LOTRO Legendarium: Six places LOTRO could go after Mordor

It always seems a bit unfair, a bit impatient, and a bit premature to be asking that eternal question of an MMO: “What’s next?” This, perhaps, is doubly true when a recent meaty expansion is still providing an (exploded) mountain of content with an instance cluster on the way. You can almost hear the developers’ eyes roll and their exasperated sighs as they say, “Can’t you be content with where you are right now?”

No, not really. Speculating about the future is one of the exciting hallmarks of MMO fandom, and I feel it’s entirely possible to be both content with where you’re at while wondering what’s to come. So with that caveat out of the way… what’s next for Lord of the Rings Online when Mordor is said and done?

Before we dig into the possibilities (six of them, to be precise), we should acknowledge that Mordor itself will no doubt be the central focus of LOTRO through the end of this year and probably most of 2018 as well. There is a great deal of landscape left undeveloped and unexplored, and I have no doubt that the Black Book of Mordor could be expanded into a fat volume when all is said and done.

But what might come after that? The developers previously stated that they have a long view of the game’s plans, perhaps two to three years in advance, and they have already stated that there is no shortage of options for a post-Mordor adventures. Here’s what I think might be coming.

Scouring of the Shire

Let’s get this out of the way, because just about everyone agrees that the Scouring of the Shire is one of the most talked-about, anticipated, and expected additions to the game’s story. Even the devs have wink-winked confirmation that we’ll be seeing this post-Ring climax to the Return of the King.

The mind reels with possibilities for this section. It could be done quick or drawn out, and I would love to see some attention paid to the saga of the Shire’s downfall, the Battle of Bywater, and even the ensuing rebuilding. It would be really neat to start with a corrupted Shire and gradually be able to help restore it (Hytbold comes to mind).

Even though Bywater and Bag End are at the center of the Scouring storyline, the devs could use this time to expand the Shire to an additional zone, giving us more to explore while showing how industrialization defiled a once-pristine land.

Northern Mirkwood

As I indicated back in June, I have a particular fondness for Mirkwood as a region and would love to see it expanded. The map we have in the game right now is so small compared to the totality of this great forest, so why not move north? I’m sure the developers could re-read those sections of the Hobbit and use the vision Tolkien had there to springboard some new adventures and areas.

There are a lot of places and features we didn’t get with Southern Mirkwood, such as the forest’s mountain range (yes, it has one), the Elven-king’s halls, the enchanted river, the Forest River, settlements by Men, and plenty more from the giant spiders and Wood-Elves. The region in the books is absolutely massive, on par with the size of Great Britain, and there is certainly plenty more to see and do there.

We know that the forest was cleansed by Galadriel following the War of the Ring, so there’s even a good overarching story hook in place.

Rhûn

Pushing further eastward than we ever have before in LOTRO is Rhûn, a sprawling and largely unknown part of the continent that could serve as a “blank slate” for the developers to imprint their own stories and direction.

And even though this region is lacking in a lot of specifics and focus in the books, there are a few points of fanservice that could be fulfilled. Players could start their adventures here at the well-known Lake-town and Lonely Mountain before pressing east. This is where the Easterling threat came from, and we know that it had to be dealt with after the fall of Sauron. It’s also where the famous two blue wizards wandered off to and out of all knowledge, giving the devs a potential story track. And there’s that inland sea that could serve as a notable destination. Perhaps even for sailing?

Harad

If north and east aren’t your favorite directions, how about south? The world continues on down below Gondor and Mordor to a region known as Harad. It’s from this immense region that the Corsairs came from to harry Gondor during the war, and like the Easterling threat, the follow-up with these people could be a source of conflict and resolution.

There is certainly a lot of potential for expansion without a great deal of lore to hem in writers. We actually do have maps and know a rough layout of the Africa-sized place, which includes biomes that haven’t seen a lot of play in LOTRO so far (namely, deserts and jungles). There’s also the great Númenórean-built city of Umbar, which no doubt would be a centerpiece of any southern expansion.

