'Lord of the Rings' expansion planned for Fall 2011

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The Independent Tech

The free-to-play game Lord Of The Rings Online is to receive its third expansion pack, The Rise of Isengard, by November 2011.

The game has recently enjoyed a new lease on life since ditching its across-the-board subscription plan in favor of free entry supported by an in-game store selling character enhancements, equipment, and expansion packs.

Like the previous two expansions, Rise of Isengard offers new areas to explore alone or with friends, new quests, and new monsters and enemies to be overcome, including Saruman himself (played by Christopher Lee in the film adaption).

Lord of the Rings Online isn't the only massively multiplayer game to switch to a free-to-play model in the face of World of Warcraft's market dominance: Champions Online is due to make the change in 2011, and Dungeons & Dragons Online did the same in 2009.

War of Legends, Allods Online and World of Tanks all launched on a free-to-play basis in 2010. Games like GuildWars, Minecraft, and the upcoming MinerWar 2081 operate on the basis of a one-time fee, while Aion, Everquest II, and EVE continue to find success using a subscription model.

Previous Lord of the Rings Online expansions cost $20.

Rise of Isengard teaser trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-byalnFFk0