I haven't found a whole lot about Hardcore MMOGs worth talking about in a while. The fact that World of Warcraft pummeled out another kagillion quests for their expansion pack, and that it alone can account for Vivendi's sales rocketing, just didn't rise above the threshold of obviousness to be news.
But what the Lord of the Rings team is doing to embrace Web 2.0 is certainly worth discussion:
This seems to be all the chatter around the blogosphere (here, here, here, here). And lets not forget this is also the first title to announce pre-order discounts, beta account rollover, and the Tivo-like lifetime subscriptions for $199.
For all the issues our local boys in Boston have had over the years, it's nice to see some real innovation coming out of Turbine. Kudos to the group for actually making an interesting game as well, I've been enjoying the beta so far.
One very surprising thing to note is that these Web 2.0 innovations did not come from the current crop of "casual MMO" folks. For the most part Habbo Hotel, Runescape, and even the recently launched Nicktropolis are still Web 1.0 endeavors -- largely monolithic, sealed off, AOL-style worlds. While Turbine will undoubtedly benefit from being an early MMO adopter of these tools, the real amazing integration will likely happen once this migrates to titles that are already being played in browsers.