Lindon

If the developers wished to provide a visual respite from the harshness of Mordor, they could do no better than to take us all the way west to the lush, verdant Lindon. This Elven kingdom only gets the briefest of presence in LOTRO with Ered Luin, and thus has plenty of territory and possibility left. The focus here would definitely be on the Elves as they wrap up their stay in Middle-earth and begin to head out from the Grey Havens. It would also allow us to give a proper farewell to Frodo and Gandalf before they depart.

Bingo Boffin redux

My final suggestion for post-Mordor content is a little difficult to sum up, so I’m calling it “Bingo Boffin redux.” No, I don’t think we need to call Bingo out of retirement, but I definitely enjoyed the concept of creating new adventures that reused a lot of the current game maps.

There’s so much potential there, especially if the devs wanted to follow up with characters and storylines to see what happened after the war. It would be great to see how our efforts paid off and what happens as the world moves on into the Fourth Age.

What do you think?

Where should LOTRO go after Mordor? What would be your greatest desire and serve the community the best?

Every two weeks, the LOTRO Legendarium goes on an adventure (horrid things, those) through the wondrous, terrifying, inspiring, and, well, legendary online world of Middle-earth. Justin has been playing LOTRO since its launch in 2007! If you have a topic for the column, send it to him at justin@massivelyop.com.
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47 Comments on "LOTRO Legendarium: Six places LOTRO could go after Mordor"

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odin valhalla

There actually arent a lot of places for them to go in the lexicon of “Lord of the Rings” Once the ring is destroyed most of that story is over. They can do the shire it would fit perfectly into the lore, and ya, more mirkwood or back stories in an already explored regions. But Rhun and Harad are not, those are mentioned in the 4th age, which is not covered by “the lord of the rings” story.

Tolkien mentions some of the 4th age but there is hardly enough material to expand into that region via the standing stone story telling mechanism the epic story. I mean they could but if tolkien is your hook into that game (it was for me) once the ring is done and the shire secure, we live happily ever after.

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Barantor

Trouble at Tuckborough skirmish is already the “Scourging of the Shire” so they could expand on it in an instance format.

I wouldn’t mind them doing the southern shire if they do that, with some additional content for lower or mid levels, much like they did with Evendim.

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Paul

Played LOTRO a long time ago (around release – I remember Moria was just about to be released when I stopped to play Vanguard full time). I’d always thought it would be cool to have the whole of Middle Earth to explore, so toying with the idea of having a go again.

I usually play healers – and I’d probably start on my own then persuade my wife to join me later – any thoughts / advice from current players ?

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Krista Allen

A little word of warning, if you play a healer in lotro, you really won’t be “healing” until end game and even then, maybe not, unless you spot heal your wife during landscape content or skirmishes or find a Kin willing to take you through the old content, healing is very limited. There is a group finder in lotro that is not used to do the player base refusing to use it, so you will need to spam the LFF channel for groups. There is no hand holding in what dungeons you can or should be doing for your level. In short you will be in red stance and dpsing the majority of the time. If you’re used to healing, I would try out the Runekeeper, it’s a HoT and shielding class, that can use fire or lighting …..

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Robert Mann

Minstrel, Runekeeper, and Beorning all heal and do well on their own. My primary advice would be take it slow and enjoy, having played a lot.

There’s a ton of things to do and see in the game, and having fun along the way will help prevent you from burning out on the journey to 100+

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Paul

Thanks Robert – yup, slow and enjoy is the plan :)

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draugris

My favorite would be Rhun, South Gondor and Harrad. But maybe the expand even inside of Mordor to Nurn.

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Roger Melly

Tolkien if I recall did actually describe some of the events of the 4th age . Even though Sauron fell there still were the Easterlings and Haradrim to deal with . I think there were some Orc Cults that rose up as well .

