Future Book Update World Speculation

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I love to speculate on the direction we'll see the game go in terms of world additions. As a Tolkien fan, it would be my dream to see all of Middle-Earth realized at some point, from the coasts of Eriador to the Shores of the Sea of Rhun. From the peak of the Lonely Mountain to the harbors of Harad. Unfortunately for me, this is Lord of the Rings Online. As the title implies, only parts of the world mentioned in the book may be included in this game under the license agreement. Drat.

Still, there's a good amount of content to be had from this massive volume. I take this time to make some conjecture on where we might go with future landscape additions from free book updates between the Mines of Moria expansion and the next paid expansion (presumably in November if Turbine holds to their schedule).

We should look at past update patterns first as a model for what we could see this year. There were two major landscape additions post launch. First was the Shores of Evendim and second was Forchel. Landscape additions were not present in all books, though counting minor additions such as the Misty Mountains and the Trollshaws, we saw about half the Book updates include some sort of world update.

Considering the expected timeline until the next paid expansion (shorter than between release and Moria by the way) and the fact that Book 7 has a world addition, I would guess that we'll see only one zone addition to the game before November. The question, of course, is where.

In the Shadow's of Angmar, the main enemy and antagonist came from Angmar (although there was some of Saruman's work in Breeland and the Shire). As such, the new zones dealt much with Angmar's influence on the land - especially Forochel. These zones were added in close proximity to Angmar as the threat would be greater the closer you got to the enemy stronghold. Expanding South and/or towards the western shores would move the players farther from the immediate threat. It would have been more difficult to justify the story going that direction as well as higher level zones. (I think some of these Southern Eriador locations would be better suited to alternative advancement zones equivalent to the North Downs, Lone Lands, and Trollshaws.)

I have to admit I'm missing crucial information in the form of the complete story of Volume II. I've only completed through Book 3. But knowing the LOTR and a bit of the world's history, I can say that a plausible enemy focus would be Dol Guldur - to the east of Lothlorien. We're still too far away from Isengard to feel the full force of that threat. And it would a better focus for a Rohan expansion (more on that in a minute). Mordor is even further away. Mirkwood poses some considerable natural dangers in addition to whatever might be infesting the former stronghold of Sauron. It's close to Lothlorien, where we've just finished up with the epic quest in the soon to be released Book 7. It's a logical place to go for a landscape addition.

As to what we might see in the next paid expansion... well, we always, always have to remember where the fellowship is going. From Lothlorien they went south on the Anduin until the Falls of Rauros and from there split up - five going west (two in captivity) and two going east. The next resting place is Edoras, in Rohan (Sam and Frodo are a much more complicated endeavor and would be hard to guess about regarding expansions at this time). Therefore Rohan is a logical subject for the next paid expansion, including Isengard and Saruman as the enemy focus. Fangorn is also in that make up - which will be cool to see as it's like the Old Forest on steroids.

So, those are my best educated guesses at this time. Like I said at the beginning, I'd love to see some more additions to other parts of the landscape that we're less familiar with - if only to further flush out my fantasy of having a full Middle-Earth to live in, but in all honesty, we're more than likely going to follow the fellowship to the foot of Mount Doom before we see some of the peripheral content

1 Responses:

2highroad Says:

I often find myself wondering about the future content patches and books as well. After reading your post, I find myself firmly in your camp. Bring on Dol-Guldur!