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Lord of the Rings Online Review 351

Posted by Zonk
from the you-got-your-hobbit-in-my-mmog dept.
The circle is now complete. With Turbine's release of Lord of the Rings Online: The Shadows of Angmar (LOTRO), the Massively Mutliplayer game figuratively eats the tail of its originator in ouroboros-like fashion. Tolkien's work begat Dungeons and Dragons, the PC gaming market, CRPGs, and finally Massive games, and last month's release of LOTRO beautifully reconnects the future with the past. Replacing dice-wielding friends around a table has even, wonder of wonders, been done well. Polished gameplay and cutting-edge graphics abound; In direct contrast to the lackluster response to Turbine's other MMOG, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online has had an overwhelmingly positive reaction from fans. Read on for my notes from the experience of trying on Hobbit feet for a month, and a few words about why LOTRO's quality is notable and highly encouraging.
  • Title: Lord of the Rings Online: The Shadows of Angmar
  • Publisher: Midway
  • Developer: Turbine Inc.
  • System: PC
  • Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Game
  • Score: 4/5 - This game is above average, and excels in the genre it supports. A classic for the genre, likely to be a part of a genre fan's collection, and well worth a look for every gamer.
It may seem derogatory to open a review by comparison to another game, but in this case the comparison is a positive one; it's worth saying up front: Lord of the Rings Online stacks up very well compared to the king of the genre, World of Warcraft (WoW). When WoW dropped on an unsuspecting PC market a little over two years ago, it changed the Massively Multiplayer industry forever. As a result, WoW has been an incredibly hard act to follow.

It's telling, and more than a little disconcerting, to note that every Massively Multiplayer game launched since WoW has had a very hard time garnering attention from traditional Massive gamers. Some expansions have worked out well, of course, and Guild Wars has succeeded by dodging the barrier of a monthly fee completely. New AAA MMOGs, though, have been grimly received. Some of the biggest games launched since WoW include: The Matrix Online, ArchLord, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Auto Assault, and Vanguard. Though each of these titles offers some interesting gameplay elements, none of them have managed to capture even a noticeable percentage of the WoW-playing audience.

The simple fact, then, that Lord of the Rings Online is a polished, competently executed, and genuinely fun Massively Multiplayer experience is not to be taken lightly. Adequacy should not be confused with disappointment. LOTRO is, literally, the first brand-new MMOG worth playing since World of Warcraft. As depressing as that is to contemplate, LOTRO's success is great news for fans of the books and movies; no one is turning in their grave as a result of this game's launch.

In the broadest sense, LOTRO compares favorably to World of Warcraft because it borrowed many components from the current king of the genre. LOTRO has adapted the general 'feel' of WoW's gameplay to a wholly new setting and experience. The result is a MMOG that will be extremely intuitive to anyone who has played other Massive games. Characters are chosen from a selection of classes and races, spend most of their time completing quests, fight opponents by selecting class abilities from a hotbar, and can band together with other players to take on challenges too dangerous to solo. The game can primarily be played by yourself, but common chat channels called Fellowships ensure that players looking for more long-term social commitments can achieve their goals. It's a sign of the times that WoW's success almost seems to demand some level of imitation from other products to be competitive. It should be stressed, though, that LOTRO is not just a poor man's WoW. This is no cheap knock-off, and the game is categorically not trying to be World of Warcraft. It would be more accurate to say that Turbine has recognized quality, and attempted to ensure that their own product lives up to expectations.

What separates LOTRO from the crowd, the thing that Turbine has sharpened and honed to cut players (at least temporarily) away from other games, is the Middle Earth license. The extraordinary care that the designers have taken to place players into Middle Earth is apparent in every aspect of the game. As in other titles set during the Rings trilogy, Turbine has wisely kept you fairly well removed from the main plot of the books. By following quests scattered throughout the world, your character dances around and through the journey of the One Ring. Though you can speak with every member of the Fellowship at some point in your travels, you are not asked to shoulder Frodo's burden. Instead, your character is woven deeply efforts of the free peoples to aid the ring-bearer and repel the forces of Mordor. The usual kill-it and fed-ex quests dot the land, and wouldn't look out of place in any other game. The sharp difference is that Turbine has leveraged Tolkien's amazing world-building efforts to make you actually care about what you're doing. Ranging from the practical (slaying goblins to keep the townspeople safe) to the ridiculous (running pies across the shire to spoil the Sackville-Baggins' party), quest text is remarkably well written. If you read and enjoyed the books, you're going to quickly find yourself pausing to read the tales these quests tell.

This pause, the interest in the lives of the NPCs, results in a different pace than you might be used to in other Massive games. It's, of course, an intrinsic part of the gameplay that you can set your own pace in a Massively Multiplayer game. That said many games compel you to rush everywhere, getting as much done as quickly as possible, playing for long stretches at a time to grind to the higher levels. LOTRO just doesn't have that vibe. Certainly, you can churn through the content as fast or slow as you'd like. There were max-level characters on the game servers within a week or two of the game's launch. For those with more appetite for story, or those grown tired of that pace in other online games, the breathtaking graphics and well-told tales encourage stopping to smell the roses. There's also just no compelling reason to grind your way to max-level in this game. Right now a big chunk of highest-level content is still in development, and for a Massively Multiplayer game LOTRO is quite reasonably priced. Anecdotal evidence from my own experiences and the experiences of other players indicates that Lord of the Rings Online is the kind of game that is most fun to play in fits and spurts. A few hours one day, a few hours the next ... it's so much fun running around the Shire, it's easy to see why a player would be in no rush to leave the lower levels.

Another element that encourages lingering rather that rushing, and can help assuage the hardcore players that might otherwise grumble, are the deeds. Deeds are a unique element to Lord of the Rings Online, a kind of achievement system somewhat reminiscent of those earned on the Xbox 360. They're discovered by doing the act the deed requires for the first time; for example, many require a certain number of monsters to be slain. The first time you kill a wolf in the Shire, your UI notes that you've begun work on the 'Wolf Slayer' deed. This can just be a blind grind-fest, if you're so inclined, but players have found that most deeds can be accomplished simply by going about their normal business of questing and traveling. Killing wolves as you encounter them in your travels eventually results in the completion of that deed, without needing to ruin your play experience with senseless repetition. Instead of Xbox Live gamerpoints, deeds earn your character two things: titles and virtues. Titles are simply that, strings that can be added on to your name. Completing the Wolf Slayer deed, for example, nets you the 'Fur Cutter' title. It's a simple customization, but the large number of deeds in the game allows for players to represent themselves in a myriad of different ways.

