That’s just what Standing Stone has delivered as of this afternoon: a roadmap penned by Allan “Orion” Maki, who we note is the well-respected lead systems designer on the game, not the lead producer or community rep.
“Ambitious. This is the single word that I would use to describe the goals for The Lord of the Rings: Online in 2023,” Maki says. “Reflecting on where we are in the development of the game, we recognize that there are some areas, systems, and experiences that need attention and sprucing up. We also understand that there is a need for level cap content and new things for you to do. Our focus in 2023 is bringing some of those experiences up to more modern expectations and the expansion of the game world, story, and direction as we begin the next 15 years of our journey together.”
The roadmap itself is split into quarters, all leading into the Q4 expansion. Yep, we said it! This first quarter, we’re looking at a new endgame instance cluster in The Return to Carn Dûm, Captain and Warden updates, the power overhaul, the start of the promised crafting revision that will split up vocation sets and buff craftables. Spring and summer will see a “new version of Gondor, no long dawnless and harried by enemies on all sides,” plus the Watching the Wing questline. And then, by the end of year, we’ll be fightin’ pirates, enjoying a new class, and leveling up to a new level cap.
“We are not fully prepared to release many details, but we do want to provide you with a little tease of what is to come,” Maki says of the expansion. “As we wrapped Before the Shadow, and began looking toward the future, we asked ourselves where we wanted to take the story and the game next. There was an overwhelming consensus that we wanted to head south to less traveled shores. Across the salty sea, beyond the Bay of Belfalas to the shore of the Corsair Kings, Umbar. And that, dear readers, is a tale for another day.”
Lord of the Rings Online is apparently aiming to win best classic MMO three years in a row.