Mirkwood Ready To Be Sieged

Why can't we just get along with the giant monsters?

Lord of the Rings Online expansion The Siege of Mirkwood is now online. Are you already there? Or planning to return? I must confess to having had no real experience of LOTRO, beyond a disastrous pre-release event where I was abandoned in some weird place with nothing to do for 45 minutes before quitting in confusion. I’m assured this isn’t how the game works, but instead it’s a deep, involved and rather musical MMO. And now it’s even bigger with this new chunk of game. There’s a launch trailer below to get you in the mood.

Lots more details can be found in Alec’s interview with Turbine producer Jeffrey Steefel over here. Meanwhile, here’s a quick rundown of what’s included in the $20 expansion:

– Join the elves of Lothlórien in war against Sauron among the ancient ruins, spider-haunted canyons, and foul bogs of Mirkwood
– Discover hundreds of challenging quests in this new region
– Advance your hero to level 65, and take the power of your Legendary Items to level 70
– Create and lead your own customizable soldier in the new Skirmish system
– Infiltrate the Dungeons of Dol Guldur, the Deadly Sword-halls, and the Savage Warg-pens
– Experience action like never before with new enhanced combat responsiveness
– Risk the most challenging 12-person raid ever devised against the Nazgul Lord, Lieutenant of Dol Guldur!


  1. Cool Face says:

    This gaem has the worst character animations I’ve ever seen.

    *Thumbz down*

    • Lobotomist says:

      Animations are not the best.

      But environments are hands down the best of any MMO. DX10 or 9.
      Quests and story is on par with Bioware singleplayer RPGs. And community is the most friendly and mature around.

    • Sweedums says:

      yeah i’ll second that, the community in lotro is on the whole a really mature one and the main book quests (and even some normal quest chains) have some great stories behind them.

      the game is also very pretty still if u have the hardware (and you dont really need much) and since its middle earth, you are treated to some really cool environments too. in game the character animations seem fine, though i’ve never really looked into them too much in the heat of battle…

  2. Kelron says:

    I can’t try out the high level stuff, and probably won’t for a long time, but I have played with the skirmishes a bit. I like what they’re trying to do with it, create scaleable instances that any size group can access at a range of levels, so players can experience something of what the high level quests offer without needing to level up or gather a large group. It succeeds to an extent, but it also jars with the immersion that attracted me to the game in the first place.

    To give an example of the skirmish I did, I was teleported miles from my location to help defend a dwarven city from siege. This involved frantically running around the city reinforcing the various gates as needed, toppling some giant trolls and a large dragoney looking thing. It was fun, but the problems with it? These huge monsters were weaker than some of the aurochs I’d been hunting for a quest previously, and weaker than the leader of the siege, a normal looking dwarf. It’s going to detract from any sense of awe when I do meet monsters like this in the course of the storyline quests. I can also go back and defend the same city from the same siege over and over, if I’m so inclined.

  3. Uglycat says:

    When do we hear about the compo results? :)

  4. spinks says:

    Kelron, most of the gameplay in a MMO destroys immersion, especially once you start repeating instances and grinding for reputation.

    The skirmishes are pretty good fun, they scale with the number of characters and you can adjust their level and difficulty. You also get a skirmish soldier who you can spend skirmish marks on to give new skills. You get to choose what class they are, so a tank could grab a healer pet and so on. It’s really quite a fun dynamic in the MMO and gives you a lot of choices — do you want to do some slow careful questing, try one of the solo instances, play a skirmish either alone or with friends, etc etc.

    I like what Turbine are doing with this game. But it’s still very much an old school MMO.

    • Kelron says:

      Overall I like the idea, but I feel it could have been implemented better. On the one hand the level system gets in the way of enjoying the game, if I have to be high level before I can see the cool stuff, but on the other hand I think if you’re going to have a level system then the powerful monsters should be saved for high level. I like the chance to fight these creatures at level 30 when I’d normally have to be level 50, but it still feels wrong that they’re no more powerful than the level 30 monsters I fight every day.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      “I like what Turbine are doing with this game. But it’s still very much an old school MMO.”

      Hmmmm, I’m wondering what you mean by “old school mmo”, seeing that Aion (the latest) is as cookie cutter as possible, and Ultima Online (the first mmo deserving this name) would still be quite an inovation and a refreshing game if it came out today, compared to most of the alternatives.

      Lotro is certainly fun, most absolutely a theme park, but it can’t be qualified as “an old school” mmo, or you’re putting 90% of the genre in this category.

  5. Jockie says:

    LOTRO is not really the game that sprang into my head when a LOTR MMO was announced. I was hoping for some freeform sandboxish exploration of Middle Earth, riding around on horses with my companions as war beset the lands around us. Instead it’s kind of MMO by the numbers. It has some great features and a definate sense of place to it, but it’s just to traditional for it’s own good.

    I never reached Moria, let alone Mirkwood in my time playing LOTRO. But the skirmishes don’t really do much to entice me back, because they weren’t what I felt the game lacked in the first place.

  6. Lobotomist says:

    Its hard for me to return to subscription MMOs , when you have so many F2P alternatives.
    DDO being one of them.

    LOTRO is however best. It managed to keep me way longer than WOW or any other P2P MMO.

  7. jackflash says:

    Once an MMO actually innovates at something I will try them again. Until then, I will be sticking with minorly multiplayer PvE (read: Borderlands).

  8. malkav11 says:

    I did like LOTRO when I spent some time with it, but it’s such a low fantasy setting that I can’t get that engaged. I just really don’t get excited over the classes or abilities or any of that, I already more or less know the story, and while I do get occasional nerd joy from futzing around in Tom Bombadil’s house or following Aragorn around, there’s a lot more wandering around killing spiders and goblins (in my low-level experience, at least) than there is that sort of thing.

    It’s a very competently executed, gorgeous MMO, but I’d rather play something else, ultimately. Such as Everquest II, which is uglier by far and shakier in execution, but has so much more interesting toys to play with and a crazy amount of variety in content. Or WoW, of course. LOTRO actually has some advances to gameplay over WoW, but I find Azeroth and environs much, much more interesting to adventure in.

    I do wish someone else would poach LOTRO’s legendary weapon system, though. That sounds frickin’ awesome.

  9. Keith says:

    Yeah, I completely agree with the poster above me-LOTRO’s fantasy setting is just too drab to keep my attention.

  10. Thirith says:

    What’s the music in the trailer? I’m pretty sure that they also used it in the first or second trailer for the Peter Jackson films (and probably a whole slew of other trailers).

  11. Dethgar says:

    I just finished Dragon Age, took me 55 hours though most of it was spent dicking around and having fun in game. When I watch this trailer, I become depressed, both physically and mentally. After playing DA, I don’t feel the need to ever play an MMO, because I know that unless I’m in some tight knit rp group…I am not a hero or a villian, I’m just the guy following the same path as some other douche.