Virtues are much more important. Each completed deed gives you access to a virtue, an insubstantial descriptor that modifies your character's game statistics. As an example, completion of the Wolf Slayer deed earns the 'Discipline' virtue. Discipline increases melee damage and your character's resistance to injury. Each virtue modifies different character abilities and statistics, and are useful in different situations. A character's functionality can be changed dramatically just by swapping out what virtues they have slotted. It encourages differentiation between members of the same class, and a few wisely-chosen virtues can make the difference between victory and defeat.

Deeds aren't the only unique element LOTRO offers. The game's character classes are a nice tweak on the normal 'tank/mage/cleric' trinity that have been the standard in fantasy MMOs since EverQuest. While the basic party roles are all there, their Middle Earth wrapping pleasantly muddies the waters. The main Damage Per Second (DPS) class in the game, for example, is the Burglar, a rogue-type character. The character you'd expect to be most like the blaster/mage is the Loremaster, but he fulfills more of a crowd control role. He also has some healing skills, as do several other classes. The Minstrel is the primary healing class, but with multiple classes having the ability to heal it's not critical to ensure a Minstrel is in every party. This 'spreading the load' approach also allows Minstrels themselves to be a more front-line combatant than any priest or healer is in other games Their songs do damage to enemies, as well as providing short-term buffs for team-mates. Though for the most part these are all familiar roles in new packages, they 'feel' differently enough to provide a sense of novelty for veterans and new players alike.

Crafting within the game is well done, but simply doesn't feel as though it was made huge priority. You're forced to choose from one of three crafting classes, separate from your combat class. Each class has three vocations it covers, allowing for slightly more variety than in other games. While most of these crafts are par for the course, there are a few vocations that tweak things a bit. Farming, for example, is an actual crafting element in the game. You plant seeds, harvest crops, and sell them to other players; in Beta it was the best way to make money, and resulted in more than a few obvious jokes. There is also a Scholar vocation that has players collecting pieces of ancient wisdom together to make scrolls and potions. For the most part, though, crafting in Lord of the Rings Online is 'merely' competently executed. New players aren't introduced to the fundamentals of crafting explicitly enough before they're forced to make a choice, and after a choice is made quest support for crafting-friendly players can be a bit slack at low levels.

Merely 'okay' crafting, aside, the game world really does have an overall very high level of quality. Just the same, Lord of the Rings Online is not perfect. At launch, there are a number of complaints that users have grappled with. The single most disappointing game element has to be the game's UI. Though it is functional, that's about the only thing that can be said in its favour. LOTRO's UI features dull, uninformative icons and a general lack of polish. It may seem like a minor quibble but set against the general high level of quality throughout the rest of the game, and compared (as always) to WoW, it's quite a glaring oversight.

Early in the launch window as we are, there have been numerous complaints by players about the balance of the game's economy. While items seem well powered for their levels, and obtaining gear is a fairly well-tuned process, the costs associated with purchasing new abilities is astronomical. It's not out of the ordinary for a single new ability (obtainable from a trainer at a newly-achieved level) to cost half or more of the coin you have on-hand. Mileage will vary from player to player, of course, as some people place a higher emphasis on crafting and selling than others. The general consensus, just the same, seems to be that ability costs could use a revisit.

Given the respect for the setting it's another minor quibble, but the lack of any sort of tie-in to the Peter Jackson helmed movies is, in my mind, a lapse. Obviously, the license for that content is separate from the license that Turbine is working off of, and as such there's no reason to expect Elijah Woods or Hugo Weaving to make an appearance in the gameworld. Just the same, it's hard to listen to the kinda-generic fantasy music that greets you at login and not yearn for Howard Shore's stirring theme. Perhaps this might be a possibility in the future; that's one of the many beautiful things about the Massive genre - things are always changing.

One thing that doesn't need changing, though, are Lord of the Rings Online's simply stunning graphics. Years from now the choice to go photo-realistic will make the game look horribly dated, all while World of Warcraft's stylized vision remains fresh and crisp. In the meantime, LOTRO offers a simply jaw-droppingly beautiful online experience. EverQuest 2's attempt at realistic graphics in an online game have resulted in goofily appealing characters, but they don't quite capture what I think the game was going for. Middle Earth, on the other hand, is insanely beautiful. The first time you reach a high point in the Shire it is completely worth it to stop, turn your settings all the way up, and just stare across the fields. While the story wraps you into the gameworld intellectually, LOTRO's graphical presentation brings that world to life on a visceral level; New Zealand has nothing on that place.

For the Massive gamer tired of endlessly played options, or the Tolkien fan disappointed with the lore content in Battle For Middle Earth II, Lord of the Rings Online is the perfect balm. While it doesn't try to move the genre forward in any readily appreciable ways, LOTRO is such a well-crafted experience that it's hard not to enjoy yourself. For some, their time in Middle Earth will be just a vacation from other online worlds. For others, though, this may just be the game you've been waiting for. A slower pace, a beautiful presentation, and a gripping story are all readied and waiting just a bit down the road.
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Lord of the Rings Online Review

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  • Sucks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pubjames (468013)
    I purchased it, and spent a weekend trying to get into it.

    Frankly, I was really disappointed. The combat system sucks - it actually has a window that says things like "You hit the wolf for two points of damage". It felt like going back in time to the 80's.

    And then the graphics might be pretty, but there is not physics system, or, believe it or not, collision detection. You can actually walk through people, even when you are fighting them.

    And the tasks suck. Spending half an hour searching for wild flowers i
    • Re:Sucks (Score:5, Informative)

      by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:12PM (#19354917) Journal

      it actually has a window that says things like "You hit the wolf for two points of damage". It felt like going back in time to the 80's.
      Just like World of Warcraft. Just open the combat panel to see all of the hits & affects.

      And then the graphics might be pretty, but there is not physics system, or, believe it or not, collision detection. You can actually walk through people, even when you are fighting them.
      Just like World of Warcraft. Often times, I'll be fighting something, and it will walk right through me, and I'll get the retarded "You're facing the wrong way" message.

