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The Call On Lord of the Rings Online

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the a-wizard-is-never-late-frodo-baggins dept.

Role Playing (Games) 64

The Beta has been going on for some time now, and for all intents and purposes Lord of the Rings Online has launched. Pre-order players will be able to move their characters to the live game when the title officially lights up on April 24th, and commentators on Massively Multiplayer games have weighed in. Their opinion, generally, is unanimous: buy it. Tobold contributes a full-on review, as does CVG. AFK Gamer doesn't go in for such long-form opinions, but he still has a lot to say. Specifically, Foton comments on the good, the okay, and the bad, as well as a few words on the game's (somewhat out of the ordinary) classes. "[The game is] deep and broad. An MMOG, any MMOG, with its premium box price and its premium subscription prices, needs to offer more activities than: you can kill stuff, and, umm, you can kill other players, and umm, you could check the auctions/trade channel. There's many ways to screw around in this MMOG: Deeds, accomplishments, exploration (easy to outrun higher level mobs), titles, player-made music, engaging quest text, a solid start to the crafting system, MONSTER PLAY!!! There's probably more, but that's all I've tried so far."

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64 comments

Wrong link (4, Informative)

plaisted (449711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18816489)

The link to the full review is wrong. It links to a youtube video of a timelapse of the Wikipedia page on the VT shootings.

Re:Wrong link (5, Funny)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18816855)

Even the editors don't RTFA.

Re:Wrong link (4, Funny)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18816923)

Aha! So there is a link between the shooting and gaming! QED.

Everything I've heard has been good (1)

geek (5680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18816625)

It's very much like WoW was at its release over 2 years ago. The complaints that I have heard largely relate to issues stemming from the fact that in the beta you can't level over 30, so much of the game has yet to be experienced. Given all the good reviews and word of mouth, this game could mature very nicely. It seems to be more mature in many ways and less in others than WoW is. Finally a little competition in the MMO field. WoW has been the only decent MMO out for a long time, with LotRO, Age of Conan, Tabula Rasa and Warhammer Online coming out we should see some great stuff soon.

Re:Everything I've heard has been good (3, Informative)

TopSpin (753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18821831)

A general dump of my impressions

You can grab an instrument and jam outside the Prancing Pony. Pretty avatars of other people stand around to listen, dance and make comments. Hard to resist that sometimes. Killer idea; allow players to rate performances. The game has me thinking.

Turbine has some good IP to work with. They've done it some credit. Work with the right NPC vendors enough and you'll learn scraps of Elvish. I've no doubt after sufficient play one will have a grasp of Middle Earth geography. It is certain that the effort placed on combat is matched elsewhere.

Tanks (guys with thick necks covered in metal) are functional. Champions own melee. Hunters don't. Hunters rely on a Legolas style repeating rifle called a Bow. Paper, scissors, rock.

Lag abounds occasionally. If I'm feeling it I know others are; plenty of hardware and bandwidth here. Not into WOW myself but by all evidence Blizzard has scalability figured out. I sense that LOTRO has some work to do there. If the game is a big hit they'll get it right.

The GUI needs some heavy lifting; it's confined by a lack of re-sizable windows. Perhaps customization will eventually permit it.

The complaints that I have heard largely relate to issues stemming from the fact that in the beta you can't level over 30, so much of the game has yet to be experienced.
The current beta caps your level at 15. Perhaps earlier test intervals allowed higher levels. I don't know. These games tend to change radically in higher level play, yet leveling here appears to be carefully progressive. I know the developers are working hard. I can feel it. Their still finishing some of the higher level content and deadlines have mounted.

Like other online fantasy games, it requires a commitment in time. If I find that I can walk away for a few weeks and still have fun when I get around to playing I'll be playing for years. If not well, there is always Warhammer. [warhammeronline.com]

So Zonk doesn't even click the links he posts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18816763)

Not even to check the title of the linked pages?

Re:So Zonk doesn't even click the links he posts.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18817273)

Methinks it is time to post a top 10 greatest games review (which you know will be posted by Zonk) with a goatse or tubgirl link.

Re:So Zonk doesn't even click the links he posts.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18817685)

What is tubgirl?

Re:So Zonk doesn't even click the links he posts.. (2, Insightful)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 7 years ago | (#18818637)

Dude, you don't wanna know.

My thoughts (3, Informative)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18816831)

The intro was great. (as an elf) I got popped into my own little instance where a battle was taking place. I was ordered to slay goblins, how to move about the world, how to interact with NPC's (kinda like EQ's Mines of Gloomingdeep). After the event you get ported out of your instance, standing where you had stood.

The intro really impressed me. Along with the $199 lifetime subscription. And the way they worked classes (trying to stay true to the era but still incorporating the archetypes people are familiar with: for example the minstrel is a healer... you get your healer but recast into something that would fit in to LOTR). But beyond that, I'm not so sure the game will stand the tests of time. One the problems I forsee is the limited number of races. I also liked combat a bit more than WoW ... it was more drawn out even at the lower stages ... but that's not saying much. I fear the game will only really hold for the hardcore LOTR fans, and the rest will play awhile and say 'meh'. And there is always the fear of them f*cking it over someday like SOE did with Star Wars Online. (I'm a huge SW fan; however I couldn't bring myself to play the MMO, even though I was a huge MMO fan, because I knew something, someday, would go wrong and wreck my experiance ... )

And with that being said 'There's only one Return, and its not of the King, its of the Jedi' -Clerks 2.

