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Lord of the Rings Online


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This online game is rapidly gaining momentum and the reviews coming out are full of praise .

With World of War Craft and Guild Wars fighting for market share , this MMO is going to give the online gaming community another choice , i for one will be watching this with a close eye.Want to know more then go LOTRO Website

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I've just finished a week's free trial, and I enjoyed it so much I bought the game.

It's the first time I've tried an online RPG and I'm hooked, I've only been trundling around on my own, not done any fellowship questing yet. I'm still sussing out the people online.

:thumbsup:

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Europeans and Americans do have different servers. The Europeans actually have an RP server which we don't get due to the fact that different publishers have different ways of doing things. Although there are US "official unofficial" RP servers.

As for my thoughts on it, well Red that'd be hard to sum up in any short fashion, but it's good. I mean damn good. So I'll do it in little stages so not to have a massive post. First off I'll talk about how they launched it and how they're pushing out content...

I've been playing online MMORPGs since EverQuest came out way back when, it was the reason I had to buy my first 3D card in fact because you needed a VooDoo (with a whopping 16 megs of RAM no less!) to run it. Then I did Dark Age of Camelot, Anarchy Online, Star Wars Galaxies and Guild Wars all from launch and then recently tried World of Warcraft (after playing LOTRO) so I do know a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to these sort of games. The initial launch of Lord of the Rings Online was without a doubt the smoothest of any of the ones I started on Day One, there weren't any hiccups, the servers were stable and everything just flat out worked. Hell in Open Beta the game was more polished than any of those other 3 I did were from Opening until several months into them.

Within the first 3 months of LOTRO being "live" there's already been a couple of patches for some minor issues, as well as a gignormous (1.2 gigs or something like that) "content patch" in July that added in Raids (since people who played WoW kept asking for them) and an entire new zone that has around 100 new quests in it. That was a free patch too, I've seen games put in less content at one time and market it as an add-on and rack ya for anywhere between 20 and 40 bucks for it, so that was pretty impressive. Another big content patch is coming in in October which will add another new zone as well as do some radical changes to crafting, more vault space, a Hunter and Minstrel (I believe it's Minstrel) class upgrade as well as some other new trinkets. That'll be free too, and housing is hopefully going to be in the October patch as well, they're definately putting it in but I'm not sure if it made the build that's on the test server yet or not and it may wind up as an "October and a half" or so patch all of its own. Also the plan is for the first disk add-on to be out for Christmas, which has been all but confirmed (they're tricksy those game devs and won't confirm anything until it's pretty much completely done and all) that it'll be Moria. Which should be both huge and very awesome.

So that's the sort of support they've been giving this thing right out of the gate. A major (free) content add-on already, another one on the horizon and then a disk add-on in December. That's pretty impressive when you realise the game didn't actually go live until May. I've seen games up and running for over a year to get their first content patch, and half the time they'd rather release something that big on a disk rather than as a freebie. So that's good content support if you ask me.

Okay so that's one aspect of it, the fact that the Devs want to keep pushing out content, and it gets really high marks in my book for that. The other thing that gets massively high marks is how they actually designed the game. It's pretty ambitious in scope. The game takes place during the first part of the Fellowship of the Rings if you're looking at a timescale. Your characters are involved in the opening moves of the War of the Rings, especially as it relates to Angmar's initial infiltrations into Eriador. Sound complicated, well it is, Turbine has the rights to the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit (the books mind you not the movies) and they even have a special "lore" team who's only job is to make sure that the backstory, environment and quest designs are as close to the books as possible. And they hit the nail of the head, they included the tiniest little details you could think of from the books in the games. So if you're a Tolkein addict (as I am, I read the Hobbit and LOTR for the first time when I was in elementary school) you won't be disappointed by your typical bog standard fantasy game with a light veneer of Tokein strapped over the top, the game was built from the ground up to BE the world of the Lord of the Rings. This shows in everything from quest design, to geography, to how the classes operate, to how your character's armor and weapons look.

This is getting long so I'll go into details about that stuff in the next post.

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Okay so I liked how they rolled out the content. The other thing that gets massively high marks is how they actually designed the game. It's pretty ambitious in scope.