      Despite all of these problems, I'm still pretty partial to WoW, so I'll be sticking with it instead of LOTRO. Plus the fact that WoW has a Mac OS X client is pretty important for us G4/G5 owning Mac users :-)
      • The most amusing thing to me was that Turbine apparently forgot how to do physics. Their first MMO, Asheron's Call had real collision detection and physics. Sure it was simplified, but it worked. Players could and did form walls to keep monsters from reaching the squishies (non-melees). Or sometimes it was an archer/mage wall, because they didn't suffer from sticky melee, so couldn't be shoved around by their target trying (and failing) to move through them.

        On non-PvP servers, players could pass through pla
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fizzol (598030)
      Sounds like you were playing an elf and didn't understand that elves are friends of all critters furry and small. They aren't afraid of you because you can't kill them. "even can't fight the NPCs or animals unless it is part of the plot." only applies to elves and wildlife. Human, dwarves and hobbits can kill little furry critters with pointless abandon.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pubjames (468013)
        Sounds like you were playing an elf and didn't understand that elves are friends of all critters furry and small.

        I was playing a hobbit. And shouldn't it be my choice about what I do in the game? At the very least, it could display a message saying "A hobbit would never do that!" rather than "forbidden action".
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Fizzol (598030)
          Okay, you were probably trying to attack someone's sheep in town then. If they have a bright yellow name they're treated like NPCs and you can't attack them.
    • Re:Sucks (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fohat (168135) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:16PM (#19354985) Homepage
      I agree with pretty much all of your assessment. I tried playing this game a few times over the course of a week. I got 2 characters to level 5 before losing interest. I've been playing MMO's since 2001, and not since Dark Age of Camelot has there been a more annoying world chat channel. In LOTRO you get to see a message every time a player kills a monster, regardless if they are in your party. I never stuck around long enough to see if this was a feature you could disable, but why in the name of Mandos would you enable such an annoying thing by default??

      More DAOC comparisons:
      - There's no Fishing Skill
      - You can't swim under the water
      + Combat system allows you to click ahead to follow up your last spell/move

      If you've never played World of Warcraft, you may like LOTRO. If you are looking for an alternative to WoW, this may or may not be the game for you. Personally, I've canceled both :)

    • Re:Sucks (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tridus (79566) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:23PM (#19355063) Homepage
      While I think sucks is a bit harsh, "polished" is the last word I'd use to describe this game. Where's the UI scaling option (its way too small on my monitor)? Hell, how do I get a clock on screen? Why do I have to change tools every time I switch between mining copper and chopping wood? I mean really, can't the game figure out that obviously I want to use the axe in my bag to chop wood?

      Why does somebody with a really long name and title make it harder to right click on anything around them? Why does right clicking on them by accident (while trying to reach the mailbox their enormous name is in front of) cause a "General Error"? Why do quests tell me to go in the exact opposite direction of where I need to go, to fight Boars 12 levels below the quest level and thus not give XP?

      Hell, why does a base stat (Fate) not work? Hello reviewer, a BASE STAT doesn't work! Thats not polished!

      Why do I have a deed to kill 60 things in a swamp in the Lone Lands (followed by another deed to kill 120 of them if the pattern holds) when there are only seven spawns in the entire zone? The numbers worked fine for bandits (which there are lots of), but 180 kills with seven spawns? Even if there was no competition (and said mobs are a quest target too, so there is a lot of competition) that'd still take hours. Why does fast travel between zones have a level requirement, and normal horse travel take so bloody long?

      Seriously folks. There is a lot of things to like in this game, but its certainly not "polished" yet. It could be a decent diversion if you're bored from WoW, but I think the reviewer was too busy drooling over the graphics to notice some major problems. (God forbid if he tries to level up Scholar, he'll have to spend days at a time camping low level ruins fighting bandits to search old pots, because you can't find the items you need anywhere else.)
      • Well, that's sorta my problem with it, too. Although I'd summarize it in a more damning phrase: they copied all they could from WoW, without even understanding what they copy, what details made it work on WoW, and generally how to do it well.

        The examples you gave are accurate, and probably more important on their own, but just to illustrate why I'd summarize it like that:

        Take for example the content pack. It boasts (at least the announcement did) an epic raid for level 30's. Excuse me? Raids in WoW are at t
    • by Knara (9377)

      Frankly, I was really disappointed. The combat system sucks - it actually has a window that says things like "You hit the wolf for two points of damage". It felt like going back in time to the 80's.

      Pretty much every MMO I've played has this feature. It might be turned off or in another window by default, but I know for a fact that both WoW and EVE have it.

      And then the graphics might be pretty, but there is not physics system, or, believe it or not, collision detection. You can actually walk through people, even when you are fighting them.

      See above. You're not racing or playing Pac-Mac. So long as the terrain acts correctly, it's on par with the other major MMOs.

      And the tasks suck. Spending half an hour searching for wild flowers is not my idea of fun.

      Gathering tasks are pretty standard faire in MMO games. Sometimes they're annoying, but again, this isn't any different than any other mainline MMO out there.

      And although the world is big, you can't really explore it - you can't open doors unless they are part of the plot, you can't smash crates or barrels or whatever to see what is inside them, you even can't fight the NPCs or animals unless it is part of the plot.

      The animals thing is odd, but depending on the sort of serve

      • by pubjames (468013)
        You're not racing or playing Pac-Mac. So long as the terrain acts correctly, it's on par with the other major MMOs.

        No, but then I'm used to playing games like Doom, Quake, Half-life and GTA. I don't think it is acceptable for MMOs not to have features (like collision detection, basic physics) that other games have had for a decade, I see no reason for it.
        • by Knara (9377)

          What exactly would that add to the gameplay mechanics of the typical MMO? Basic physics? I jump off stuff, I fall. If I fall far enough, I take damage. How is my enjoyment of the game effected by the fact that I walk through vendors?

          It's just as likely that you're used to exaggerated physics as used in sandbox games. I mean, look at Crackdown if you want a good example of that. Furthermore, in twitch games like you mentioned, physics adds to the gameplay, but that isn't really the case in most MMOs.

        • Re:Sucks (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2007 @03:05PM (#19355807)
          There is a very good reason for turning off collision detection: griefing. If you have a guild of sufficiently large size they can wall of the entrance of some dungeon or plot point with their members. If it was a cave or a house, it wouldn't even take very many people. With collision detection on, sorry, you don't get to go in and do that part of the game/get the loot within/turn in your quest items/etc.

          So then you'll probably say that's no problem, you can just go hostile, kill the offenders, and get on with your game. Since they're likely in the same faction as you, they should have to agree to go hostile with you. Of course they won't, since they have nothing to gain, so it would just be best to be able to turn hostile to anyone you want on a whim, right?

