LotRO's Prestigious Awards, Mysterious Relics and More

2011 has been a great year for the Lord of the Rings Online so far.

2011 has been a great year for the Lord of the Rings Online so far. As revealed in our Episode 30 Podcast with Kate Paiz and Adam Mersky, LotRO has tripled its revenue since going free-to-play, with many casual players spending small amounts of real cash to enhance their gaming experience, and many more actually subscribing once they got a taste.

And the rewards for excellence are not just feduciary - PCGamer has named LotRO its MMO of the Year, citing the game's loads of updates, Turbine's attention to detail and the "most friendly and enthusiastic" player community as deciding factors.

Of course, the year has only just begun, and there is much more in store. The Isengard expansion is just a few months away - and by "a few" I mean probably "slightly less than a year, hopefully" - and in the meantime, Turbine has promised several smaller chunks of content to keep the game fresh and fun. And it looks like that new content could be arriving very soon.

Mysterious relics have popped up all over Eriador, much to the chagrin of its NPC residents. Hobbit farmer Bungo Grubbwas so incensed about the mysterious relic that popped up in his pipe-weed field that he wrote a Strongly Worded Letter to the Mayor, which was promptly posted on the LotRO site. There are 5 of these relics for players to find, and a different story for each:

  1. Evendim - Oatbarton - Bungo Grubb's field: This one has a green symbol on it and has killed off several plants in the area immediately surrounding the relic. Bungo blames a rival pipe-weed farmer for this strange thing being there, believing it to be an attempt to sabotage his Grower's Festival entry.

  2. North Downs - William Peake's Farm: A farmer has found a strange helmet in his house, which he assumed was vendor trash and promptly sold to one of the merchants in Trestlebridge. However, there could be something more to the story - the night he found the helmet, someone broke in and burned his house to the ground, leaving a red-marked relic behind. Interestingly, there is a new town just northeast of this farm, up on the mountain - follow the path around the base until you get to the rusted-shut portcullis and you will see the ruined, empty town square beyond. 

  3. Trollshaws - Gladdalf - Laenan caves: Way in the back of this cave, past the level 64 orcs, is a yellow-marked relic, sitting before a sealed door. Elrond tells you that this door leads to a long-lost Rhudarian temple where people once worshipped a dark god of some kind.

  4. Forochel - The Iron Span: All the way at the back of this fortress is a purple-marked relic. This is the site where the Witch-King cursed the land of Forochel with freezing cold winter, and the people investigating the thing believe it may signal his return.

  5. Enedwaith - Thror's Coomb: This black-marked relic, located amidst the gwibers just southeast of the log bridge leading to the path to Nar's Peak, has a profound effect on the scaly beasts that prowl the area. They won't go near the thing, and the Grey Company recommends you do the same.

Finding all 5 relics grants the character the title "Calm Before the Storm." At this point, no-one really knows what, exactly, these things are, but it is safe to assume that they are foreshadowing for some kind of new content that will be delivered before long. In our November interview with Aaron Campbell and Adam Mersky, the lads mentioned that there would be "multiple" new raids coming in 2011 before the release of Rise of Isengard (you probably remember from This Article). Could these relics be the key to unlocking these new raids and instances? My money is on "yes," but we'll find out for sure soon enough.

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