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The great folks at Turbine have been busy. Just months after the latest expansion for the Lord of the Rings Online launched, The Rise of Isengard, and only a week since they revealed the first expansion to Dungeons & Dragons Online, they’re now telling us that we’ll get to ride into Rohan later this fall!

Riders of Rohan launches in the Fall of 2012 with an increased level cap, the vast plains of Rohan including iconic locations such as Amon Hen and Fangorn Forest, the new Mounted Combat system, and upgraded instance finder, and much more!

Rohan is expected to be twice the size of the recent expansion, Rise of Isengard, and includes the most new game systems and technology we've been introduced to since 2008's Mines of Moria.

Turbine has placed the emphasis of it's hard work on throwing large numbers of enemies at you all at once. Specifically in the upcoming expansion, enemy groupings known as Warbands will be found roaming and terrorzing the land. Players will be forced to use a new tactic, mounted combat, to defeat them.

Warbands can first be spotted from a far off distance because they throw up large clouds of dust into the air. You will have to decide whether you want to flee the incoming riders and run away, or charge into the battle on your War Steed.

The East plains will be the only place in the game where mounted combat and warbands will be found. The devs commented on the massive region stating that "it would not be wise to travel the zone on foot due to the size and danger."

Fighting on horseback will provide an entire new type of combat and leveling, a distinct feature unknown to most MMOs. Players will learn special skills for mounted combat and be able to decorate their horses with armor.

However, before we can venture off onto the plains of Rohan, Turbine plans to tease us just as they had before The Rise of Isengard. Coming this Spring, Update 6 will launch with an all new zone, The Great River, and will continue the epic storyline. 

The Great River is the area south of Lothlorien and north of Fangorn. This is the region where the fellowship was separated in the books. “Players will get to experience the journey down the river as new challenges and sights present themselves,” said Kate Paiz. "I think the players will find it extremely stimulating."

Update 6 will also include the second iteration of the instance finder, an in-process system according to Turbine. Once the update hits, the improved instance finder will replace world join and reflecting pool interfaces and will allow players too choose specific instances.

The most exciting feature that will land in the update will be the ability to summon Skirmish Soldiers into the actual game world, not only skirmishes. Players can now level up their Soldiers in Skirmishes and be used to help you clean the world of Sauron’s minion’s.

Turbine has also decided to alter it’s update strategy from a few, large updates per year, to smaller, more frequent content updates in-between major rollouts. These smaller updates will fix the little things such as bug fixes, store additions, festival tweaks, more epic storyline content, etc.

The entire package arrives this fall as a digital expansion (no retail copy). Unfortunately we won’t be seeing a Helms Deep battle reenactment just yet or any Ent Session Play, but the thought of Mounted Combat, skirmish soldiers in the real world, Warbands, and a massive new zone is a welcome one!

Press Release

Experience the Riders of Rohan: Join with the Rohirrim and ride across the sprawling Plains of Rohan; witness the breaking of the Fellowship at Amon Hen; forge alliances with the Ents of Fangorn; and aid Eomer, adopted son of Théoden, as he seeks to protect his homeland from the growing Shadow.

Introducing Mounted Combat: Ride into Combat atop your loyal War-steed as you defend the people of Rohan from the forces of Isengard and Mordor. Customize your War-steed's armor and level its skills over time to aid you in mounted defense of King Theoden's lands. Mount your steed and gather your fellows to fight against Warbands, contingents of roving warg riders that have been scouted all over the Plains of Rohan! It falls to you to head off and defeat this new threat before they over take the land.

Advance to level 85: Continue your legend in the next chapter of The Lord of the Rings Online. Experience new adventures in the epic story, and gain new skills and deeds as you face new challenges on your journey to 85!