Lord of the Rings Online

This weekend, I signed up for the newly free-to-play Lord of the Rings Online. It is a fairly generic sword and sorcery massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG). Its hook is that it is set in the Tolkien Lord of the Rings universe (okay, Middle Earth) and you play a role (insignificant for the moment) in the upcoming war to destroy the ring. You get to visit places from the book (or movie for those that don’t read), like Bree. As a human player, I am near the Shire, but unsure if I’ll get to go there or not. If you start as an elf or dwarf, you start in Thorin’s Halls to the west of the Shire, which should be cool, so I may have to start another character sometime. You also get to ride horses, which could be nice.

The game looks pretty good, though the textures are not up to the standards of my 2560×1440 monitor. The water effects look very good, however, as you can see from the following screenshots.

The combat is quite standard, with swords and shields and occasional class abilities. I’ve seen people using magic, so I’ll have to try that sometime. So far, I’ve been killing spiders (why do all these games love spiders?), wolves, boar, and some bad guys.

The quests are simple, so far, and I’ve been able to do them alone without dying. On the other hand, some of the higher level quests will probably need a group (called a “Fellowship” in this game). Unfortunately, LOTRO doesn’t seem to have henchmen, like Guild Wars does, so I’ll probably have to join with actual people. I know that’s the point of MMORPGs, but I don’t particularly like joining with other people, though I’ve done so a number of times in Guild Wars, Eve Online, and Star Trek Online.

The game seems pretty good and is free to play, so everyone with a reasonable PC should check it out. The download was 10GB and took hours, which is a bummer. I will probably put it on hold while I try to finish Halo Reach and Star Ocean, but I’ll be back in Middle Earth soon!

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