A moderator’s post on the official Lord of the Rings Online forums indicates that the MMORPG will soon be adding new servers to their existing 11. This is most likely in anticipation of an influx of new players when the game moves to a free-to-play (F2P) format in fall 2010.
The forum post asks players help name the new servers by voting, offering 13 suggestions. LOTRO‘s developer Turbine hasn’t divulged the final number of new servers.
Turbine announced a few months ago that LOTRO will offer an F2P option in addition to monthly and lifetime subscriptions. This was in response to the huge success from their other MMORPG, Dungeons and Dragons Online, which added an F2P option a year ago.
The potential server names seem to appeal to a broader audience. They’re mainly names of locations people might recognize from simply watching Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. They include Tookland, Osgiliath, Pelennor, and Ithilien. This is in contrast to most of the current names such as Landroval, Elendilmir, Nimrodel, or Windfola, which are more obscure and may only be familiar to those who have read the books. Again, it seems like an attempt to cater to the upcoming F2P crowd, who may not be as well-versed in Tolkien’s mythology.
Personally, I like Osgiliath because it sounds cool — ignoring the fact that it was taken over by Sauron’s forces. However, I echo the sentiments of a forum poster who suggested that there be names of evil places like Cirith Ungol, Barad-Dur, or Cirith Ungol. Those sound pretty epic. However, considering that my kin and friends are on the Arkenstone server, that’s where I’ll remain.
Adding new servers is not a decision for an MMO developer to take lightly. It’s understandable that Turbine is anticipating hordes of new players via F2P and want to prevent server lag from overpopulation on the current servers. At the same time, if they don’t get a lot of new players, these servers will become ghost towns. If things get really bad, they may have to resort to merging servers, which is never a good sign because it can send the message that the game is in trouble.
LOTRO‘s F2P version is currently in beta. If you’re interested in trying it out, you can sign up for it here.
Site [Lord of the Rings forums]