Jeffrey: The first thing they get is, essentially, an entire new area called Eregion where book 15 takes place. That's even before you get into Moria, and it is available to everyone in the game regardless of whether you have the expansion or not. I think there is only one area out of ten new ones that is inaccessible without the expansion. That, of course, is the part of Eregion that leads you into Moria. We added some functionality to the game, too, with things like tradesets and other things.
All of the polishing/tweaking/balancing we've done to the game, whether it is class balance or smoothing out animations, all of those are available to anyone playing the game period. Getting into Moria itself, the new classes, the new levels, and the legendary items are what people are really buying the expansion for.
You want to give them a little taste to get them interested in the new content, then, right?
Jeffrey: Absolutely. Well, we want everyone to feel like when we do an update for the game (no matter who you are) there's always more to do for you. We don't want to hold people over a barrel and say "you're never going to have fun again" unless you buy the expansion. But, of course, they'll have a lot more fun if they do. (laughs)
You don't plan on doing any more books for volume 1, correct?
Jeffrey: No, book 15 is the last one in volume 1. Moria is the beginning of volume 2. What we've shipped with is essentially books 1-6 of volume 2. We've already started to work on book 7!
Is there any sense you can give us about the future of LotRO? With Moria now out we imagine you're now working on the next expansion ... ?
Jeffrey: Can't tell you anything about the next expansion, other than we are working on it. We intend to do just what we've been talking about – have a new expansion approximately every year. That's something players can expect. We'll be talking about that and a lot of other really exciting things after the first of the year. We're not talking about specifically what we're doing, but we've already made our way across the misty mountains. We've come out the other side of Moria and Lothlorien. Just look at a map of Middle-earth and you'll see what kind of awesome places that opens up for us.
We've also gotten into a different area as far as tone, too. After the relative serenity of Eriador (barring the Witch-King of Angmar), we're now coming into the place where the war of the ring is really starting to take place. That opens up all sorts of opportunities for what players are going to encounter. We're not quite there yet, though.
So Book 7 is the next free content update we can expect ... is there any date you folks are currently thinking of for that?
Jeffrey: It'll be in the first quarter sometime.
Thanks so much for your time, sir.
Jeffrey: Thank you. We're looking forward to opening up the gates!