The Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard Previews

Turbine is busy showcasing their upcoming The Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard expansion pack at this week's E3, so it comes as no surprise that the add-on has been subjected to three new previews.

As with Enedwaith, Dunland gave Turbine a terrific opportunity to have fun creative a diverse biome within the expansion, including vistas we've never seen before. From the snow-capped mountains to murky swamps to the Fords of Isen, the new zones promise to add more of the captivating landscapes and locales for which LotRO is famous.

Unlike the residents of Bree and Moria, these locals are a fairly primitive people who haven't made the transition to great works of architecture, literature and philosophy. The distant threat of Isengard has made them feel uneasy, but mostly they are trying to continue to live life the way they've always known.

Ten Ton Hammer:
To go along with that, many of the stat and itemization changes are intended to give players the ability to make meaningful decisions between items that support the different nuances. For example you'll have more flexibility to choose between supporting different roles your class is able to fulfill such as the choice between healing and DPS.

The Reaver class will also become a free creep class for players in the new expansion to give them a taste of LotRO's PvP system, with the other creeps being made available to purchase in the store. The store itself will become available to players in the '˜Moors, so certain items that you hadn't been able to use there before will all become fair game for both sides.

And PC Gamer:
This expansion is a doozy, with over 400 quests included (which can of course be purchased in quest packs semi-individually by strict free-to-play gamers) in its 3 new zones: Dunland, The Gap of Rohan, and Isengard. Dunland and Rohirrim are two semi-primitive groups being pitted against one another by Sauron, which you need to convince to get along and fight their true enemy. The new zones remind me a bit of Age of Conan in their art style, with a strong medieval Asian vibe to the buildings and set pieces. It's a great part of the Lord of the Rings story to flesh out where Tolkein briefly mentioned a conflict, Turbine has brought entire civilizations to life in stunning detail. LOTRO's newly-added phasing technology which allows the world to change in response to your actions (save a town, and they stay saved, to your perspective at least) is used to its full effect for the first time ever in these new zones.

The level cap is being increased to 75, opening a bunch of new character skills and ways to customize your character as you attempt to bring peace to these warring people having to deal with Saruman's failed breeding experiments being dumped on their doorstep.