Re:My thoughts (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18821297)

I'm a very serious Tolkien fan, but I have very little interest in video games based on LotR. It's not a medium where I get the feeling of the original is well-captured. Like your call on SWG, I also know/fear they will bend the lore in too many ways.

Re:My thoughts (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18843627)

I picked up a free Beta code this weekend (GameStop wasn't taking any more pre-orders, but the guys hooked me up. That was after Wal-Mart put the game on the shelf all weekend but put a 'sale not allowed' if you tried to buy it at the register). Here are my quick and dirty impressions:

  • Good
    • Graphics - I think it's similar to EQ2. While the characters and the dwarven capitol city didn't impress me the 'outside' did. Running down the road and looking up at the mountain tops really gave a good perspective.
    • Food - Food always gave a benefit, not just for out of combat stuff either. One nice thing, I had food that would heal me for 40hp every 30s for 3 mins. Given that my total HP was 400, that was a nice benefit and saved my butt once.
    • Quest menu - Most quests I had gave good descriptions of where to find what I was looking for. Sure, it took a few moments to know "where" the location was on the map, but it came fast enough.
    • Quest loot - besides decent loot for leveling, every time I killed a cat, he dropped a 'claw' that I needed. I never had to kill 100 goblins to get 5 noses because 95 of them didn't have one.
  • Bad
    • Learning Curve - I felt like it just took too long to start to understand how to play this game. When I first played WoW, I was off killing things without thinking twice, and completing quests. Heck, this even coming from a guy who's played WoW, Daoc, CoH/CoV, AC2, EQ, EQ2, amongs others.
    • Character builder - Sorry, hair styles, facial shapes, and other features are just not very good. I didn't feel like I made an avatar that represented me.
    • User Interface (UI) - While similar to most games out there (see WoW), it's really hard to see which actions where active and which where in cooldown. This could be due to my resolution size.
    • Mini-map - Yes, the mini-map. I didn't like it. No option to 'zoom' out or in. Most of the time I just wanted to zoom out a bit farther, but I couldn't.
    • Character Name Noise - ARGH! First names, last names, titles that can be appended to your name "Dwaven Warrior of The Blue Mountains", and then "guild" names. You get a few people standing in the same area (oh, say, around merchants) and it's harder than hell to see the person you're trying to find. This was a down-side.
    • Crafting Nodes - Maybe I didn't have enough time to do this, but mine nodes could only be used once and would yield 1-2 copper/gold/etc ore. If you looked at your trade skill components, you often needed several to make the easiest item. That, coupled with a zoomed in mini-map and hard to find or vastly spread out nodes, finding metal to make items was far to much work to enjoy.
    • Crafting dependencies - Crafting worked like this. You pick one profession which will give you 3 sub-professions. Taking 'tinkerer' would give you 'Jewelry', 'Prospector(mining)', and 'cooking'. Yes, cooking. Only, to make the very easiest recipes I had to make a 'campfire'. Sure, I had a oven sitting in front of me or I could have picked 1 of many braziers but, they didn't work. You had to cook on a campfire to make 'cooked carrots'. I still don't know who could make a campfire, but as I saw it, I think they made trades people rely on other trade people to make items. Crafting was far to tedious and it just wasn't enjoyable.
    • Quests - Some quests are just wrong, others are vague. Most are good. One quest said "find so and so in the west hall". Only, 15mins later, I found the guy in the East hall. Another said, "find the ring under a black stone near a gate near the barracks", it also told you there was no barracks here... and nothing else. Ok, this made me mad. I'm level 10, a relative newbie, and this quest is already making me waist time trying to figure out what he's talking about? If I was max level and the only thing I had to do was 'quest' for stuff, then I would love some puzzles. No, I'm level 10 and I want to level, don't make me pull teeth to do it. If I have to 'think', I'm not interested.
    • Travel - Ugh, sure WoW and other games had this, but travel was painful already at level 10. I could get a house (for 12 silver when I amassed 20 silver by this time) to get from point A to point B (which I needed to often) or I had to hoof it for 10mins. It reminded me FAAAR to much of the pain I felt when playing DAoC and having to take a horse from point A to point B that literally took 10 mins. I already did the 'take a horse; leave; make a sandwich; Read a few pages in a book; come back and wait a few seconds to finish the horse ride." Sorry, I'm not interested in a game that slows me down by forcing me to spend copious amounts of time in travel. It wasn't all bad. getting form major hub to major hub was pretty much a teleport. That was nice.
    • Combat - It wasn't too exciting. Often it was hard to target a mob or to attack it or to queue up an attack. I could click a mob, click an attack special I wanted to do *WHEN* I got into range, only to get "you're too far away" and my attack was canceled. Not the way WoW does it... which is too bad. It's a nice feature. I also found my character just standing there not attacking. I think it had to do with a 'rest' period after an attack or maybe that's a bug? The attack action wasn't descriptive.

All in all... I say, it's an ok game. I think it can be fun and for those who are sick of WoW and have played everything else, will be happy to try this one. I usually enjoy playing a MMO for the leveling of a character. I like the feeling of advancement. But, I do not like having to spend hours on end to get 1 level. WoW got the leveling curve right. So far, LOTRO curve felt equally fast (at least through level 10) but now I'm getting into quests I have no clue where to start. I'm starting to feel lost in the world without clear direction. I'm getting 'group required' quests and find, like WoW, people have a 'me only' mind set.

