A new expansion for Lord of the Rings Online called Siege of Mirkwood has been announced today by Turbine.This latest expansion will be digitally distributed and pushes the game further east in the Tolkien universe into Mirkwood. The expansion also contains the conclusion to Volume II of The Lord of the Rings Online.Siege of Mirkwood brings new features to the game including an increased level cap, a new region which includes the legendary evil fortress of Dol Goldur, enhancements to the game’s combat, and Legendary items.A new feature called “Skirmishes” is being added, in which players will “train customisable soldiers and take them into battle as part of the War of the Ring.”Jeffrey Steefel, executive producer of The Lord of the Rings Online, added:“2009 has been a year of unprecedented growth for The Lord of the Rings Online and the launch of Siege of Mirkwood will end the year with a bang. As the game expands east of the Misty Mountains, players will face the raging war and shadow that has spread across Middle-earth and the new Skirmish system will thrust players and their soldiers into the War of the Ring.”The feature list from Turbine reads as follows:The Epic Conclusion to Volume II: Mines of Moria – Under the command of Celeborn and Galadriel, players will fight through vast armies of Orcs alongside the Elves of Lórien in a battle that will take them to Dol Guldur, the fortress of the Ringwraiths. This update includes Book 9 and the Epilogue to the sweeping epic tale begun with the award-winning Mines of Moria expansion. Increased Level Cap — Players will be able advance their characters up to level 65, gaining access to new traits, virtues, skills and class quests.Answer the Call of War! – Jump into the heat of battle with the new Skirmishes feature. Skirmishes offer endless action in repeatable, randomized instances where players can create and lead customizable soldiers into battle, training them to greater skill as they earn victories against the forces of shadow. Answer the call of war wherever violence erupts with the new “World Join” function that lets players and their fellowships band together to fight in various locations throughout Middle-earth.Take up Arms! – Infiltrate the dark jails, deadly arenas and savage stables of Dol Guldur, the fortress of the Ringwraiths, and strike a blow against Sauron’s forces in new 3 and 6-player instances. Call upon your fellows to adventure into the most deadly 12-player raid yet and face the ultimate challenge – the Nazgûl Lord!
Major Gameplay Enhancements – Turbine continues to improve the award-winning experience of LOTRO with major improvements to the combat and Legendary Items systems. Players will experience improved responsiveness when in the heat of battle. Players will also be able to create and craft their own customized Second and Third Age Legendary Items from raw materials and grow their weapons’ power to level 60. Achieve new Legacies, new titles, and a fourth Runic slot that will make Legendary Items even more unique and powerful.Look out for the expansion this autumn and take a look at the official which went online this evening.