As I sit here watching the sham of Two and a Half Men with Ashton Kutcher (I’ll save that for another post), I decided I would check on my usual fallback game, Lord of the Rings Online. Then I figured I would probably write a new post because the newest expansion is out and live today!
Now, I’ve been playing LotRO for almost three years now, and I have got to tell you it’s pretty fantastic. Let’s get to the nuts and bolts about the game itself, and then I’ll talk about the fresh content.
As far as LotRO goes compared to other major MMORPGs, I think the two biggest factors to consider are a) the aesthetics of the game and b) the player community. Unlike other MMOs *cough cough* WoW *cough*, the major player base is not twelve years old. Sure, there are younger players, but I think the Tolkien lore has drawn a somewhat smarter gamer than its competitors. Speaking of the Tolkien lore, I have got to hand it to Turbine; these guys have done a bang-up job making Middle-Earth just as amazing as I always imagined it reading the books. Drawing from all of Tolkien’s major works (English nerd coming out here), LotRO has references and quests going through the Hobbit, all three of the Rings trilogy, and even bits and pieces of the Silmarillion. The game looks incredible, and every detail of the game, even on a low-grade machine like mine, create a full immersion into the story and characters of Middle-Earth.
Mechanically speaking, the game functions similarly to other MMOs. There are tank classes, DPS classes, and caster classes, as well as some further hybrids between the three. Last fall, Turbine sold the rights to WB Games and made the first major game change: LotRO was now free to play! The subscriber base (myself included) grumbled a bit at first, but I think it’s been a good change overall. New players are everywhere and I think, as the game continues to grow, that things will only get better from here on out.
This latest update, entitled Rise of Isengard, takes us all the way into Dunland and into the realm I’ve wanted to see the most since day one: Rohan. Those of you not familiar with the Tolkien-lore may remember this area from the movies… they had lots of horses and *SPOILER ALERT* save the day in the third movie. This update (which just finished downloading!!) raised the level cap to 75, changed up certain classes in some sweet new ways, and continues the quest to Mordor.
I’m off to check out the new content…. if you’d like to check it out, I play on the Brandywine server with Chester (yes, the Chester who writes on this blog!), my Dad, my brother, my girlfriend… and a shit ton of other people. If you’re interested, check out lotro.com and download the introduction. I promise you won’t be disappointed!