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Lord of the Rings Online


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I saw the ad on OGame and signed up to be a beta tester about three weeks ago. From what I could learn at their forums, the chances were pretty slim to get any action as a beta tester this late in development.

 

But today, I received the e-mail inviting me to beta test in their weekend stress test event. I'll get to see what this great sounding game really looks and feels like, even though I'm sworn to secrecy about what I see, there will be a way to communicate my experience to you all and stay within the bounds of the non-disclosure agreement.

 

I can hardly wait! :whistle::):viking:

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I can hardly wait! :whistle::):viking:

 

And I can hardly wait for you to tell us what yu can.

Hope you have a great time. What am I saying you are going to Beta test LOTR online you are going to have great time for sure! :)

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Guest gogoblender

lol, HL...I hate you...im so jealous!!

Yer gonna have the time of your life cuz it's free and you'll be the first.

oh...and if yer lookin fer a way to share stuff without breaking the rules....

 

try this then:

 

SubRosa 101

 

 

 

 

.. | -... . - | - .... . -.-- | .-- . .-. . -. | - | . -..- .--. . -.-. - .. -. --. |

 

 

muhhahah

 

where there's a will there's a way!

 

:whistle:

 

gogo

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Well, I just completed all the paperwork and sign-up stuff. I have to download the software which I started about an hour ago --- It's huge. It's been running an hour now and I'm only at 2%.

 

Probably should have started it before I went to bed.

 

The whole thing starts at 7:00PM EST and will last all weekend. I will provide as much info as I can...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, they finally lifted the Non-disclosure Agreement, so I'm free to discuss the game and my experiences here with you.

 

First thoughts:

 

The game will cost about $50 US and will also require a monthly on-line fee [initally for those that pre-order @ $9.95, but I think it goes up after release to $14.95]. This will probably keep many away from this game, but I figure it's cheaper than going to a movie once a month [which I rarely do].

 

I was interested in this MMORPG because it's Lord of the Rings. As some of you know, I am Celebrimbor in both Sacred and was here too. Celebrimbor was the Elf [Elrond's great-grandfather, maybe] who forged the rings that were given to the Dwarves and the Men in Middle Earth in the Second Age. He was the first to figure out that Sauroman was evil and paid dearly [with his life] for it. Anyway the point is, I'm a big Tolkien fan and have been for a long time. My concern with this game was whether they'd be loyal to the lore and story in the Lord of the Rings. I'm happy to report that they exceeded my expectations!

 

The quests, and there's really two types; the standard Kill the monsters/FedEx [deliver the whatevers to whoever] and the Epic quests. The Epic Quests are really part of the background story of the Fellowship of the Ring. You do quests with Strider, you see Gandalf and quests themselves are often times taken right from the storyline; Investigate the Crebain [those spying crows of Sauroman], traverse the Barrowdowns, seek out Tom Bombadil, go to Weathertop. The Epic quests really lend a huge immersion effect; you find yourself working with Strider, Gimli and Tom Bombadil and others to, in some sense, assist Frodo and the rest actually do what they're supposed to do. While you don't get to take the ring to Mount Doom, you get to pave the way for the Fellowship. It's very well done.

 

The characters can be chosen from 4 races: Dwarf, Human, Elf and Hobbit. Hobbits and Men have a separate starting area as do the Dwarves and Elves. There are 6 classes: Champion, Guardian, Minstril, Hunter, Loremaster and Burglar. So, you've got your ranged fighter, the tank, the healer, etc. Character development is based on experience points earned from slaying bad guys and monsters and completing quests. New skills become available as you level up, I.e., faster speed, more stamina, class unique skills [like tracking for the Hunter], but there could be much more in this area as it's not customizable, meaning that my Level 20 Hunter will have the same set of skills as your Level 20 Hunter. I'd prefer more character building flexibility - for example I may like to build a ranged character with more precision and someone else may wish to develop the crossbow skill, etc.

 

The Graphics are astounding. The artwork is terrific and very loyal to the Alan Lee conception of LOTR. The shire is populated with beautiful hobbit houses just like the ones you saw in the LOTR movies, Bree is breathtaking, especially at night with the light flickering in the houses and lamp poles, Weathertop is huge, eerie and foreboding. But, you're gonna need some power in your computer to drive this thing: 2 gig memory and an advanced graphics card with at least 512 mb of its own memory. I do and I still experience some laggy moment in towns like Bree when there's a bunch of players around, but it's much improved from the stress test weekend before they fixed the memory leak.

