The latest expansion for the now free to play MMO Lord of the Rings Online focuses on the wizard Saruman and the Rise of Isengard.

Turbine teased the third expansion to its massive MMO Lord of the Rings Online today with a short trailer today. It’s told from the point of view of the traitor Wizard Saruman, and shows images of Tower of Orthanc. The new expansion, set to release in the Fall of 2011, will add Isengard as a playable area, raise the level cap to 70, and make huge modifications to Monster Play, opening it up to all players instead of just paying premium members. The storyline follows the Grey Company, the band of Rangers and the sons of Elrond, sent to meet up with Aragorn in Rohan.

“2010 has been a year of unprecedented growth for The Lord of the Rings Online with our successful introduction of a free-to-play option for our players,” said Kate Paiz, Executive Producer of The Lord of the Rings Online. “This is going to be another outstanding year for the game as we progress on our journey toward Mordor and it all begins with our upcoming November update. The journey will carry through 2011 ending with our arrival in the epic region of Isengard where players will confront the raging war and shadow that has spread across Middle-earth.”

Keep in mind that LOTRO went free to play this year, and so far it looks like the move has actually netted Turbine more revenue. It’s dedication to providing more content, such as the Rise of Isengard expansion, will hopefully continue until the Ring of Power is destroyed.

Lord of the Rings Online is the MMO that I would totally delve into if I had a spare lifetime. I’m a huge fan of Tolkien, having read the books several times (including The Silmarillion twice), and the team at Turbine lovingly recreates the world of Middle Earth. The fact that the game is still moving forward may sway me to roll up a hobbit. Who’s with me?

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