Home > Gaming, Lord of the Rings Online, World of Warcraft > Starting Lord of the Rings Online

Starting Lord of the Rings Online

It’s been months now since our guild downed The Lich King on WoW.  And I was fairly disappointed in it myself seeing we downed him with troubles while out geared the encounter (normal mode) with a 15% buff hugging us.  Still, I joined to whoop the lich kings ass and somehow it happened.  I left WoW, and sadly the guild as well because of a highly irritable officer so what lies ahead for me once Cataclysm hits, I personally have no clue.

Regardless, for the time being – I shifted my watch on to Lord of the Rings Online.  A game I played back in 2009 Summer, and greatly enjoyed.  Sadly didn’t give it the attention it deserved, and didn’t quite make it past classic Shadows of Angmar.

I’m currently busy leveling up my hunter (As I’m writing he’s level 50, crafting stuff in Bree!) aiming for the max level content (as opposed to endgame, since LotRO Developers don’t quite like to call it that)

I’d say my main aim would be top level raiding and PvMP (Player versus Monster Player).  I’ve never quite gotten to raiding in LotRO, so I’m very curious to find out what it’s like.  I’ve played PvMP before (Only need a level 10 freep or higher to make a monster character) but since Siege of Mirkwood expansion came out I’ve never gotten around to trying it.

The Game – Community

It’s most definitely a unique game in and out of itself.  While it doesn’t sport millions of layers such as WoW, it’s community is… "refined" I guess you’d call it.  I’m not one to judge of course, I’d be considered the rough type compared to the LotRO gamers, but I find myself fitting easier in the game with such a community.  Mostly helpful players (in their  own way) and while fights do ensue, they’re not the childish "I’m 21, you’re – here’s some potential evidence to my bullshit claim".  It’s still pretty ugly whenever people fight on the internet, but at least they don’t degrade themselves in the process.  Makes me smile and nod when I remember of WoW forum fights.  The players are friendly if you ask for help, aggressive if you make wild claims, funny if you’re worth laughing at, and moderately skilled at the very least in the game.  Losers are not whiners – they might be quitters at best but you don’t get rage posts (nowhere near WoW style at least) about the mega fail they took part in.

I find the community to be well above WoW standards.  The shift from WoW to LotRO (especially the first time I did it) blew me completely away.  I loved it – and to this day I still see it shine brightly whenever I check out Global LFF or town chat in general.

Role-playing – Yes.  If you came from a WoW background role-playing is most probably terrible.  Little children planning on defending Stormwind, until they hear about cataclysm, where some fire breathing dragon nukes it and gives them the middle finger up their ass.  (Rage: Deactivated).  In LotRO, RP is a more pleasant day-to-day kind of encounter.  While I don’t have the patience to join into it, just passing by Role-Players gives the game a new level of "reality".  You see actual players adding taste to the game without being annoying.  It’s the new way of making inns look realistic – let the players themselves add flavor to it.  The difference between WoW inns and LotRO inns would be, in my opinion, that LotRO’s look more like real inns where individuals would hang out.  Which leads me to the next point.

Graphics

You played WoW, and then go to LotRO.  Graphics are a no brainer to explain:  BETTER.  Lush, live and semi-reactive environment, dynamic skyboxes mimicking night and day, and very pleasant "thickness" to the game itself.  You have to play it to enjoy it.  Even on my crappy laptop, it can run just as good and look astoundingly better.  The graphics are highly configurable, which means you can make it blow you brains out with awesomeness and make that monster rig of yours sweat, or drive you back to grained textures for your 7 year old computer to struggle with, while still allowing the play to happen.

The game’s graphic scale very well, some options dominate the look of the game, such as "Material Detail" when outdoors.  AA on smaller monitors; Texture Detail and Filtering.  Regardless on how you configure it, provided you don’t have a 10 year old computer the game will run and look, at the very least fine.  The better computers can make it look astounding, with killer style graphics.  In this regard, LotRO is in no way at a loss.

Character Customization

Every and any RPG, needs to have detailed, intricate and enjoyable character control.  Make it fit us, and spice it up to our own tastes.  LotRO accomplishes this in such a way that greatly surpassed my expectations.  It once again matches and flat out beats WoW in this regard, so let us compare.

Gearing

Gearing, in both WoW and LotRO is solid.  You get a decently wide variety of gear choices, some of which are clearly direct upgrades over others, and some more might make you achieve a headache, which I tend to judge them as trivial differences, and I’ll just pick one and throw the other.  At least, that’s what I would do in WoW.  The stats are very much static.  There’s a stat you want on your gear, and everything else doesn’t quite matter.  In LotRO things change.

You need all stats, be it to stay alive during raid damage, do your share of damage before the whole raid breaks and gets its ass handed to it on a plate, with a handkerchief as a souvenir to wipe your tears with.  As well as stats which keep your power up and allow you to stay useful in combat.

The one thing LotRO outdoes WoW in regards of gearing would be the Legendary Weapons.  Have you played Diablo 2?  Noticed that not all weapons were the same and randomization was all part of the equation?   Well something similar happens in LotRO.  You get a legendary weapon.  You can identify this weapon at a forge master and decide whether or not the legacies it has (it’s strengths) fit your particular role or not.  Should they do, you can equip it with relics (stat boosters – depending on the relics’ tiers) and fight with it.  The weapon itself gains experience and levels up along with you.  It may be considered grindy, but this happens along with every day play.  The level ups will grant you points you can spend on the legacies and improve upon it.  Should the legacies simply not be good enough you can choose to deconstruct it and acquire strongish relics, depending on the weapon’s level.  You get more than one legendary, some get two other can carry more.  You can track several legendary weapons in your legendary slots.  You start out on these at around level 45.  A bit of depth that makes your weapons come to some form of life.  Immersion increases – fun multiplies.

