by Cody "Micajah" Bye
Since this year's Leipzig Games Convention, the internet has been all
abuzz about a Balrog. No, it isn't that familiar flaming demon we saw
in the Lord of the Rings
movies. On the contrary, this particular Balrog-scandal was born from a
piece of information that Ten Ton Hammer was first to bring you. At the
Leipzig GC, Ten
Ton Hammer learned that a Balrog would be included in style="font-style: italic;">The Lord of the Rings Online's
upcoming Book 11 update.
alt="" height="1" width="1">
style="font-style: italic;">Turbine has already
sent you deep into Middle Earth. Now they're preparing to send you deep
enough to meet a Balrog
With that piece of information in hand, the official LOTRO forumites
have been all over the news like Winnie the Pooh going after honey - or
as our infamous Boomjack would say, "Rose O'Donnel chowing down on
hohos." Even though the amount of controversy over the introduction of
the Balrog has been quite extraordinary, little news has been escaping
the Turbine offices. A few posts were made on the official forums, but
with over 200 replies to the initial thread, searching for those
developer posts has become more of a chore than anything else. Luckily
for you, the Ten Ton Hammer editorial staff has been on the case and
this week you'll find all sorts of information regarding the Balrog,
Book 11, housing and other updates to LOTRO. While our main site will
cover some important aspects, don't forget to seek out our href="http://lotro.tentonhammer.com/">LOTRO Community Site
as well, for they will be bringing you the nitty-gritty details
concerning many of the areas that LOTRO players are most interested in.
To start this week of LOTRO-filled goodness, we'll begin with a portion
of a recent phone interview that transpired between a pair of Ten Ton
Hammer staffers and a dynamic duo of Turbine developers. Ten Ton
Hammer's executive and managing editor, Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
and Cody "Micajah" Bye, were providing the questions aimed at
Jeffrey Steefel and Adam Mersky, the executive producer and public
relations manager behind LOTRO. With the Leipzig GC fresh on the minds
of both parties involved, Book 11 seemed an appropriate topic for the
However, Steefel and Mersky were hard-pressed to answer every question
we threw their way, simply because the details haven't been completely
decided on the development side. For example, the developers couldn't
provide any answers for the release date for Book 11 or an official
title, but they did give us a reason why there wasn't more information
coming out about the upcoming update.
"It's really more just because we've got a lot planned," Steefel said.
"This month we're really focused on Book 10 being out and getting a lot
of people in front of that. Our free trial program just kicked off and
we're having a lot of success with it...we want to make sure we're
letting everyone know. We're doing a lot of events – not
really press oriented, but sort of press oriented. We're going to
Digital Life at the end of the month; we're doing a big event there, a
big opportunity to give out some free trials, get people to give Middle
Earth a chance."
alt="" height="1" width="1">
style="font-style: italic;">Once Book 11 is
launced, LOTRO will have expanded over 20% in five months.
"Another big thing at the end of coming up is the 70th anniversary of
the release of The Hobbit, which is the birth of this whole franchise,"
he continued. (Editor's Note: The anniversary occurred on September 21,
just two days after the interview.) "When you sit back and think about
it, it had a huge impact not just on games, but arguably all
role-playing games wouldn't have been here were it not for The Hobbit
being written. On literature, on gaming, on movies… so we're
doing a lot of stuff around that. Soon after that we'll start getting
into the nitty gritty on Book 11."
From previous interviews and hints, we do know a few href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/10663">generalities
about Book 11.With the more and more players reaching the
end-game portion of LOTRO, it seems almost expected that the developers
continue down the path of releasing content for those high-level
players. Aside from the Balrog, there will be a focus on higher level
content in general and a few new areas directed specifically at
high-end gamers, the Ettendeep and the "Extreme Misty Mountains." For
more information on those two areas, make sure you href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/10663">check out our
Leipzig GC preview that covered what Steefel had to say about
both of the new land areas.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Lord of the Rings Online Game Page.