Turbine Entertainment and Midway Games are already ramping up the hype machine for their forthcoming massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar by offering Rings fans and Tolkien enthusiasts to get into Middle-earth early via a pre-order Founders Program. Eager players can become a Founder by pre-ordering the game online or at retail stores beginning February 1, 2007, opting for either a $9.99/month subscription price or a $199 Lifetime Membership.
In addition to these special subscription prices, Founders will be given the first opportunity to enter Middle-earth during the game’s open beta period, currently scheduled to get underway March 30, 2007…and they’ll be able to take their developed characters forward from the beta to the official launch when the game goes live, currently scheduled for April 24, 2007.. Founders will also be eligible to acquire two unique game items (an Enchanted Cloak of Regeneration and a Ring of Agility).
“The Lord of the Rings Online immerses you in one of the greatest literary works of all time,” said Jeffrey Anderson, president and CEO of Turbine. “The Founder’s Program pricing plan rewards fans for their loyalty with a special opportunity to join Middle-earth from the beginning.”
The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar aims to recreate the famous fantasy world outlined in the fantasy books of J.R.R. Tolkien, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. The MMORPG game doesn’t enable players step into the roles of famous characters from the books; instead, players create their own human, dwarf, elf, or halfling characters and play a “vital” role in the War of the Ring, interacting with some of Tokien’s legendary heroes like the wizard Gandalf. The game makers claim a sweeping dedication to the Tolkien milieu and say the game will offer an unprecedented level of detail and craftsmanship, although many gamers and Tolkien fans have expressed skepticism that Tolkien’s fantasy landscape can be faithfully reproduced as an online game accommodating untold thousands of individual players.