I’ve been spending some time playing LOTRO, now that it’s gone F2P…and it’s really got some interesting things in it. Game-design wise, it feels quite a bit like Classic WOW, which has both its good and bad points. (Much of this is from reading, not necessarily from personal experience.)
- Skirmishes are AWESOME. Imagine the Dungeon Finder. Now, take away the PUG matching capability, but allow it to scale instances to a selected group size, from Solo to Raid(which is 12 in LOTRO) and difficulty level. Furthermore, have it give you a semi-controllable pet that can be “traited” (talented) to do melee/ranged DPS, tank, or heal.
- Epic quest line, that follows a consistent story from lvl 1-65, which loosely tracks the books. The first volume (up to lvl 55 or so) is now fully soloable; you get a buff if attempting the group instances by yourself.
- Much less cookie-cutterism; lots of debate over which traits/trait lines are superior.
- It’s F2P, and very generous F2P at that.
- The server community is much better…individually, players are probably less informed then their WoW counterparts, but much nicer.
- Player housing (not that I have a house yet…been alting)
- Raiding is very reminiscent of classic WoW. A good bit of grinding is required to maximize your character. (LOTRO has “Deeds” which are analogous to WoW’s achievements…except many Deeds on completion give you a point to a “Virtue,” which is similar to a WoW talent point.) Raid composition requirements are pretty strict. Few challenges for hardcore raiders, from my limited reading.
- Virtually no addons. A few are in development, now that Turbine has just allowed addon functionality, but again, very Classic WoW-like. I’d forgotten how much I hate icons and the fun of looking for a specific one through several bags.
- Only one faction (you can play as the monsters and do PvP, but only in a specific zone).
- No Wowhead. :(
I’ve enjoyed it enough that I’ve purchased the game and its first expansion, and will keep playing until my VIP time from those purchases runs out (which should be sometime in November, conveniently close to Cata’s release date.) :) If anyone’s curious, I’ll be happy to answer any questions or help out in-game as much as I can. (Alarron/Alarric on the Elendilmir server)
Oh, what class? Captain, of course.