While strolling through Best Buy last week, I noticed they had "Lord of the Rings Online Collectors Edition" on sale for $14.99. I remember when it first came out I thought about trying it, but I was distracted by a few other games, so I passed. I figure for $15 I might as well give it a try. The MMO that I'm in Beta for at the moment is only opening the servers 2 days a week, so I wanted something else to occupy my time. (That and it's been delayed since September, which is MUCH needed since the game, well, I can't go into that due to NDA reasons.)
So the usual MMO stuff follows. Installing, patching, patching, patching. But after a couple hours I'm ready to login. First stop server select, I picked Vilya, next on to character creation. Now character creation while at first glance seemed rather shallow, did allow for a bit of customization. I'm sure I have many people who look like me out in game world, but I'm unique enough I think that I was satisfied with the options. I created a Man Champion from Bree-Land and off I went.
Upon logging in, I started in a jail cell not knowing WTF was going on. It has some nice tutorial steps and helpful hints that pop up to hold my hand along the way. First thing I noticed was that the combat reminded me a lot of WoW initially. Then again I think every MMO is this aspect will draw the usual WoW comparisons, but that thought quickly faded after I created my Alt, a Warden.
The overall look and feel of the game sucked me in. I liked the art style and everything felt very fluid. The combat was fast and fun to where I just wanted to keep killing things to get some Deeds. Now Deeds is basically like an achievement that once you complete it, you can earn a title for your character. Kill enough Spiders and be known as Hallauer Spider-Foe. A simple concept, but a very cool way to keep people killing crap for hours in an effort to earn new titles. It gave me something to do other than the "kill 10 things" quests because I knew I was completeing the quest and earning a new title to walk around showing off. Look at me, I killed spiders, yea, that's right, fear the Spider Foe!!!
Upon hitting level 15, I was told I could get a player house!!! I'm a big fan of player housing so it was a small excitement but a good one. Like when you order waffle fries at Arby's and you're eating them and you notice a curly fry snuck it's way into the container. You're like Jackpot I ordered waffle fries, but I got a curly one too!! Come on, you know you've felt that way before too.
The one thing I'm not a big fan of is the walking. There's stables to where you can fast travel to some locations, but my god the run speed seems so slow. Nothing sucks more than getting a quest to visit an NPC 1,500m away only to run out there, talk to him, and he tells you to walk all the way back to finish the quest and that's it. Wow, thanks for making me walk my ass all the way out here for nothing, you people have mailboxes, write him a damn letter. Now obviously in MMO's you have to walk around and travel, but I hadn't been this bored walking since I played SWG when it was first released. (Anyone who played SWG before vehicles knows exactly what I'm talking about)
I have a Champion who's level 17 and a Warden level 19. Both classes are fun, but after getting my ass beat numerous times by thinking I'm a bigger bad ass than I am, I prefer the spear/shield combo of the Warden for pure survivability reasons. That and the Gambit combos are cool and remind me a bit of Age of Conan combat which I loved. With the Gambit's, you basically attack with moves in a certain order to open up a special move to use. It's cool and engages the player in the combat a bit to plan your attacks rather than button mashing.
So to wrap things up, I'm really enjoying LOTRO. I even talked some friends into buying the game also, and for $14.99 it's a steal. I know I've barely touched the surface of the game, but so far it's been a lot fo fun. I get to look forward to crafting, hobbies, player housing, raids, and everything else the game has to offer. If you find it at your local Best Buy for $14.99 also, give it a shot. Besides, you know you need something to do until Star Wars: The Old Republic comes out.