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Now you did it. Checked it out, cancelled my EQ2 account almost immediately to join LOTRO instead. A lot prettier than EQ2, cheaper per month, and, as you say Rick, Tolkein. Damned shame we can't link across the pond.

Red, good news is that You can do a one-off payment for a lifetime subscription.

Bad news is it's about £150.00, or about 6 brand new games... Considering what I've paid for MMORPGs over the years (Meridian 59, Original Everquest, Everquest 2, WW2 Online) I'm actually thinking about it...

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Stag, if you're on Eldar server I've currently got 3 characters on there.

Curundor - level 19 Elf

Meriodoc - level 8 Hobbit

Throildur - level 3 Dwarf, still in the tutorial.

On Laurelin, but not so far ahead that I can't up pegs. :) I'm off work tonight and currently waiting for the bloody server maintainance to finish; Great timing for a day of; I think my bosses must consult with the main MMORPG companies for the best way to muck with my game time. What time you on Merlin, and what class is your L3 Stuntie?

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Stag, I'll be on probably 1330 or there abouts. Server maintenanmce is always Thursday morning.

Dwarf is a Champion and will be an Armourer, Hobbit is a Guardian Tinker, Elf is a Hunter Explorer.

I'm trying to cover as many of the crafting skills as possible so my characters can help each other with crafting quests

I'm going to start a Man Captain Armsman as well

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If dwarf is a Champ, then look for an Elvish Hunter called Hart (Assuming the name isn't taken); will go for Woodsman when I get the option.

Yeah, I know it sounds more like the name of a man of Dale, but the name has a long proud tradition on EQ2. ;)

I think the intro to the Elf character is very cool, as well; hot LZ, then six hundred years later...

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The dwarf intro is cool as well, you start looking at Thorin Oakenshield talking to Gandalf 75 years earlier, a young dwarf named Gimli is there as well. You have to give Gimli a hand in the first part of the intro quest.

When you go online just add my characters to your friends list, I've not played an online game before but I'm assuming that a lot of how player interaction works is pretty much the same as other MMO's.

I've been playing for 2 weeks now and only discovered last night that you can select the 5 quests listed on the right of the screen.

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Staggers and Merlin, yeah you can use the "o" (that's the letter and not the number) to add each other to your friends lists. From there since you'll both be in the starter areas then all it takes is a silver to ride from one starter city to the other. Easy peasy, not as easy as GW where you can automap to any city you've already been in at any time but a hell of a lot better than back in the old EQ or even DAoC days where you'd often have a 30 minute horse ride between towns if you were at one end of a region to the other. Thankfully, that usually isn't the case with LOTRO.

Also the Hunter Pathfinding ability to increase the movement speed of your entire group is very handy indeed. You get that at level 14, and then starting in the low 30s you get the ability to actually fast travel your entire group to various major cities. The first one at (I forget the level, 31 or 33 I think, is to Bree and then on the odd "passive skill gain" levels) you get that ability to Thorin's Hall, Michel Delving, Estaldin, etc. all the way up to Rivendell. In the October patch they're also adding in the ability of Hunters to do the same fast travel (with their whole group) to various campsites that are located in the wilder regions. So there is some fast ways to travel around, after level 31 (or maybe 33) you can also get the Racial Trait "Return to xxx" which allows you an instant port to your race's starting area. For Dwarves that's Thorin's Hall, for Elves Rivendell, Men is Bree and Hobbits is Hobbiton (although there is a heavy lobby to get it moved to Michel Delving since that's where the vault, auction house and trainers are) which is very handy because you can then set your "Map Home" somewhere, and have your "Return" somewhere else. Like on my Elf Metalsmith, to do the higher crafting tier stuff I need to use those Superior Forges in Thorin's Hall, so I set my "Home" there so it's easy to get to for crafting whenever I have to, then with the Return to Rivendell I can go to Rivendell as well, seeing as how I need to do prospecting (and levelling) in the Trollshaws and Misty Mountains it works out perfectly, I can be near both areas that I most need to be near at any time...well as long as the skill are up since they're both on (seperate) one hour timers. Since Thorin's Hall and Rivendell are pretty much the extreme west and east parts of Eriador that means the longest "Rent a Pony" ride I'd ever have would be from Bree (via Thorin's Hall and 1 silver) to Estaldin, which takes about 10 minutes tops. I also have my own mount for both my Elf Champion and Hobbit Burglar but I still use the Rentals a lot of the time, for one thing you don't get knocked off them and for another you don't have to steer, so they make perfect times to get a drink, hit the head, whatever.