I'm still waiting for 'the one game' to rule them all. This isn't it. But it's new.

Cheers,
Fozzy

Good, but not quite good enough yet (5, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18816921)


The third FA puts it best:

"If you're still playing World of Warcraft and loving it, stick with WoW."
"If you're looking to add to your online gaming options, this game is a fine choice. Beautiful, engaging, deep, different."
"Between online games? Without a doubt, buy it."

That's true. Is it better than WoW? No. Is it worth trying if you're against WoW? Yeah.

I do also have to disagree about how the Tolkeen-y-ness of it all makes it somehow automatically better. Do I really need a deep backstory for my 'kill ten boars' quest? Not really. And because I skipped reading that, I also skipped some thing important. Now I'm lost, and starting not to care. Likewise, after being dumped out of the newbie levels, I have no idea where I am, why I chose to be there, or where I'm supposed to go next. Sure, sure, I've heard the name Bree before, but am I supposed to go there now or later? What's a 'scholar' and what's 'wood lore'? Oh, that can only be crafted by another player? Nice.

What WoW offered was a more distilled version of the online game. Doesn't require much thought but certainly can lead to spending lots of time enjoying it. LOTRO falls short of this, probably on purpose, but somewhat to it's detriment.

Re:Good, but not quite good enough yet (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 7 years ago | (#18817931)

Do I really need a deep backstory for my 'kill ten boars' quest? Not really. And because I skipped reading that, I also skipped some thing important. Now I'm lost, and starting not to care.

...and this is the game's fault?

Re:Good, but not quite good enough yet (0, Flamebait)

Miniluv (165290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18819337)

Yes, as a matter of fact it is. I read all the quest text in WoW when i first encouner a quest. I'm treating my main (level 46 atm) as exploring their universe and delving into their storytelling. And it works. The quest text is actually good for the majority of texts, with enough humor to make it not suck.

I found LOTRO to be a steaming pile of shit. Not just in comparison to WoW, but in comparison to say, watching paint dry. The quest text is difficult to follow, and makes you not care. Not just fails to make you care, but in many cases literally makes you NOT care. Then they have the audacity to bury important info in the middle of this rambling screed of crap, as if they know you're not going to want to read it so they'll trick you into having to.

I tried and tried and tried to like LOTRO and couldn't. The classes are unwieldy, the compromises to make it "Tolkienesque" reeked of trying too hard, and the heavy emphasis on RP style play may give hardcore rings geeks a chubby, but all it did was lead me to /ignore a LOT of people who tried to insist on RPing with me.

It is a damn beautiful game though, if you've got the rig to turn up all the effects.

Re:Good, but not quite good enough yet (1)

mythar (1085839) | more than 7 years ago | (#18818305)

are you one of those people who are still looking for Mankrik's wife while wandering around in the outlands?

Re:Good, but not quite good enough yet (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18837843)

Has anyone seen Rexxar? -_-

Re:Good, but not quite good enough yet (3, Interesting)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18818429)

I agree with you almost 100%.

But I do have to pick a nit... there's really not much "Tolkeen-y-ness" in this game. It's based 100% on the movies, which themselves have very little Tolkien in them, save in very broad strokes. They didn't even manage to build BagEnd the way Tolkien describes it, let alone anything else.

And the game world as a whole feels much much too small after just re-reading the trilogy. Places that took days and weeks to travel between on ponies take... a couple minutes on foot in the game. Yeah I know, you can't make the game-world anywhere near large enough to be anything close to realistic... but please... this to me is just ridiculous.

That said, if you're bored with what you've been playing and/or are looking for a WoW/EQ clone that's fun to play, this game delivers. But it's not for me.

Re:Good ... [limited customization?] (1)

Presence2 (240785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18826873)

I have to agree with many of the points raised over the uniqueness of LOTRo not quite distinguishing itself enough from WOW, or fantasy MMOG's in general. While eye candy and a new world of immersion are attractive to many, I feel LOTRo will fall short in that the characters are not as unique to the user as would be attractive for very long term retention. There are no adjustable player stats and skill trees are purely linear. While it's a very beautiful game, and the Tolkien content is attractive, it's over-all lack of diversity could be it's undoing.

The problem with MMOG's (5, Insightful)

Organic Brain Damage (863655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18817047)

I've been playing my way through game content since 1974. Here's what the dungeon games all resolve down to:

for (iLevel = 1; iLevel iMaxLevelAllowed; iLevel++)
{
        currentMonsters.hitPoints = X * iLevel;
        currentMonsters.attackStrength = Y * iLevel;
        currentMonsters.graphics = GetMonsterGraphics(iLevel);

        currentTreasures.value = Z * iLevel;
}

And we players crank through the iLevel loop and get bored about the third or fourth time through. It's been this way since D&D was played only on paper with dice. Even with EQ2 and WoW it's still basically the same.

Why?

Two reasons. First, because there are far more players than content producers. And because computers are good at looping. So, the content producers, in a natural attempt to provide more play-time given a limited amount of content production resource use looping and repetition...this is why player's grind.

What does this have to do with LOTR MMO? Not much, except it's still going to, ultimately, be a boring grind.

To get past the boredom, we need an open RPG game where people are encouraged to produce content for other players. Maybe 2nd life fits that criteria. I dunno because 2nd Life doesn't have monsters and spells and wizards, so I've got no interest in it.

