Earlier this week the Curse team covered the release of the trailer for the upcoming expansion, Rise of Isengard, to Lord of the Rings Online. While we were at E3, we got a chance to sit down with Turbine to get a preview of the upcoming expansion.
For anyone who may be unfamiliar with LOTRO, the game unfolds in parallel with Tolkien's epic tale of the Fellowship. This gives the game the ability to build on Tolkien's world and create their own stories that add to as well as weave into the lore that Tolkien set down. In this expansion, Rise of Isengard, the game is unsurprisingly set in the area's around Isengard. Saruman is gaining power and building his army of abominations.
Three major new areas, Dunland, the Gap of Rohan, and of course, Isengard are introduced. Players start in Dunland and learn about the primitive, tribal people, the Dunlendings. As your journey draws you closer and closer to Isengard you start to learn of the evil that is seeping into the land and people around Isengard. When in the Gap of Rohan, you will battle over the pass and encounter the Rohirrim. Finally, players will arrive in Isengard and the iconic tower of Orthanc.
All of the zones are extremely different and highly detailed, but seeing Isengard and Orthanc took the cake for me. It's an incredible sight to exit the Gap of Rohan and first set eyes on the sprawling, deforested waste that Isengard has become with Orthanc grimly rising from the center.
As the Turbine team took us on a guided tour through the new zones, it was clear that story telling was paramount. The atmosphere for each zone begins to fill with tension and impending doom as you encounter armies preparing to fight along side Saruman as well as the resistance forces. The story will be propelled along by more than 300 new quests. To help emphasize the progression towards the ultimate goal of Isengard, mobile quest givers are utilized, so that players can continue their forward progression and still turn in quests without having to constantly round-trip.
While, LOTRO does largely focus on a parallel story to the Company of the Ring, players will get to interact with Tolkien's characters from time to time and learn of their adventures and progression as it relates to the game's story.
The expansion introduces a new 24 man raid that will feature an epic fight with the largest boss we've seen in the game so far. Isengard will also introduce class revisions and stat changes to allow characters to further customize their characters and add their own neuances. All of the classic instances will be scaled up to level 75. And tier 7 crafting will be introduced. Suffice it to say, there are plenty of reasons to dive into LOTRO and this new expansion.
The game is set to release on September 27, 2011 and is available for pre-order now. Turbine is providing lots of reasons to pre-order, by giving you benefits in the current release of the game like a 25% XP boost up to level 65 to make sure all your characters are ready when Rise of Isengard goes live. To get more details on the versions available, check out our earlier E3 coverage!