Glad you liked the posts Doug, and I'm in the process of re-reading the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings now too. I burnt through the Hobbit quicklike, but with Lord of the Rings I'm trying to find in my moving boxes my paperbacks (which are probably the same ones you read back when since I read them back when too, the ones where the Fellowship was a royal blue color, Two Towers was Green and Return of the King was red, oh and the Hobbit was yellow) since they're just easier to handle. Since I can't find the Fellowship I may have to do the unthinkable and actually read my massive leatherbound all inclusive Lord of the Rings. It's an awesome book that my mom got for me for Christmas a few years back but honestly it's almost too beautiful to actually read, know what I mean? Plus it weighs a metric shitton. :lol:

Basically I've played a lot of MMORPGs, all the way back to the first EverQuest, and honestly I was avoiding getting into any new ones because I know I have stuff to do with planning on (yet another) move and all that. In my little mental plan I was going to hold off until well after Conan came out because by then I may have a PC able to run it, but as a huge Lord of the Rings fan I was so sorely tempted. When they did the Open Beta I had to check it out, and to be completely honest another reason I wasn't all into the pre-game "hype" that often surrounds these games is the fact that I am a huge Tokien fan, I was prepared for basically your bog standard fantasy RPG overlaid with a thin veneer of Tokien-ness and that would have just disappointed the hell out of me. I didn't want to get carried away because I was afraid that the actual game would fall (faaar) short of my expectations about what a Lord of the Rings online game should be like. So I held off, and I ignored it, but then that damned "Play for the rest of April for free in our Open Beta" thing kept taunted me, so I did. And as you can probably suss out from my posts far from being disappointed I was seriously and unrepentently impressed with it.

All of the Lore (as they call the "Sticking to the Books") stuff is damn near perfect. The starter quests each have a different flavor too. Say you start out as an Elf, like Staggers said you start well in the past when the Elves first started to realise that their time was running short in Middle Earth, then you get to the "real" beginner area and there's this melancholy theme of the loss of their world and the rise of Man that is wound all the way through even their starting quests. With the Dwarves you also start out a bit in the past in your instanced Introduction, in fact if you keep your ears open you can hear Gandalf and Thorin actually discussing some upcoming scheme of theirs and whether or not Gandalf had found them a Burglar...Then when you get to the "now" part of the prologue the quests are very Dwarven with a lot of concentration on pushing back the Goblins and hunting down the Dourhands that lead to the first fall of the Dwarves of the Iron Hills. With the Hobbits, the quests are very Hobbit-y even when you're out of the into and into the Shire itself questing at low levels. I mean there are quests to deliver the mail, quests to deliver pies, quests to find fireworks so Lobella Sackville-Baggins' birthday party can be more impressive than Bilbo's was. I love the Shire, the word is they spent 4 years worth of development time just making the Shire "right" and they did it in my opinion. With Men the intro and prologue quests revolve around the increased bandit activity which was the prelude to Angmar's more visible attacks on Breeland and the like.

