LOTRO - my thoughts after a few days in game

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LOTRO - my thoughts after a few days in game

Postby Emide » Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:35 pm

I guess this is like an early review of sorts.

First of all, I'm really enjoying this game. It has the same crazy hold on me that WoW did when I started to play that.

The character creation tool is good. It’s not as good as SWG and CoH in my opinion, but it is better and most customizable than WoW. I like the fact that you get to pick where you are from and that has an impact on what your character looks like – what palate is available, etc. I do wish there were better hair options for girls though. They have too many short hair styles and they aren’t very cute. The details option is cool because you can have gnarly scars.

Your tutorial is an instance and I think it is the best tutorial I’ve seen. It is as immersive as the CoH one, but I think it is a little more story driven. The story doesn’t seem as auxiliary as Outbreak did in CoH. You really jump right in to the conflict of the story and the game! It is cool how it is racially different as well. Without giving too much away, Elves get to meet Elrond in the tutorial and Dwarves meet Gimili. Humans and Hobbits get to have a meeting with one of the Ring Wraiths where you first get a taste of how your morale is affected by being near an agent of Mordor.

The first zone is an instance too, but it is an instance you share with other players. The good thing is this keeps it from being too overcrowded. Or at least it is supposed to. A few missions get bottlenecked when a named mob needs to be defeated, but players have been good about forming fellowships and helping each other. This game does seem mission driven. It has that “on rails” aspect. But, I find that it doesn’t bother me because most of the missions seem significant. There doesn’t seem to be as many dumb terminating quests. There’s a few of the, “well- I can help you complete your mission, but you have to do something for me first” ones, which I really hate. But it doesn’t seem as annoying as the WoW ones. Xp is pretty slow without quests, so grinding doesn’t seem to be a viable way to level, unless by grinding you mean pounding out requirements for quest. If you don’t have a mission for them, going out to an area to kill flies really won’t get you too far.

Rewarding you for finishing a bunch of missions and killing X amount of a mob are deeds and traits. You earn deeds by your activities which reward you with traits. Traits then get hooked in to your character for bonuses. I’m not really covering Destiny Points, which are earned at certain levels because I don’t really understand them very well. So traits are like badges in CoH, that are more meaningful.

Like SWG, this game has an iconic feel. You already know this world. You have expectations about it. You know the lore, you know how it will all turn out, but you get to play your part too. It’s immersive like SWG – you are living your own story. Still, there are lots of other things to learn, other side stories than intersect with the ones you know.

Crafting is pretty interesting. You chose one crafting identity that is actually made up of 3 crafting skills. You can pretty much count on not having everything you need to craft with your own skills, so you need to rely on other people to help get you your supplies. It can be slower, but I think it helps build more relationships and community.

Okay, so there’s got to be some things I’m not as happy with, right? I have the same basic chat and communications disappointment that I have had with WoW. It just doesn’t seem very easy or intuitive to be able to communicate by typing. I think the chat bubbles in CoH and SWG made local communication much easier. Plus, I just had an easier time typing and getting into the right channel. WoW and LOTRO both have a lot of general spam which prevents you from seeing a personal message or group message, and no sounds to alert you about one of those sorts of communications.

Characters, at the point, seem pretty cookie-cutter. There’s no real opportunity to make your Guardian different than your friend’s. You’ll have the same skills, and probably mostly the same traits equipped. There’s not much specialization like in CoH where the differences in skill came down to where you enhanced and in WoW, how you use your talents. This may change as it goes on though. Maybe I just haven’t seen enough?

Harvesting materials is downright annoying. I have had to mine for my prospecting materials. You run up to a node only to find someone has beaten you to it. Someone even tried to train some mobs to get me interrupted so he could beat me to a node! How rude!

It certainly isn’t as free form as SWG, and I wonder if there will ever be a similar game to that. In the meantime, I like this game and I’ll keep playing it. I haven’t given up on WoW, but it is cool to play with my friends again in this world.

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