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.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

47
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
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.

Reader
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.

Reader
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 ?

Reader
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+

Reader
Paul

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

Reader
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 …..

Reader
draugris

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

Reader
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 .

Reader
jettisonedintospace

Where should LOTRO go after Mordor?

to Valinor of course, where else?

Reader
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.

Reader
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.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

Canonically there are 2 logical places to go next:

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

Reader
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:)

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
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.