The lesson from EverQuest and EverQuest II is that having some new content to sell every year is a money making deal. Even now EQII is warming up for its annual fall cycle of events leading to this years expansion. I’ll get to all of that later for both titles.
Since Turbine sold off Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online to Daybreak under the guise of the Standing Stone Games deal, both titles have been trying to get on the regular expansion content train.
And so we have the Before the Shadows mini-expansion coming this fall.
And which shadow exactly are we speaking off… or where is it in any case? Well, the blurb for the expansion says:
Reveal the mysteries of the One Ring as you venture through the reedy fens of Swanfleet and the moors of Cardolan. Journey alongside Boromir to Rivendell, and run afoul of the Witch-King and Nazul in their pursuit of “Baggins” and the peaceful land of the “Shire” as shadow begins to pour forth from the land of Mordor.
So it sounds like we’re getting a bit of a prequel adventure, which is to be expected I suppose. There is only so far you can go once you’ve thrown down the dark tower… though I don’t think we’ve scourged the Shire yet. But they’ve added some areas to the Shire, so maybe we’ll get to that at some point.
The actual meat of the expansion is fairly thin:
- New Regions & New Early Leveling Experience
- New Skirmish and 6-player Instance
- New Delving System
- New Themed Missions Wrapper
- Go Further with Expedition Supplies
- Upgrade Your Experience with the Ultimate Fan Bundle
- 10% VIP Discount
However, the base price for the content alone is just $20, which is a bargain these days. We’ve finally hit the point where the base price for a big studio title is going to be $70, and that is before you get to the deluxe edition and the season pass and the cash shop.
Of course, if you WANT to spend more on Before the Shadow, if you have money to burn and a desire to support your favorite MMORPG set in Middle-earth, you can throw as much as $100 at your screen with the “recommended” ultimate fan bundle.
That, of course, is another thing Daybreak has been good at. But I cannot begrudge them their pricing scheme. Some players want all the possible goodies and if it keeps the game alive and the studio afloat… and it isn’t mandatory or game breaking… then good for them I suppose.
Anyway, you can find more details over at the LOTRO expansion page, which is a reminder that unlike EverQuest, they don’t just roll up that last expansion into the current one’s content. They still have older stuff for sale. It doesn’t go all the way back to Mines of Moria. I think that is all free now. But If you want to get into Mordor, there is still an expansion for that and a few more after.
Addendum: Also, there is a coupon pack that will get you additional content. It expires Oct. 31, 2022.