Lord of the Rings Online hits its highest player count in a decade thanks to free expansions

Good news for the Third Age.

Image via Standing Stone Games

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Lord of the Rings Online has been sending players on their own Middle-earth adventures since 2007. Its first five expansions became free for the MMO’s 15th anniversary, and that celebration gave the player count a nice bump.

LOTRO recently hit a player peak of 3,760 according to SteamDB — just shy of its all-time concurrent record of 3,965. While the following days didn’t quite reach the same heights, there’s a notable increase in the player count since the anniversary and its free content. The move seems to have paid off for developer Standing Stone Games.

The MMO is already free-to-play, but its expansions normally are not. Mines of Moria, Siege of Mirkwood, Rise of Isengard, Riders of Rohan, and Helm’s Deep were made free for the anniversary (the remaining four are still being sold at full price). Update 33 also went live this month, adding a new Yondershire region and some changes to the game’s VIP program and store. The numbers don’t lie: all of these things combined brought the MMO to its highest active player count in years.

Lord of the Rings fans don’t have many alternatives when it comes to their fantasy world of choice though. Amazon’s Rings of Power series will premiere this fall, but the company canceled its own Lord of the Rings MMO due to a Tencent dispute. Lord of the Rings: Gollum is still in the works, but we haven’t heard much since it was delayed to this year.