This is an April Fools joke. No such expansion has been announced.
Turbine gave us a press release this morning announcing a stand-alone expansion coming spring 2013. Adventures of Bilbo!
Adventures of Bilbo launches in the spring of 2013 with a new story taking place around the time of “The Hobbit”, includes existing lands around the story along with new ones such as Mirkwood, Dale and the Iron Hills, there is also a new water mount system and much more!
AoB is expected to be around the size of the recent Rise of Isengard expansion. It will be a stand-alone expansion since it takes place several years before Lord of the Rings.
This is to be another digital expansion similar to how Isengard was released (no in-store boxed copies).
- Experience the Adventures of Bilbo – Join with the Bilbo and creep through Mirkwood; join the battle of the five armies; forge alliances with the Elves and Dwarves; and aid Bilbo on his epic tale through Middle Earth!
- Introducing a new water mount system – Ride the waters of Middle Earth on a variety of buoyant devices. Ride with Bilbo in barrels to escape you foes. Customize your barrel and level its skills over time to aid Bilbo on his epic journey. Mount your barrels and gather your fellows to flee from evil together. Taking a lighter tone as with the books players can expect to have features such as this one that would not fit in The Lord of the Rings.
- Advance to level 60 – Begin the legend in the Adventures of Bilbo! Experience the adventure that started it all in the epic story, and gain new skills and deeds as you face new challenges on your journey to 60!
Turbine goes on to explain that players have the option to auto-level to 40 as the adventure does not start until players get to the Trollshaws. While this zone might feel very similar, players will be able watch the trolls turn into stone. The real adventure starts when players get to the Misty Mountains with an expanded zone. The meat of the expansion however will be Mirkwood. Players will be able to level from around 45 to around level 58 in Mirkwood. Players can expect to see some of the darkest and creepiest things in Middle Earth, mostly dealing with goblins and spiders.
To get the players the last two levels they will go on to the small zones of Dale and the Iron Hills. Here players can expect to do help fight against Smaug. The content will end with a level 60 24 man raid to attempt to take down Smaug. Players will be able to escape the cave with one piece of loot if they are fast enough and can prove themselves as real burglars.
Players missing the depth of Dwarves, Elves and Hobbits found in the early zones will not be missing much longer. This stand-alone expansion will allow players to get a nice look into the lives of each of these races. I am glad to see this because it will get old when we go to all these man-themed zones that are coming this fall and beyond.
The press release also stated that VIPs will get the stand-alone expansion at half price and that Turbine Points will transfer to this new stand-alone expansion. Also released was that players can expect to have some cool pre-order in-game items such as an invisible ring and Bilbo’s barrel.
If you are wondering how/why Turbine will be releasing this expansion just a few months after they released Riders of Rohan it is because they split into two teams. They wanted to be in the middle of “The Hobbit” movies to get the maximum amount of hype out of possible players. There is a very good chance that in 2013 we could see two expansions for LotRO if two teams will be working on the content.
In conclusion 2012 and 2013 seem to be exciting years for LotRO as it is showing more life than ever. I am really looking forward to see a lighter hearted version of LotRO as they follow the events of “The Hobbit” in Adventures of Bilbo.