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Fan-made LotRO map guesses at expansion details: Mordor in 2012!

William Dobson

This has been out there for a while now, but if you haven't already seen it then it's definitely worth a look. Visions of the Ring has a player-made map that speculates a time line for Lord of the Rings Online expansions. It is flash-based, and you can scroll by months or years and see when the map creator Hayoo expects different content will be added, and what the overall game map will look like at any particular time.

Before you go thinking, "What a nutjob!", and dismiss the whole thing, Hayoo has a lot of reasoning behind the map's dates and the order in which things will come.

There are four principles behind the creation of the map, from the Visions of the Ring forum:

1) a content update every 2 months which includes at least one new area roughly the size of the Shire, fully fleshed out with new quests, monsters, and NPCs.

2) a boxed expansion every year which includes a new region up to the size of Eriador, fleshed out with all the quests, NPCs, and points of interest, and preferably themed around an epic quest line, i.e. "Shadows of Angmar" or say "The Phantom Mumakil" or "Attack of the Uruks"

3) the order of expansions follow the story of Frodo and the Ring as much as possible.

4) using the expansions to favor the more popular regions (Moria, Lorien, Rohan, etc) to keep the story moving, while using the content updates to fill out the core areas as much as possible as the story moves on.

Using these ideas, the entire Lord of the Rings story was mapped out to prospective content updates for LotRO. So if Hayoo is correct, you will be able to visit Rohan in 2010, Gondor in 2011 and Mordor in 2012 -- and it doesn't end there. The map has updates right up until August 2015.

My two cents? I think it is an extremely interesting and well-thought out project, but I'm unsure of the time frames given. 2015 is an awfully long time away, but then again, certain MMOs have survived that long, and this one is built upon a rock-steady brand name with a loyal fanbase. We'll just have to bookmark the map and see how accurate it is as the months go by.

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