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Letter from Executive Producer Rob Ciccolini: A Look Ahead

By Severlin
Greetings, and thank you for being a part of Lord of the Rings Online! 2017 has been a huge year for us. This not only was our first full year as Standing Stone Games, but was also the year we realized one of the most exciting dreams we've had for more than a decade: bringing you Mordor, the fate of the One Ring, and the Fall of Sauron.  
2017 also marked the start of a new long-form tale of our own with the release of the Black Book of Mordor. We're excited to further explore the lore and setting of Middle-earth for years to come, both by telling our own stories, and continuing to add the most iconic encounters, locations, and developments from the trilogy to the game.
The Black Book of Mordor's plot continues in Update 22, leading to Northern Mirkwood! We are busy developing this region, including Thranduil's Court, Dale, Laketown, and Erebor. Who is now leading Dale and Laketown? Why are legions of refugees fleeing from Rhûn, with tales of death and horror on their lips? And why are spiders missing from the forest, and where have they gone? We'll answer these questions and more. We are also already planning for our updates between 22 and 23, including new additions to the Anniversary event and Summer Festival.
Before Update 22 releases next year, we’ll be celebrating the end of 2017 by launching a new raid: The Abyss of Mordath. In a thrilling conclusion to the storylines introduced in Dor Amarth, you and your friends and kin will descend into the Black Pits of Mordor in pursuit of King Váskmun Greytooth and the Firehorn Dwarves. At last, the time has come to put an end to King Greytooth’s misguided quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf-ring, Manthríf, and avenge the threats he levied against the dwarves of Durin’s Folk. Alas, the devoted followers of the Order of the Eye also search the Abyss, for they seek both vengeance on the Firehorns and knowledge of Sauron’s greatest secrets. However, neither the Firehorns nor the Order of the Eye know the truth of the terrors that lurk in the deepest shadows of the Mordath. This Level 115 Raid features three new boss encounters and offers a plethora of new rewards including best-in-slot armour, jewellery, off-hand items, and unique housing items!
Update 21.3 will feature new Housing Items, some of which will be found in the raid, others will be available through the Quartermaster in-game, and a few will be available in Gorgoroth Lootboxes. Speaking of new stuff, the Yule Festival will see new cosmetics, including a woodland crown, a new Winter dress, and a new Yule-themed cloak. Additionally, we have long heard players request the ability to have an Elk mount which will be offered in addition to two new cosmetic pets. 
One of the projects begun in 2017 that will continue into 2018 is the update of our character avatars. We're planning to release the Hobbit and Dwarf avatar update, and will continue afterwards with further improvements. 
For our musicians in LOTRO, we're excited to announce that a new instrument is being added to the music system: The fiddle! We expect this new instrument to debut in Update 22.
Looking beyond Update 22, we know you have been asking to see even more classic moments from the trilogy. We have a way to go before we see Aragorn and Arwen's wedding, but we intend to bring you other well-known parts of the book. In Update 23, we intend to visit Minas Morgul, and say a fearful hello to Shelob herself.
We also plan to make improvements to various systems like class skills and power, evolving player power through the Legendary Item system, and more. We'll update the Anniversary Event along with all of our other yearly Festivals. In particular, we’re looking forward to seeing Bingo Boffin’s Harvestmath Festival tale that began this year continue into next year. 
Once again, thank you for helping us bring Tolkien's world to life. We love seeing your concerts, plays, events, livestreams, artwork, poetry, writing, and more, and we think it's one of the things that really sets our community and game apart. We look forward to another year of celebration with you!

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