After three years of development, two publishers, and one name change, The Lord of the Rings Online: The Shadows of Angmar is officially online. Midway announced the game's official launch this morning, just over a month after developer Turbine (Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach) staged a successful final stress test. To celebrate, Midway CEO David Zucker is ringing the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange this afternoon.
As the name implies, Lord of the Rings Online is the first massively multiplayer game to be set in Middle-earth, the fictional realm created by author J.R.R. Tolkien and popularized in director Peter Jackson's film trilogy. Though the game will sport locales and creatures from the books (Electronic Arts holds rights to LOTR film-based games), it will be based on all-new adventures. It will also be regularly updated with new realms and questlines, like the just-announced Shores of Evendim.
With a monthly subscription rate of $14.99, LOTRO retails for $49.99 in its most basic form. For $10 more, players can pick up a Special Edition replete with the game on a single DVD, a 30-day subscription, a "Making of The Lord of the Rings Online" DVD featurette, a game soundtrack CD, and an unnamed exclusive in-game item. Both versions are rated T for Teen.