          Nice try, no banana.

          Once that happens, the griefers will run around killing low-level players and anyone else they like just for fun, and just to make them mad. Then they're likely to stop playing before making any kind of real progress.

          It's just easier to leave collision off or almost off.
          • Wow. Really good point for a setup where most things are non-instanced.

            One other item to add -- say you've got a group fighting a balrog or similar big baddie. It sure would be confusing and annoying if collision was turned on -- perhaps even enough to be a fun-killer. Could you imagine trying to communicate effectively enough? That level of coordination would be pretty much impossible, IMO.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Drey (1420)
      > it actually has a window that says things like "You hit the wolf for two points of damage"

      Just like most MMOs. WoW, for instance, hides that text on the Combat Log but you can still view it if you choose.

      > there is not physics system, or, believe it or not, collision detection.

      Just like most MMOs. Collision detection in an MMO would be a horrible drain on the server, especially as dozens of new players begin spawning in at the same spot. Yes, collision detection would have to be done at the server o
    • Re:Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:30PM (#19355221)
      You realize that most MMOGs including WoW, the most successful MMOG ever, has every single thing that you mentioned? Have you ever played a MMOG before?

      it actually has a window that says things like "You hit the wolf for two points of damage"
      While it may not pop up, combat text windows and/or scrolling combat text is pretty much standard. Most MMORPGs are based around rules and random chance (rolls) that deal in numbers. Most MMOG players want to see those numbers.

      And then the graphics might be pretty, but there is not physics system, or, believe it or not, collision detection. You can actually walk through people, even when you are fighting them.
      This is something that is (pun intended), hit or miss. Collision detection in a MMOG can be annoying as hell in high population areas when you want to get somewhere and can't (AC & CoH/CoV). The flip side is that not having it is unrealistic... and then you realize that what you're running through is a 1/2 imp dragon rogue with a purple hat. Realism is relative.

      And the tasks suck. Spending half an hour searching for wild flowers is not my idea of fun.
      Sweet Jesus! Their MMOG has grinding! Just like every other one!

      And although the world is big, you can't really explore it - you can't open doors unless they are part of the plot
      Sounds like trying to enter an instance/dungeon that you aren't attuned to/have the key for in... you guessed it... every other MMOG and well, practically ever other RPG ever made.

      you can't smash crates or barrels or whatever to see what is inside them
      You want every container you see to be breakable? First off, I get it now. You've only ever played Zelda games. Second, do you know how ridiculous that is? Do you want to be able to look behind every single painting? Read every single book? I'm sure they'll hire 1000 more developers and get right on that for you.

      you even can't fight the NPCs or animals unless it is part of the plot.
      and

      if you try, for instance, trying to do something like shoot a sheep with your crossbow only to receive an error message
      This is essentially the same as above. WoW has more of this than most MMOGs I've seen. You can kill rats in the cities, opposing faction NPCs (even quest NPCs). Even they don't have it so that you can attack every single living thing in the game. "I can't attack that" is what my Tauren says.

      If you're going to bash a game for not living up to expectations, at least make sure they're realistic expectations first.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drsquare (530038)

        You realize that most MMOGs including WoW, the most successful MMOG ever, has every single thing that you mentioned? Have you ever played a MMOG before?
        If it hasn't improved on previous games in its genre, then why bother making it? This is just a less-polished version of WoW with different character names.
    • Re:Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vux984 (928602) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:33PM (#19355271)
      Have you played a mmorpg before?

      I can't tell if your just being sarcastic or not. People aren't modding you funny though, so I'm not the only one who thinks you at least *might* be serious.

      The combat system sucks - it actually has a window that says things like "You hit the wolf for two points of damage". It felt like going back in time to the 80's.

      Par for the course:

      World of Warcraft:
      http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/wow/wow3.jpg [rpgfan.com]

      "Your Shoot Bow hits Onyxia for 92."
      "Onyxia suffers 99 Nature damage from Bryna's Serpent Sting." ...

      EQ2
      http://www.jeffmaloneshirtlesspvp.com/images/EQ2_0 04330.jpg [jeffmalone...esspvp.com]

      "Tynsil's Mark of Nobility heals Doobers for 43 hit points."
      "Udaho's Ghastly Shroud regenerates 133 points of absorption." ...

      Personally I don't think it is "polished gameplay" if you try, for instance, trying to do something like shoot a sheep with your crossbow only to receive an error message - yes, really! an error message saying something like "disallowed action".

      So you aren't allowed to shoot the sheep, big deal. They aren't 'opponents' or 'killable creatures', they're just animated background, like a torch, or tree.

      And calling that an "error message"? What is it supposed to say when you perform a disallowed action?
      Did you also complain when you tried to lockpick a goblin?

      And although the world is big, you can't really explore it - you can't open doors unless they are part of the plot, you can't smash crates or barrels or whatever to see what is inside them, you even can't fight the NPCs or animals unless it is part of the plot.

      Go play everquest one. It lets you really explore. Of course, the moment you step into the side room the YOU-hating level 65 shadowknight leader was sitting in he executes you on the spot. Or when you get sent to see so-and-so, you can spend 3 hours checking nearly every room in the city, only to find out after much frustration that so-and-so only comes out at night, and he walks around too, and if you don't catch up to him in time his path takes him right to the level 65 shadowknight -- who kills him. (And you too if you happen to be nearby.)

      Modern MMORPGs got rid of all that stuff because a lot of players complained bitterly about how it wasn't fair. All that open 'Exploration' was wasting time when looking for things, perpetually getting them lost, and often getting them killed. They wanted maps, and waypoints so they couldn't get lost. They wanted higher level aggressive mobs to be well marked, and far away. They didn't want to open doors and find BIG THINGS that could and would kill them.

      So they got what they wanted.

      Its sad really.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cee (22717)

      And then the graphics might be pretty, but there is not physics system, or, believe it or not, collision detection. You can actually walk through people, even when you are fighting them.

      I agree with most of your objections, but I think character collision detection is usually a bad thing in an MMORPG. WoW doesn't have it either and it makes it far easier to move around, especially in crowded areas. Guild Wars has it sometimes (forgot exactly how) but at these times I just found it annoying. Realism isn't al

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2007 @01:56PM (#19354675)
    The Middle Earth License is written in Elvish so you have no idea what you are agreeing to in the EULA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by east coast (590680)
      The Middle Earth License is written in Elvish so you have no idea what you are agreeing to in the EULA.

