The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood Preview

GameZone has cranked out their own hands-on preview of The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood, which includes a small dose of commentary by Turbine live producer Aaron Campbell.
The expansion focuses on the elves as they prepare an offensive to push back the armies of Sauron into a series of confrontations.

(What we are doing essentially, what the players will be involved in, is a distraction action to pull the eyes of Mordor away from the Ringbearer,) Campbell said.

Using instances tells the story of that offensive, presenting skirmish encampments and giving the game a very martial feel to it. (It's a different vibe entirely,) Campbell said.

All the story-based instances are scalable to party size and difficulty; it is an entirely new layer to the already existing story and brings the conflict that embraces Middle-earth more into focus for the players. One of the instances shown took place in Bree and involved defending The Prancing Pony from a series of attacks designed to destroy the inn. Getting into a skirmish is relatively easy all players need do is hit Control-J to pull up a list of options and then pick a skirmish to join. For participating, players will earn Skirmish Marks, which can be used to purchase a variety of rewards. There is also a Skirmish Trainer in the camps that can offer rewards.
In related news, there are several new screenshots from the expansion pack up at Voodoo Extreme.