Re:The problem with MMOG's (2, Informative)

unDiWahn (599102) | more than 7 years ago | (#18817195)

I want to give a call out to Saga of Ryzom [ryzom.com] for this. I loved this MMO - not as high quality, but it had some great personality and elements. In particular, they just released the Ryzom Ring [ryzom.com] -- player created missions and content. You can either script automatic missions, or play live as a GM and guide the sequence of events. Fantastic!

Re:The problem with MMOG's (4, Informative)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 7 years ago | (#18817383)

It's been this way since D&D was played only on paper with dice. Even with EQ2 and WoW it's still basically the same.

Not even close. If that's all D&D was to you, you missed out entirely. Leveling was not the goal, storytelling was. If you recall, it took FOREVER to level, so much so that there was no need to define rules for class such as magic users above level 10: no one would ever get there! Sure there were lots of tables to show hit statistics, but loot and XP was up to the DM: books were just guidelines. The goal was to role play, not to level grind, hence the moniker RPG.

Re:The problem with MMOG's (1)

Torgo's Pizza (547926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18821255)

You're missing his main point which you accidently emphasis in your response: MMORPGs have a flaw because the content designers is overwhelmingly outnumbered by the players. D&D was so great because a single DM could easily handle groups of 8 or 10 people and customize the adventure and story to meet their expectations.

To overcome the challenge of generating custom content for everyone, the original poster came up with his very clever, I might add, formula for game design.

Re:The problem with MMOG's (1)

Organic Brain Damage (863655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18826769)

Sebastopol, I agree with your description of ideal/fun paper D&D. I was imprecise in my post. Torgo's got the idea in his response. The problem is the work to play ratio or more precisely the ratio of time/effort that goes into content creation vs. the time/enjoyment it provides the players. I was referring to the loop/grind which became the computer RPG's solution to the creation to play time ratio.

Re:The problem with MMOG's (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18817393)

I've been playing the beta for a few weeks, and it is my first MMORPG. My previous experience was occasional single player RPGs like Morrowind. I think the multiplayer element does add quite a bit and helps releave the boredom factor. I'm not that social of a player, but LOTRO forces you to join up with other players in "fellowships" to complete some of the quests. I always hook up with a different group each time, and this does add some variety to the game.

In a weird way now, it would seem kind of "lonely" to play a single player RPG now for me. In LOTRO, even when you are off on a solo quest there can be all kinds of other players around you, and just the random human nature of it all makes it much more interesting for me. There is also the element of when you achieve something, there is "somebody to show" even if indirectly. The game can also be more competitve as you try to achieve more or just keep up with your counterparts.

Re:The problem with MMOG's (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 7 years ago | (#18817453)

I agree. It would be cool if you could customize the items you create with your crafting skills in LOTRO. At least they have a way of allowing you to play instruments in the game. I haven't been too keen on that though since I have a real instrument at my house (a piano). Trying to play a song on the keyboard just isn't that much fun in comparison and not nearly as challenging (due to the limits imposed by the game/keyboard). Now if they allowed music to be given by a MIDI input source that would be awesome.

Re:The problem with MMOG's (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18817463)

To get past the boredom, we need an open RPG game where people are encouraged to produce content for other players. Maybe 2nd life fits that criteria. I dunno because 2nd Life doesn't have monsters and spells and wizards, so I've got no interest in it.


I'm trying to write the very thing you want. Being a lone developer with a small budget (as in none), and nowt but a dream and gcc, it's going to take a while. I'm probably two years away from a small beta test group, and I have no idea where the 3d models are going to come from.

Re:The problem with MMOG's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18824765)

1: Buy Neverwinter Nights
2: done!

Re:The problem with MMOG's (1)

Anonymous Curmudgeon (146746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18817605)

Yes, someone should invent MUDs. They'd be like open MMOGs without the graphics. And since you don't have to worry about graphic engines, experienced players could quit the playing ranks and join the coders and crank out lots of user-generated content. We'll call them wizards. It'll be great. And I'm sure there won't be a bit of grinding involved.

LOTRO isn't about equipment! (2, Informative)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18821703)

Instead of grinding, you run errands and quests for experience. Also loot isn't worth anything, the way they calculate armor, it's not even worth wearing armor before you're level 30. I know I played the beta. I love LOTR. I love Turbine. I hate a game where having the best equipment in the game makes less than a 5% difference in someone who bought their equipment at a vendor. I can see that they want to add better gear later, but please add some to start with. Also as a final kick in the nuts, every race is the same if you look at stats. In LOTRO, your stats and equipment are just pretty numbers that are basically meaningless. I'm sure it will be a fun game because Turbine does monthly updates, but please, some people like their RPG to have some statistics. What's the point in questing if it isn't for better gear so you can go on more difficult quests.

Re:The problem with MMOG's (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18840263)

Which was recognized by 1980, and why the PnP games evolved into the 2nd generation mechanics: skill based play.

Instead of "level-systems" which rationalized the skills of various archetypes and quantized their abilities into discrete "levels" of performance, 2nd Gen PnP games (Runequest, Traveller, etc.) built their game models around a finer-grained system where a character improved their individual, task-based skills individually through repeated use or specific training. The problem with this for a PnP game is of course that it was mechanic-heavy, could be slow to play, and the list of potential skills was infinite.

Then, pendulum-like, the systems shifted back to a very simplistic model of minimalist rules and a focus on the storytelling (White Wolf, etc.) for the 3rd Generation.

We're probably into the 4th or 5th-gen PnP games, I haven't kept track in detail since the mid 90's, but the MMOG-CRPG systems are definitely stuck in what was outdated long ago for PnP gamers.

