Ok, it didn't quite go like we planned, but at least we learned more about what they had planned for their upcoming Book 13 free content update. And that's just as good as leet beta infoz, right? Right?
First we talked about the new explorable area of Book 13, Forochel (four-oh-shell), the frozen land north west of the Shire inhabited by the Lossoth, or, as Steefel put it "the eskimos of Middle-earth." What makes this land so special? It's one of the last unexplored places in Eriador (the lands west of the Misty Mountains.) This area was only lightly touched on in Tolkien's work which gives the designers a chance to tell their own stories, including the next set of chain quests in the Epic quest line.
Book 12 added more end game content in the form of a new raid and new PvP area. However, the biggest request the LotRO team fields is for more solo content. The land of Forochel delivers on that with its heavy solo content geared towards the level 44+ crowd. Along with the new area comes new Deeds, Traits, Titles and Quests as well as a new public dungeon. The Lossoth will come with their own faction which players can work on via the quests in the area.
Steefel also talked about introducing the first of the new Hobbies: Fishing. Hobbies are designed to give players non-combat activities in the game that allow them to spend more time online with their friends and guildmates. The idea of adding fishing activities to the game started first as an on-going joke in the forums, but soon gained momentum as a serious request. The LotRO team wanted to implement it but had to first make sure it fit into the rest of the systems already present in the game.
To that end, Fishing will be open to everyone. There will be no race or class restrictions. Every body of water will be fishable. And the fish caught can be used in Cooking recipes. There will be fishing events and rewards. In fact, you can even mount some fish on the wall in your house in-game.
That's all we learned this time. But we were told there will be events surrounding the upcoming one year anniversary of the launch of LotRO in April as well as more info coming soon on Book 13.