The game takes place during the first part of the Fellowship of the Rings if you're looking at a timescale. Your characters are involved in the opening moves of the War of the Rings, especially as it relates to Angmar's initial infiltrations into Eriador. Sound complicated, well it is, Turbine has the rights to the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit (the books mind you not the movies) and they even have a special "lore" team who's only job is to make sure that the backstory, environment and quest designs are as close to the books as possible. And they hit the nail of the head, they included the tiniest little details you could think of from the books in the games. So if you're a Tolkein addict (as I am, I read the Hobbit and LOTR for the first time when I was in elementary school) you won't be disappointed by your typical bog standard fantasy game with a light veneer of Tokein strapped over the top, the game was built from the ground up to BE the world of the Lord of the Rings. This shows in everything from quest design, to geography, to how the classes operate, to how your character's armor and weapons look.

So for the locations you have Erid-Luin (which is where Dwarf and Elf characters start), Breeland (which is where Man characters start) and the Shire (for Hobbits of course) after you get your feet wet here you start to explore outwards in a more or less logical progression based on what your level ranges are. There are the Lone Lands, where the Forsaken Inn and Weathertop are. There are the North Downs which is home to the Ranger base at Estaldin, and where the Trestlebridge and the Fields of Fornost are located. There are the Trollshaws which is where Rivedell is located as well as some scattered Ranger bases and Troll infested ruins. Then you have the Misty Mountains with expeditions against the Hillmen and Dourhand Dwarves. There's also Evendim which is where the ruins of the lost kingdom of Arnor and the massive Lake Evendim are located. Then as the kicker there is Angmar itself, which is where the Witch King resides and the cause of a lot of the troubles going on in Middle Earth in the timeframe of the game right now.

Yeah I said "right now" for the timeframe because the plans are to keep advancing the game as add-ons and expansions come out to cover the entire scope of the Fellowship of the Rings, Two Towers and Return of the King. Like I said these guys at Turbine are nothing if not ambitious.

They also care a lot about what was written about the world. There are these people you'll find, some people call them "lore Nazis" but I just call them really dedicated Tolkein fans that you'll find on the boards. They actually have very little to critique about the way the game is built because that much attention was paid to the works of Tolkein, it's almost like having a convention of Star Trek guys actually agreeing that a new ST movie is worthy of the originals. That is to say almost unthinkable, but it happened because Turbine went the extra mile.

So there are a lot of locations, but they're also extremely detailed locations. If you go to the Shire you can find Bag End, you can even walk inside it and just look around and in the library is a scattering of Bilbo's books, as well as the map he drew of Middle Earth on the wall. You can actually walk up and read the map it's so detailed! In the hallway are the pegs where the Dwarves hung their cloaks in the Hobbit, and on the door you can barely see the old scratch that Gandalf put there to let the Dwarves know that a Burglar seeking work lived inside.

In Bree you can go to the Prancing Pony Inn and pull out your copy of the Fellowship of the Rings, read the description and then look at the inn. It's not close, it's not kinda like the Prancing Pony, it's exact. Down to the number of windows on the ground floor and how they backed up to the hill behind the Inn.

Go to Weathertop and at the base you'll find the camp that Strider and the Hobbits built the night the Nazgul attacked. Go up to the top and you'll find the stone that Gandalf inscribed with runes to tell Strider that he'd been there...and the runes exactly match the ones in the book.

Go to the Trollshaws and you'll find the 3 trolls that tried to eat Bilbo and the Dwarves in the Hobbit, turned to stone around their cold campfire, complete with the bird's nest in the one troll's shoulder that the Fellowship later saw.

Yeah they paid that much attention to detail, even down to the fact that at night if you look up at the sky the stars and planets are in the exact positions that Tolkein wrote about as the positions of the constellations when the Hobbits left for Rivendell.

You also meet a lot of famous, or infamous characters from the books. They're NPCs and some of them are there for window dressing, while others are important parts of quests. You get to meet Tom Bombadil and Goldberry (people that only saw the movies are going huh? while people into the books are probably grinning), Lobella Sackville-Baggins, Farmer Maggot and his dogs, Gammer Took, and on and on. And those are just the minor characters, later on while doing the Epic quests you meet everyone from Gandalf to Strider to Bilbo, Frodo and Sam, Legolas, Gimli, Elrond, and on and on, they're all in there. You'll even meet a Nazgul from time to time, even though you probably wished you hadn't.

The attention to detail is downright mindnumbing. Everything from all of the areas looking like they are supposed to, down to the right sort of foliage for each area and different background music.