      You can't read Elvish? Heh. Amateur.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Convector (897502)
      I'd expect rather a lot of slashdotters would be able to work it out.

      One License to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
  • No support for me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArsonSmith (13997) on Friday June 01, 2007 @01:57PM (#19354695) Journal
    No OSX support, no Linux support. Guess I'm sticking with Warcraft for the time being.
  • Except Tolkien.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Himring (646324)
    no one is turning in their grave as a result of this game's launch.

    Except for JRRT you mean.

    I can't wait to be duel-spammed at Tom Bombadil's house....

    As a purist who first ventured on to news groups nearly 20 years ago for the simple fact of discussing with other fans the work of Tolkien, I find an official game in the MMOG genre appauling.

    I am sure this will get labeled flamebait or troll, but it was one thing when everyone was ripping on the professor and giving no credit. This is kicking in
    • by Slightly Askew (638918) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:25PM (#19355119) Journal

      Forget Bombadil, I want Wormtongue slitting Saruman's throat. At least Bombadil was left out completely. Saruman was brought in, developed, made an interesting part of the story, then dropped like a red hot palantir.

      • by Knara (9377) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:31PM (#19355229)
        Just FYI the extended edition DVDs have Wormtongue killing Saruman. Not at the Scouring, but nonetheless.
        • I did not know that, thanks. I'll have to get a copy. Does Saruman stab Frodo? How does Saruman make Wormtongue snap (obviously not in reference to killing Lotho, if they're not in the Shire). Are there any other critical story lines included in extended edition that were left out of regular? Thanks again.

          • by Himring (646324)
            Yes, but the stabbing takes place on top of Isengard whereas the book puts it at the end of "the scouring of the shire." So, the movies fail again, but, we're not having a problem with that....
          • by Knara (9377) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:51PM (#19355575)
            The Extended Editions are, all around, vastly superior to the theatrical versions. There's still things missing / re-arranged (obviously, otherwise the movies would clock in at around 50 hours and watch similarly to how the Simarillion reads), but a fair amount of things that boil down to background/lore references (i.e a scene where Aragorn is on watch at night and singing a ballad of beren and luthien to himself, explaining the story to one of the hobbits) are included that would frankly have been lost on the theatrical mainstream viewer.
      • by Himring (646324)
        then dropped like a red hot palantir....

        lol! gold....

      • by giorgiofr (887762)
        Watch the extended edition, man. There's no throat-cutting but still it's better than the theatrical edition.
    • by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:31PM (#19355227)
      Good point. You've convinced me to join Disney in their fight to prevent any derivative works from every being created. Of course if we did that JRRT couldn't have written in the first place, as his works are derivative of several works of older lore, but hey, we'll have to take the good with the bad.

      Seriously, what are you hoping to accomplish here? JRRT's work was great, I agree. The game is nothing like his work, I also agree. But I can't figure out how the game is diminishing the original work, or if it were, why you feel entitled to stop it -- one could just as easily argue that JJRT's work diminishes the game and that his books should be suppressed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Himring (646324)
        Of course if we did that JRRT couldn't have written in the first place, as his works are derivative of several works of older lore, but hey, we'll have to take the good with the bad.

        That's like saying your parents never had any rights to you as a child because, after all, you're made of the same stuff all other humans have been for eons. No, your parents uniquely made you, and therefore, had a right to raise and make decisions on your upbringing.

        Yes, Tolkien 'borrowed' the stuffs of lore, but he so u
    • by Angostura (703910) on Friday June 01, 2007 @03:00PM (#19355709)
      You seem very sure that Tolkien would have objected, but I can see no evidence. The man wasn't averse to an animated film after all. He may well have been intrigued by the idea of a multiplayer computer games based upon his work. He may well have embraced the whole idea with enthusiasm as a way to build a detailed world in the way that he loved, and making available to people in a way that they could interact with. Who knows.
      • by Himring (646324)
        You seem very sure that Tolkien would have objected, but I can see no evidence.

        Two words: Michael White. Look up his thoughts on what Tolkien would have thought of the movie.

        Tolkien did indeed sell the movie rights for 10k pounds in the late 1960s. However, both he and Christopher, apparently, stated it would not dramatize well. Also, knowing that he had a rather huge family to support -- and took up such extra jobs as grading jr school papers -- I would imagine he needed the money.

        In any event,
  • by OglinTatas (710589) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:01PM (#19354743)
    If so, then I (a mac guy) am going to buy a windows PC just so I can play this game... and start a guild whose sole purpose is to hunt down and destroy Tom Bombadil, as often as is necessary.
    • by Jjeff1 (636051)
      Tom is kind of flaky in the game. He dances around and talks nonesense. But the music they play in his house is really nice. It's the only place in the game I've heard the particular track.
      You'll be sad to hear that he's an NPC, and as far as I can tell, can't be killed.
  • Accurate Review (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bostonkarl (795447) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:06PM (#19354841)
    There will be lots of hate posts from people that haven't tried the game. Or that just don't like or "get" Tolkein. But, if you love the books, the game is definately worth picking up and giving a spin. It is as if Middle Earth has been brought to life by people that really cared to get it right. You'll actually find yourself reading the quests. Yes the user interface is cluncky, but not that bad. The game isn't perfect, but it was a huge surprise to me how good it is. My one concern is that it wont have sticking power. It may end up being a lovely flash in the pan. It all depends upon how, what, and when content is added.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pubjames (468013)
      But, if you love the books, the game is definately worth picking up and giving a spin.

      I disagree. If you like games like World of Warcraft, then take a look, you might like it. But I love the books and really thought the game sucked completely. It's a game for fricks sake - above all it should be fun to play. Having a crappy combat system does not make for a good game, however faithful the game is to the books or pretty the graphics are.
  • by VE3OGG (1034632) <VE3OGG@rac.AUDENca minus poet> on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:08PM (#19354865)
    I realize people want to know "should I shell out my hard earned cash for this?" However, reviewing a game that can change every other month and coming to one conclusion (yes/no) is ridiculous at best.

    While it might be pretty (or as others have pointed out, have a very limited combat system), all of these things can change very quickly.

    So, let us take for example, that it has a really strong story line: what is to say this continues next month when thousands of 13-15 yr olds coming charging in and act like asses (much like what happened with WoW)? Suddenly the story begins to slide tremendously.

