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LotRO two-year anniversary: Book 8 details announced

Shawn Schuster

As our LotRO 2nd anniversary coverage continues, we're pleased to bring you some of the latest news from a recent conference call we had with Turbine. This call involved Jeffrey Steefel, Executive Producer of LotRO, Harry Teasley, Art Director for LotRO and Adam Mersky, Director of Communications for Turbine to provide us with a rundown of the last two years with the game and what the future holds.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this call came when a teaser was given for the upcoming Book 8 content. We were also treated to some more info on the 2nd Anniversary Welcome Back in-game promotion for former players, new discounted subscription pricing for new players and much more! Follow along after the cut below for a summary of this exciting new information from Turbine.

Anniversary Bonuses
To help promote LotRO for new players, Turbine is offering a special anniversary pricing plan for all subscriptions of 3 months or more. From April 24th through June 30th, players can choose any multi-month plan (90 days or longer) and lock in a monthly price of $9.99 for as long as they maintain that plan. Plus, the game itself is $9.99 on the company's e-store through this promotional period.

During the anniversary celebration, monsters throughout Middle-earth will drop special rare items that can be exchanged for a gift box that will reward them with a variety of in-game items to aid in their adventures in Middle-earth. Plus, anyone with an active subscription on June 30th will receive a special in-game gift called the Writ of Passage which provides 20% discounts at stable masters throughout Middle-earth.

Upcoming content for Volume 2, Book 8
So now we get into the good stuff. According to Jeffrey Steefel, the new Book 8 content patch will bring players many new small party-based instances and more player enhancements similar to what was done with Book 7.

Later on in the year, players will get the opportunity to explore deeper into the southern Mirkwood area, focusing mainly on the city of Dol Guldur, previously known to the Elves as Amon Lanc. You may remember Dol Guldur as Sauron's stronghold where he retreated after the One Ring was lost. It became a key fortress that allowed Sauron to regain his strength and rebuild his armies.

We specifically asked just how far north we would reach into Mirkwood -- if we would get to see as far as The Old Forest Road -- but were told that the new content won't reach quite that far this year. That said, southern Mirkwood is not the only new area content coming this year. We're also told that the Dwarves and Elves were asked to come back to Moria because of an "unrest" that is happening within the mines. A return to Khazad-dûm!

A major game mechanic being introduced later this year will be known as Skirmishes. This name may change, Steefel points out, but it's their working title throughout production. They're described as dynamic instances that are aware of the party's size, and they respond accordingly, in relation to how big or small the party is. They are also repeatable, and will have multiple objectives that will give you enough incentive to do them multiple times with different sized groups. "It's the natural evolution from the focus on small party dynamic instanced experiences, and it takes it to a whole new level," Steefel says. Plus, we were teased with a bit of exciting information regarding customizable soldiers that you can train and bring into these skirmishes. Unfortunately, that's all we got on that.

On top of all of this, we're also told that the level cap will increase by year's end, and a new Summer Festival will be coming with Book 8. All of this brand new info should be enough to keep you fired up until Book 8's launch, slotted for June of this year. Keep your eyes on Massively for the latest info on Book 8 and beyond!

[Edit: A few points were clarified by Turbine and the original post was edited to show the clarification. Apologies for the misunderstanding. Mirkwood is coming later this year, not with Book 8 in June]

Do you like what you've read here? Want to get your hands on a shiny new copy of the Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria Collector's Edition? Check out our LotRO 2nd Anniversary contest where you can win your very own CE box throughout this entire weekend!

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