In 2007, developer Turbine went up against World of Warcraft with an MMO inspired by the greatest fantasy license of them all: Hawk the Slayer! Er, The Lord of the Rings! The initial release featured only the Hobbit land of the Shire. Their goal was ambitious: to release new expansions for the game that followed the Fellowship's journey from Hobbiton all the way to Mount Doom. Since then there have been expansions based on Moria, Isengard and more, but finally 10 years and a change of developer later (it's now run by Standing Stone Games) Lord of the Rings Online has finally released the Mordor expansion.
The new expansion launches today and allows players to venture beyond the Black Gates all the way up to Mount Doom and beyond, and presumably to help Frodo and Sam throw the One Ring into the fiery chasm from whence it came.
New features include over 300 new quests, a new allegiance system where players can support factions trying to take over Mordor (bagsy Gollum), crafting and gear updates, and a new race, the High Elf, if you plump for the more expensive editions of the game. No word yet if Standard Edition players can buy the High Elf separately, or can in the future.
The Mordor expansion can be bought in three different ways, because of course it can. The Standard Edition costs £29.99/$39.99 and just contains access to the expansion. The Collector's Edition costs £59.99/$79.99 and includes a level boost, the High Elf race, a new character slot, exclusive cosmetic items, kit and mount, and the title "Walked Into Mordor" which is hopefully worth the extra cash all by itself because we're not sure the rest of it is.
For the LOTRO players with the most amount of cash there's the Ultimate Fan Bundle, costing a whopping £99.99/$129.99. In addition to the Collector's Edition content this also contains another exclusive mount and title ("The Ultimate"), an equippable XP accelerator (which sounds like cheating to us), Exclusive Housing Teleport, Three Relics, and Two Essence Reclamation Scrolls which can be used on all characters. Additionally there will be 10 extra shared Storage Slots and code for a month of VIP Access.
Lord of the Rings Online itself went free-to-play in 2010 and Turbine became one of the first MMO developers to discover that this was actually the right (and more profitable) thing to do. In December 2016 Turbine handed development over to Standing Stone Games.