The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) updates coming this spring are huge. When Riders of Rohan releases, it will include massive changes to the way the game is played, including adding mounted combat and a promised monthly update model from Turbine.
The Great River is the newest region to come to LOTRO with the Riders of Rohan release this pring. That area will gateway between Lothlorien and the southern end of Rohan, beginning at the mouth of the Anduin Valley and traveling down to Fangorn.
With that comes mounted combat, something that LOTRO has been distinctly missing and that players have clamored for. Developers say that mounted combat will be added with the RR update, but that it will be limited to the East Plains area, which will be well-suited for it. They may expand it to the rest of the world’s outdoor map, but have not given a time table for that.
Skirmish soldiers will soon be able to be used throughout Middle Earth with the exception of instances. This means that players will be able to use their skirmish pet anywhere on the map. This is a tentative update that may not actually come to fruition, as it is under testing in beta right now. If it is added, it will be potentially game changing, throwing a lot of quests that were group-only into the solo realm.
A new Summer Festival is being added to LOTRO with the latest update. This will mean the game has five festivals per year, so it will basically be a festival year-round.
Finally, the Turbine developers have promised a monthly update schedule for the game. Starting with the release of Rohan in a couple of months, they will begin using the update model used for Asheron’s Call. This means small, frequent updates rolling out every 30 days (or less) in between large updates that will still happen about twice a year.
These small updates will include qualify of life improvements, bug fixes, store additions, festival tweaks and adds, and epic storyline content additions to keep things more fresh. On that last item, this means that most of the major updates will not contain much epic storyline with them, beyond the overall story added thanks to new regions, but those storyline adds will instead come with the smaller, more frequent updates instead.
Overall, it looks like Turbine plans to try to re-invigorate LOTRO and try to move the fanbase from the loyal core and free to play (F2P) occasionals into a more growth-centered group.