There are so many little things that make me grin Lorewise that it's not even funny. I mentioned some before, but one that was reinforced when I was running around with a lower level character in the Lone Lands again was the fact that no one knows about Saruman's betrayal just yet, so there are rumors about who is running the "White Hand" but no real facts as of yet. That changes in the Book quests, but I ain't spoiling them for anyone. ;)

Another great thing about the game is that while there have been level 50s for months now, 50 being the level cap, that doesn't mean that everyone is rushing willy nilly for 50. The people that play LOTRO for the most part fall into 3 camps, the first one (and the ones likely to have 50s already and being the vocally "bored" ones on the boards) are those people that flit from one MMORPG to the next because they just have to play the next Big Thing. They're like those people you see at a lunch buffet that try to eat everything at once, and do an impressive job for 2-3 trips, but don't even taste the food, are full for a while but already talking about where to go for supper. They usually rush to the top level, then whinge about there not being any "content" for them. Most of them probably skipped 90% of the quests, probably never crafted, probably never just sat back and took in the view, but they're bored and saying the game is dying because there's nothing for them to do. You have to ignore these people for the most part, thankfully most of them will be gone as soon as the next Big Thing hits the shelves. They're also, incidentally, the ones that don't take the time to speak coherently (if I never see anyone say "ru questing?" again it wouldn't be soon enough) and have a Me Me attitude with the game.

The 2nd group are the people that are playing the game because they saw the movies, thought they were cool, were kinda into RPGs and figured they'd give it a whirl. They may or may not have a 50 already, they tend to go through the game at their own pace and they're generally the bulk of the population. A lot of people I talked to who got into the game via the movies also got into the books via the movies. And I met at least one guy who never saw the movies nor read the books who got the game as a gift, the depth of the game got him into actually reading the books, he's on the Return of the King now, and he's planning on watching the movies after he's done with the books. I thought that was cool, especially since he went books first rather than movies first, his attitude was that since the game was based on the books themselves not the movies that starting with the books would be the best way to do it. Like I said this is the bulk of the playerbase, or at least seems like it. And they're generally good folks, except when something in the game is different than the movies, then they tend to either be a little confused (and ask a lot of questions) or in a few rare cases say the game is "wrong" because it wasn't like that in the movies. LOL

The last group are the ones that have been Tolkien fans for years, sometimes (me included here) decades. On one extreme you have the Lore Nazis that will point out the smallest errors in the game vs the Lore. Usually this happens not because the game's developers didn't care, or didn't know, but because either the thing that is chapping their ass is something that was mentioned in the Simarillion, or Histories of Middle Earth, which the devs do not have the rights to; or more commonly because the devs haven't gotten to that area yet on our map so having a big backstory about something that won't be in the game for another year doesn't make sense yet. There are some foreshadowing quests already, Book 9 quests are all about the reforging of Narsil, but when someone starts whining about the Ents not being around in the game...well to that I say just freakin' wait until we get there. On the other end of the 3rd group are people like me who sometimes forget that they're on some Important Quest and will just stand and stare at the game with my mouth slightly ajar. I mean I've run and ridden past Weathertop probably scores of times by now, but every once in a while I'll just stop and stare at it. More than once I've climed back up just to look down from it even if I had things to do that would be "better" uses of my time. I just get enthralled by the game and will sometimes just go sightseeing. It's Tolkien man! People in my "demographic" are usually the ones that don't have a 50 yet, I don't. They're the ones that reroll characters because there simply aren't enough character slots to have one of every class, but they want to try one of every class at least once. Hell I rerolled a level 18 Guardian just because I wanted to try Guardian as a Hobbit instead of a Dwarf. They're the ones (I humbly submit) that everyone should want in their groups for quests. Why? Not only have we probably physicially done the quest you're on, more than once, and know the best or at least most interesting way to do it; but we can explain to you what the story is with it and why meeting Tom Bombadil for a run into the Barrow Downs is not just cool, but important. :D

Damn I'm babbling again. To sum up, I really, really like this game. And if you are a Tolkien nut I can safely say not only don't you have to worry about it letting you down, but you'll probably be in awe of the attention to detail in it.

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I hope this doesn't screw up the formatting or anything, but since I mentioned it a bajillion times...and since it is so awe-inspiring, here's a pic of Weathertop.