 

As this is a MMORPG it has a very WOW-like or GW-like UI. Easily customized with lots of toggles, emotes and other setting for communication [supports voice, too]. The map is pretty bad. There's been a lot of discussion about being able to add map notes or pushpins, some think it takes away from the exploration factors in the game and others think it's a necessary feature [like me]. No decision on what will be released in the final retail.

 

The land itself is quite large, very exporable and very true to Tolkien. It's really Middle Earth. Landmarks from his works are where they're supposed to be. It's possible to follow the LOTR story line from the Shire, across Buckleberry Ferry through the Old Forrest, the Barrow Downs to Bree, through the Midgewater Marsh to Weathertop to Rivendale and beyond. It's very well done.

 

Multiplayer and Soloing: Many of the quests can be done solo, but many have to be done with a party [called a Fellowship]. The Elites that spawn simply cannot be defeated by a single character alone unless you're a Level 20 doing a Level 2 quest. Some areas simply cannot be entered unless you have a Fellowship as it's required to do the quest. I like soloing and exploring and do find it a little frustrating that a solo'er cannot complete some of the quests without being in a Fellowship.

 

The community by in large is currently made up of folks >18 who are beta testing, so the experience is pretty mature so far even though I expect it will change when the retail version hits the market, then we'll all the leet speak and other immature junk so common in other MMORPGs. Kill stealing is impossible as the 1st person to hit the creature gets credit for the kill and is the only one that can loot the body. Some individual creatures necessary for a quest completion do not spawn frequently enough to fulfill all those waiting to complete the quest. I've been standing in line basically waiting for the great "whatever" to appear so I can slay him to complete the quest. The line can be 5-15 players deep and it's not very courteous with many cutting in ahead. They're working on this, they say...

 

There are also Kinships which are alliances, you know with ranks and such, in-kinship communication and the like. It makes it easier to find trading partners and members for partying up.

 

The economy. Well they have crafting - Surpise, surprise! One can choose from a number of professions like Armourer, Explorer, Tinker, Yeoman, Woodsman, Historian and Armsman. I chose Armsman and have 3 vocations; Weaponsmith, Woodworker and Prospector. Each vocation requires a set of tools [easily purchased] which allow you to gather raw materials and create things to trade or sell. They haven't got it all worked out yet, but they're trying, For example I figured out that it took 4.92 silver pieces [based on the market value of the raw material] to create a sword which you can sell for 2.28 silver pieces. Ain't gonna get ahead doing that!

 

Other aspects of the ecomony: there are traders/retailers scattered in all the towns, some do weapons, others do provisions, armour, etc. You can sell the take from drops to them and purchase pretty mundane equipment only. But, it gives you the coin you need to purchase your skills and attributes, repair your armour and weapons and such.

 

There is an auction house where you can bid on items posted by other players - usually better stuff than than the retailers have and you can post items for sale as well.

 

Things I didn't like:

 

Well there was no instructions beyond the tutorial pop-ups during the first segment of the game. It was hard for me to figure out how to target a creature correctly [it's the TAB key], how to jump, how to use the ingame communication system, the hotkeys; well you name it. I almost gave up after getting killed too many times, but once I learned through trial and error the experience was much better.

 

The map really needs a lot of work, seems you only get a 5,000 foot and a 10,000 foot view with no way to enter a note or add a marker. I was literally lost in the Old Forest for hours, going in circles looking for Tom Bombadil. I only found him by accident and I couldn't find my way back to him after doing his quest. I was a little ticked off. A pushpin would have been very helpful to me.

 

The economy - I mentioned earlier that making a sword actully loses you money - makes no sense to me.

 

The Inventory - you get 65 slots, that's it. When exploring you can collect huge amounts of drops, far more than you can carry, so you lose money beacuse you have to bypass it. The inventory does allow stacks, so you can accumulate 50 animal hides in a stack. There are no plans to increase the inventory, nor is there any player housing for storage, only rumours. Be ncie to have that Sacred chest in this game.

 

Overall - It's a darn good MMORPG and for me it's worth the investment. Lot's of good things in this; graphics, community, combat, quests and immersion that's true to Tolkien.

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WOW - thanks for all the info Cel !