    Or Asheron's Call is another example. I remember signing up to Asheron's Call's beta test and enjoying it immensely (the Otholoi story was quite interesting). However, as time went on, the story was down right pathetic, and monthly updates were mostly patches and nerfs. Story went by the wayside.

    I would say, whatever you read in reviews (or hell, even if you aren't going to read any reviews) don't charge into this game until it matures a little. Since, much like Apple's early adopters, you usually get a nerfed product in the end. Wait until you can see whether the devs will continue the strong and fix up the weak stuff.

    By the way, last I head, this game was being published by EA, don't we hate them? Or were we always at peace with Eurasia?
    • by faloi (738831)
      I realize people want to know "should I shell out my hard earned cash for this?" However, reviewing a game that can change every other month and coming to one conclusion (yes/no) is ridiculous at best.

      I disagree. Certainly the game can change, and change dramatically on release, but reviewing MMORPGs early is a good way to inform me whether I should care enough to shell out my hard earned cash.

      I'm a casual player. The fact that there's no high end content and there's no griping about the quality of low
    • Given some of your points, I could see how you would conclude that it's best to wait for a game to mature before you invest your time. On the other hand, i could also see how a person might argue that you should get involved as quickly as possible so as to get some time in while it's a good game, before it's ruined.
  • WoW vs Other (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ajanp (1083247) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:12PM (#19354905)
    It's not even a question that WoW wins. I didn't RTFA, but I don't know why it's on /. now considering this game came out back in April. Given that WoW has been out for 2+ years now, there are a large number of both casual and "hard-core" gamers that are getting tired with the game and looking for something new. The present MMORPG competition is starting to get better, but there haven't been any alternatives to WoW that have the power to convert a large number of WoW players to a completely different game.

    With the brand name power of LOTR, you would think this would be able to strongly compete, but I think WoW just has too large of a player base and too much power in the MMORPG genre to really need to deal with losing a LARGE number of players. I mean, there are a ton of WoW players who are becoming weary after 2 years and looking for something new and might move on to a different game, but LOTR Online isn't going to be the WoW killer.

    With more and more MMORPG games coming into the market, and the quality of these games getting better and better, it's just a matter of time until a game comes along that will have enough appeal to give WoW some trouble. Chances are players will start leaving slowly for other games (most likely after a major patch release), rejoining the real world, etc, but Blizzard's time will come soon enough and chances are they will be their own downfall.

    • With more and more MMORPG games coming into the market, and the quality of these games getting better and better, it's just a matter of time until a game comes along that will have enough appeal to give WoW some trouble.

      Better != Appeal. As any number of fans of any form of entertainment and most typical merchandise can tell you; sales and popularity are not a true indicator of quality or talent.

      As far as giving WoW some trouble? Who cares. If you're playing a game that you like it's a game that you like
  • Uniqueness of LOTRO (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Techguy666 (759128) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:12PM (#19354907)
    Deeds are a unique element to Lord of the Rings Online, a kind of achievement system somewhat reminiscent of those earned on the Xbox 360. They're discovered by doing the act the deed requires for the first time; for example, many require a certain number of monsters to be slain. The first time you kill a wolf in the Shire, your UI notes that you've begun work on the 'Wolf Slayer' deed.

    Deeds are interesting but hardly unique. The MMORPG that captured the spirit of deeds best was "City of Heroes". Even before Xbox 360, CoH allowed your hero to have cool titles. By defeating enough specific mobs or visiting a string of significant locations, even your lowliest characters could have cool titles such as "Dark Mystic" and such. If you were a lowly level ten superhero, you can pass by a unique location and collect a cool badge to tack on to your name. I think the badge/deed system is particularly good for retaining low level characters and for bored high level players.
    • by Fizzol (598030)
      LOTRO deeds are different from CoX badges because a lot of them aren't simply ornamental titles. Many LOTRO deeds result in useable skills and stat bonuses. Hit things enough times with your staff and you can gain a "Staff Strike" ability which gives you a chance to stun your opponents. Right now my Lore-master is working on his "Emnity with Wargs II" deed which results in a racial ability that lets him basically teleport (the game calls it mapping) back to Bree.
    • EQ2 has the same sysetm, you get titles for slaying a certain number of gnolls/orcs/undead/etc. And this predates WoW, though not CoH.
      • EQ2 has the same sysetm, you get titles for slaying a certain number of gnolls/orcs/undead/etc. And this predates WoW, though not CoH.

        I'm assuming you meant to say EQ2 predates LotRO, as 1. WoW was released during the same month as EQ2 and 2. WoW doesn't really have a title system like this... well, it does, but only for PvP and Arena stuff.
    • I don't know about the other games, but in LOTRO deeds can gain you more than just titles. The deeds gain you titles and "traits".

      You gain or improve a specific trait (fortitude, charity, determination, etc...) by finishing the particular deed associated with it. Each trait has multiple effects on your character attributes, for example it might increase your disease resistance by 2% and increase your agility by 2 points.

      There about 10 or so traits, but you can only have a certain portion of them "equipped"
    • by Shivetya (243324)
      sorry, but killing 30+ slugs to get my first "deed/trait" was about as interesting as killing the next 60 for the next level, or killing 30 of X, or doing X a million times.

      They simply rebranded a grind. In wow we grind for rep, in lotro we grind for something else.

      LOTRO's one horrid conribution is the reemergence of a rotten UI with no player ability to make it better. Turbine has never learned how to make a good UI and most suggestions fall by the wayside. EQ2 and WOW allow great modification of the UI
  • Forgive the AC... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:16PM (#19354979)
    (Too lazy to dig up what my password is, as I haven't posted here in years...)

    Zonk mentions that he misses Howard Shore's sweeping stirring score. He did not, however, mention the in-game music system, which is admittedly limited now but will be expanded with the June update. Starting at level 5, players can purchase the ability to use a lute or clarinet, and by equipping an instrument and typing /music, they can begin playing. Number 1-8 play the appropriate note, while ctrl-# plays a flat version, and shift-# goes up an octave.

    If you want to play the Shire theme, equip a lute, and plunk out 123 5 3 2 1, 356 8543 432.

    One of the highlights of the game for me, so far, was after four of us defeated a Mountain Troll, I started a campfire, we all pulled out our instruments, and played a resounding round of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. (1, 1, 123, 32345, 888 555 333 111 54321)

    You tell me that the Fellowship didn't really do that on Weathertop. Go on, try to convince me.
  • Given the respect for the setting it's another minor quibble, but the lack of any sort of tie-in to the Peter Jackson helmed movies is, in my mind, a lapse.


