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Lord of the Rings Online – first impressions

Lately I’ve gotten a bit tired of WoW. I made the mistake of rolling on a PVP server (I wanted to play with my friends) and I’ve gotten to the stage where I’ve been ganked one time too many. I also routinely try other MMO’s to see what’s out there.

This time I’m trying Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (LOTRO for short).

I’ve tried a few MMO’s but the main comparisons I’ll be making will be with WoW. LOTRO is very similar to WoW as in it’s a level based ‘green field’ MMORPG. Characters begin at level 1 and gain experience from completing quests and killing monsters. The health and mana bars present in most RPG’s are there but they are called ‘morale’ and ‘power’ respectively. These operate similarly to health and mana but there are subtle differences and I am still exploring these. For instance damage received from falling results in slower movement but no reduction in morale. Damage received from combat can also result in slower movement rate but also lowers morale.

There is also a lot more instancing. I’m reminded of Guild Wars here. The opening sequence for each character is a solo instance of the game world where major characters from the LotR story make appearances. This is a nice touch and helps involve the player in the back story. The next area of play after the opening sequence is also an instance of the game but is only populated by toons of a similar level. To ‘leave’ this area you must complete the first sequence of story line quests. You then enter the main area of play which is, geographically, the same area but, temporally, different, ie. it’s later on.

I was also pleased to see a more sensible inventory system in place. My l1 characters all had a full complement of bags. having no bag space is definitely one of the problems in the early life of a WoW toon.

The LotR lore permeates the game world and the characters from the books are present and involved with your playing of the game. The last story line quest for dwarves in the beginning area sees you fighting alongside Dwalin. This gives it more of the feel of an RPG than of an MMO.

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