ScreenShot00074.jpg

It was raining that day, and I was on a hill about...oh half a km to a full klick or so away from said Weathertop. Weathertop is so massive that you can indeed see it in-game from the edges of the Midgewater Marsh.

That's an actual in-game shot too, no muddling or anything involved with it. Not only are the graphics in the game incredible, but they are the most scalable I've ever seen in an MMORPG, in fact they're more scalable than most single player games out there. Also keep in mind that's a reduced size shot too, Photobucket only goes up to 800x500 (well without paying for it) but I run the game at 1400x900 Widescreen. Believe me, at 1400x900 it's pretty damn jawdropping. :D

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Damned shame we can't link across the pond.

There's been talk about allowing the US and UK (at least the UK, possibly all of the Euro) servers to allow a one time cross-server character transfer. The upside of that is that we could link up. The problems with it mostly have to do with the fact that there are different publishers on each side of the pond, so while it could be done from a technology point of view I don't know if the publishers would be so keen on doing it. The other matter arises when the Asian servers go in, I think that Turbine (not the publishers but the actual developers) are very leery about opening up any regional server transfers/access because of the problem with gold selling, some people will scream that it's xenophobic, but the simple fact is that most gold selling operations are run out of Asia, and Turbine is dead set against gold sellers. They're about the best game I've seen in this regard too, which is heartening.

Now the other option is that they opened up the Premium Services a few weeks back. With those you can pay to have you character and all his loots transferred from one server to another one. I'm not sure if that would mean that they could switch regions or not, no one has even asked about that yet as far as I've seen, but since Turbine is doing it and not Midway and whoever publishes it in Europe, then they just may allow that. The huge downside is the cost, it's $49.99 I believe to transfer a character to another server, for that price you'd be as well off ordering it from the US and setting up a US account. But for people that have friends on one server and want to play on another I can see that being worth it, at least if you had a level 50 with Grand Mastery in a Profession. If you didn't it'd make sense to just start over on the other server and all, since while we're limited to 5 characters on a server, you can have 5 on every server if you so wished.

Hmmm, actually now that I think about it, I believe that the Test Server, Rhoharim or something like that, is non-regional. So we could hook up to play on that, and get to see parts of the next patch in action early to boot! The downside being that you'd have to download the Beta client as well, which means another 4+ gigs or so taken up on your system. For most people that doesn't matter really, but right now I'm squeezed very tight for HD space. And honestly I can't figure out why, I think maybe Windows is bloating and it could be time for a dreaded wipe and reinstall. Plus I'm not 100% sure if it's non-regional or not. As your server forums should be different than ours, if you see something about the Test Server in the list let me know.

Aside from the fact that the Europeans have dedicated RP servers, and the obvious language servers, I don't think there's any content differences at all between the 2 regions. So maybe at some point if the Publishers go for it they'll follow through with the rumored "one time regional" switch. It'd have less impact on this game than it did in GW since each server has it's own specific economy and player sales isn't factored into vendor prices. So who knows.

I'll trawl around on the boards and see what I can see about that one. Because it would be pretty cool to hook up with you guys for a good old fashioned Troll Bash. :D

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:icon_bow: Thats' the best bit of marketing for a game I think I've seen.

My Hobbit character is just going to do quests in the Shire for the forseeable future, until circumstances force him out into the big wide world. He's be doing a lot of carrying the post, stopping at all the inns for a drink, cooking, making jewelry, generally helping out gentlehobbit folk, rescuing chickens, rescuing daft Tooks.

Time to return to the Shire and fill in some shrew holes, I know there out there somewhere.

ps Codemasters is the publisher in Europe.

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I still think that Shire Brewmaster is about the best title you can get for completing a quest, like...ever. :thumbsup:

Yes, you get titles for doing certain quests and fulfilling certain deeds. I didn't even go into the deed and trait system either did I? See that's why doing a review for this game would take for-freakin-ever. Everytime I think of something to tell you guys about, there are like 10 other things that I forgot to mention. Like how the Monster Play works, or craft interconnectivity, and trait chains, Legendary Traits, chained quests, item induced quests, exploration deeds, kill deeds, Hero deeds...see what I mean? :lol:

Thats' the best bit of marketing for a game I think I've seen.

