In my first few hours playing Lord of the Rings Online, I thought that it was going to be a different beast from the other MMO’s that I’ve played. As much as I’ve probably tried to deny it, I have had plenty of experience in the genre, playing games all the way back to Everquest, Final Fantasy XI, and, of course, World of Warcraft.
At the beginning of my time in game, and this is speaking as a Dwarf Guardian (I don’t know how relative it all is to story experiences), I had a very fun instanced beginning bit wherein I was helping to rescue Thorin’s Hall from the Dourhand dwarves, who apparently had become disillusioned with their complacency and had been tempted to the dark side with promises of power beyond their wildest imaginings (stop me when you’ve heard this one, right?). I had to help a dwarf named Dwalin to fight through and free Thorin’s Hall, which then became the main hub city for all my auctioning, banking, and training needs. This was a great way to start the game, and I had high hopes at this point that the rest of the game would be similar – very story driven, with possibly even more instanced, story-propelling events like this.
However, not long after leaving that intro quest, I realized that LOTRO didn’t totally escape the inane fetch and kill-this-many-pack-rats quests that MMO’s have been recycling since, well, for as long as there have been MMO’s. It didn’t surprise me all that much, but what I found unfortunate was that the story started to get mucked up behind all of those silly little mundane tasks. For a town that had just been liberated from what could have been Sauron’s puppet regime, the Dourhands, it seemed quite like it had just experienced a spot of amnesia. Instead of driving the plot forward, I was back to killing goblins, fetching an old man his medicine, and… killing dangerous, deadly flowers?
All in all, I would say that LOTRO thus far has been immensely fun to play, but I only wish that the main story arch would have been encompassed in more than just the first hour intro quest, and from time to time thereafter.