Lord of the Rings Online’s Helm’s Deep Expansion Sneak Peek
Since The Lord of the Rings Online’s Rise of Isengard expansion two years ago, developer Turbine has been preparing to roll out the next major iconic moment of Tolkien’s trilogy, the Battle of Helm’s Deep.
Integral to that, it introduced the mounted combat system in the last expansion, the Riders of Rohan, and now Turbine is bringing even more new systems to the free-to-play MMO to let players experience what every game seems to be striving for these days: a truly cinematic experience.
The Fellowship returns
During a Twitch TV livestream, Turbine demonstrated that new expansion kicks off with another iconic moment from the movies and fulfills a promise from the devs to see more interaction with the nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring again. You begin in the throne room of King Théoden, and watch as Gandalf drives Gríma Wormtongue out of the Thane’s household. From there, you are tasked by the newly coherent ruler to muster the Rhorrim to march on the Fords of Isen.
This is a welcome change, since the last expansion saw very little of the Fellowship. Though players did get to follow the adventures of some very well-crafted companion characters that did a great deal to make us feel part of the world and got small glimpses of Gandalf, it’s not the same as feeling like you’re helping the Fellowship along as we have during the last six years of the game.
Another way Turbine is amping up the lore in Helm’s Deep is through session play, which allows players to take on the role of historical characters. This time we’ll see the world through the eyes of a past king of Rohan called Folca. The 13th king of the region, he died hunting a wild boar of legend.
The lore that didn’t make the cut
But while we’re talking about all the lore in the expansion, some mention must be made of what is being left out. Fans of the film will be disappointed that the Paths of the Dead, that dark, ghost-infested cave where Aragorn called upon his ancestors to march into battle, will not be a playable area. Players will, however, see the Dark Door that leads to infamous burial site, but it will be not be passable.
Fans of the book will note that there were two famous battles at Helm’s Deep, the first one being at Helm’s Dike, the series of hills that formed a narrow path leading to the city. That battle wasn’t in the film The Two Towers, which only showed the assault on the city itself, known as the Battle of the Hornburg. Like the movie, only the second battle will be covered in the expansion.