To top it all off 90% of the world is one contiguous "zone", which means if you're going from Bree even all the way to Rivendell in one shot, you're never going to see a "loading please wait" screen. Now there is one non-contiguous "gate" in the game as far as the landscape goes, and that's between the Shire and Erin-Luin, simply because there is a huge chunk of area between them that hasn't been put in the game. Yet.

There are also loading screens when you go into various instances. Some are dungeons, some are building interiors and some are adventure instances where your party is seperated from the larger world for story considerations. Yes I said story considerations, I'll talk about that next because...this is getting freakin long again. :lol:

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There is definately a story going on. It's not one of those random,"Get thee forth and kill shite to become powerful" sort of games without any storyline. I mean yeah you can kill things and take their stuff at random, but to get the most bang for your buck so to speak you're going to want to do the story quests.

What are the story quests? Well they're also called Epic quests and unlike in some games they really are "epic." The game's story progresses through Books which also have Chapters. You start out in the Prologue, which you'd equate Red (and others) with Pre-Searing in Guild Wars. You do it to get an intoduction to the game, your starting race and class, and it sets the tone of the whole game. After that you progress to Book I, Book II, etc. each of which fills in the blanks on what is going on in the Big Picture. The first Book has you talking to Strider in the Prancing Pony just before he takes the Hobbits east towards Rivendell. From there each zone has one or more books that advance the story in that area.

You can do the books out of order (personally I find Book II kind of hard to do, mainly because it involves a lot of swamps and I hate swamps) if you want to, but doing them in order is usually the best way to go. The timeline is frozen to the extent that when you finally reach Rivendell the Fellowship is all there, but it's the night before the Council of Elrond so they're technically not "The Fellowship" yet. Sound confusing? It really isn't when you see it in-game. The important thing to remember is that this is just the first part of Fellowship of the Rings so everything on a global scale reflects that. Saruman is still our buddy, no one is sure what the Ring is, and Angmar is seen as the big threat of the moment.

Now even though you meet the Fellowship, you're not part of the Fellowship. In the books Gandalf and Strider mentioned the war "back home" and how the Rangers and allies were fighting a holding action to allow them time to get the Ring to Mordor. That's what the characters are, the war at home (at least thus far) and while not in the Fellowship are providing important support in the War of the Ring. To borrow from Mystery Men,"We're the other guys." Which doesn't mean the characters don't have important things to do, but that their actions are the things that are mentioned in passing in the books. Know how Narsil was shattered and then reforged? Your character (in Book IX) can help do that. So it's cool, we're heros without being The Fellowship. Which wouldn't make sense to have us in it, since with everyone playing it wouldn't be a Fellowship so much as The Free Races Warhorde. ;)

Aside from the book quests there are other quests you can do, some are fairly big and important, others are fluffy but will make people deeply into Tolkein lore squee like little girls. I won't spoil them but you do everything from helping Farmer Maggot protect his mushroom patch from the vile Blackwolds to helping some Wood Elves leave for the Grey Havens to go to the Undying Lands. Every quest in the game, no matter how small, is backed up with lore research and good storylines.

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Oh and about the graphics. This game has hand's down the best graphics engine ever put into an MMORPG to date. I'm not just talking about the quality of the graphics (which are freakin' amazing) but the sheer number of options you can enable or disable, tweak and manipulate to give you your best tradeoff between performance and eye candy. My computer is around middle-range-ish, probably on the low side of middle range even, and I can run it at medium graphics at 1400 x 900 without any problems at all in just about every condition. If I'm not going to be doing a lot of fighting, I can ramp it to max graphics if I'm just showing it off or want to sit on a hill, smoke my pipe and take in the landscape.

Yep you can do that, sit on a hill and smoke your pipe, it's not all kill-kill all the time. ;)

The sound system is also amazing. Every area has its own musical score, which in many places is even better than the score in the movies (which they don't have the rights to anyhow) and the voice acting on the NPCs is really good for a change too. Gandalf (who also narrates the cutscenes in the Books and Intro) is particuliarly well done in my opinion. Also you can buy instruments in the game and actually play them. Sometimes poorly, but yeah you can start your own garage band in Middle Earth if you wanted to. :lol:

Okay now my head hurts, since I've been kinda sick lately, so I'll shut up now.

Instead of me babbling at random Red, how about throwing some more specific type questions at me and I'll take a shot at answering.

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As I'm in the UK it doesn't look like I can hook up with you, I presume that as the publishers control access to the servers that players in the UK and the US won't be able to team up.

