What a long, strange ride it has been.
Ten years ago this month, Turbine launched “Lord of the Rings Online”, an MMORPG based upon JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy of novels. It started out as a bit of a niche MMORPG, always in the shadow of “World of Warcraft” and other, larger MMOs, but developed into a solid game with one of the most earnest and steadfast fanbases in all of gaming. There have been ups and downs, a conversion to a Free-to-Play model, and many (erroneous) rumors of LOTRO’s imminent demise along the way, but the game has weathered it all.
For this, I would like to thank the fine folk at Standing Stone Games, who have made the game what it is today. Whether it was back before SSG took over, and these same folk were still developing for Turbine, or in the months since, this team has done their level best to give the players the best possible representation of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, despite many roadblocks along the way.
And now that the main storyline Tolkien wrote is coming to an end later this year, I look forward to see what SSG will do with the game, once they can continue our story beyond the confines of the license agreement. Much like was done with the Forochel zone back in 2008, we have seen the developers take something only vaguely hinted at by The Professor in his books (in this case, an entire zone of the game world), and turn it into something very Tolkienesque but also new. I feel they will do great things, should they choose to expand the game world further south, or fully flesh out Erebor and continue east. Perhaps even taking us across the sea and into the West, at some point?
Regardless, I look forward to continuing this journey for years to come.