I also believe in the abandoned sequel to Lord of the Rings ” the New Shadow” Tolkien intended to introduce a ” secret Satanistic religion” in Gondor which undermined the victory . They perhaps could include the rise of this religion into the story .

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jettisonedintospace

Where should LOTRO go after Mordor?

to Valinor of course, where else?

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Michael18

It would be cool if they had an option for max-level Elf characters to retire to Valinor, with the catch that those characters can never return. But of course in today’s MMO market such a thing will never happen.

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Michael18

Scouring of the Shire is problematic, imo, because coming back to the peaceful shire plays an important role in LOTRO’s in-game life (for example, many holiday festivities take place there). Of course they have to cover it, but if an entire expansion would take place in a scourged version of the shire, it would be odd to teleport between that and the peaceful version back and forth all the time. I’d just cover this in a few, extended story instances.

All other ideas in the article are great, my favorite being Northern Mirkwood. I’d love to see an entire expansion with 5-6 zones in that forest, followed by 2 zones for Dale and Lonely Mountain.

Also I’d love to see Misty Mountains fleshed-out more. Maybe also the mountain range north of Mirkwood.

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Melissa McDonald

Canonically there are 2 logical places to go next:

1) Corsairs of Umbar with pirate ships
2) Southronds/Haradrim with war elephants

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Bryan

I’m not sure about all the hate the game has a some long standing technical issues and a 64 bit client would be nice but otherwise I’m quite enjoying my return to the game. It is still surprisingly beautiful in many locales and the scale and scope of many of the zones is unheard of in most modern MMO’s. I’m open to any and all of the above just as long as we get more:)

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Paragon Lost

I’d love to see in order, the scouring of the Shire and then Northern Mirkwood. After that it would be pretty cool to head in a eastern direction to find out what happened to the two blue Istari. Would awesome if one of them at least went bad and fell to the shadow and became a power unto themselves.

Edit: Woah, scrolled down after posting and noted some hatred for Lotro still being around. I find that sad. While I agree that there is room for improvement, (I can think of one being the 64bit client) I think the hate is uncalled for.

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MesaSage

All interesting choices. I’d go with Rhun because it seems like a natural progression of the story. Plus, I don’t like Easterlings.

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Paragon Lost

Ah, but Easterlings who are under the control/rulership of one of the two blue wizards/istari who went and became evil/fell to the Shadow. Wouldn’t that be fun to take on? ;)

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agemyth 😩

Hey, jerks that think LOTRO is old and should die, leave other people’s games be. You don’t have to like it, but you should respect that other people would be really sad to see it go.

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Robert Mann

The engine is a definite issue with what they have done, but the other stuff is just painful to see. I’d love to see work on the engine, or even an updated engine game alongside the current game. But saying LOTRO needs to die because of that? Meh, there’s far worse MMOs around that have only one advantage… the lack of stutter on occasion. Let those die well before a better game.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

I think LOTRO is old and i like it for that, the game is charming, alas i don’t have time to play it now.

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Bryan Turner

You should see how they act in GW2 articles, unless it’s different readers (jerks all look the same to me anyway).

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Viktor Budusov

After exploring Nurn and surrounding areas i think it’d be logical to move to Shire scouring may be through Tharbad and Sarn ford. Rhun, Umbar and Harad should be later as Aragorn will send expeditions there much later.

Haters today are especially hysterical. What happened? Why so many butthurts? They become more and more mindless.

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zoward

As a “lifelong” inhabitant of the Shire Homesteads, I can’t help wondering how the Scouring would affect my property values. ‘Nuff said about that.

What about the Gray Havens?

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Koshelkin

The Saul-Zaentz company wouldn’t allow that. That is if they didn’t lose all respect for the IP by now.

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2Ton Gamer

One place it won’t go any time soon is the bargain bin because SSG does not know how or when to properly price things.