Yeah there's been some complaining about that, but the publisher controls the server access not the developers so as long as it's this way it's probably going to stay this way. Which sort of bums me out because I always liked playing with Europeans on MMOs, in Dark Age of Camelot due to my insomnia problems I spent most of my time running around with an all Swedish and Norwegian guild...which was pretty cool since we were playing on the Midgard side. ;)

LOTRO is soon to be released in Asia, and I see that as part of the reason too that we have geographically specific servers. I don't want to start anything here, but everyone knows where the big gold farming and selling operations are based and what that can do to a game. I miss having my European buddies around, but if that keeps a lot of the gold selling located in Asia staying on the Asian servers...well that's okay with me.

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Ok im not the worlds best question thrower so anyone thats thinking of buying this game , and you have questions , nows the time to ask.

Rick cheers for your views on the game , i was going to ask quesions but you answered all of mine already

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I've just revisited Ered Luin, which is where I started, and have discovered prologue quests. I know that you said that you don't have to do the chapters in the correct sequence but are there any problems with not doing any of them.

The quests in question were dwarf related quests in Thorin's Hall. As my elf character is transported from that region after the tutorial I only discovered them when I had explored Ered Luin enough to realise I could just walk back up to the tutorial area. All the available quests are easy for my level 17 character, they are level 8, 9 & 10 quests.

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For the Prologue chapters yeah those you do have to do to open up Book 1, after you get that one opened up then whenever you're in the right area and the right level range you'll be able to open up any of the Books that you run into after that. As far as I know you do have to complete the whole Prologue first before Book 1 will open. That'd be the only exception about being able to do the books in any order.

On the bright side though Merlin if you're level 17 you should be able to solo your way through the Prologue at this point to get to Book 1.

Also in your Quest Log it'll tell you which quests are part of the Prologue and which ones are just general quests, you don't have to do any of the other ones except for the Prologue ones if you don't want to either.

As far as skipping Chapters, you won't be able to go to the next Chapter in a Book if you don't finish those in order, but you don't have to do the Books in order. On my main character I finished the Prologue, Book 1, Book 3 and Book 4. Book 2 being the one in the Red Swamp in the Lone Lands which I'm having problems with finishing, I'm on Chapter 3 or 4 of that one I think. Not that it's all that hard, but I just am not a huge fan of the Red Swamp for whatever reason, I'll eventually get around to finishing it though.

I think part of my problem with it too is that character is also a Scholar so I spent sooo much time in the Lone Lands playing Indiana Jones in ruins that I just got tired of being in that area so went on to the other areas and books as soon as I could do quests in them without fear of being one shot killed by a passing fly or something. Tier 3 Scholar was definately the biggest pain in the arse for me as far as doing crafting, so I wince a little everytime I think about spending another couple of play sessions there exclusively for doing that Book. :lol:

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Thanks for that Schatten, I presume that the Prologue misions are all in Ered Luin, The Shire and Bree-land, or at least start there. The only other area I have been so far is into the Lone Lands.

As I'm an Elf who has spent his whole short life, 600+ years, in NW Ered Luin I thought I'd trundle on over to say hi to Elrond in Rivendell. Half way across the Lone Lands I decided to back track when all the beasties and orcs/goblins were 3 or 4 levels higher than me.

I can pretty much solo the prologue apart from one mission to rescue an elf prince, I can survive no problem the npc's attacking me are 5-7 levels lower than me. The problem is the guy I have to protect keeps getting killed, I'll need to team up with someone to do this one.

If my nephew's pc hadn't gone belly up I'd team up with him, but his priorities are drinking with his mates, looking for a new girlfriend and then sorting his pc out. Selfish little git, doesn't he know helping his decrepit old uncle is more important.

It was his trial key that has got me hooked. I never thought I'd end up playing an MMO, although I've been a Lord of the Rings fan since reading it 34 years ago and part of the fun is exploring a world that has fascinated me since.

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Flog him until he gets the picture Merlin, the Ring must be protected from Sauron at all costs! Yeah the prologues start in either Thorin's Hall, Celondim, Archet or Michel Delving depending on what race you are. But if you don't start one of your Prologue quests in the area you start in but would rather do it somewhere else you can. For example in OB I played an Elf so I knew how that quest went, when I made my first Hobbit as soon as I got to Michel Delving I slapped down the 1 silver and road to Thorin's Hall to do that Prologue since I already knew all the ins and outs of it. I'm pretty sure you can still do that.

