It's been quite a while since I last wrote anything, so I thought I would come back and get started with a game that is just about to be open as a F2P game in a day or two. Yup, Lord of The Rings Online (LoTRO) will be heading to the Free to Play realm like it's older sibling Dungeons & Dragons Online, and there is much to anticipate for this wonderful 'AAA' title!
LoTRO has been around for quite a while, and is currently slightly over 3 years old. It has been rather successful, with a rather unique experience not found in many games so far. With so many changes done over the years, the game has been fine-tuned and polished to a level not expected of a F2P game!
With the right hardware and Direct X 10, it still does look rather spectacular!
It is an MMORPG which is similar to games like World of Warcraft. However, the focus of LoTRO would be immersion. Even when the game is starting to show it age compared to current gen mmos like Aion, and wouldn't be able to compare to next gen mmos like Blade & Soul, it still manages to immerse you into it's world with it's lush environments and cinematic effects found in all areas of the game.
I believe that all of you have had some exposure to Lord of The Rings, either to the novels or the movies, so I will not eleborate on the storyline and key characters. Players will play as a hero from one of the races (Man, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit) and work together to put a stop Sauron and his evil plans by destroying the One Ring. Along your journey, you can be sure you will see the iconic characters in the story like Gandulf and Frodo. You will be able to interact with them, and even fight along-side them to assist them in their quest!
I believe you will even see Gollum!
Combat is much alike World of Warcraft and Everquest 2 with it's own unique mechanics. Classes are all rather unique, made to fit into the LoTR universe, yet able to fulfil your usual roles of tank, dps and healer. While the beginning levels players can expect to solo with ease, the difficulty level will gradually raise up to the point where players might need at least a partner to move on with the same speed and efficiency like the earlier levels. LoTRO is indeed a party-based game, much alike Everquest 2, and is best enjoyed with a small bunch of friends. But never fear, players who go in alone should be able to get into a group with reletive ease, either in a PUG or by joining a Fellowship, which is the guild equivilent in other games.
The options for races, however, not all might be available for free.
LoTRO has plenty to offer at this point of time in terms of content. While it might pale in comparison to Everquest 2 (A writeup on Everquest 2 Extended later on!) in terms of sheer content, you can be sure you will have a blast for a few months at least. With a 2 full fledged expension packs released (Mines of Moria and Siege of Mirkwood), and a large number of free content updates (called "Books"), players should expect to be able to explore quite a large portion of the content free, if the system is going to be akin to DDO, which has proven to be wildly successful.
The Orcs are waiting!
With the game entering it's maiden voyage to the F2P realm, well, other then the huge installer (and I mean HUGE), there is little much else you will be wasting to try the game out.