So I live in the US, specifically Florida, and obviously Covid-19 is a big deal here which means my ability to work has been limited. I’m also a college student in between semesters, which all of this is to say I have a lot of free time on my hands atm. I’m not a super huge Tolkien nerd, I’ve read LOTR and the hobbit and seen the films so I would say I’m a fan, but there’s still a lot of lore that I don’t know about, and I’ve always been aware of LOTRO but always thought it was a super old, super dead game that just wasn’t worth the time. Well since I’ve had a lot of time on my hands, I’ve kind of been burning myself out pretty quickly from the MMO’s I like, mainly WoW and ESO, so I’ve been branching out into some F2P MMO’s on steam. I tried out rift, which I enjoyed but just felt like the combat was really boring and the player base just doesn’t exist anymore. I tried tera which I’ve tried in the past and liked the combat but not much else.
Anyway eventually I found myself becoming curious about LOTRO, so I decided to watch some streamers playing it on twitch and try and see what the game is all about. I found out that rn all of the DLC and xpacs for LOTRO are available for everyone until the end of August, so I said fuck it I’ll give it a try. I hopped in and immediately I was a bit surprised billy how good it looked. Sure, the game is old and it doesn’t stand up to most modern MMO’s in terms of fidelity, but I found myself really attracted to the art style. It just had this charm to it, similar to that of vanilla WoW or OSRS, and the character animations were surprisingly pretty fluid. I created an elf hunter and set off and this is where my appreciation for the art style of this game really began. This games world is GORGEOUS! The landscapes are so large and open and they feel so organic, the grass and trees are so dense and the game just does such a good job of making you feel like you’ve entered the LOTR universe.
Initially I thought the movement and combat were a bit janky, but combat became surprisingly fluid as I leveled up and the animations start to look pretty cool once you gain access to higher level abilities. The visual progression of your character is definitely really good here as you not only get cooler looking armor as you level, but more powerful and impactful looking abilities as well. Speaking of progression, skill trees are a thing in this game and they’re well done, very similar to vanilla WoW’s and yeah it’s an old system but it’s tried and true and it works well. However, LOTRO has other means of progression with your racial traits and another trait system that at the moment I can’t think of it name, but they provide further customization of your character and are very appreciated.
Visual customization is also superb, you basically have the ability to wear any piece of armor you want as a cosmetic wherever you want and with no cost to do so, and plenty of dyes to choose from to make sure you’re color coordinated. Seems like the devs just took WoW’s transmog system and just removed the restrictions and got rid of the cost associated, which is great IMO. Looking the way you want to in an MMO is one of the most important things to players in the game and I’m proud to say my elf is looking real stylish wearing some store cosmetics i bought because I just couldn’t resist but I don’t regret any of it in the slightest.
And about the store, yes ofc there’s a cash shop. It’s a F2P MMO, obviously they gotta make money somehow. The store isn’t…THAT egregious, some things are a little questionable but for the most part things are priced pretty fairly and the game is by no means P2W, so I don’t think it’s a problem.
Something that really shocked me was just how populated the game is. In the starting zones I saw quite a few new players running around, and once I got to Bree, HOLY SHIT there were a ton of people around! I was genuinely shocked that so many people were playing. And man, everyone in the game is so friendly and helpful, this game definitely has a great community. Anytime I needed help with a difficult quest lots of people would jump at the opportunity to help, one time I even had someone send me a message asking if I was all good almost AN HOUR AFTER I HAD ASKED FOR HELP! This dude went out of his way to make sure I got the help I needed and it was so cool. People just craft things and give them to people who need them for free, one guy saw my gear was a bit under leveled and just crafted me a full set of armor completely for free, just because he wanted to. Honestly it’s so amazing to see so many awesome friendly people around.
I could go on and on about how great this game is, it has legit consumed my life for the last week and I’m so glad that I gave the game a chance, and so I’m making this post to just get the word out to people that LOTRO is alive and well and it’s a fantastic game and right now is a great time to jump in and give it a try if you haven’t.
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