    Why? LoTR predates the movie by quite a bit, and I'm guessing that the market for this game is more the geeky market, than people who first think of Elija Woods when they think of Frodo. I'm rather glad that it isn't a movie tie in, to be honest, since I still don't feel that the movies were the best representation of Tolkein's works, since they were completely (and grudgingly unnecessarily) lacking in nuance. People coming to the game, with mostly experience from the movie, would be disappointed, and wonder what all that wretched "back story" is.

    It is an interesting commentary on something or another, though, that its setting mentioned primarily as parity with with movie, and not with the books, or the rest of the canon. I would care more about little glimpses of events from the Similarian, and little snippets from Lost Tales, etc... It would add more context for me, than having Vigo Mortenson voice Strider.
  • by ThePolkapunk (826529) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:18PM (#19355007) Homepage
    I completely disagree with this review. To me, LOTRO is a poor man's WoW. I find the graphics to be underwhelming, the questing to be more dull than WoW, and the UI, combat and gameplay to be poor in comparison to WoW. The thing this review stresses over and over and over is that the license is what makes the game great. How can you review a game like this and primarily talk about how you love the license? That's like reviewing a crappy movie license game and saying it's a great game because you loved the movie.

    As a person who has only a passing knowledge of LOTR, a license doesn't make this game any more enjoyable than any other MMOG. It ends up being just another cookie cutter MMORPG. Every minute I spent playing it felt like a chore and I have no intention of playing it again. Granted I hate WoW almost as much, but I recognize that it's a bit more polished in many ways.
  • Meh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    So, on the recomendation of two people, including one who I had played WoW with a few times, I went out and just bought a copy expecting to love it. My reaction is much more "meh" than anything else. It's fun, but between the low framerate for the buttons and the ever persistant lag (I've yet to have smooth gameplay for more than half a minute) I'd rather not play any MMORPG right now.
  • by leathered (780018) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:22PM (#19355055)
    Eight years ago a game called Everquest was launched that was to define the fantasy MMO. Since then all we have seen is at best a refinement of the genre, at worst merely a rehash. LOTRO falls between them, bringing a beautifully crafted (though rather small) world with the same old gear-driven, level treadmill style of gameplay that for me is becoming increasingly tiresome. Another point worth mentioning is that there is a glaring lack of content, at this moment even a casual player will end up hitting the level cap in a matter of weeks and it seems that there is precious little end-game content, which is precisely what drove me from WoW.

    What MMORPGs need right now is a title that is revolutionary, a real sandbox game whose direction the players get to influence. Star Wars Galaxies was heading that way until Sony killed it with the gameplay changes. Age of Conan and Warhammer look promising but as it stands I expect disappointment.

    • by rAiNsT0rm (877553)
      All it really takes is a solid framework, and the testicular fortitude to actually let the players create the game. Sure, there will be spikes and problems but by nature they will work themselves out IF they would let it just happen, but the problem is the fear of losing players which equals money.

      Let people run the weapon/item/magic shoppes, let people create quests and rewards, let people build towns and band together, the quality of the player created content would far surpass and be much more fluid and
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Achoi77 (669484)

      The hard part is implementing this without impacting cash flow. That usually means appealing to the mob. Make some changes, and gaming public cries for bloody murder. Of course if it continues in one direction, then they vote with their wallets - by going to another game, where they get to be uber in that 'other' game.

      Balancing the game to have the right mix of feeling uber and creating that 'magical, other world immersion' does not mix. Everybody wants to be Gandalf, not the wheat farmer that was responsi

  • by ShamusYoung (528944) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:31PM (#19355231) Homepage
    I would be remiss if I did not point out that LOTR as D&D campaign has already been done [shamusyoung.com].
  • Seriously. Fuck them.

    Wow is a lowest common denominator game. Why should we all want to aspire towards WoW? That's like saying, gee, 51% of the world is men, so all women should aspire to get sex changes so they should be part of the majority. Ridiculous, isn't it?

    Personally, I played it for three months and sold my account (for a tidy profit, no less). I'm a huge Blizzard fan - wasted way too much of my college life on Starcraft and Diablo II. But don't aspire for the common denominator. Games should b
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      It is completely reasonable to compare something the is coming out with the leader of that industry.

      You didn't like WoW, ok fine. Know one gives a rip.

      Your post was just a petty and unwarranted attack on WoW. And your 'example' is crap.
    • Hmmm....

      I prefer EQ, because of the complexity of the game over WoW.
      Hard not to use WoW in your comparisons, isn't it? :)
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:39PM (#19355363)
    Seriously. Elrond has a normal-sized forehead? Narsil is a coffee-table centerpiece? And what's up with that kung-fu grip?
  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:45PM (#19355465)

    Deeds are a unique element to Lord of the Rings Online, a kind of achievement system somewhat reminiscent of those earned on the Xbox 360.


    Ummm....no. The Deed/Title stuff is pretty much a direct copy of what City of Heroes has been doing for years with its "Badges" and Titles. There's nothing wrong with that. Its a neat game mechanic, that allows you to further personalize your character, and I'm damn glad to see other games picking up on it. Just don't go spreading myths that LotRO thought this up themselves.

    I'd like to stress again what a nice feature this is, particularly for a game like LotRO, where you don't have nearly enough character creation options to differentiate yourself. A really obscure or difficult to achieve title can be a significant source of pride. I had one in CoH for working off a massive amount of death debt. You basicly have to die an impressive amount of times in a row to achieve this; sort of a perverse badge of incompetence. I wore it proudly. :-)
  • I haven't played the game, or even knew it was coming out. I've never actually played a graphical ORPG (Valhalla or Discworld MUDs, anyone?), so I'm not entirely sure what has to be mentioned and compared to other MMORPGs. This having been said, the review seemed well-written, _spellchecked_, and even had commas in the right place. Pretty much a pleasure to read. Well-done, Zonk! I'll let others bitch about the favorable comments.
    • by rAiNsT0rm (877553)
      OK, I'll bite.

      So you don't know this game is already out, or anything about any MMO ever created... but because a bonehead has the ability to spellcheck and use proper English, it is an AMAZING REVIEW!!!1!1eleventy!

      Get off your knees and zip up ole Zorky. What in the hell would drive anyone to even write a post like yours? Go read some real game reviews, better yet, go read other reviews of LotR by REAL game reviewers and then try again.

