Giving it another try ;)

Nexus6

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I'm going through one of my periodic boughts of burn out with Guild Wars 2 and Star Trek Online, so seriously thinking of giving LOTRO another go. To be fair, I did very much enjoy the (Rivindell?) tutorial level. For a tutorial level it was actually rather fun and ended with a very nice dungeon teaser. I think what happened though when I first tried the game back in July was that after finishing the tutorial, my next LOTRO session was late at night and I was rather tired, so it was probably no big surprise that I felt a bit overwhelmed when thrust out into the big world of LOTRO proper. By comparison, it's interesting to note that the world of Tyria in Guild Wars 2 seems huge at first, but once you've leveled up sufficiently and explored a bit, the fast travel through the Asuran gates becomes easy and affordable and all of the sudden that big huge world feels small. I get the feeling though that I won't be mapping all of middle earth in LOTRO anytime soon, all-in-all a good thing.

The Rohan/Helm's Deep expansion has me a bit jazzed as that would be very cool romping around the Riddermark, but I suppose I'd be prudent to hold off until I've decided if I really want to stick with the game. Speaking of the expansion packs, I'm confused. How do they work? How will I know when I'm ready to get one? Is it a case where sections of the map will be locked until I get an expansion pack?

Also, although I get the feeling that LOTRO is maybe a bit of a pay-to-win game, from what I understand the main emphasis in LOTRO is PvE and role playing and not PvP, so in light of that PtW becomes far less relevant. Is this a correct assumption?
 
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Redwolf

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Careful. They "revamp" (aka dumb down) all skills for all classes with the expansion that might hit Nov 17. Don't invest too much time in existing skills or learning thereof.

It's still a very good game for the main storyline and the landscaping. For actual RP the population might be a little low by now.

Expansions generally don't lock areas, you just can't do the quests in there. But don't worry, there are store signs all over when you hit something you can but didn't buy :)
 

Nexus6

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I don't know, but I think second time is the charm. I feel that since rerolling I now have a much better handle on the game and find it much less confusing. I should know by now though; in the mmo's I've played I've sometimes had to reroll 3-4 times before getting a character I like and getting a grasp on the game. Anyway, following your advice here, I know now that if I ever start getting confused all I need do is concentrate on the story chapters.

Comparing LOTRO to Guild Wars 2, LOTRO is maybe one good computer generation behind Guild Wars graphically. Still though I'm generally pleased with the graphical presentation of LOTRO, and sometimes it is quite good. One place where LOTRO wins hands down is in the writing that is full to overflowing with Tolkien-esque lore and is very respectful of the Tolkien and Peter Jackson source materials. By comparison, although the writing and story in GW2 is sometimes very good, it is just as often rather cliched and juvenile.

I would also mention that I am very pleased with the pricing structure of the expansions. The very inexpensive bundle of the first four expansions definitely reduces the entry barrier for new players like me.

My only minor complaint it a purely cosmetic one: the dyes. I see now where Cryptic Studios got the idea for their horribly overpriced and ripoff dye system in Neverwinter. Speaking of Neverwinter, if you think the LOTRO store is sometimes pricey, it pales in comparison to the shamelessly exploitative Neverwinter cash store.

One more question. So how is the game doing overall? Is it growing, dying, staying the same? I have to assume it's not dying if Turbine is still doing expansions.
 
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Redwolf

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The dyes can be made by scholars. If you are on Landroval I can send you a bunch.

The game is sharply declining in usage, and people are pessimistic about the expansion coming. If you look for lotrocommunity you find an independent forum that also tracks some form of usage indicators. According to leaks the beta testers hate both the class skill revamps and how they do the "big battles" in Helms Deep.
But that's north of level 75, so you can enjoy the game until the storyline runs out of steam for you.

They also enforce 100% extra XP for 30 days after launch, and you cannot opt out unless you spend $7 real-world per character. This means you blast right through the interesting content and remove the challenge. Overall there is pessimism that might be hard to understand for somebody who's currently playing the great per-Moria content.
 

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Wow guys, I'm actually kind of impressed. Glad I didn't give up on it. The quests have been getting subtly more interesting, and I was even almost downed once or twice when biting off a bit more than I could chew. I also like how they handle mounts. The music is great and definitely sounds more than a little like Howard Shore's great music from the PJ films, and I get a certain child-like giddiness riding around the Tolkien landscape. My only complaint, albeit a minor one, is that I seem to be leveling almost too fast. I'm already at level ten after maybe 4-5 hours of play. Can't wait though to see where the story takes me after Ered Luin. I also spent $20 at their gem store simply because I was feeling guilty for enjoying it while not paying anything. ;) Anyway, I'm finding the game an unexpectedly nice break from the nonstop hack and slash and kill, kill, kill of Guild Wars 2. BTW, I installed Age of Conan recently and had planned on trying it out after playing a bit more LOTRO, but I'm enjoying LOTRO so much at the moment that I've put Age of Conan on indefinite hold.

