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Lord of the Rings Online


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Just saw over on IGN that LOTRO has unseated WoW as the #1 seller in PC games in it's first week of release. That may not seem like a big deal, but WoW has been so utterly dominant that it has been #1 for nearly three years. After playing WoW for a couple years, I switched to LOTRO, and I must say, I've been having a blast.

 

And you know what makes LOTRO such a fun game to me? It's the one aspect that most MMO's sorely lack: the story.

 

Yup, that's right. The story. The one aspect of any MMO that is usually an afterthought. Most MMO's treat story as if it were a hindrance to the advancement of raiding dungeons and acquiring "phat lewt." But because LOTRO is based on the universe created by Tolkien (and specifically the books, not the films), it can't NOT be based on the story.

 

Playing LOTRO has made me fondly remember single player RPGs from BioWare and Obsidian that were story-driven and focused greatly on immersion. It's still an MMO and is subject to the mindless grinds and "Kill 20 field rats" quests that characterize every MMO, but I think it's a refreshing step in the right direction.

 

Anyone else playing the game? :down:

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MMO's are more work than play, I dont like them.

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Yeah, I've posted about the fact that the story elements are way more reminiscent of a solid single player RPG than an MMO. It's very entertaining. It's also fairly similiar to WoW in terms of gameplay and character progress, so if you hate WoW, you'll probably tire of this after a month or two (although the graphics aren't cartoony, if that's your WoW complaint.) Turbine has done a tremendous job with the main plot, anyone who played Asheron's Call 2 and finished the Vaults knows they can spin a good yarn.

 

I have a level 20 Captain on Windfalo named Taranto.

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I will admit I was tempted... But it's an MMO, I just know I won't like it much and it'll be a waste of money and I'll probably play it once a month...

 

MMO's always make me feel like I am paying for a game (the software) that is not actually as sophisticated as other games, and then I'm paying more money each month to have my experience spoilt by sharing it with loads of kids ranting about PHAT l00t, and leveling up. Plus I reckon MMORPG's will never really have any involving role playing elements, and always be more... Massive Multiplayer Chatroom with Avatars and a few things to keep you hooked, and the endless grind, that is in the end an utterly unrewarding experience... So... MMCWAAAFTTKYHATEGTIITEAUUE.

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I tried the beta, really it's still very MMOish. There were some horrible quests where you had to run back and forth and back and forth, gather 50 wolf pelts or whatever, and stuff like that. The story elements were much better than usual but still... I don't know. It was still in the end your average MMO where you're points-grinding.

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What exactly is so much better story-wise? NPC's talk more when you click on them, or the fetch quests all seem to tie into something a bit more comprehensive, or something else? If the first one, I probably wouldn't think it was an improvement.

 

But I'd probably give it a try anyway, if I had more time. I think MMO's can be a lot of fun for a while - when it gets old I just stop payin' - but for me at least, I need the time to seriously obsess over the game, and I don't have that at the moment. I'll keep it in mind tho for when I do - I'll admit the cartoonish aspect of WoW - and the graphically Warcraft based races - wasn't my fave thing. :down:

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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The whole concept of pay-by-the-month immediately changes the dynamic (at least for me); no longer am I just playing, suddenly I have to beat the clock and get "value for money". Which is certainly an exercise in (formal) play, but not particularly rewarding when the exercise is merely fed-ex a bunch of rat corpses.

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I think the whole pay-to-play has more to do with personal budgets than anything else. I consider $10 a month a rather minor commitmentm even if I'm only playing a few hours in that said month. In exchange I'm getting more entertainment value than if I went to see a movie. But everyone's financial outlook is different. I've explained the actual business necessity of a monthly fee a few times on these forums, so I don't think I'll go over that again.

 

The story elements are hard to explain without showing (and the infant on my lap is making typing very slow.) The Intro is similiar to Guild Wars, in that you play through a prologue, and by the end of it, an entire town lies in ruins. Then you start in that ruined town (dwarves and elves have a different start.) When you advance the main plotline, you meet famous characters from the books, Like Strider and Gandalf. You face off against something nasty in an instanced dungeon, and then you get a cut scene that tells you where you are at in the overall story. Gandalf narrates about Frodo leaving the Shire and all that. You are basically working behind the scenes of the main plot. It sounds odd, but I think it works very well.