It's logical though, since 'level' systems are inherently easier to balance and much easier to implement as you have a very FIXED list of archetypes. Each of THEM have a very limited skill set that you can tweak as a game designer to force people to play together and depend on each other, nobody can be entirely self-sufficient. *Some* CRPGs are starting to play with hybrid level/skill systems (Oblivion, etc.) but still the whole addiction to the "level" thing is widespread.

For those that are interested, there HAVE been CRPGs that have dispensed with the "level" thing, an excellent one was Darklands (ancient....good luck digging it up, but it was extraordinarily rich).

Not a WoW clone anymore? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18817315)

This is interesting as earlier reports were basically calling the game a WoW clone (and from the pictures it looked like it), and there were a lot of complaints that it didn't feel right being able to walk from the Shire to Mt. Doom in under half an hour. Maybe things have really improved during the beta.

Anyways, I've been WoW-free for about a year now, and I'm enjoying my time actually playing other video games.

MUME - Multi Users in Middle Earth (2, Informative)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18817695)

I think it is only fair to mention the precursor of MMORPGS; the MUDs of the 80s and 90s :) and in particular MUME was - and still is! - one of the best. I still fondly recall my deadly battles with the crafty orcs, trolls, and black numenoreans or standing watch at guard towers or tracking footprints so I could inform my fellow elves, humans, dwarves, hobbits about the movements of a raiding party.(I played a legendary Elven scout named Vosh several years ago)
The non-PvP parts were great, too; the world was so huge since so many people around the earth have contributed to it(Tolkien has been translated into 30+ languages, so many international fans). I loved exploring it and I also recall my fast-beating heart the first time I had to sneak into Moria for a quest and heard the BOOOM, BOOOM, BOOM, of the Orcish wardrums.

MUME is a free multiplayer roleplaying game based upon J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth that has been continuously enhanced since fall '91. In MUME players can explore and live in this meticulously crafted world during its late Third Age, and possibly join the epic War between the forces of the Dark Lord and the armies of the West. The action takes place before The Hobbit and after the loss of the One Ring by Sauron. The key of Erebor was just found by Gandalf in Dol Guldur and all the epic tales narrated in The Lord of the Rings may take place.
http://mume.org/ [mume.org]
Might want to try it out if you want a free game or to see something of the beginning of these types of games. I see that folks have even developed some graphical addons for representing/mapping the rooms of the text-based world.

Re:MUME - Multi Users in Middle Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18820909)

I agree. MUME is an excellent game. I've enjoyed it for over 10 years. It has provided steady entertainment far longer than any commercial product to date.

Photographic gore
can not reproduce the thrill
of asterisk spam

-A haiku for MUME

It's WoW in ME (1)

Jaeph (710098) | more than 7 years ago | (#18817785)

I'm not saying it's a bad game, but the gushing I'm hearing really seems at odds with what I saw. The middle earth terrain is fantastic - the shire, the old forest, etc, all look great. I spent hours running around looking.

The problem is "then what". There is very little that differentiates this game from any other game out there. Elves are not Tolkien's elves, they're the same generic elves from other games. Everybody says "no fireballs", but my first level loremaster was tossing fire. Then there's the countryside full of evil boars, bears, etc. The bottom line is that this is ye olde fantasy game on a really nice map of northern middle earth.

The one thing they did that seems different was add a neat trait system, which functions in the same role as WoW's talents. In this system you earn your traits by doing things, and then pick a small number of those traits to further differentiate your character. So find all 7 flowers in the old forest, get a trait. Go kill 60 barrow wights, finish all the breeland quests, etc, and you get traits. Some of these traits stack, too, so you might get "wisdom" from two different sources and have "wisdom +2". This trait system gives you little challenges while you are going about levelling.

When I left the beta, the system was in partially in-place but the traits weren't that effective. I read that they've filled it out and made the effects more pronounced.

But is a trait system that much of a reason to buy and play a game? I'm still disappointed that they didn't follow DAoC's RvR model, and I don't like the various little betrayals of Tolkien's world, so I'll pass.

-Jeff

Meh. Age of Conan! :p (1)

arcade (16638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18818173)

I think I'll wait until I can be a cimmerian. :)

Magic, everywhere! (2, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18818303)

My biggest concern would be the pervasiveness of magic and other factors that cause the game to depart from its roots. Yeah, I'm one of those purists that still gets annoyed at all the gratuitous changes PJ and Friends made when doing the LotR movies (although I still think those movies were teh bomb).

Magic was always subtle throughout the trilogy, the Hobbit, and even the Silmarillion. Well, far subtler than D&D magic, anyway, and certainly rarer. The passing of the Elves meant that mundane Men were in charge, and while some of them were very talented at war, and a select few had a divine bloodline, they were still just using natural human ability to do what they did.

Now, I'm not necessarily opposed to shoving a massive damage spell up the arse of the nearest Balrog, and I realize that it's far, far too late to change the design of this game if they have made magic overt and pervasive. Much as with the movies, it's a game I'd still consider playing. But I'd still cringe every time my loser groupmates Araporn and Legolass started lobbing fireballs around the room.

