Lord of the Rings Online is entering its 16th year of ongoing operation, and developer Standing Stone Games has now outlined its “ambitious” plans for 2023. Additionally, the studio said it’s looking forward to the next 15 years of LOTRO, running up to 2038 and potentially beyond.
In its first Letter to the Players of 2023, lead systems designer Allan Maki said fans of the MMO can look forward to an “ambitious” year of new content and updates for the game this year. This will include more endgame content and, in general, helping the game live up to fans’ “modern expectations.”
Additionally, there will be a new expansion coming to LOTRO in the second half 2023. The studio isn’t sharing specifics yet, but Maki said it will take players to “less traveled shores” in the south. “Across the salty sea, beyond the Bay of Belfalas to the shore of the Corsair Kings, Umbar. And that, dear readers, is a tale for another day,” Maki said.
“Reflecting on where we are in the development of the game, we recognize that there are some areas, systems, and experiences that need attention and sprucing up,” Maki said. “We also understand that there is a need for level cap content and new things for you to do. Our focus in 2023 is bringing some of those experiences up to more modern expectations and the expansion of the game world, story, and direction as we begin the next 15 years of our journey together.”
For the next 12 months, LOTRO players can expect updates on a quarterly basis that will add things like a power revamp, a new raid, a 16th anniversary update, additional adventures, and a new level cap in Q4. You can see more in the roadmap image below.
Also in 2023, Standing Stone Games will make changes to the Captain and Warden classes, while the studio will update the power system in LOTRO, including how it’s used and recovered. “The impact here will be less on the moment-to-moment experience on the landscape and more on the management of this resource in dungeons and raids,” the developer said.
Other changes coming to LOTRO in 2023 include a “revision” to the crafting system and a new focus on festivals and events. “Along with the return of Ill Omens, we will expand the rewards for the Spring festival, introduce new direct Player versus Monster Player events inside of the Ettenmoors, and work toward providing a new set of cyclical events that revolve around the different crafting professions,” Standing Stone said.
Outside of LOTRO, there are more Lord of the Rings games in the works. These include a survival crafting game called Return to Moria, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, and a new title from Weta and GTA company Take-Two’s indie games division.