Middle-Earth is the only one to have captured my long-term interest.

  7. Larington says:

    Saw mention on twitter that they’re in the process of finalising the euro deal(s) that might result from the expansion release, so there should be an announcement soon… I’d guess in the next week or two but don’t take my word on that since I don’t work for codies/turbine.

  8. Schadenfreude says:

    I got the lifetime sub on release so every couple of months I dive back in and play until burnout or distraction leads me away. Haven’t played in a while though because I need to reinstall, which takes an age.

  9. unwize says:

    On the surface LotRO looks like any other MMORPG, and indeed, Turbine shamelessly adopted many of the conventions that WoW established, such as a theme park world with quest-based progression. However, since launch Turbine have been getting quietly on with carving out their own distinctive niche in the MMORPG space, especially with regards to innovations in combat mechanics and instanced-dungeon design. The differences between WoW and LotRO are subtle, but to those that play these kind of games a lot, they are significant.

    Skirmishes are similar in concept to WAR’s public quests, though they will be instanced and will likely require more strategy. They’ll also see the introduction of per-player NPC soldiers that can be leveled and configured to perform a particular role. Turbine obviously have one eye on eventually involving players in signature battles within the LotR story, such as Helm’s Deep, and the skirmish system is likely the first step towards that. It also provides a platform to introduce PvP mini-games and allow the monster players to leave the single zone to which they are currently confined.

  10. Dev Legion says:

    I vowed never ever to get sucked into the world of mmorpg games, I hate the fact they suck you in and take over your life, plus the twinky players and well just about everything else…..

    That said I got pursuaded by my housemate to try LOTRO and I was blown away, it has a great RP and social aspect to it that i’ve not seen elsewhere.
    There are no ‘twinky’ players running round battering lower level characters, you can do as you chyoose and quietly get on with things or constantly look for fellowship quests.
    There isn’t a part of the game that I don’t love

    Brilliant, sheerly brilliant =]

  11. Ballisticsfood says:

    If that’s meant to be Mirkwood, why can you see the sky?

  12. DarkNoghri says:

    I don’t have the game, and don’t play mmos. I just wanted to say that Dol Guldur really did deserve a good kicking.

  13. Ian says:

    How many RPSers are there playing this? if there’s (m)any I might be tempted to give it a go. WoW+plus other games means I’d probably never get the time to properly get into it permanently, but as a LotR (and associated works, etc.) fan I’d be interested to go in and have a look.

  14. Lobotomist says:

    Thing that many people dont know is that LOTRO is second most successful western MMO after WOW.

    While above might be argued, anyone that played the game would tell you that LOTRO is to MMORPG what Baldurs Gate is to single player RPGs.

    In any case. Turbine did and still does most awesome job. Both in game creating and buisness decisions ( Free D&D Online)

    • Kelron says:

      I really wouldn’t put it on the same level as Baldur’s Gate. It’s a good game, just not that good. Given that BG is frequently credited with reviving the cRPG and inspired many of the modern RPG standards, it’s stretching things somewhat to say LOTRO has done the same for MMOs. It is the closest MMO to a single player RPG that I’ve played in terms of setting and storytelling, so you may have something there.

  15. underproseductor says:

    Let’s get out of that fucking wood before it’s too late!

  16. Paul S says:

    Loved it in beta; bought the Collector’s Edition with lifetime subs. Codemasters ballsed-up the UK release of said Edition, promised to fix, dragged out supplying the missing items, then in some cases didn’t.

    The competition to win replica gold & silver rings? Complete lack of due dilligence with respect to local legislation led to most owners excluded and the happy German public able to enter despite not actually having to purchase the CE or any version of the game at all.

    A little digging around with promotional images and .pdf’d sample booklets revealed that the ‘issues’ were known about months prior to the release, but strangely not even hinted at until most copies had been delivered. Lying bastard marketeers, standard PR fluff post-event apologies, etc.

    TL:DR – loved the game, but UK launch left very sour taste. Petty, yes, but I couldn’t play beyond a few months after launch.

  17. Reiver says:

    I’ve been playing this for nearly 8 months, almost to the exclusion of all other games, and have two level 60 characters: the badly nerfed and lacking utility Hunter and the dynamic, very powerful warden. Even after that length of time i’m still enjoying myself. Although there’s niggles about difficulty, the undue emphasis on DPS and class homogenisation and balancing leaving some classes sidelined or under/over powered the one thing that has never dissapointed is the landscape. The designers have done a fantastic job in recreating bits of middle earth and tying them together into a seamless landscape. It’s the most amazing gaming enviroment i’ve encountered, a wonderful acheivement.

  18. Lollerskater says:

    Got a lifetime account kicking around and have recently taken up playing a bit more after it going stale for months. Great fun, moreso than I expected, there being many times where I first thought that something should work a certain way only to find that in LotRO it actually did work said way.

  19. Tei says:

    If I have to kill another bear, … But I like the PvPM. Maybe because I hate these elfs, su crushing his face in the mud, is like The Right Thing.
    Not played in eons. I owe a dude lot of gems :-/

  20. Konky Dong says:

    LotRO has turned into an excellent game. The original SoA fanbase cries and moans about MoM but I found the expansion to be pretty excellent. The 6 and 3 man dungeons at lvl 60 are superb, truly some of the best instances I’ve ever played in an MMO. They really put WotLK’s stuff to shame, a LotRO dungeon like Furnace is, I think, a perfect example of how MMORPG dungeons should be paced. It’s fucking perfect, I ran it so many times after getting all the gear I needed from it because it challenging and damn fun. Unfortunately other MMOs came calling and I stopped playing a few months ago (the fact that none of my friends play it didn’t help) but with the combat changes and all this new content, I might stick with the game this time.

  21. Joey says:

    I’ve tried a couple of MMOs over the years and LOTRO is the only one I’ve stuck with for more than a couple months. I’m a more casual player, but I really really like the game and would encourage anyone to play.

  22. CCCP says:

    Have played this more and less consistently since beta (had a three or four month hiatus in summer 2008) and am still enjoying it very much.

    Turbine have done a good job of depicting Middle Earth and keeping the game broadly within the sweep of Tolkien’s vision. Hard to do when there are thousands of hobbits outside the shire and dwarfs, elves and men running errands around Hobbiton.

    Have found the LOTRO community friendly and am happy that i stumped up for the lifetime subscription at launch.

  23. JB says:

    I've got 4 toons on the Snowbourn server. Found a nice friendly kinship.

    As said above, the community and landscapes are great, and it's a lot of fun to run around and stab stuff in the face/crotch/mandibles/what-have-you in Tolkien's world.

  24. Arathain says:

    What really stands out (for me) is the excellent class design. Each class I tried felt interesting and powerful, with abilities that were characterful and fun to use.

    It is also supremely pretty.

  25. Evil Timmy says:

    Haha, that was one of my favorite belabored puns out of the whole Discworld series, and there were many.

    Not an MMO fan outside of a six-month fling with EVE, so…yeah. Just wanted to comment on the title.

  26. wrshamilton says:

    Have just been playing a few weeks. Game is beautiful – entering Rivendell for the first time was an actual, like, experience, that got at my inner nerdy little 12-year-old-boy. Some of the ways that LOTRO doesn’t tend to support serious end-game players as well as other games end up being an advantage for the experience, I think, as it makes it a more welcoming place for people who don’t want to reconfigure UIs and macros and things, even if they do want to play challenging dungeons.