Spent some time there, crafting Obsidian in the fire-breathing deserts of Dralk. It does not give that much experience, but still made some 0,5 level with crafting and contributing to buildings. It won't take long before I finishe 2 more storage silos.
This is where I spent most of the time. Game is immersive even for a person that read no Tolkien and watched no "Lord of the rings" movies (just because good orcs always lose...). I deleted my Elf Champion since he was of no use. Left with one Human Champion.
First of all - I was invited to local Guild (called Kinshop) of a very helpfull people - just needed to guess chat controls. People were very helpfull, explaining newbie everything, be it profession or need to repair stuff. Currently my Kinship needs jeweller and i think I will take it, just to be usefull to others. Like the way I do in Istaria.
I took almost all quest I could take. Cudos to Turbine how they make some "point-of-no-return" systems: the town you were in is suddenly attacked by Evil and you are to defend all that was left (some Hobbit crafters). next step - town is rebuilt, there are coffins and mourning persons everywhere. No way to return to previous prospering town. Even the animals changed - instead of peacefull non-social mobs they are now social, maybe too - I was attacked by some 3 of them.
Quests gave me experience and clothing (I did not need to buy anything so far), as well as some stuff I did not really need. Example: I took shield, but could not use it. Folks explained I am a Champion, therefore - tank and tanks does not need shield.
Took one really interesting quest "Tour of Bree" where Mayor wanted to show his town. I spoke with various NPCs and was awarded with my first Trait (passive ability, if translated to English): greedy Bard helped to "equip" trait for some coin.
I also enjoyed local "Deeds" system. Not only they award me with titles - they also give Turbine points and I have learned first 10 or 15 of them. One deed was very simple - to kill spiders. I gladly did this advancing to lvl.10, then got "Advanced spider slayer" which I did too. Other deed are very grindy (like "use this kind of attack 1250 times"), but I will make them, it's unevitable.
First problems with enemies arose. Now they are more dangerous, more social. Even local bandits form groups of 2-3 persons and attack in groups. I was helped by one player to kill some bandits - could never make it alone. Enjoyed one quest where I had to defeat one evil guy and he, already weak, ran off. I tried to hurry after him - no use. Quest was over.
Was killed first time: went into cave of spiders, some "Webber" stunned me and I was unable to run away. Received a kind of death penalty. Now I need to grind myself to as high level as I can in order to enter that quest again. Folks told me I shout take quests when I am at least 2 levels above enemy.
Turned down one time-based quest: 15 minutes to recover some stuff by killing bears. Maybe will take it later, just not now.
Overall, I spent almost all times in Lotro, leaving Istaria only few hours. No doubt, Istaria is my home, I do feel here like "home sweet home", I have better choices there - could take all schools, produce all stufff and almost no need to have money. Istaria is by far the only truly free-to-play: you have access to everything in the gameplay, except housing. No possiiblity to pay cash and advance, unlike Lotro.
Lotro may suffer from linear structure: this region is for lvl. XX-YY, after that some cataclysm happens and no hope to return. Also, there are too little safe ways for low-lvl characters: I would appreciate at least some of them (however, if you make it to town guard, they defeat any monster for you).
And thus weekend ended, both in Istaria and Lotro.