 

Sounds awesome :whistle: And you explain everything so well :thumbsup:

 

If they can clear up the few issues you mentioned looks like its gonna be a great game!!

 

Any idea when it will be released?

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How cool Highlander and an amazing post full of info ! :P

 

I don't know if my current pc could handle it with it's current graphics set up though Ram is pretty cheap these days hehe.

 

Shame about the storage :( stackable is good but yeah that sacred chest sounds like it is needed :devil: and we sometimes wish for more storage in sacred.

 

Thanks for all the info Highlander :D

 

:thumbsup::wub::whistle:

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Guest gogoblender
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"now im depressed . thanks for the great review"

 

Ahh, Morse...genius stuff really

 

And yeah Cel...this is a beautiful review. lol, ever thought of going into game reviewing as a serious thingy?

Your way of showing pros and cons is genius. Nothing is quite more useful to me than someone who is perceptive and astute enough to see the connections spanning both sides of the oppinion coin.

And it's interesting to see how two hugely popular worlds like wow and lotr could fare off against each other. In one case you've got a beloved universe, lotr's, which is dead and no new additions are being made to it...is this right?

And on the other hand you've got Wow...which is constantly reinventing itself and getting bigger and more consuming of rl life

Two Choices both sounding good, and both costing money, I'm curious to see how this pans out.

ty

 

:whistle:

 

gogo

 

p.s. lol, ya know, yer review had me goin last night night and all I could do was start suckin up all the info I could on Tom Bombadil.

Man he's so intriguing...this huge Chaos Goodness Factor...love it

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A couple of additional thoughts and an update...

 

The LOTRO servers have been down for scheduled downtime since 7:00 this morning. The presumption is they are updating with a new patch [unconfirmed].

 

I tested a few more things and found out that there is in fact a personal storage area called a vault. They exist in 3 of the major towns at this point. I tried using it when I was in the stress test, but nothing happened and I had no idea what it even did. There's a NPC called the Vault Keeper standing in front of a Bank. When I clicked on him all he did was turn to me, but that was it. I couldn't enter the bank either. So, I assumed it may be part of a quest or something reserved for development in a future release.

 

Last night, I tried him again and low and behold a window with storage slots appeared [maybe 25, not sure]. So I dropped and dragged 6 pretty useless items to the vault. When I re-checked it after loggin out and back in all the stuff was gone. I posted it on their forum. So it's there, it just maybe bugged and hopefully will get addressed in this patch or a future patch before general release.

 

As to the future plans that Turbine has, I'm intrigued. There are some missing components I noticed - Like there's no Fangorn Forrest, no Ents, or Mines of Moria and the Lands of Gondor and Rohan are sort of there [you can see the unmarked areas on the map]. According to what I've gleaned from the Beta forums, these areas represent planned expansion packs. That's pretty exciting news. I could only imagine what the battle at Helm's Deep might be like, Holy Smokes!

 

Once the servers come back up, I'll provide a little more feedback on any significant changes I see.

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I hate to admit it, but >6 hours average per day so far. And more on the weekend days.

 

The game is very good and I'm drawn back in because there is just so much to do. I hit Level 20 with my main toon last night. This is a milestone for character development - many of the 2nd tier skills become available which I purchased [trained for] last night and I can't wait to try out my new "Rain of Arrows" skill. So, once again I'm drawn back in for a while today and really looking forward to it.

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Wow long times per day!

I presume you informed them about the make a sword, lose money thing, now that sounds like a good game!! :3lmao:

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:drinks:

~Doom

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Guest gogoblender

Hey HL, are you still covered by all the parts of the NDA?"

Are you allowed to post pix?

 

 

:P

 

gogo

 

p.s. (This p.s. will self destruct as soon as HL sees it...maybe you can post internally where noone can see it? :whistle: )

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:faerie::drinks::P:whistle:

 

So I'll cry myself to sleep again tonight... thanks Highlander...

 

Those screenies look amazing ! :drinks:

 

Finding time to play all the games is the real problem here ! 6 hrs a day !?!? That's my dream job right there ! Just one more reason to get :bow: of jealousy... :drinks:

I always say there should have been 30 hours in a day, 9 days in a week, 3 day weekend ! Then I'd be able to get all my work done AND mingle with my buds AND play games... :drinks:

Edited by Scleameth
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  • 2 weeks later...

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