Lord Of The Rings Online: One Ring To Rule All Gamers
By Kei Beneza (Dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
Lord of The Rings Online is an MMORPG based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings franchise, that spawned a movie trilogy and countless video game titles. The game was released in 2007 by Turbine, the company responsible for games like Dungeons & Dragons Online and Ascheron’s Call. Why settle for less when you can actually pick the game that really started it all? Well, Lord of The Rings Online (LOTRO) may not be the ancestral tree of MMO gaming (because I may have exaggerated a bit), but there’s no doubt that it spawned straight from the fantasy world’s origins.
LOTRO originally started as a pay to play game made to rival other premium P2P games like World of Warcraft. The game eventually joined the F2P family upon reaching its third year of service, which is probably a blessing for most MMO gamers as we rarely see premium MMO games go free to play. Anyway, as you may have guessed, the game is set in the soils of Middle Earth where unspoken characters (such as yourself) are busy fending off other sources of evil while Elijah Wood and Sean Astin tries to reach a pit of lava to save the world. Since the world of Lord of The Rings offers enough lore, monsters, and diversity to keep players entertained, there’s no doubt that J.R.R Tolkien’s masterpiece feels perfect in the form of an MMORPG. It’s as if the story itself was meant to be populated by players since Tolkien decided to create the story. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s see what else we can find in Middle Earth.
Starting Up: I wanna be Uruk Hai
Despite its origins, Lord of the Rings Online still plays like your regular premium MMO. Regardless of its founding origins, the whole originality factor does apply to its MMO version. After logging in for the first time, players are opted to create their first character. Note that you are only allowed to create a single character per account. Any additional character slots after that are acquired through Turbine points, which technically means real cash.
There are four races to choose from: Human, Dwarf, Elf and the trademarked Hobbit. Maybe it’s just me, but I really wish everyone wasn’t forced to play the good guys by default. It IS a role playing game after all, and having orcs and wraiths as playable races should boost the possibilities and replay value for both roleplayers and PVP lovers. It is a WAR-themed MMO to begin with, and being at war with the AI alone can be pretty…. linear. Anyway, each race has their own unique racial abilities that allow them to both feel and play differently from other races sharing the same class. Also, not all classes can be picked by all races, so make sure you think hard before picking your race.
There are nine classes in the game: Burglar, Captain, Champion, Guardian, Hunter, Lore-Master, Minstrel, Rune Keeper, and Warden. The best part about this selection is that they play quite differently from each other, unlike other games that only feature minor differences, resulting to a clonefest of utter proportions. So far, my only gripe about the game’s character creation is their take on the Rune Keeper and Warden, which are both pay to play characters. You want them? Charge up on turbine points. T_T.
Once you’re done with your character’s class, you’ll be prompted to customize your character’s looks. As far as diversity is concerned, the game has enough hairstyles and features to keep your character unique. This is a big plus in my opinion, as most MMOs don’t have much to choose from.
Questing: Further Immersion
With lores branching out from the depths of middle earth, you can bet you AXE there’ll be tons of quests to follow. First of all, I would like to say that the quests in this game are presented very well (probably the best there is at the moment). There’s a lot of diversity when it comes to the game’s questing system. The NPC to PC interaction is so superb, it actually feels like you’re playing a singleplayer game. Comparng it to the likes of WoW and DDO, I’d say LOTRO’s quests are second to none. Anyway, aside from traditional questing, LOTRO also offers ‘Deed’ quests, which are tasks that reward players with character bonuses and awesome titles. At first I thought deed quests were nothing but cheap sidelines, that is until one took me hours to complete. There are tons of deed quests in the game, meaning there will always be something to do outside the main storyline.
Graphics: GO 3D MIDDLE EARTH
The graphics are actually pretty good, especially when you’re running the game on high specs. The best part about this game is that it has two different clients that separates strong computers from weak ones. If you think your PC can’t handle anything higher than WoW, then might as well go with the standard client; however, if you think your PC can handle a visual beating, then the highres client is for you. Middle Earth has never been this beautiful, and the mere fact that you’re allowed to explore the awesome world of Lord of The Rings in full 3d makes it an honorable experience. The spells and effects look charming, and the lighting effects greatly complements the skills’ execution. Also, in accordance to what I’ve said about the game’s quests, the game does not offer a static background for players to travel in. One good example would be the starting quest for elves where other elves are busy protecting their precious artifact. I’m telling you, I crapped in my pants after seeing them tear down that building ingame. This is perhaps one of the things that are considered rare in MMO gaming. Once you mix singleplayer elements with MMO gameplay, you can never go wrong.
There’s definitely a lot of stuff to ponder on when playing Lord of The Rings Online. Not only is this game blessed with a rich lore and stunning graphics, it also contains the most up to date MMO features like raids, battlegrounds, and utmost PVP. The quests are quite rewarding, and the storydriven gameplay guarantees nonstop fun for both LOTR fans and non-fans alike. The graphics are really impressive and would most likely keep you in the state of visual bliss as you journey across Middle Earth’s ever changing areas. Again, it’s such a shame that everyone’s forced to play hero by default, but who knows? Maybe we’ll get to play Uruk Hai soon :3. Tolkien would probably jump for joy if he lived to see this game come to life.
– Questing bonanza
– Character Customization selections
– Diverse areas
– Storydriven gameplay
– Excellent graphics.
– Some classes need to be bought
– It would be nice to play as the enemy…. really…
– Some hud elements overlap ingame.