Playing Lord of the Rings Online has been an… interesting experience for me. I am no stranger to video games and MMO’s, but LOTRO provided an experience that was both new and familiar at the same time.
Starting up the game, I designed a character, a DPS character like usual since that is the build I prefer. When the game started, I was interested in the tutorial and intro quests. I hadn’t experienced an MMO that started the player in the game in such a way. It made the game feel very story-based, filled with narrative and character and plot; a feeling that most MMO’s fail at inspiring.
Unfortunately, once the Tutorial and Intro quests ended, it became an experience far more like those of a traditional MMO, such as WoW. I was impressed at the recreation of Tolkien’s world. It felt very solid and complete, like I had actually stepped into Middle Earth. Unfortunately, the game began to suffer in other ways. Once reaching Bree, the player is exposed to what I am calling quest-bloat- the experience wherein a large amount of quests become available all at once. This is an issue I have with many open-world games, and especially MMO’s. I like to complete every quest I can, or do everything else I can, before continuing the main quest-line. In this case, this has caused the game to grind to a more-or-less complete and utter halt.
Another issue with LOTRO is the pay-to-play and pay-to-win mechanics. You have to pay to unlock basic necessities such as extra bag space and other things. It feels a bit unfair to those who are unable to pay real money and makes the game just a slight bit less fun.
I guess I started out really enjoying the gameplay and ideas that were put into LOTRO and became just a bit disappointed when it started to resemble traditional MMO-fare.