As for those saying it should be shut down, many would disagree, but I for one think that it’s a travesty to continue to put out new zones/content with an engine that’s barely hanging on and might not even be able to be upgraded to 64 bit, not that that would solve all of their issues. I think the game as-is should remain in some sort of legacy server capacity, but a new engine and MMO would be very welcome. Who knows, maybe one day. Hopefully by anyone else other than SSG. I had high hopes when they broke off and became their own thing. This year has proven terrible and I now wish it would just die.

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Viktor Budusov

I always wonder why so much idiotic hate? Is it a problem that many peoples like the game? What’s your pain in this? This year we get very cool Mordor – one of the best expansions.

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Vincent Clark

There is nothing hateful or idiotic aoubt 2Ton Gamer’s valid criticism of the game. Your response, however…

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Viktor Budusov

You obviously should rethink your personal definition of ‘nothing hateful’

>it’s a travesty to continue to put out new zones/content with an engine that’s barely hanging on

What the problem with engine and new zones?

>This year has proven terrible

Eh? No. It’s very good. U20, huge anniversary event, big expansion, instances and raid berfore the end of year.

> I now wish it would just die

Idiotic hate as it is.

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2Ton Gamer

It’s still not “idiotic hate”. It’s true valid concerns. You can gloss over the issues that plague the game all you want, it still doesn’t remove these concerns. Hate? No.. I could never hate Lotro. I do not throw around the word hate very often. I am a player who was in it from almost the beginning and played through many times both good and bad. I took a break from the game because of life/kids/school etc. I came back a few times throughout the years but it never quite grabbed me. Then when SSG took over last Fall/Winter I came back in hardcore. I was excited to see what the devs would bring. I was excited about the anniversary and for Mordor. I was excited to see what I had missed.

I ran one character all the way from level 0 to 100 within 4 months and another up to level 85 without any sort of boosts. I thoroughly enjoyed the leveling until Rohan and that’s where it began to fall apart for me. Rohan & Gondor were not stable releases. Hell even Bree disconnects for me all the time if I go in and out of the town or swift travel too many times in a 5 min period. I like mounted combat, but it’s buggy as hell. It completely takes you out of the immersion when you rubberband back 100 meters and find your horse stuck on a haystack. Or how about riding fast across the pelennor fields on the road and suddenly being thrust forward 1K meters right into a orc camp? That’s not great gameplay. That’s not a stable experience.

The game is beautiful and the lore is splendid and the story is very awesome and well done, but when you have system issues that have stability issues in the very core of the code, you cannot keep adding more content on top of that old code and expect the experience to get any better. You also do not charge outrageous prices for a game with these sort of issues. SSG is not proving to be any different than Turbine. Their handling of the anniversary event was terrible at best. Festivals have always been about inclusion, yet the anniversary event did not allow single players to be able to complete a single line of the three. Yes, some players who were maxed out and who stuck by the game deserved something for their time, but you do not completely leave out low levels and those new players who came to the game because of the renewed hype. Not many games ever get a second chance to attract new players, yet with the SSG takeover that’s exactly what they got and how did SSG reward those new players who sought to take another look? They made the anniversary quests a turn-off. They kept their expansion prices sky-high without an anniversary sale in sight despite the many Reddit/Lotro Forum posts pleading for some sort of quad-pack sale and then they did not even offer to bundle any prior expansions with the extremely high tier amounts of the Mordor expanion. A company needs to make money, this is true, but come on, throw your new customers a frickin bone. Most other games offer more for less. Why pay more for something you’re not even sure you will want to play. We saw many people leave for these exact reasons. So yes, I do not have hate for this game, but they royally screwed up a golden chance and the money their spending is not going toward improving the experience, it’s about cash grabs now so yes, I’d rather see the game in the hands of someone else and wish it would die and leave legacy servers up for those who enjoy it. They reached Mordor.. The End….

