Friday, September 10, 2010

LOTRO Review, or drunken ramblings from a Lazy Basterd

Friggin’ warlocks making me review 6 year old games…

Ahem, LOTRO is essentially a inferior WoW with a Middle-Earth design. When I first started playing, my initial thoughts were usually ‘they copied that from wow’, ‘WoW does that too’, ‘hey look, the WoW gold !? for quests is a gold Ring’.’ Two things really stuck out at me as being different from WoW when it came out. One was it included built in chat (WoW has since added, but really who cares?) and… well, I don’t remember the other thing, but I remember there were 2 things.

The engine itself is quite pretty going for a more realistic look (you know, realistic with the elves, goblins and undead). System requirements are a bit beefier than WoW’s cartoony appearance (and for god sakes turn shadows off).

Current level cap is 65 and my highest level is 23 (I think) so obviously there’s a lot I haven’t seen. Questing though is the MMO norm. See a Gold ring, get a quest, see a silver ring – level then get a quest. For races you get Elves, hobbits, Men and dwarves (interestingly, there are no female dwarves as no one can tell the difference).

For classes you get burglars, captains, champions, guardians, minstrels, wardens, hunters, lore-masters and rune keepers. The classes are very ‘fighting’ heavy with little magic. Minstrels, lore-masters and rune keepers handling the majority of the magic. This is supposed to fit the lore where in Middle-Earth very, very few had real ‘power’. Remember for every 10,000 Riders of Rohan and entire army of Gondor, there was ONE Gandalf, and he still drew a sword.

Combat and abilities is also typical MMO fare. Ding, train a new ability or two (though once learned abilities scale automatically with level, you don’t need to train multiple ranks), and assign said ability to an action bar. Combat does feel a little… loose.

Deeds and traits are an innovation LOTRO brought to the table. Deeds are essentially achievements. There’s a variety to earn ranging from ‘explore the shire’, ‘kill XX goblins’ and ‘use XX ability XX times’. Completing deeds though isn’t just bragging rights, they also open up traits and other perks. For example, killing a bunch of wolves earns you the title ‘Wolfbane’. Traits gained through deeds and quest also you to customize your character, acting as talents points basically. Completing a deed requiring you to hit something with shield slam 500 times earns you trait that makes shield slam cause more threat. There are basic traits, racial traits, legendary traits and so on. Being just a bit below mid-level I haven’t seen the uber stuff.

I’ll also comment just a bit on the community. I don’t recall ever seeing an Anal *** conversation.

As I read over this I realize it’s not exactly a glowing recommendation. And I suppose that’s true. It’s good game, but no great. I haven’t met the friends I have in WoW that makes me keep logging in after what, 6 years now? Still, I’ve given a lot of MMOs a shot (WoW, Age of Conan, EQ2, City of Heroes, LOTRO, Aion, Guild Wars) and WoW and LOTRO are the only ones I currently have installed. I guess that says… something.
I don’t think I’ve ever actively pushed LOTRO but with it now free-2-play and WoW is stasis until Cataclysm, LOTRO can be a diversion. At least until The Old Republic.

Two quick links I found:
8 Tips for LOTRO Noobs
Player Versus Developer – A blog I often visit, this particular post deals with how to maximize the freeness (is that a word, spell-check says it is)

Finally, Lasciel a level 23 champion (fury warrior) is my main, server is Windfola.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting!

    All I know about this game is what you told me when it was released and you bought it:
    "I'm a minstrel, and I heal you with my song."
    That alone kind of scares me.