Ok, I’ve been playing Lord of the Rings Online for a week or so and thought I’d share my thoughts on the game.  It’s definitely shaping up as one of Turbine’s better offerings of late.  With LOTRO we’ve got most of the beauty of AC2, and much better game-play than either AC2 or DDO.  On the “ease of entry” curve, it’s somewhere in the middle.  Easier than EVE, tougher than WoW (which are the current “extremes” of the spectrum right now) .  Levelling is similar to “old-school” DAoC (pre-Catacombs), where it took awhile to get levels.  The questing is quite nice, and the story-line quests have been some of the best “epic-style” quests I’ve seen in any game.

In fact, questing is the “name of the game” in LOTRO, you’re not really going to get anywhere by grinding out MOBs. And most quests are solo’able, although I’ve run into a few “non-fellowship” quests where I’ve been very hard pressed complete them solo. There are some quests that are basically “group-only,” or “fellowship quests” as they’re referred to in-game, but even those have not been too difficult with just one or two helpers.  I’ve never felt like I needed to be an HR rep to recruit a large raid just to complete a quest – unlike some other games…  Of course, I’m still in the very early stages of the game (Level-15ish), so that illusion of hope may be extinguished later on.

It’s kind of strange though, I don’t get that feeling of gaining massive amounts of power as I level, unlike some of the other MMO offerings out there.  It’s different, I can’t just go smash down MOBS a few levels below me, and even “greys” still attack me, which is pretty annoying. And even-con MOBs take awhile to grind down, another reason you’re not going to get anywhere grinding XP on MOBs. Maybe it’s just my choice of class – the pet-casting “Lore-Master” that has these issues, so I’ll probably try some of the others as well. 

The archer/ranger seems to be “the nuker” and the guardian seems to be a “shield tank.”  The captain seems to be a buffing/paladin kind of class, that also has a summoned henchman.  The burglar is a “stealth” class, that also seems to be able to trigger “group combo” styles. And the champion looks to be a dual-wielding damage dealer.  I’ve got newbs of all classes except the burglar – I’ve never liked the stealth classes in most games ‘cuz they’re usually severely gimped in solo PvE, yet severely over-powered in 1-on-1 PvP.  So far, the Lore-Master and the Ranger are winning me over somewhat.  The captain is just too damn noisy (screaming is one of their main tactics), the guardian and champion were fun, but MOB’s tend to run away and aggro help when they get low on health, which can be a real issue for classes without a ranged attack.  I hate “running MOBs” when I’m playing a melee class – ugh!

All-in-all, I’ve been enjoying my time in Middle Earth and I did subscribe the other day after my 1-week trial expired. A few of the “guildies” also joined up, so we’ll see how long it lasts.  Hellgate has lost its luster already, so I’ve unsubscribed there but I’ll still play the single-player game.  It does have its uses as a fun/fast diversion – just like Diablo used to be my respite from DAoC.  It’s about time to go meet Gandalf at the Prancing Pony, so until next time – Adieu.

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