My Latest Thoughts On LoTRO

I’ve been talking this over with my husband and another friend that was also in the closed beta. (All three of us played EQ for a number of years and currently play WoW.) This is not to say I’m exactly backsliding on what I posted in my review of the Stress Test. Nor am I going to straight out bad mouth the game either. I’ve had a huge number of hits on my original LoTRO Beta Stress Test Review post. So here is the update to that review.

As I stated in that review, two days of playing it was not enough for me to really explain the game or completely review the game. During the closed beta I wasn’t able to really play for a week till they fixed a bad memory leak that caused me to crash out after 15 min. So I wasn’t really able climb on up to level 20+. I did get to level 16 on my burglar but that was all, and I didn’t get to explore the entire map. So this dampens an in depth review.

I did read a review by someone who has never play 3d MMORPG before. He’s only played Runescape, which is an interesting free game that runs in the browser. Really niceorion.jpg if you have a seriously crappy computer or if you’d just like to take a dip back to old school MMORPG. His review is refreshing since this is essentially the first large 3d MMORPG he’s played. He’s not polluted with experiencing many other MMORPGs. I hate comparing games but it’s very hard not to. He takes notice of a lot of little details in the game I take for granted. He mentioned that there are real constellations in the night sky. I never even looked and there they were! I took a screen shot of Orion.

They do only have 4 races and 7 classes to pick from for your main character. Some people find that limiting but I think it goes with LoTR story line more. Also they have Monster Play which allows you to create an opposite alignment character which is attached to your main character; opens up more race choices and a few new classes. Monster Play doesn’t open up till you are level 10 and then you need to travel to Bree and look for the portal to create your monster character. To travel to the pvp zone with your main character you need to travel to Rivendell and go through the portal there. I’m not sure of the level when that option opens up. Since the monster character you create starts off at the level cap, I’d imagine it’d have to be in the high 40’s. Characters can customized through quests, mob kills and discoveries. There is a journal book to shows your progression towards a new title or trait (which is a stat to add on).

One person commented here that the battles were ugly and tedious at level 6. Since level 6 is the level that allows you to go into the great wide world and out of the newbie start area, I’m not all that sure of his complaint. I don’t know if he got out of the newbie area or not. He also mentions the lag problem, just about inherit to any of the newer MMORPGs out there now. (Have you tried out Vanguard Saga of Heroes? Ouch for older machines!) If you have an older machine like mine, lower the graphics all to low and also tweak your FPS and speed in the troubleshoot option area. Also in the UI turn off the NPCs floating text names. That helps a lot. I think there are more options to lower the lag more. That will ease up the lag issue some, but of course since Open Beta just started Friday, you’re going to have a ton of people in the start areas still will lag you out anyway.

As for the quests, there are some interesting quests out there. They are not in the newbie areas though. Many of the quests are the standard kill-this-many-mobs or go-find-this-person or delivery-this-to-this-guy quests. The quests with a quest chain are the more fun ones to get or the chapter quests they have there.

So, after my discussion we were all a bit on the wishy-washy side of it. The reason was simple for us all. The over all game play is too much like WoW which we all play already. We didn’t feel the need to add another game to our list even though we all liked being in Middle Earth. It does come down to the big question, to pre-order or not. I’m not going to pre-order although the pre-order plans are so tempting. The reason is simply it’s not offering me a completely new gaming experience. The only recent game to do that is Oblivion, but that is not a MMORPG. (Another entry will come soon for Oblivion.) MMORPGs all seem to be redundant these days. They all seem to be the hack-n-slash style of play. Although in LoTRO they did put in that you needed to face the mob for your attacks, you can’t be standing sideways to it.

Am I saying not to pre-order to stay away from LoTRO? NO! Not at all, especially if you’re new to MMORPGs or a huge fan of LoTR. If you already play WoW though, it would be a choice between the world of Azeroth or the world of Middle Earth. Which realm would you prefer to be in? I do think that LoTRO is more tailored for serious role-playing and older players. Older players seem to get turned off by the artistic hand painted style of WoW and tend to think it’s too cartoony, so the more real the graphics look to them the more they appreciate that. At least that is the impression I get. I have more of appreciation for the hand painted style of WoW than most older gamers out there so I’m not of the norm.

I don’t think LoTRO will blow away WoW for a few reasons.

  • WoW is played on both Windows and Macs.
  • Younger gamers like the cartoony style more.
  • People like to play with their friends and it’s hard to get them to switch games.

LoTRO won’t fail, it will have it’s fan base. It already does and it’ll only grow. Too many people want to be immersed inside Middle Earth. Who knows, maybe it will blow away WoW but WoW is such a monster right now that I don’t think so. However, the older players that are sick of the over all rude behavior of the general population of WoW will probably want to check out LoTRO. Although I was in closed beta where there is always more of sense of community in any game; I still see more potential for a close community in LoTRO, mainly because of all the role-playing options built into the game.

There is a key code for Open Beta available for LoTRO. Both PC Gamer magazine and GameSpot are offering an Open Beta key code. So check out the game for yourself before pre-ordering. Opinions on games are as subjective as opinions on art. Therefore I rather have you all judge for yourselves instead of going strictly by what I or anyone else says about LoTRO.

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~ by Kittenanne Mousehold on April 2, 2007.

4 Responses to “My Latest Thoughts On LoTRO”

  1. Hi,

    Great site btw. I was also in the LOTRO beta stress tests and really had a luck-luster feel for the game, so I’ve been doing other things since then. But over the Thanksgiving weekend some guildies dl’d the free-trial and convinced me to try it. For some reason it just seems MUCH better than it was in beta. You might want to try it again. The “Epic” quests are very cool and I’m not really sure what it is, but the game play just seems different and much better than I remember it being during beta.

    –M

  2. Forgot to put this in my last comment, grr. Here’s my report on LoTRO:

    http://lemegeton.wordpress.com/2007/12/04/a-week-in-middle-earth/

  3. Thank you so much for the input, Marchosias! I’ve leaning towards trying the trial out lately. I level capped in WoW in the summer and got burnt out on the repetition of the grind. So I haven’t been playing WoW lately.

    Running off to read your site now. 🙂

  4. interesting post, will come back here, bookmarked your site

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