Re:Magic, everywhere! (3, Informative)

Disseminated (1022915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18818855)

Luckily for you, then, "magic" or rather the lack thereof is lore appropriate in game. The only class that does anything that LOOKS like magic is the Lore-master. And actually, all of their skills have "scientific" explanations. IE he's not throwing a fireball, he's chucking some sort of burning chemical and embers on the enemy. The compromises made to the Tolkien lore in order to make a playable game are masterfully subtle, IMO. The traditional "nuker" role usually held by mages in other mmo's is transfered to Hunters in LotRO. They're the glass cannons of ME ;-}

Re:Magic, everywhere! (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18822451)

Its funny, its the lack of magic that really bothers me. Particularly Minstrels.

"Oh okay that guy is hacking your arm off. Just let me play a song to boost your morale, and its fine!" Must be quite the song.

"Wait, now he's attacking me? Let me play another song and I'll kill it!" Very off key maybe?

Its exactly the same as how a normal healer works, only without the divine intervention. They just stuck something silly in its place.

I'm not a big MMO fan, but... (1)

bfwebster (90513) | more than 7 years ago | (#18818309)

...I'm a bit addicted to LOTRO (their acronym, not mine). I've never played WoW or EverQuest, so I can't compare it to them. But I like the sense of freedom on a known (Middle Earth) map. Having gotten myself up to Level 12, I'm now just wandering cross-country, heading towards the Misty Mountains. Based on what I've experienced so far, I suspect that I'm going to need to hook up with a few other folks to keep this up -- I'm running into some nasty MOBs.

While I did sign up for some crafts, I haven't done much with them so far...strikes me as a bit tedious, though I'm sure others will differ.

There is something vaguely silly about MMOs -- you have dozens of people running around, completing the same 'quests' or 'tasks'. This doesn't mean that it isn't fun as a game -- it just points out that the MMO's "immersive experience" doesn't really mimic in any real aspect what it would be like to live in such a fantasy setting (which, after all, would likely match Hobbs' famous description of life in the state of nature: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short).

The real test will be if I'm still playing it a month from now. ..bruce..

Re:I'm not a big MMO fan, but... (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18819813)

...I'm a bit addicted to LOTRO (their acronym, not mine). I've never played WoW or EverQuest, so I can't compare it to them. But I like the sense of freedom on a known (Middle Earth) map.

I haven't seen LOTRO, but I have been playing WoW for the last year. There are two main reasons why I could see someone might play LOTRO in preference to WoW:-

1) The backstory. WoW's lore is the proverbial mulligan stew; a whole heap of disparate elements thrown together. This is reflected in the number of retcons [wowwiki.com] Blizzard have had to perform in order to get it to fit together. Although it's difficult to put my finger on exactly what I mean here, WoW is not a virtual world in the same sense Ultima Online was. It's a lot closer to being an online form of Disneyland with the lore bolted on. You can especially see that by looking at how clearly petitioned off from each other each geographical zone in the game is. Blizz would probably argue that they needed to do that in order to make the game mainstream, and I'd agree with them. However, in gaining mainstream appeal, it also loses the sense of being as organic as UO was.

2) The elves. If I was going to write this anywhere else, people would call me a freak for caring, but seeing as this is Slashdot and I'm among other such freaks, I can do so with impunity. ;-)
I've read a number of other depictions of elves besides Tolkien, (Dragonlance, AD&D, Shadowrun, and Feist also mentions them at times in passing) and I've always felt that Tolkien was the only author who ever truly grokked [catb.org] the elves. WoW is no exception, although I think in WoW's case this is a problem of taking about the single most non-mainstream element of fantasy in existence and trying to render it mainstream. Peter Jackson more or less managed to pull it off, but I haven't seen anyone else who has.

I realise with the above two points that I'm talking about some very slippery, subjective intangibles; but to me that's also the point. Tolkien's material (to me anywayz) had a very distinctive vibe, and despite some valiant efforts at times I haven't seen anyone who's been able to entirely reproduce that.

I play WoW purely for action. It's a game (think an expanded/more complex version of Diablo 2, for the most part) first and foremost, and any consideration of it as either a virtual or fictional environment comes a fairly distant second. I was actually starting to feel somewhat differently just before the release of the expansion, but with the expansion I feel that Blizzard have wanted to put the "game" element firmly back as the main focus, and so I've done the same.

Some have accused Blizzard of outright McDonaldisation [wikipedia.org] with WoW. I feel that to a degree that is unfair, in that even though they've certainly done that to an extent, it's not so blatant that it prevent genuine enjoyment of the game.

Not distinct enough. (2, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#18818375)

I think the real problem Lord of the Rings Online is facing is due to the very nature of it's theme. Of course we've seen this all before, because nearly every single freaking fantasy-based RPG developed over the last few decades draws on the world Tolkien crafted. Compounding the problem is the fact that the gameplay mechanics of most of these RPGs is based on Dungeons and Dragons, or at least the closest approximation we can get with an automated system.

The fact is that the grind is the draw. It's a form on conditioning. Perform set actions repetitively to bring about a positive outcome, in this case character growth. This allows new areas, new equipment and new foes to be revealed. That in turn promotes further growth which brings about additional content. It's satisfying to see a character hit that next level. And when it comes down to it real live involves a lot of repetition so it's inevitable that the sort of game that gets closest to emulation life, in some regards anyway, would also involve a lot of that repetition. Some games simple manage to package it more nicely than others. The grind is obscured in a way that makes gameplay enjoyable.

So I don't see that as the major issue here. The problem I have with LOTR Online is that it's yet another fantasy game. It may be one of the originals, but at this point that's irrelevant. I've heard good things about it, but it just doesn't strike me as interesting. Inevitably it comes off as yet another World of Warcraft.

