In 1955, shortly after “The Lord of the Rings” was published, J. R. R. Tolkien began to worry his creation had become a “vast game” for some readers. This was not good, he wrote, even “for me, who find that kind of thing only too fatally attractive.” Now, Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and the imaginary setting he painstakingly built, Middle-earth, has become that “vast game.” Tomorrow in Las Vegas, Turbine Inc. of Westwood, Mass., is to announce an April 24 release date for The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, the year’s most anticipated massively multiplayer online game, or M.M.O. A digital Middle-earth will open its gates to thousands of virtual characters embarking on quests, plumbing subterranean realms and slaughtering plenty of goblins and trolls. [More]