Scotty, if you're reading this, as a Tolkien fan you should definitely check out LOTRO.
 
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Nexus6

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After a few more hours of playing still enjoying it a lot, and upon reaching level 13 I finally got 'downed'. ;)

One more minor 'fly in the ointment' I felt compelled to mention though. People are often very tacky and rude with their mounts. In fact I noticed the same thing in Neverwinter, another mmo that has mounts. People ride them right up in the faces of quest givers, up staircases, and in populated areas where in real life they would never usually go. My rule of thumb is I always dismount before entering populated areas or approaching quest givers. I think maybe Scott was right when he said that a lot of kids play mmo's (especially the ftp ones), and they tend to bring a schoolyard bully mentality into the games. Anyway, it certainly is no accident that the number one reason people don't like mmo's is on account of the often bad behavior of other players. It is what it is.

Oh well, it could be worse. It could be EVE Online. It's ironic though that I'm sure the vast majority of EVE players are adults. ;)
 
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Redwolf

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Sounds about right. Just repeating that you should really stretch the early levels. Fun levels off (hehe) a bit after 35 or so in the Trollshaws but keeps up generally through book1, the original shadows of Angmar game until level 50. Moria has been revamped and most people think it's fun now. Once out of there you have significant increase in grind, lack of original quests and less imaginative storyline. So hold the early stuff precious. Myself I never made it to the current top level but I here the grind in Hybold or whatsitsname is mind-numbing.
 

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It's weird. I was really enjoying myself Tuesday evening, I even got a handle on the crafting and made (and smoked ;) some pipeweed. lol Last night though I found myself getting a bit bored with it and quit out after only about 90 minutes. Oh well, maybe the next session will be better.

I hear you though about holding the early levels precious. I begin to think this is true of all mmo's. It certainly is in Guild Wars 2 and Star Trek Online. It's funny though how in 'gear grind' games like GW2, once you get that precious and cool looking high level gear, by then ennui starts setting in big time. Oh well, I think in mmo's it truly is more about the journey than the destination.
 

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The next session was better, and I had to say.....I think LOTRO is starting to wean me off of Guild Wars 2, mostly because I'm finding LOTRO a lot more immersive. For one thing LOTRO obviously has a big advantage when it comes to lore. For another, even when there are plenty of other players around, I still don't see the silly immersion-killing map chat that you tend to see in some of the GW2 zones. Most importantly, despite my earlier criticisms of mounts, they are far more realistic and immersive than the GW2 Asuran gates where you can warp around the map like Doctor Who in the Tardis. I think it's true what one person said about how GW2 does a lot to make things more convenient for the players, but all this comes at the expense of immersion.

BTW, that was so cool with the pipeweed smoking animation. It was seemingly a little thing, but it instantly took me back to the books and movies. I hope the game does more stuff like that.
 

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I tried this about 5 years ago and didn't like it much at all. Slow clunky and overly expensive when compared to Neverwinter Nights (1) I could not justify the expense of NWN every two months. Has it changed since then? Should I try it over the winter?
 

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Hey Vinnie, so you liked the Neverwinter mmo? I'm sorry to say that I hated it. Although the combat mechanics are kind of fun, the game around it is incredibly shallow. Very dull and uninteresting quests, and terrible lore. Also, the NW avatars are absolutely dreadful; the way they look, their silly stances, everything. And talking about expensive, the NW cash shop has to be the worst, most shameless and predatory one I've ever seen. Woe to anyone who wants to change their avatars or armor colors. This is odd though, because although NW and Star Trek Online are both made by Cryptic, for an older game the STO avatars are much better looking and STO the cash shop is very reasonable.

The worst I would say about LOTRO thus far is that graphically it's maybe a bit dated compared to games like Guild Wars 2. This is not to say that graphically it looks bad, sometimes it is quite appealing visually. Funny how in GW2 I never seemed to notice when it was day or night. The night sky in LOTRO, however, can be very striking, and seems to last at least an hour. Unlike GW2, you definitely notice it.

I'm still a relative noob in LOTRO, but thus far I have no complaints about the cash shop, other than maybe that Turbine does seem to give you a lot of subtle nudges to spend money there. As one game reviewer noted, however, the game gives you a ton of free content before you ever have to whip out your credit card, and when you do you will find the expansions reasonably priced. In fact the first four expansions are now available in a bundle for $30, but I get the feeling I'm no where near needing to buy them yet.

Anyway, after I think around 10-15 hours of playing I would give LOTRO a solid B+. Thus far all my time has been spent in Ered Luin, and I can't wait to stomp around more iconic LOTR zones like the Shire, Bree, Moria, Lorien, to say nothing of the Riddermark. :)

"The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath, The drums will shake the castle wall, the ring wraiths ride in black, Ride on." - Led Zeppelin
 
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Vinnie

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I was talking about the original NWN. Tge kids play neverwinter on line but I have not tried it yet.
 
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