Bilbo never finds the ring and it remains hidden with Gollum.
Sauron keeps growing in power and brings back to life old orc factions in Gundabad, Angmar and Mirkwood.
Because of the power of these new orc factions Saruman chooses to flee Isengard, determining it to be too close to the enemy.
There is more military investment then ever before as all of Middle Earth goes to war with each side having similar and at the same time very different goals.
Elves, dwarves and men want to restore peace and destroy the ring to eliminate Sauron and his minions from Middle Earth forever, while orcs and men of the east and south want to find the ring for Sauron to conquer all of Middle Earth