New Details on Lord of the Rings RPG - Decipher.com
Accoding to the article the primary challenge is to balance the goals of making the game fun, accessible, "Tolkienesque" in feel, and true to its Middle-earth setting. Especially important are the rules governing magic. "Magic in Middle-earth is subtle, flavorful, and evocative." No fireballs or teleportation, but still there is plenty oportunity with "wizardry (general magic), sorcery (evil magics employed by the servants of the Enemy), and runes of power such as the Dwarves use" all availible to players in addition to the "enchanted and wondrous items" that exist.
The preview concludes with a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the Core Rulebook which is scheduled to be released in February 2002.