CES 07: The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Impressions

Turbine shows off mounts and some never-before-seen places that you'll explore in The Lord of the Rings Online.

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LAS VEGAS--The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar will attempt to create the most comprehensive version of J.R.R. Tolkien's famous Middle-earth, and developer Turbine was on hand to show off the upcoming massively multiplayer role-playing game at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Turbine has the license to Tolkien's literary works, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. Since the motion picture license is another deal altogether, you won't be seeing anything from the movies in the game. You'll be able to create a character based on one of the four good races (humans, elves, dwarves, and, of course, hobbits), though you won't be able to play as Frodo or any of the other key characters. Instead, you'll create your own character who can then play a supporting role to the Fellowship of the Ring by accomplishing quests and battling evil armies. (We recently had an in-depth preview covering the kind of adventures you'll have in the game.)

At CES Turbine showed off mounts for the first time and explained how travel will be accomplished throughout the game. After the first time you travel to a new location, you'll be able to fast-travel to that point, which means you'll automatically ride a mount to that location. If you have more money, you can purchase your own mount and ride anywhere you wish. The mounts thus far include horses and ponies for the tiny hobbits.

Turbine also showed off some never-before-seen locales, including the Last Homely House, otherwise known as the house of Elrond. Inside you'll find Frodo and the other main characters, where they'll give you various quests to pursue. The graphical art style is rich and colorful, which is something that Turbine felt was necessary since so many people have read the novels and visualized these places in their minds.

The game is currently undergoing its beta test, and Turbine says that more than 300,000 testers have signed up for it. If everything goes according to schedule, we'll be able to adventure and explore in The Lord of the Rings Online later this year.

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