Monday, November 23, 2009


Now that the NDA is lifted I can talk about this... for the past two months I've been beta-testing the newest expansion of Lord of the Rings Online. I have a lot of gaming friends that play WoW and a few other online type games via their PC or XBOX and I've got to say IMHO lotro is one of the best mmos out there and if you aren't playing another game and are looking for one, this recent expansion makes for some great gaming.

There are a few new things to the game that make it really fun for people like me that sort of prefer solo play.
There's a scalable instance system that can generate randomized instances that you can play solo or in group.
They've adjusted the Epic quest line(which pretty much follows the relation to the game storyline and Tolkien's books) so that at certain points you can follow a solo based alternate quest line that gives you the ability to solo many of the group required instances. In this way, players that want to complete all of the epics don't have to go back to under-leveled areas and hunt for people to group with.
Overall what enthralls me about this game is the depth of the worlds and I can say this latest addition is a good one. The area is well drawn and has a unique feel to differentiate it from other areas of the world. The quest lines are simple to do, but fun. They can be soloed with some challenge or easily marched through in a group. I would say it's similar to the Forochel expansion that opened up the snow region before Moria came out. Mirkwood doesn't have near the depth that Moria did, but there are a lot of opportunities for leveling and good rewards for the 61-65 levels.
The big addition in this expansion is the skirmish system and there really is too much to talk about, you sort of have to do it to see. But it's a fun system and allows you to scale to your group and join a skirmish anywhere in the world. So if you and a couple of people want to play, but don't want to travel a bunch or catch up each other to a specific quest, you can just launch a skirmish and since the rewards are a sort of currency, you can buy pretty much any item in the game as your reward.
The legendary weapons got some changes that were welcome, although I've not really explored that in detail. I was so busy with the Mirkwood region and skirmishing to even play around with that.
Another thing that makes the game so much better are the changes to the mount system. Not only can you now by a slower cheaper horse at 20 instead of waiting until 35, they've revamped the entire engine for mounts. You now slot mounts instead of having them eat up inventory(so you can accidentilly sell them) and your horse has a health meter instead of just that progression meter that was there. So when you are hit by a creature while mounted, your horse can regen that health and you won't get knocked off after riding untouched for a period of time. You can also stay mounted while you look at items, talk to NPCs, go through doors, all sorts of stuff that used to annoy you to have to dismount. This includes things like turning on trackers or going into combat stances, etc. Still no attack from the mount, but that's not what they're going for.

All in all, the game is greatly improved with this expansion. If you want to give a go at it, there's a 10 day free trial. If you join up with a recommendation from a player, they recieve a free month when you buy the game. But if you love a good story back end to a game and want a game community that isn't rude or made up of teenagers in Korea, check it out. The players are friendly and helpful, the forums are reasonable to interact with and the gameplay really is great. It's quite possibly the best looking game out there today.

That is until SWTOR is out :-)


E.Pollarine said...

I used to play WoW all the time but never even thought about lotr, I'll have to give it a go-

Dr 4LOM said...

If you sign up to play, we're on the Windfola server.

E.Pollarine said...

I'll think about it, I have no disposable cash right now, but would love to-

Also, rememebr The Bridge Party's free show on 12-23-09 @ Peabody's you better be there and ready to dance your pants off