In Open Beta I went all the way from Bree to Rivendell at level 15 actually. Am I crazy? Why yes yes I am. But that was the level cap in OB and I just had to see Rivendell, so I did. The road from the Forgotten Inn goes all the way to Rivendell (as it should per the books) although it gets a little "vague" right before you reach Rivendell itself after the Ford of Brunin, becoming a little twisty and windy and such, and goes from nice paving stones to dirt to "Hey where the hell did the road go?" I guess Elves aren't big on roadways maintainence or something...

Anyhow, it can be done, the road is mostly clear of beasties during the day, just watch out for the random wandering Troll at night in the Trollshaws. Once you cross the Ford though prepare for a lot of ducking to and fro to avoid the bears and lynx on the switchbacks on the High Moor. Once you see the Gates of Imaldris though you're golden. Try it, you'll like it. ;)

Guild Wars is good Red, ya know that but LORTO is Tokien, Tolkien man! I mean...Tolkien!! 'Nuff said. :D

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I've only got time for one game at the moment, SH3/4, Oblivion, GalCiv2 & Medieval Total War 2 are all left mid campaign at the moment.

I will return to them but I can see myself loading up LOTRO for at least an hour every day. I'll probably be playing LOTRO exclusively until the end of the month when the expansion for Medieval 2 comes out.

The thing that has impressed me is the way the game world sucks you in, time disappears. I spent 1/2 an hour last night looking for a bag in the midgewater marshes, should have been 5 minutes if I'd read the quest briefing properly. Instead of feeling like I'd wasted time when I could have been continuing on with the quest I just thought it was cool that I could go traipsing through the midgewater marshes.

The music is really good at setting the atmosphere in the different regions, wandering through the centre of the shire you get that peaceful feeling, everything is tranquil, well on the surface anyway. Go wandering through the Lone Lands out past Weathertop and you need to keep your eyes and ears peeled, in the Shire there are npc's and players everywhere, in the Lone Lands it can be eerily lonely.

I'm already planning 3 more characters, 1 of each of the other 3 races, and what class and profession they will be.

Red I can't compare this to GW as I've never played it and I understand the problems of the significant others fiscal priorities being different to yours. BUT GET LOTRO :icon_rock: you know it makes sense.

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I'm already planning 3 more characters, 1 of each of the other 3 races, and what class and profession they will be.

Hobbit Burglar

Hobbit Guardian

Hobbit Minstrel

Hobbit Hunter

Random Elf/Dwarf/Human with their big gangly usless selves for a craft/bank alt.

There ya go. ;)

Hobbits > Everything else. :lol:

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Brilliant posts there, Schat.

As you may or may not be aware, I have tried but failed to get into all this questing, crafting, short sword, long sword stuff. I must say, however, having read your posts (in their entirety, I might add, which is remarkable in itself because I have raised the act of post skimming to a high art) I am SORELY tempted to try this game even if it's just to explore the Tolkien world.

I read The Hobbit and LOTR back in 1980 (I remember this because as I read it each night, I'd listen to the radio and Games Without Frontiers by Peter Gabriel was being played ad infinitum...it's now the official soundtrack of LOTR in my mind).

Right. Where was I? Did I have a point? Um, yes ...having read the books back then and having enjoyed them immensely... and now, having read your most excellent and triumphant posts about this LOTR game, ... (okay, here's my point) ... If I could find the gumption, I'd re-read the four books then join y'all for some serious questing and such.

Well, you guys could do the questing and such, I'd just tag along for the ride. See, what struck me the most about your posts there, Schat, was how you ran around the game world matching up the book details with the actual details in the game. For me, that'd be a real kick to run around just to see if the devs got this or that detail right. For me, that'd be a quest worth pursuing! Y'all can keep your gold and spells and potions...I just like looking around.

Maybe I can get you to take my picture in front of various landmarks? How about T-Shirts? I went all the way to Sindarin Erebor, and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt!

:)

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Once you step into a MMO Doug , be prepared to lose time....a lot of time , its the nature of the beast , if our finances weren't so stretched i would more than likely buy this game but the pay to play is off limits to me , i'll stick with GW

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Once you step into a MMO Doug , be prepared to lose time....a lot of time , its the nature of the beast , if our finances weren't so stretched i would more than likely buy this game but the pay to play is off limits to me , i'll stick with GW

Honestly, Red...I don't think my brain has the proper wiring to get hooked by these sorts of games. I've tried, I've even injected it...no high :D

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