Other genres have been long overdo. The problem is that the ones that have appeared have generally been lackluster or a bit too esoteric to make the sort of impact World of Warcraft has.

LOTR Online may have an edge over WoW in terms of gameplay. Unfortunately, WoW is just too dominant to be so easily unseated from its position as number one. LOTR Online needs to offer something truly phenomenal and distinct beyond it's source material. Of course, this may be just the thing those bored with WoW are looking for. But if people are tired with WoW they might be tired of the fantasy genre in general, going back to my point above.

It's unanimous! (1)

antizeus (47491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18818661)

I have heard from an astounding two people who have tried this game, and the reaction among 100% of those people can be summed up as "Meh, I'll keep playing World of Warcraft".

It's supposed to be real purty though.

Re:It's unanimous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18821159)

Ok I've played nearly every game from old text MuDs to INN to UO to Realm to M59 to EQ to DAoC and AC, AC2, and over a dozen "huh? wha? never heard of that one" MMOs all teh way up to EQ2, WoW, etc.

I played the beta for LOTRO.

Totally unimpressed.

It's pretty. That's the best I can say for it.

Generally speaking it's just stiff. The quests are stiff, the combat is stiff, the movement of everything in game is stiff.

It's the only word I can think of for it. Technically it's all correctly executed. But it lacks personality, engagement, immersion and most importantly of all, it lacks a real sense of fun.

I keep giving Turbine "one more chance". AC, AC2, DDO and now this. I gotta say, I'll never buy another Turbine game.

People can rave all thaey like because it's finally a real LOTR game, but it'll never be a WoW-killer or even seriously dent WoW sales because it's too stiff to enjoy.

A note regarding the graphics (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18818765)

I find that the graphic quality in the game on lower end cards is pretty bland and unattractive. I've played on a Macbook Pro using Boot Camp and had to turn the settings pretty low. On the other hand on a Core2Duo desktop with a 7900GT the game looks amazing. The character models aren't great but the environments look fantastic on high detail.

Re:A note regarding the graphics (1)

Miniluv (165290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18819385)

Now that you mention it, I kept trying to figure out what was rubbing me the wrong way about the graphics and the character models really are it. They're shite, quite honestly. The only thing I liked about the toons in LOTRO compared to WoW was some new emotes that were amusing. /smoke and /smoke2 in sequence cracks me up.

Re:A note regarding the graphics (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18819573)

WoW goes wholesale on the cartoony side, LOTRO is somewhere in the middle versus the plastic barbie doll look of EQ2 (before the asian models) and Vanguard. The one thing I really don't like about WoW is the lack of customization for your character appearance. LOTRO isn't much better in that regard. Games like City of Heroes/Villains and Star Wars Galaxies have much greater customization in terms of facial features and body type.
I would agree that the models in LOTRO need quite a bit of work. I'm pretty tired of the low poly WoW stuff though.

Re:A note regarding the graphics (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#18820019)

With City of Heroes/Villains, outfit customization is basically all you have. Since there is no equipment, your starting look is the look that you're stuck with until you buy another outfit at level... I forget which level that becomes available. 20, I think.

SWG, at least when I last played it, suffered massive lag due to its customization system. You got near a city (and its NPCs) and it took forever to render your view, sometimes disconnecting you in the process. Maybe that's gotten better in the years since I last played, but I doubt it.

EQ2 suffered the same problem as SWG but on a lesser scale.

Re:A note regarding the graphics (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18820179)

I was talking about the facial/body adjustments in CoH/CoV not the costumes. It changed since launch. You can now adjust numerous body segment length and width. In addition to face models and textures you can adjust the faces to be tall or wide etc. Not as much slider adjustment possible as say SWG or EQ2 but much more than WoW or LOTRO.
With SWG I had more of problem with the building models and architecture being screwed up or delayed (popping in) than I did with player lag. Of course I didn't mess around with it until it was past it's prime so I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. On the whole that engine seemed pretty unstable and badly coded. But you could make a fat character!

Re:A note regarding the graphics (1)

Miniluv (165290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18826855)

On the one hand I agree that I'd like to see a highly customizable, high poly environment. Second Life is probably close to what I'd like to see, and I really do dislike the idea that your avatar should immediately convey some meaningful info about you (i.e. race, class, etc). It is kinda sad in WoW that I can glance around the environment and immediately recognize not just the race but the class of almost every player. Its even worse at the high levels as the set gear is SOOO much better that you have to get it, but its so obvious what your class is from it.

On the other, the performance hits inherent in that system are absurd at the moment. Until real high speed internet is prevalent in North America, and we get through at least one more cycle of home machine upgrades for non-hardcore gamers, anything other than the WoW style system are really unlikely to work.

Re:A note regarding the graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18820667)

Yes, I agree 100%. I was in the closed beta and that was the first thing I noticed. The environments were simply gorgeous, but the character models were pretty gimpy. They're actually slightly better now than they were then, but they're still pretty damn gimpy, and don't really match the beauty of the environment.

MMOGH!!! (1)

Sarin (112173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18819427)

A decade ago, before all the LOTR hyping, I was in eager waiting for 'middle earth' to arrive. According to the developers it offered most of the above with nice art on their site, I really wanted something different from my Ultima Online PK looting pastime. So I bought the complete works of Tolkien for about $80 on Amazon to get into my role a bit. Keep my mind of the dinosaurs, in the media at that time - supposed to be the next big thing at the time. Sadly the company never got to release their gem.
This game sounds like a bit of fun, but having looked on the sideline at these games, I'm getting a bit tired, there's nothing revolutionary here. Even worse, still it doesn't really seem to be focused on real role playing. Just another pump and dump RPG scheme in the wake of world of warcraft?

