Amazon's attempts at making a Lord of the Rings MMO fell flat this week (opens in new tab)—cut short not by Sauron's machinations, but by the even greater evil of corporate contract negotiations. What better time, then, for Standing Stone Games to remind us that free-to-play MMO The Lord of the Rings Online (opens in new tab) is still very much alive and kicking?
Turning 14 this weekend, LOTRO celebrated its anniversary with Further Adventures, a new series of missions following Bilbo Baggins. While ordinarily costing 495 LOTRO points (about $7), the new missions are available for free until May 9th using the code SAVEBILBO. Additionally, Middle Earth is celebrating with a festival running April 21 to May 11. A VIP-exclusive Legendary Server is also getting a level cap increase to 105, opening up access to adventures at Minas Tirith and the Black Gates of Mordor.
LOTRO might not be thriving, but this does all speak to a game that's still running steady. Steam Charts (opens in new tab) marks the game as running with a steady playerbase of between 1-2 thousand concurrent players, though many won't be running the game through Steam. The game is also planning a visual overhaul to coincide with the upcoming Lord of the Rings series (opens in new tab), one rather ironically produced by Amazon.
Tolkien's works aren't only carrying on in MMOs, either. Lord of the Rings: Gollum (opens in new tab) promises to let you skulk around Mordor as the disgusting jewellery gremlin when it arrives sometime next year.