Sunday, January 27, 2008

Review - Lord of the Rings Online

I just realized I never posted anything about this game, so here it goes.

I bought this game for about $20 near the beginning of this month. They were running a special: $10/mo. if you pay 3 mos at a time, so I took it. I haven't used up my first 30 days yet so I can still cancel. I don't have a problem paying $10/month, but there is absolutely no reason Blizzard is charging $15/month when you can't get on during peak hours without waiting 30 minutes. Anyway...

I've tried an elf, a human and a hobbit. Playing the hobbit now. Like in WoW, the different races have different starting areas, but it's not as diverse. I heard recently that you are really paying for the WORLD of Warcraft, not just the characters, and that some people stop playing once they hit level 58 because they have seen everything by that point (I only made it to maybe 20 with my best char). Even though the areas aren't very different, this IS Tolkien's world, and all of the characters start in roughly the same area of the world.

The gameplay is extremely similar to WoW, as is expected. So why play this instead? Well, it's a world I have read about since I was 10, so it has a real impact. The game itself really does make you care more about the quests, and there are quite a few new style quests. For example, one quest had me play hide-and-seek with a few kids, another had me sneak packages from post office to post office without getting caught by 'nosy Hobbits'. There was even a chicken quest in which I was turned into a chicken and had to dig for worms while avoiding boars! Of course there are still the 'Fed Ex' and 'Get X items of Y animals', but the animals always drop the needed thing, so you don't have to kill 20 boars to get 5 boar tusks.

Best part? You start off with tons of bags, unlike WoW. You are able to explore for what seems like hours before you have to go back to town to sell. You always have to go back to town to complete the quests before you have to go back to unload all of the crap you collected.

Worst part? Crickets. As in what you hear when there's no one around. I am still in the newbie areas, but I'm shocked at the lack of people playing. Hopefully the game will survive. I suppose they could consolidate servers if they needed to, and they haven't, so maybe there are more people in the higher level areas. Hopefully people are sticking with their main characters and don't feel they have to keep making new ones. I guess I can think of it as a solo game with the ability to have more than one person in it.

Other differences: If you go through the newbie area once for a race, you can skip the newbie process for the next character of that race. You can't play as the bad guys except in special arena areas. You can't zoom the minimap in or out, so it's hard to find questgivers, especially when you are returning from a quest that asks you to bring things to a different person than the one that gave you the quest.

I have a long way to go before I get to Bree, but I did explore the Shire and made the trek to Bilbo's old house. Can't go in, of course, but it was nice being able to actually walk around the area. I'll have to visit my favorite areas from the books, including Bree & the Prancing Pony, Weathertop and Bombadil's house. The elves start out in the same area as the dwarves, so I haven't seen a real elf town yet, so that will also be nice. I'm under the impression they are still building the world, so I can't go to Mordor even if I could survive the trek. I'm sure it will be awesome to see the white tree.

No comments: