Happy Birthday, Dear LOTRO! Happy Birthday To You!
TomChick - News - 04/25/08 - Link

It's the one-year anniversary of Lord of the Rings Online and the developers at Turbine are handing out presents! Throughout Middle Earth, for characters of every level, players can find special birthday tokens. Turn these in to vendors in exchange for free goodies.

And if that's not enough to again make me desperately want to jump back into LOTRO, Book 13 just went live, adding a whole new area called Forochel with a new quest line, a new race, and region-specific pets, armor rewards, and mounts. I believe the area is supposed to make it easier to solo levels 40 through 50, just as Evendim made it easier to solo levels 30 through 40. Since my main has been parked at level 45 for a while, this is just what I've been waiting for. Book 13 also reworks an existing area in Evendim, similar to the facelift Angmar recently received. Which is coincidentally where my main alt is parked at level 35. I think Turbine is stalking me.

Also new is a revised "looking for group" interface, with Mustering Horns to make it easier for groups (technically, Fellowships) to assemble. I'm not sure what this does to the acorns Guardians could make to let their friends summon them, but I guess Turbine felt easier travel was preferable to class-specific gimmicks. The trophies that monsters dropped, which were sold to NPC vendors for cash or saved for specific crafting recipes, have been steamlined. This will make them easy to stack in your inventory, but it will also make more common a lot of the advanced crafting recipes. I guess I can clean out of the bank all those spider eyes and barrow treasures I've been saving.

But the real reason to jump back into LOTRO is much more prosaic than all of that fancy adventuring and fighting evil and whatnot. The real reason to revisit LOTRO is this fishing added in Book 13. As someone who really liked the laid-back vibe of LOTRO's farming -- many were the afternoons and evenings spent outside Bree planting pipeweed, harvesting it, and threshing for seeds -- I'm looking forward to squandering some quality time on the Brandywine. Turbine sets fishing in a class by itself, calling it a "hobby" instead of lumping it in with crafting skills. I'm not really sure what that means, other than that fishing is in a class by itself.

The complete release notes are here.

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