Lord of the Rings Online's Update 6 launches players closer to Rohan on March 12th

Chris Perry at

Lord of the Rings Online players got very, very excited when the Riders of Rohan expansion was announced. Update 6: The Great River Region is the stepping stone to that anticipated expansion and offers players a taste of the vastness soon to follow. I took a tour of The Great River Region with Producer Aaron “Rowan” Campbell and Director of Communications Adam Mersky. Through hills, forests, Trolls and Easterlings, we travelled across this vast region to see what it had to offer before its launch next Monday, March 12th.

Lord of the Rings Online dev on Rohan's mounted combat and buying horse armour

Tom Senior at

When looking over the feature list for Lord of the Rings Online's upcoming Rohan expansion, one thing in particular caught my eye. Mounted combat. An image jumped into my head. I saw a warrior riding charging towards a band of Orcs on a gleaming war steed, dismounting with mighty blows as he passed. Later, I spoke to executive producer Kate Paiz about the upcoming expansion, and discovered that this vision of jousting warriors wasn't too far from the truth.

"My sense of it is, you'll be riding across the plains, and you'll look off into the distance and you see this column of smoke and you're like "huh, I wonder what that is" and you realise that the smoke is coming closer to you, and is in fact a mounted band of Orcs sent out by Saruman to harry the villagers of Rohan," she said, "You have decide whether you're going to ride in the opposite direction, call a few friends or heedlessly charge into battle."

Muster the Rohirrim! Lord of the Rings Online rides to Rohan

Chris Perry at

Fresh off the heals of the Lord of the Rings Online expansion that pit us against Saruman, Rise of Isengard, players will finally get to take their first step in the realm of Theoden himself, Rohan! I sat down with the game's executive producer, Kate Paiz, to hear all about the new content, gameplay mechanics and adventure coming to ring-chasers this Fall.

Dungeons & Dragons Online leaps into The Forgotten Realms with its first expansion

Chris Perry at

The Forgotten Realms is as classic a D&D setting as they get: a lost realm related to our own where magic runs rampant, deities are active, and--well, just imagine most any classic RPG game you've played and you'll see hints of The Forgotten Realms' influence. And Update 13 is finally bringing it to Dungeons & Dragons Online, which is still offering it's brand of flexible free-to-play options to the masses. I recently sat down with the game's Executive Producer Fernando Paiz to talk about what the upcoming content will look like in DDO's first-ever expansion: Menace of the Underdark.

Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard out now

Tom Senior at

The Hobbits are going to Isengard. The latest expansion for free-to-play Tolkien MMO Lord of the Rings Online is out now. Rise of Isengard adds three new lands, boosts the level cap to 75 and adds a new top tier, 24-player raid in which heroes must face down one of the last great dragons of Middle Earth.

The expansion can be bought from the Lord of the Rings Online site. The Legendary edition costs $49.99, and comes with a selection of Rohirrim mounts and armour sets, a selection of quest packs, including Trollshaws, Eregion, Lothlórien and Moria. You'll also get a thousand points to spend in the store. The $39.99 Heroic edition will just come with the mounts and a grand of points, and the base edition, at $29.99, comes with a single mount, and of course, Rise of Isengard. Raw and uncensored.

You can jump in and play Lord of the Rings Online for free right now. To get started, create an account on the Lord of the Rings Online site and download the client. It's rather good. Check out our Lord of the Rings Online review to find out why.

Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard screenshots show new Dunland zones

Tom Senior at

The Hobbits are going to Isengard. They're going to roll right up to the tower of Orthanc and punch Saruman in the mouth. Then, when their cooldown timers have expired, they'll punch him in the mouth again. First, they'll have to travel through the swampy villages and airy wild areas of Dunland, one of the three new zones that will be added in the upcoming expansion set to hit Middle Earth on September 27. To see the six new screenshots, simply speak, friend, and enter.

E3 2011: Lord of the Rings Online's Rise of Isengard expansion will eventually be sold from in-game cash shop

Josh Augustine at

When Turbine announced their pre-order deals for Lord of the Rings Online's upcoming expansion, Rise of Isengard, online this week, a portion of the game's community were alarmed that it couldn't be purchased in the game's cash shop. I spoke with Turbine's Content Designer, Robert Hess, this morning to confirm how the expansion will be sold, so that antsy LOTRO fans can decide whether to pull the trigger on the pre-order and nab themselves some glorious new Rohirrim-style riding outfits.