      You fail teh Internets.
  • by rAiNsT0rm (877553) on Friday June 01, 2007 @02:47PM (#19355507) Homepage
    Please Zonk give up on your so called "game reviews." I had the pleasure to work as a reviewer for a number of years, and with some truly talented folks... and you, sir, ain't got it.

    These "reviews" are just sad. I say it every time, and know it is always an instant ticket to -1's-ville but I've got Karma to burn. No one enjoys them and certainly no one is compelled to buy a game based on your words. They are like a self ego booster or something I guess for you, but what they show is how difficult it really is to write a solid review. They take lots of intelligence, time, attention to detail, and personal investment... and it is clear that you fail on every one of them.

    Give it up already.
  • Several inaccuracies in the review. Off the top of my head:

    * Chat channels are not called Fellowships, your team/group is
    * Burglars are not main the DSP class, hunters and champions are
    * As others have pointed out, deeds/virtues are not unique to LotRO
    * The explanation of the crafting system was all wrong

    But otherwise I agree with his assessment of the game.
  • I would like to try before I buy or invest money into LOTR online.
  • by aapold (753705) on Friday June 01, 2007 @04:02PM (#19356747) Homepage Journal
    One place where the game became surreal to me was the shire quests involving delivering pies. I mean, cmon . Pies? Avoiding nosy hobbits?

    You get experience you can use to level up your character for delivering pies?

    This lead to the following line of thinking:

    As we know, the one ring's power easily swayed the minds of men and elves and dwarves. Hobbits, however, were resistant to its effects, which is why one of them made an ideal ringbearer.

    The Dark Lord Sauron knew he would need something of a different nature to tempt the hobbits. And thus the dark lord learned the craft of pie-making. There in the ovens of mount doom, he baked the master pie, the one pie to tempt them all.

    Soon the aroma of this pie wafted over the free lands, and an army of hobbits went to mordor to take it. Sauron, holding the pie aloft in one hand out of their reach, and his mace grond in the other, fended them off until one of the river hobbits climbed up his back and took it from his hand. Sauron went down beneath a wave of hungry halflings while Isilgol snuck off into a cave with the pie. There he ate some of it and it transformed him into a creature unable to eat more pie, yet eternally taunted by its pleasant aroma... Fleeing the hobbits he hid beneatht he misty mountains, whose frequent fog and pine trees and wolves would mask the smell He lived in a state of torture with the pie for thousands of years...

    Until one day Bilbo in the company of some dwarves (who were going to get back some beer a dragon had stolen from them) crossed those mountains and smelled the pie...

  • Oh come on people! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nightghaunt (1110401) on Friday June 01, 2007 @07:12PM (#19359099)
    People these days amaze me with their "please give me my 50th lvl char 5 mins into the game without me actually having to LEARN the game" mentality. Damn near nothing and I mean nothing negative said so far on this list and I actually read through it, is in anyway accurate or informed. Everyone on here that has something negative to say has a) not actually tried to LEARN the game and/or b) has the attention span of a 5 year old.

    Example:
    "trying to do something like shoot a sheep with your crossbow only to receive an error message"

    If you had actually tried for more the 5 minutes and more than just an elf you would have discovered that ELVES can't kill small furry creatures. Everyone else can and does, sometimes to an annoying degree. Why can't elves kill furry creatures? If you have to ask that then just go play Wow because you know nothing about the Tolkien world.


    "I got 2 characters to level 5 before losing interest. I've been playing MMO's since 2001, and not since Dark Age of Camelot has there been a more annoying world chat channel."

    First off, do you know how little time it takes to get to 5th lvl? Maybe 30-60 mins? My god if you can't stick with a character for that long you don't deserve to be playing ANY game. What you need is a game that starts up and once you've created you character it just has a big message that scrolls across the screen that says "YOU WIN!!"

    As for the chat channels, RTFM! The chat channels are HIGHLY customizable if you would just take the time to LEARN it. Oh WOW new concept, learn the game!! Every complaint mentioned regarding the chat channels is addressed in the game. Is it to much to ask you to simply take the time to learn how to PLAY?


    "Why does somebody with a really long name and title make it harder to right click on anything around them?"

    Once again, learn the game, if you took the time to look at your customization options you would see that ALL of those things are set-able, don't' want the floaty names? Hit the "N" key. OH MY GOD THE NAMES WENT AWAY! Don't' want to see you helmet or the other player's names? How about your cloak or shoes? Turn them off. All set-able.


    "Played a hobbit minstrel for about 3 weeks. To do damage to a monster or beast I was playing a guitar at it. A mother fucking guitar. To do damage."

    Um... then don't play a minstrel dumbass. Nobody is forcing you to.


    Look, I've played both games from stress beta on. LOTRO is by FAR a better product at launch than WoW ever was and believe me that surprised the hell out of me. People keep talking about polish and your right LOTRO had plenty of bugs to work out but if you compare it to WoW when it first came out it smokes it hands down. People keep trying to compare a NEW game to one that's been out for over 2 years. Duh, the older one is going to be more polished.

    "Wow, a comprehensive review of the game and there's no mention of PvP. 'Nuff said, I suppose! Warhammer Online, here I come! /punts a hobbit"

    And that is exactly why you won't find PvP in LOTRO. Doesn't fit the genre. Please, oh please go play another game!


    "...Until one day Bilbo in the company of some dwarves (who were going to get back some beer a dragon had stolen from them) crossed those mountains and smelled the pie..."

    Ok, now that was just damn funny! LOL But actually I like the idea of having quests that AREN"T all about just going to kill this thing or that. I actually tried seeing how far I could get without having to kill something. Granted it was after I had taken a character through the intro area (once you have taken a character though it the rest of you new chars on that server can skip the into area) so I was able to skip the intro area. But once in the new area I was able to get to almost 15th level without having to swing my sword, just crafting quests, delivering pies or the mail, find the hiding hobbit etc. Things like that. It was a nice change from the regula
  • Confusing review (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 01, 2007 @08:44PM (#19359815) Homepage
    This is one of the most confusing reviews I've ever read - and it can be neatly summarized as follows; LOTRO is just like WoW, except where it's not. LOTRO is just like most MMO's, except it's not. But it does have pretty graphics. And it is pretty much like WoW and other MMOs.
     
    Another point - 'deeds' aren't unique to LOTRO, they are called 'badges' in CoH/V and have been around a couple of years. Ditto for the 'virtues' - 'accolades' in CoH/V. Ditto for 'titles' - both games use the same name.

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