Member Preview of Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar
This week on the forums, user zaxtor99 showed us a glimpse into the Lord of the Rings Online stress test beta weekend. Comparing it to the popular World of Warcraft, zaxtor99's review is well done, and MMORPG.com is proud to present it, in its entirety, as our Spotlight of the Week!
- Laura Genender, Community Manager
Okay, people. I know that this game is still in beta, and is still not due out on store shelves for over a month. But most beta MMOs are not nearly this ready for release either.
Lord of The Rings Online is not perfect. And it will not please every single mmo player either. None the less, here is what I think after personally spending 12+ hours in the game on this stress test beta weekend...
I had already been granted acceptance for the stress test a last weekend and downloaded the client. (Pretty quick 3 hour download or so with a 3 MB/sec net connection). On Friday at noon eastern time, I was able to log into the game and play immediately. Once I completed a quick introduction quest to learn the layout and how to move etc.. I was in the game world with other players in front of me. And when I say other players... I mean just that. Literally hundreds of other players on my screen in front of my avatar. And the lag was ZERO. Impressive Turbine. For me only having a medium level gaming machine (AMD 4200+ Dual Core, 6800 GS 256mb Graphics card and 1 GB Ram) the game played extremely smooth at 1024x768 resolution and HIGH overall settings with VERY HIGH being the only higher Options settings selection.
Quests are laid out so they are easily seen with a RING over the head of quest givers heads. Players names were in yellow, as were NPC trainers and vendors. This is something I would change before launch if I was Turbine. Players names should be a different color then that of NPCS and NPC trainers etc. It might be an option that can be changed in the settings ( I didn't look) but it should still be different as a default I would think.
The graphics are top notch, and honestly put the graphics found in World of Warcraft to shame. There is a town called Thorins Hall which for some reason reminded me of Ironforge in WOW. In Thorins Hall, the interior just looks breathtaking with shiny reflective floors that looked like they were buffed by a million janitors hard at work to leave a very nice reflective shine. NPCS are pretty much laid out to the sides of the main mirrored walkway and easy to find without having to go into buildings and through doors as in WOW.
There are mailboxes and Auctioneers in the main towns, and the look of the AH window is almost an exact replica of what we are familiar with in WOW. The AH is going to be a very popular selling and buying source for many a LORTO travelers no doubt.
The class and race selection is pretty limited but certainly offers enough choices to let you fill up all your character slots with completely different characters. The race selections are Human (male and female), Dwarf (male only), Hobbit (male and female) and Elf (male and female). The class selections are Minstrel, Guardian, Hunter, Captain, Lore Master, Burglar, and Champion. The race selection that you choose can limit your class choice and the best class choices are available for the Human race.
Looks of the selected avatar are pretty limited, but you can change the standard hair style, color, eye color, clothes, etc etc. Nothing extra ordinary here. Pretty standard stuff and a little less options that what we find in World of Warcraft.
You will see that I will do a lot of comparisons to World of Warcraft here, simply because this game most closely resembles World of Warcraft features and play style.
The graphics get a 9.5 out of 10 in my book and they honestly surprised me. The screenshots cannot truly show how well they really look in the game. (By comparison, I'd give WOW about an 8.0 here)
The race/class selection and customization of looks I'd give a 6.0 out of 10 score, because I'd really like to see a few more options here, I'd like an ability to choose from a few more class varieties and change the way I look just a little more. (WOW gets an 8.0 here especially with its expansion and new classes in place at this time)
Game Play / Lag
Game play/lag is extremely smooth in LOTRO. At this time I had almost zero lag during my game time, even during peak time. I also experienced no real bugs or problems which is surprising for a game still over a month away from release. If Turbine releases this game at launch as smoothly as it went on this stress test weekend, then it will surely be one of the best all time launches of an MMO ever. Game play smoothness and lag score a 10.0 here. Likewise WOW is right there as well. 10.0 for WOW in this category too.
Quests is where LOTRO absolutely kills WOW in my opinion. LOTRO from what little I have seen beats WOW hands down. Much more complex quests that are honestly just much more enjoyable and fun that what is found in WOW. LOTRO scores a 9.0 here. WOW gets a 6.5. The reason you ask? Simply because of so many well though out Quests that seem to be something that you might read about in a Tolkien book. There are some go kill 10 critters and report back quests here in LOTRO, but much fewer then what is found in WOW. Like WOW, the best experience and rewards does come from completing the quests, it's just that the quests in LORTO are actually more fun and a breath of fresh air. I was surprised here by how thought out and well constructed most of the quests were.
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