The digital-only expansion will only be available for pre-order on Turbine's official website - not in-game. Turbine only wants to sell things in the cash shop after they are available in the game, so that there's no confusion of, "Hey, I just paid for this, why don't I have it?" in the cash shop. To that end, the Rise of Isengard expansion, set to release September 27, will be availabe in the cash-shop after that date, but will be unavailable for any pre-order bonuses.

Celebrating J.R.R. Tolkien's Birthday in LOTRO [giveaway]

Chris Perry at

On January 3rd, 1892, J.R.R. Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. To commemorate this momentous occasion, fans from around the world raise their glasses "To the Professor" and drink a toast in his honor. The PC Gamer staff toasted with LotR-styled shot glasses in the office today, and I'm personally celebrating by going through the Ered Luin starter zone revamp in Lord of the Rings Online. This re-structuring of the zone has made some dramatic changes, and I was wonderfully surprised by the new pacing and major changes to the early dwarf area.

Giveaway Update: Closed! Thanks to everyone who entered and congratulations to winners Raliant, fest_freak, Jimangi, Malachi and Slie_amos!

Have some free wintry fun over the holidays with LOTRO

Chris Perry at

One of my greatest pleasures while playing LOTRO is taking part in the seasonal festivals that Turbine rolls out four times a year. These festivals are always a great part of the game, and lately, Turbine has been adding new content to each festival as it comes out. During the Fall festival, we had the addition of the Haunted Cellar under Bilbo's house, and now, for the Yule Festival (which started on December 14th and runs to January 11th) they have added an entire zone, Winter-Home. And now that LOTRO's free to play, you can enjoy it over the holidays as well!

Free Lord of the Rings Online updates revealed

Tom Senior at

A series of updates for Lord of the Rings Online will be landing between now and early next year, opening up Epic Quests from the game's expansions to free-to-play accounts. The updates will also upgrade Legendary Items, add more raids and instances to the zones of Middle Earth and make high level raids accessible to more players. Read on for details.

New Lord of the Rings Online expansion announced, will be set in Isengard

Tom Senior at

The next Lord of the Rings Online expansion will be called Rise to Isengard, and will have players battling Saruman's forces in Dunland in an effort to reach the legendary Tower of Orchanc. As well as the new lands, quests and skills, there will be a level cap hike and some updates to the Monster Play system. Read on for more details and a teaser trailer.

Star Trek Online could go free-to-play, Champions to get mission creator

Tom Senior at

Cryptic announced recently that Champions Online will be going free-to-play early next year, and many immediately wondered if their other MMO title, Star Trek Online would follow suit. Cryptic's boss, Jack Emmert, has been speaking out in a recent interview about Star Trek Online's chances of ditching the subscription fee, and about plans to introduce a City of Heroes style mission editor to Champions Online.

Codies explain free European LOTRO delay as "contractual"

Tom Senior at

Lord of the Rings Online went free in the US, with massive success, but the European free to play release was delayed. Codemasters have released a statement explaining the situation.

Lord of the Rings Online doubles revenue in one month - by going free

Tom Francis at

At the GDC Online conference - which is not online, it's in Texas - LoTRO developers Turbine revealed that making the game free has doubled the amount of money they make from it. The game now generates its cash from microtransactions, and optional subscriptions that provide a monthly income of Turbine Points to spend on in-game stuff. It means less money from the average player, but their number of players has exploded by over 400%.

Lord of the Rings Online is free, has funny video

Jaz McDougall at

Lord of the Rings Online is now free to play, with a cash shop and nifty benefits for subscribers just like they said. They've announced it with a humorous video. Look!

Lord of the Rings Online free to play beta today

Josh Augustine at

Real estate values in the Shire have plummeted! Right about now you can pick up a cozy two-bedroom for literally nothing. That's because today marks the launch of LOTRO's free-to-play beta--where talk is free, and a shiny staff will run you a few hundred points.

Lord of the Rings Online is free to play

Jaz McDougall at

Lord of the Rings Online will soon cost you nothing to play. The new Middle Earth will have a cash shop to monetize "expansions, quest packs, items, and account services," and they're offering a subscription service that'll hook you up to everything for "one low price". They're also testing it in an open beta that you can sign up for here.