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BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

My random thoughts about MMORPGs. A bit of critique, suggestion, debate, and insanity. Enjoy.

Author: BadSpock

The one to rule them all?

Posted by BadSpock Thursday February 7 2008 at 1:34PM
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So I recently took the plunge on a new MMORPG. New for me anyway.

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.

Why?

1. I'm a MMORPG addict, and I need to be playing something.

2. I have heard good things from reputable sources, and have played the trial before.

So, I'll give my impressions thus far. *Granted: It's only been a few days*



What I like:

1. Graphics - In non-Monster play (PvP) I run this baby in the DX10 client at Very High settings and it is very visually impressive. I drop it to Medium settings for monster play because no lag / framerate >>> visuals in PvP.

2. Monster play - You have to get to level 10 as a "normal" character in order to "unlock" monster play, but by George I love it. You start at level 50 with a few skills, you don't have to worry about gear, and you quest/kill in order to gain Rank through Infamy and stats/traits/abilities through Destiny points. 

I joined up with a RP guild I've been kicking around with for a while now, since the days of UO Siege Perilous. I'm talking that we're required to speak Orcish all the time and everything. This is really what has made Monster play so much fun for me so far, I started out with tons of help and a garaunteed Fellowship every time I log onto my Orc Reaver. We form our little warband and hunt for Free Peoples to slaughter!

It's still fairly early in my game experience, but the mechanics for PvP are very similar to a game like WoW. It feels comfortable, and even in my newbie state, I feel that I contribute to our Kinship's glorious battle with the Free Peoples... Hoowah!

Just last night we participated in a HUGE PvP battle that stretched across all the Ettenmoors. At least 50 on 50, but probably way more. Our little warband did quite well, even though we (Monsters) lost control of a few of the Towers/Keeps. It was some of the most fun PvP I've had since the early days of WoW (before Battlegrounds) and even back to UO Siege Perilous.

3. Traits / deeds - I'm a power gamer at heart, definetly an "Achiever" so I absolutely love the Trait / Deed system. It's so much like the Xbox-360 achievement system; do something and get rewarded for it. Yeah, it's kind of "grindy" but only if you focus on one specific Deed at a time. You end up with SO many different Deeds you are working on, you can just play naturally and eventually you'll unlock cool new Titles and Traits etc. just from doing what you do.

4. Polish and "feel" - Plainly speaking, the game just feels right. The pacing is good, the content feels fresh (even though it's roughly the same formula as any WoW-type game) and the level of polish is extraordinary. I am looking forward to discovering new lands and adventure in Middle Earth on my Freep, but it's going to be hard to get me to stop playing my Creep long enough to level!

5. Content - The game has been out for... how long? 9 months? And already they've had 11 massive and free content upgrades, they've added completely new systems like housing, and Book 12 looks to add a LOT to Monster play and character customization. Point is, they are adding to and tweaking the game at a pace I've never seen another MMO match, and they have SOO much room for expansion still. Rohan, Gondor, Mordor, etc. All not even in the game yet. This game already has a lot of land mass and content, but they could still easily quadruple its size. I want to be a part of the game towards the beginning, so that when they expand further I'll be "ready" to experience all the new areas of Middle Earth.

6. The little things - Morale instead of Health, Retreat from battle rather then Death.. etc.. Just little difference that really add to the ambience and seperate this game from other MMORPGs.

 

What I don't like:

1. Crafting - Very WoW like. Find resources in the wild, Grind on noob recipes until one day you can make something useful. I suppose if you keep your crafting abilities up to your level you can make gear / items you can actually use as you level, which is what I'm going to try and do. Still, very unorginal and repetitive crafting system.

2. Can't really think of anything else yet!

Honestly, doing the "noob" questing area was a little boring, but just because I had already done it on the free trial a while ago. Once I got past that to the first "real" zone I really enjoyed it a lot more. The world just seems so big, the zones just stretch on for a lot farther then I would have imagined.

Getting to level 10 and starting Monster play is really what makes this game for me. As with all open-world PvP, it's all about the neccessity of grouping and who you group with. I'm very lucky to come into PvMP with an established group of players, it has so far made it an amazing and fun experience.

I'm not sure how much I can actual "recommend" LoTRO to any other desperate MMO player. If you have friends that play, friends that can get you into a guild asap then I definetly recommend this game. If you have friends that do Monster Play on a regular basis, you just HAVE to give it a try.

If you try LoTRO by yourself; if you don't already have friends playing I guess the only thing I can say is that it's not really all too much different from any other quest based MMORPG out there. When I tried the trial before I was just going through the motions. I didn't have any friends online to talk to, and I found the game to be very similar to that other MMORPG I've played. :) 

Having an objective, "I need to get to level 10 in order to do Monster Play" completely changed the game for me. And now that I've gotten my Freep to level 10, gotten out of the newbie zone, I want to keep going. But, like I said, going to be hard to tear myself away from my Creep!

That's all I got for now, I'm sure in a few days/weeks I'll write a follow up and see how my feelings/thoughts about this game have changed.