The Lord of the Rings Online is one of the most popular MMORPG’s in history, with a peak player count exceeding 200k. Recently it announced that all expansion content released since 2013 will be made permanently free to play due to declining subscriptions and high inflation rates. This new development has been met with criticism from players who feel this decision takes away some of their value as consumers.”

LOTRO is making tons of expansion content permanently free, adding a new Hobbit zone. The “lotro store” will allow players to purchase the expansions for only $19.99 each.

LOTRO is making tons of expansion content permanently free, adding a new Hobbit zone

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Do you like getting free stuff? The March 2022 producer letter for Lord of the Rings Online has come, and it promises a ton of free goodies in Update 33.

For the long-running Middle-earth MMORPG, Standing Stone Games has announced a significant monetization revival. From Helm’s Deep and earlier, the studio is offering almost all content — quests, locations, instances, and expansions – entirely free. Rune-keepers, Wardens, Beornings, and High Elves are all included. As part of the VIP package, subscribers will also have access to the normal versions of Mordor, Minas Morgul, and War of the Three Peaks.

“The normal versions of the Mordor, Minas Morgul, and War of Three Peaks expansions will now be included with VIP,” the company states. “With this upgrade, everyone will have access to all quests, locations, instances, and expansions produced between the initial launch of LOTRO in 2007 and – and including! – the release of Helm’s Deep.” To your heart’s delight, quest, explore, and create your way to level 95!”

In other words, if you subscribe to LOTRO, you’ll have instant access to everything except Fate of Gundabad, the most recent paid expansion; non-subscribers will only need to purchase the past three expansions (plus War of Three Peaks, if they choose) to get the entire game experience. (Though we’re not sure which side of the line Gondor falls on at the moment.) SSG has successfully solved the game’s main issue for years with one single change.

In terms of new content, the studio is promising update 33 in late April, along with the 15th anniversary events; update 33 will include a new Hobbit-themed region called Yondershire, as well as the monetization changes mentioned above, while the anniversary festival will include a new instance and new gifts.

“We’ll be working on our Legendary World of Anor during this period, bringing players to Isildur’s desecrated stronghold city of Minas Morgul on April 13th, and level cap 130.” On May 4th, Shadowfax will advance to Rohan’s renowned fortress, Helm’s Deep, and its level ceiling of 95, which will now be available to any VIP at no additional cost! Finally, Treebeard and Shadowfax will both be taking new steps towards the end of June. On June 29th, Treebeard will make its second leap into the Mirkwood’s treacherous woodlands, while Shadowfax will go on to the half-ruined lands of Gondor and Old Anorien. Aside from that, we’ll continuing working on improving performance and latency, updating class balance, bug-fixing, fine-tuning the new Legendary Item system, and bringing Season 2 of the Legendary Item Reward Track to the game. All of these enhancements will be included in almost every patch.”

Yondershire is a “sparsely inhabited area of moor, thicket, and fen that has long been home to Hobbit recluses and troublemakers,” according to the Wikipedia entry. “Since the time of Bullroarer Took, the Yondershire has quarrelled with the Shire’s more pleasant sections.” Lotho Sackville-Baggins, the upstart, wants to intimidate the local Hobbits, but they don’t like his plans. Discover the Yondershire and enjoy some more fascinating Hobbit adventures in our first Shire extension in years!”

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The “where to watch the hobbit” is a topic that has been trending recently. The new Hobbit zone was released as a permanent free content update, adding tons of new content.

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