Roleplay better in Europe (1)

BarneyL (578636) | more than 7 years ago | (#18822073)

This game sounds like a bit of fun, but having looked on the sideline at these games, I'm getting a bit tired, there's nothing revolutionary here. Even worse, still it doesn't really seem to be focused on real role playing. Just another pump and dump RPG scheme in the wake of world of warcraft?
This appears to be more of a problem with how Turbine are managing the US servers (no specific flagged RP servers I believe).
Over here in Europe where the release is being run by Codemasters there is a dedicated Roleplay server (one each actually for English, French and German languages actually) with tighter naming rules and so on to ensure the experience. I've not dropped in to the server yet myself but a quick look at the English RP server's official message board suggests the players are making the most of it.

There are plenty of in game features to support roleplay too, from the simple - for example using the emote /sit while next to a chair will result in the player actually sitting in the chair and there's a good range of emotes inclooding moods which change facial expressions - to the more complicated such as the music system which allows you to buy and play your own tunes on various instruments which allows stuff like this [youtube.com] . The tools to roleplay are there they just need to be used.
So no, the game isn't revolutionary but it is well done, the graphics give it a good atmosphere, the player versus monster player system provides an opportunity for PvP action without the opportunity for griefing, class roles are just different enough from the standards to make them feel familiar but original, the quest texts if you read them give far more story than most MMOs I've encountered (and the epic quest line provides a genuine story that tracks along with the journey of Frodo and friends), the focus on gaining experience from quest completion rather than kills makes the game feel far less of a grind and the people playing seem to be a generally friendly and polite bunch compared to the WoW crowd.
I don't see the game beating WoW in terms of numbers but as long as they keep the servers stable and keep the kind of additional content promised in their first post relase patch rolling in on a regular basis I could see it being the number two 'western' MMORPG.

Contry Locked (1)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18820051)

The one thing that makes me stay with WoW: the LoTRO developer has chosen to completely forbid anyone from outside of a designed geographic region to purchase its local version and play there, no matter what. And if they released LoTRO in Brazil? Nope, sorry. I don't like playing games with other Brazilians. So, if the developer doesn't want my money to play on the US server, I won't pay him any money at all. It his loss, not mine.

Re:Contry Locked (1)

Disseminated (1022915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18820385)

That's incorrect (unless I misunderstand you). If you buy the North American client you can play on the North American servers. http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?t=31890 [lotro.com]

Re:Contry Locked (1)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18827193)

Thank you for the update! Now I'll be able to try LoTRO to see whether I like it or not. It seems things can change for the good now and then. :)

I played in the beta (2, Interesting)

Tarindel (107177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18821463)

and my impressions are that had this game come out a year or two ago, it would have made a much bigger impact than it will now. Why? Because, while it's a solid package, it doesn't really have anything unique to offer outside of theming elements. Sure, it's cool to run around Middle Earth, but outside of that, it's very much WoW-lite, and with a horrid, unresponsive interface to boot.

Was it fun? Yeah, it was. But after playing for a couple of weeks, I already had the feeling that the game didn't have legs. The landscapes were beautiful and mostly well designed, and the quest writing was fantastic, but ultimately the game doesn't have anything to offer that hasn't been done before in just about every other MMORPG on the market.

My recommendation: Buy it if you're bored and looking for something to do. It'll hold you over till the next thing that catches your attention. But if you're looking for a deep game that will tie you in for a long time, this probably isn't going to be the one.

Stunned (1)

Terminal Saint (668751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18821607)

I was stunned when I fired up the beta. To me it felt like a re-skinned WoW without playable horde. In fact, I played WoW until I got sick of it and haven't played since, but after 8-10 hours of the LotRO beta, I wasn't so much tired of this new game as I was still tired of WoW. I promptly uninstalled. Mind you, that's just my opinion.

Hellooo, bugs. (1)

Midnight Voyager (803970) | more than 7 years ago | (#18823441)

See, I tried the beta. And like an apparently large number of people, it completely and totally managed to reboot my PC every time I tried to even log in. When large numbers of people can't even log in, that is what we call a bad sign.

eh.. (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18824361)

Well after playing for a couple weeks now, I gotta say that I'm sorry a pre-ordered. I should have realized that the last couple offerings from Turbine haven't been great (How could anyone fail to turn D&D online into a cash cow?). They're already making boneheaded decisions (they just completely destroyed farming, the kind with crops, in a nerf they admit they didn't properly think out). Unless I see something amazing from them in the next few days I'll be leaving my pre-order on the shelf at EB.

Re:eh.. (1)

wilgibson (933961) | more than 7 years ago | (#18826409)

OH god, DDO. I will admit that game was fun, and then they did the first big content update(Vault of Night). After that it it went downhill, screw it they just pushed it off the cliff. If it wasn't for the good friends I had made the first two months in I wouldn't have stuck to it as long as I did. By June DDO had sucked me into Eberron enough to start reading the novels. Reading the novels flat out killed the game for me, it just couldn't live up to Kevin Baker's vision of Eberron. I paid for up to the end of August, I quit sometime after the beginning of June. I don't think I will ever touch another Turbine MMO.... EVAR!
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