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Bryan Turner

I see jerks like this in GW2 articles as well, people like this get off on ruining other people’s happiness; the mods should do a better job policing comments like that (I wouldn’t have to curse bomb them to get them deleted).

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Vincent Clark

Yes, let’s just silence anyone who has an opposing opinion. Makes perfect sense.

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Bryan Turner

No just people that show up to articles that are for specific game hobbyists to shit all over the subject and its fans, if you can’t find the troll in this situation then you are the troll.

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Vincent Clark

He brings up valid criticisms about the state of the game which is appropriate for the title and content of the article, he also makes suggestions on what could be done to improve it. For once it would be nice if the typical fan response wouldn’t be to resort to name calling (idiotic hate? really??). Allowing someone you’ve never met to “ruin your happiness” as you put it is not only overly dramatic, but if true…well, it says more about you than it does anything else.

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Bryan Turner

Lets be clear I am only mildly interested in this game, how ever since I do not actively play it I have the decency to not treat it and it’s fans like crap, it’s like going into some one elses house and acting like a douche bag; it’s bad enough I see it in GW2 articles all the time. It’s just tasteless to beat up an old man so why wouldn’t it be just as tasteless to beat up an old game with an aging playerbase.

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2Ton Gamer

I did not come in to be a troll. I do not have a passing fascination with the game. I started playing in 2008 right around the time of the first anniversary and right before Moria came out. I played until Isengard came out exclusively which was around 3 years total. I had maxed characters in every class. I then took a break because it was time for a break and because I had little ones and school to occupy my time. I kept up with the news and watched from afar, but was not sure the game would continue on so never jumped back in. Fast forward to last December and me hearing about SSG taking over. This renewed my hope that they would again have meaningful content and that the game might go into a better direction. See my above wall-o-text for that experience from early Jan – June and you’ll see that I was not some troll without any meaningful insight.

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Vincent Clark

“Lets be clear I am only mildly interested in this game”…so you’re just trolling then, which also makes you a hypocrite. Sounds about right. Looks to me if anyone needs moderating here it’s you (you don’t see 2Ton Gamer calling people jerks, etc.)

dewulf
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dewulf

I think dumpster is a good place to go next ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°).

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Bryan Turner

Stay classy and you might wind up in that dumpster too ;)

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Alex Js.

My personal opinion is that LOTRO should go to “graveyard” as soon as it can. Meaning the servers should be taken offline, the game should stop being available for download and some competent, well-financed company should re-build it from ground-up, with better, modern engine and better enhancements to all of the aspects of its gameplay – music system, housing system, fun hobbies (and yes, even a proper but optional PvP system), better crafting and so on.

Alas, it most likely won’t happen any time soon and this poor, severely outdated (in all aspects) thing will most likely be kept on “life support” for a much longer time…

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Bryan Turner

You call an expansion like Mordor life support, you do realize that there’s still a fan base that enjoy’s playing it; the thing is I think you do realize it you’re just here to make other gamers feel like dog shit (hey mods hopefully you saw that in your filter and come buy to delete that hate comment above including my response ).

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Viktor Budusov

If Lotro will be closed you’ll never see a Lotr MMORPG anymore as this IP will be considered unprofitable.

Haters will cry and scream while normal player will play a lot of great content, most new MMOs are release much less content.

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SWG died and another mmo with the same IP came around SWTOR. Not saying it should die but your opening statement isn’t necessarily true.

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Bryan Turner

Your comment is mis-informed, SWG was only shuttered after the release of SWTOR; granted there may have been a SWTOR any way if SWG had shut down first but the odds would have been greatly diminished.

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oh i thought swg was shuttered so swtor could happen as they only allowed 1 mmo on the ip

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Robert Mann

That’s the prevailing theory. Timing wise, it certainly seems like the release of swtor was the death knell for swg.

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Paarthurnax Dragonhearth

It could go into a corner and sit there and die in peace ……

wpDiscuz