There’s a piece up on Massively about the state of LotRO that’s worth checking out. I won’t go over every detail, so head on over there for all the specifics.
The highlights, however, are fairly tantalizing. The yet-untitled Update 3 is slated for May and will have two new skirmishes, two new level-scaling instances and a “treasure hunt.” Not much is known about this last save that it will be basically accessible by all levels, but I surmise that it’ll be some kind of festival or holiday style event, but permanent. LotRO tends to do a really good job with this kind of content – its Halloween event was nothing short of spectacular and blew every other game’s clean off the table – so it might be very interesting, if possibly something that’ll go stale relatively quickly. I’m curious to see it.
By the way, the timing of releases for Updates 1 and 2, as well as Update 3, suggests that there will be at least one and possibly two releases of similar size between Update 3 and the next expansion, Rise of Isengard, which is pencilled in for late in the year. No new details on that yet, but there’s apparently a 24-man raid in the works for that, which ought to be cool, and which would seriously expand the scale of LotRO raiding. Whether that’ll launch before, with or after Isengard remains to be seen. Nobody’s said this, but I expect the expansion to fall somewhere between Mines of Moria and Siege of Mirkwood in size.
Mounted combat is confirmed to be in the works, although that had already been widely surmised anyway (and maybe had already been talked about by the devs, but if so, I hadn’t heard it.) I’d expect this to be hitting the game with or around the expansion after Isengard, which should likely cover Rohan – for which a mounted combat system is just about mandatory.
One interesting detail that was news to me is that Turbine apparently doesn’t have The Hobbit as part of its license. That’s an interesting omission, and one that’s likely to impact the game’s development as we get closer to the release of the Peter Jackson film adaptations of it. Maybe Turbine will move to acquire that license, or maybe they’ll try to work around it, but even if they don’t, there’s room to expand generally in that direction to piggyback a bit on the films; there’s substantial action taking place up in Dale during the time of The Lord of the Rings, mentioned in both the narrative and in the appendices, but occurring entirely offscreen, that could in principle be worked into the game without treading directly on material from The Hobbit.