The screenshot? Yeah I liked it. Honestly I think some of my HD problems could be that I'm always snapping off pictures when I'm playing, I must have like 150 of them or so by now. :rofl:

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Re marketing, I was actually referring to the writing. I was definitely of the mind not to bother with this game, purely because I'd never wanted to play an online game before, it was only my nephew giving me his 7 day free trial plus I could buy the game for £20 and the first month is free that I decided to get it.

However, because of being a Lord Of The Ring's fan your description of the game would have convinced me to buy it.

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I dunno Staggers, the Elf women are modelled pretty well, but the Human women run all...weird. The Hobbit women are intrisically cute because they're Hobbits, but not modelled quite as well as the Elves.

There are no Dwarf women, which probably explains a lot about the Dwarven,"Hi I am Mr. Cranky" attitude and all. ;)

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Yeah Staggers that definately could be chalked up as a TMI observation regarding Dwarven butts. :rofl: :rofl:

Oh and I was slightly wrong about something too, all of the crafting and Hunter changes are coming this month, not in October like I'd orginally thought and reported. The Book 10 patch is sometime later in August, while the housing thing is still planned for October. I'd thought they were one patch in October, but here they're 2 different ones being sometime towards the end of this month and then the housing one in October.

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Yeah the first couple sets of crafted leather armor always look like a loaded diaper under tights on a Hobbit. Which is why getting the longest cloak possible is a must until you get the studded leather looking armor around level 21 if you happen to be a leather wearing Hobbit. :lol:

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Hehe, yeah well on the bright side it makes you less likely to be killed so...bonus!

My Hobbit Guardian is pretty amusing looking, nothing like seeing this tiny little guy with massive unshod feet and the rest of his body covered by heavy plate and chain diving into a sea of Orcs while either whipping around a massive Headsman's Axe on them or slamming a shield as tall as he is into their faces.

Even more laugh inducing is watching my Hobbit Burglar running up to a Troll and literally kicking him in the junk, that never gets old and never ceases to make me chuckle when I do it. :lol: Seriously, a kick to the groin is the animation for the one Burglar trick that makes it so the foe can't parry, dodge or block. Hillarity ensues.

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Hehe, yeah well on the bright side it makes you less likely to be killed so...bonus!

My Hobbit Guardian is pretty amusing looking, nothing like seeing this tiny little guy with massive unshod feet and the rest of his body covered by heavy plate and chain diving into a sea of Orcs while either whipping around a massive Headsman's Axe on them or slamming a shield as tall as he is into their faces.

Even more laugh inducing is watching my Hobbit Burglar running up to a Troll and literally kicking him in the junk, that never gets old and never ceases to make me chuckle when I do it. :lol: Seriously, a kick to the groin is the animation for the one Burglar trick that makes it so the foe can't parry, dodge or block. Hillarity ensues.

:rofl: I'd like to see a screenshot of that.

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Thanks for the company there Merlin. Got a lot done, and it was fun as well.

Aye it was fun, bloody manic at times. It's the first time I've done a fellowship quest so I was a bit confused to start with on how they work.

At one point when thinks got really hectic I was hitting the number keys, shortcuts for all my attack commands, and nothing was happening, I was thinking WTF. Turned out I'd hiit the enter key and was typing numbers into the chat box. :rofl: Luckily no one died.

We need to set up the loot acquisition rules properly before setting off next time so we collect as much as possible, although it was it bit too frantic in the 'Instances' to do much collecting.

Let me know any fellowship, or other, quests you fancy sharing and we can set something up. My Hobbit has quite a few in the Shire that are beyond him alone, that is if you don't mind the rear view of a saggy arsed Hobbit of course.

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