 

Again, it's still a MMO. There is still a sense of grinding. But it's well done, and surpasses WoW in quite a few ways. The trait system is pretty fascinating, and if you make it your job to kill spiders all day, you get titles like Spider-Foe and special traits to better fight them.

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From Hurlshot's mini-description - I now want this game ... even tho I'm like BigBottom and already have a couple on my desk unplayed.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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I hate MMOs. All MMOs ae crappy.

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I think the whole pay-to-play has more to do with personal budgets than anything else. I consider $10 a month a rather minor commitmentm even if I'm only playing a few hours in that said month. In exchange I'm getting more entertainment value than if I went to see a movie. But everyone's financial outlook is different. I've explained the actual business necessity of a monthly fee a few times on these forums, so I don't think I'll go over that again.

 

The story elements are hard to explain without showing (and the infant on my lap is making typing very slow.) The Intro is similiar to Guild Wars, in that you play through a prologue, and by the end of it, an entire town lies in ruins. Then you start in that ruined town (dwarves and elves have a different start.) When you advance the main plotline, you meet famous characters from the books, Like Strider and Gandalf. You face off against something nasty in an instanced dungeon, and then you get a cut scene that tells you where you are at in the overall story. Gandalf narrates about Frodo leaving the Shire and all that. You are basically working behind the scenes of the main plot. It sounds odd, but I think it works very well.

 

Again, it's still a MMO. There is still a sense of grinding. But it's well done, and surpasses WoW in quite a few ways. The trait system is pretty fascinating, and if you make it your job to kill spiders all day, you get titles like Spider-Foe and special traits to better fight them.

 

Perfectly stated. That's why I said this is more like a single player RPG than an MMO. You have the main quests, which are marked in your quest log as "Epic: Book 1, Chapter 1" or the like, and then you have dozens of side-quests you can accomplish if you so choose. The side-quests are no different than any other MMO. Those are the "kill 20 field rats" quests I was talking about. Some of them are annoying, some of them are more involving, but as Hurl said you do get benefits for doing these quests aside from XP and materials for crafting.

 

LOTRO has a deed system. This is the de facto reputation grind. By completing a certain number of quests in a zone, or by killing a certain type of mob a number of times, you are rewarded with either a title or a trait. This is so much more effective than the endless rep grinds we saw in WoW. The traits provide buffs to your base stats once you equip them. For example, I play a Lore-master. The stat Fate is very important to my character. I currently have a deed quest that calls for me to kill a number of orcs. Once I do that, I get the trait Friend of Man, which adds +20 to Fate. For me, that is an ENORMOUS buff that affects my damage output and how often my abilities crit.

 

At the moment, there are no specs or attributes for your character, so you don't have to put points into anything every time you level. This could be good or bad depending on how you look at it. Good in that you don't have to worry about other players asking you "What spec are you?" every time you join a group, bad in that some players might want to have the option of specializing in something or bolstering a certain aspect of their class, such as melee or healing. But the game is still new so there will be changes in the future. I would also be curious to know if titles that you can earn will reward you with a discount at certain vendors and may also provide you access to certain quests and gear once you earn the title in the future.

 

All in all it is the aspect of storytelling that got me hooked. The cinematics every time you complete a major main storyline quest put you, the player, DIRECTLY in the midst of the events of the books. You are aiding Aragorn or Gandalf as Frodo and Sam are off on their journey, but the game goes out of it's way to make you, the player, feel important and unique as much as an MMO can. Which isn't very much, but they make a solid attempt to do it. It's really put together quite well.

 

It's all about immersion and that's what really nails it for me.

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I gave the open beta a try for a week or so. Not too bad, but not nearly good enough to buy and play. Too much of go kill 30 of one type of mobs, then go kill 60 of them, then you get a little buff to your stats, and now you get to go do it over again. The combat was a bit too slow for my preferred style of play, and the lack of pvp to make things interesting didn't help much either.

