Here’s the official site. The announcement has just been made at Codemasters’ Connext event in Birmingham. It’s releasing before the end of the year, according to this. Mines of Moria a high level affair that’ll raise the cap from 50 to 60, and will also contain instances for three, five, 12 and 24 players. More through the link.
Update: Press release after the link.
The Lord of the Rings OnlineTM: Mines of MoriaTM: Mines of MoriaTM Unveiled At Connect 08
Volume II of the 2007 PC Game of the Year Expected to Arrive at Retail This Fall
BIRMINGHAM, UK – March 14, 2008 – Turbine, Inc. and Codemasters Online today unveiled Volume II of The Lord of the Rings Online™, the first retail expansion for the award-winning massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG). Announced in Birmingham, the childhood home of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings Online™: Mines of Moria™ will expand the online world of Middle-earth to let players explore the ancient underground cities of the dwarves, battle epic characters in the depths, face off with the Watcher, be a part of the fateful release of Durin’s Bane and more! The Lord of the Rings Online expects to open Volume II of its epic story in the fall of 2008 with an increased level cap, two new classes and the introduction of a unique item advancement system.
“The Mines of Moria is one of the most epic settings in all of fantasy fiction,” said Jim Crowley, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc. “No one delivers more quality content than Turbine and with our journey into Moria, we will raise the bar even higher. We are adding vast amounts of content, debuting massive new environments and unveiling numerous unique feature sets, like item advancement, which will create entirely new dimensions of compelling game play and social interaction which are unique to The Lord of the Rings Online experience.”
* Speak Friend, and Enter – Moria, called Khazad-dûm by the dwarves, was their capital and the grandest of cities. This enormous underground cavern in north-western Middle-earth, comprises an immense network of tunnels, chambers, mines and huge halls that run beneath and ultimately through the Misty Mountains. For the first time, players of The Lord of the Rings Online will enter this ancient city which has served as the foundation for the modern-day dungeon-crawling adventures to battle the hordes of goblins and the Nameless of the Deep and journey through hundreds of new quests within six new kinds of stunning environments.
* The Epic Continues! — The Mines of Moria represents the beginning of Volume II of The Lord of the Rings Online. Players can experience six new books as part of this update and participate in the release of Durin’s Bane, battle the Watcher, aid Galadriel and more!
* Increased Level Cap — Players will be able advance their characters up to level 60, gaining access to new traits, virtues, skills and class quests. The crafting system will also expand, giving players the ability to craft even more powerful items.
* Discover Two New Classes — The Rune-keeper and the Warden, the first new classes to be introduced since the launch of the game, allow players to build exciting and powerful new characters in The Lord of the Rings Online in diverse new ways.
* Forge Legendary Items – The Mines of Moria will introduce Turbine’s new item advancement system to The Lord of the Rings Online. Players will be able to forge weapons and class-related equipment and evolve them to build a legacy the likes of Bilbo’s Sting and Gandalf’s Glamdring. These legendary weapons will level-up along with the player, allowing customization by advancing the item’s virtues, adding runic legacies, modifying its titles and forming fables.
To celebrate this exciting news, Turbine and Codemasters also announced today that they will kick off a major promotion that invites everyone to unlock the Mines of Moria by visiting http://www.unlocktheminesofmoria.com. Visitors can learn more about Mines of Moria and play special mini-games that will be periodically released over the coming months. Certain players who participate can complete special deeds through game play and other means to unlock exclusive previews, assets and special in-game items that may help them when they delve into Mines of Moria this fall. The Unlock the Mines of Moria promotion is scheduled to begin at the end of this month.
The Lord of the Rings Online is an award-winning MMORPG that delivers an interactive experience brimming with life and filled with the familiar people, places and monsters from the most beloved fantasy adventure of all time. From the picturesque surroundings of the Shire to Moria, the great underground realm, players will experience the world of Middle-earth as never before. The Lord of the Rings Online is available for purchase at major retailers across North America and Europe. For more information or to download a free trial, visit www.lotro.com or www.lotro-europe.com.