 

The next MMO I am looking forward to would be Warhammer Online. Which is looking pretty damn awesome already.

Using a gamepad to control an FPS is like trying to fight evil through maple syrup.

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I gave the open beta a try for a week or so. Not too bad, but not nearly good enough to buy and play. Too much of go kill 30 of one type of mobs, then go kill 60 of them, then you get a little buff to your stats, and now you get to go do it over again. The combat was a bit too slow for my preferred style of play, and the lack of pvp to make things interesting didn't help much either.

 

The next MMO I am looking forward to would be Warhammer Online. Which is looking pretty damn awesome already.

 

Not that I'm doubting you, but I'm at level 21 and I've never seen a quest asking for more than ten of something. Also, quite a few quests can work in conjunction with one another. For example, I took on a couple "kill 8 wights" and "kill 5 wargs" and did them at the same time as the "Explore creepy graveyard area" and "collect relics buried in graveyard" and "find my dumb son who ran into the graveyard" as well as "quiet the local ghost by finding his missing ring". What I'm trying to say is the grind is nowhere near as bad as most other MMO's. Of course, WoW was the same way until you hit the high levels and started faction grinding. There's nothing that says you actually need to grind in an MMO. You can refuse to do crappy quests. It will slow down the levelling, but why is that a big deal? I play MMO's for the exploration and the social aspects, not to keep up with the Jones's. Turbine did a great job of creating Middle Earth, and besides the goofy hats, it's gorgeous.

 

Oh, by the way, there is a fully functioning music system. You can play instruments and strum all sorts of songs. They aren't preset either, you actually use 1-9 to hit cords and ctrl and shift to adjust the treble.

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I was not specifically referring to the quests, but the traits and such in the deeds system. To earn the title "Fly Swatter" you have to kill 30 of these misquito things in the swamp. After that is finished you can kill 60 of them to earn a trait that enhances some aspect of your character, and then there is an advanced level you can have access to if you kill 120 or so of these bugs.

 

Very annoying way to customize your character in my opinion. Though I could live with it if the combat system wasn't so...slow. Too many long cooldowns on my abilities. Though I did only reach lvl 15 so there is probably much more to do when you hit cap.

Using a gamepad to control an FPS is like trying to fight evil through maple syrup.

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I was not specifically referring to the quests, but the traits and such in the deeds system. To earn the title "Fly Swatter" you have to kill 30 of these misquito things in the swamp. After that is finished you can kill 60 of them to earn a trait that enhances some aspect of your character, and then there is an advanced level you can have access to if you kill 120 or so of these bugs.

 

Very annoying way to customize your character in my opinion. Though I could live with it if the combat system wasn't so...slow. Too many long cooldowns on my abilities. Though I did only reach lvl 15 so there is probably much more to do when you hit cap.

 

So you were going out of your way to grind for these traits and deeds? That does seem boring. I don't know why you would do that when you could naturally progress your character and simply accept the titles and traits that your adventures led to.

 

The combat is rather slow, although it depends on your class. It's also a low magic world, so rather than spells, you rely mostly on combination fighting moves. I'm enjoying it, but it's another aspect that is very similiar to other MMO's.

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So you were going out of your way to grind for these traits and deeds? That does seem boring. I don't know why you would do that when you could naturally progress your character and simply accept the titles and traits that your adventures led to.

 

Another thing is that most players do actually grind, meaning if you want to run along witha party and stuff instead of wandering on your own, then you need toa ccompany them to all that.

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I wonder if MMOs will ever solve the PvP thieving dilemma. (I.e. PCs with thieving skills want to steal stuff from other players, but non-Thief players become apoplectic when their PC has their Item of

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I wonder if MMOs will ever solve the PvP thieving dilemma. (I.e. PCs with thieving skills want to steal stuff from other players, but non-Thief players become apoplectic when their PC has their Item of
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Maybe some kind of minigame where you face off against the potential thief. But the whole idea is a complete minefield...players just will not want to lose their hard earned items and if it was possible half the population would be stealing off each other in a thief-fest. But the immersion factor would be great, having to keep on your toes the whole time. I hope they do come up with a balanced way of implementing this in some other game.

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