At the same time it may backfire, you may never quite get your ideal legendary weapons, should the legacies not fit.  But RNG is not unheard of in WoW.  I spent 3 months and a half farming Muradin’s Spyglass for my shadow priest and to this day it hasn’t drop, even after stopping the game.  3 months and a half, week in and out is no joke in my opinion. So yes, gearing would go to LotRO.  There’s more depth to it, and not all items are classified as "right or wrong".  It depends whether you want survivability, higher burst or power regeneration.  It’s a fine balance between both, and keeping several different pieces based upon the situation is not unheard of in LotRO.

Talents or Traits

WoW has talents.  Put 5 points in a tier of any particular tree and you’ll open the next.  In LotRO you have A Trait system.  It’s a bit bigger as a system in itself, but not complicated at all.  Easy to understand, with added depth.  The trait system covers Passive Boosts, Enhanced Abilities, and Added utilities just as WoW does, but it adds extra detail.

The trait system in LotRO is split into 4 main areas:  Virtue, Race, Class, Legendary.

Virtues are the passive traits.  You unlock these through deeds.  You can have 5 active Virtues at any one time.  The maximum level for each virtue is 10.  Most deeds will grant you 1 of a particular deed, some may grant you 2 levels of that deed.  Unlocking them does involve farming.  If this is a good or a bad point to the game it’s up to you to judge.  I consider unlocking the 10th level of a deed to make sense in the game, but at the same time, game-wise can become annoying.  Plan it right, you’ll have minimal farming to carry out, but still farming, which can take a few days to complete.  Play recklessly without a plan and you’ll end up with possibly whole weeks of farming the deeds to get them done.  Regardless there are 20 virtues in total, and you can equip 5 at any on time.  Any particular class will most probably never use more than 8.  And even then only 4 or 5 of them need to be maxed out fully.  Maxing out the other ones is generally up to preference and to ease the gameplay a tad.

Race traits depend upon what race your character is.  There are 4 available races:  Race of Men (human), Elf, Hobbit and Dwarf (male for all races except for dwarfs, which only come in male flavor).  The Race traits are essentially utility type.  For example, my Elf Hunter has 2 passives: +Bow Damage and +5% Fellowship Maneuver Morale and Power Restoration, which will I explain in a bit.  The other 3 traits ( 5 maximum) grant me a "Guide to Rivendell" essentially a teleport (costs travelling rations) to the elves city.  Also one of the most beautiful, lush areas in LotRO!  An active parry increase ability giving my character a 10s time frame during which at least 75% of all attacks, will be parried, or partially parried.  Which pretty much extends my survivability by 10 seconds.  The final trait is a stealth ability.  Nowhere near as strong as a burglars, and has a hellish long cooldown, but we can become shadowy should the need arise.

Class traits are the second most important traits, second only to the Legendary Traits.  The Class traits are split into 3 trees (think of these as WoW’s class trees), in my case "Bow master, Trapper of Foes and Huntsman".  You don’t unlock these by dropping points in them, but once again completing deeds.  The deeds may be considered the farming type such as "Strike enemies 5000 times with critical attacks" to get a critical type trait, but it really isn’t.  They complete themselves along the way and you’ll acquire them at particular levels regardless.  They also have a limit of how many you can progress in them per day.  It’s mostly an anti farming measure.  They really don’t want the players to grind throughout their playtime but rather experience the world of LotR by completing tasks and going over hurdles.  Slotting 5 class  traits of the same tree allows you the ability to slot in a particular Legendary trait.  These particular legendary traits tend to rock heaven if used right.

Legendary traits are *the* traits.  Thinks of the legendary traits as WoW’s class type.  You slot in healing type legendaries, you’re pretty much a healer, getting these right will generally give you the biggest boost.  My hunter gets a 15s fear (30s cooldown), a 30s AOE Root (3min cooldown) and a +3k Morale and +3k Power heal.  Sweet deal if you ask me.  You can slot 3 legendary traits at any one time.  You can pick these from a variety of 7 traits.

Classes

Classes in LotRO, at least so far, seem to be truly vocational.  If you’re a hybrid – you’re an ACTUAL hybrid.  Hybrid in wow means "You level one character, which can fill all 3 roles just as good as other classes could, if not better".  A hybrid was what you’d go for if you wanted to do multiple roles and avoid leveling multiple characters.  You only really do that role while in a fight, as a paladin tank, you won’t be going dps.  Healing is left to the pure healers, dps won’t ever try to tank the boss – EVER, they get smoked damn fast.  Heal/DPS hybrid classes will either heal or DPS.  In LotRO, classes are vocational in the concept where not all classes are going to simply do one of the main 3 roles and never shift around.  There are classes such as Hunters which can be utilized as off tanks; Burglars which start fellowship maneuvers, Lore Masters which drop global CCs, manage power and are in charge of debuffing the enemies.  You pick a class, you’re sure to find your own unique role with it, which other classes can’t copy and render you useless.

In this regard, I consider LotRO classes far more interesting than WoW.  Playing your class isn’t as simple as rotating or prioritizing.  You have abilities which you are fairly free to use in any particular order you like.  You can stick to enduring throughout the whole fight or burning through your power pool one in one go, hoping you have a power-to-me agreement with your fellowship’s LM =p.

One a side note, and since this is my blog, my most favorite class would be a LM, in case you haven’t noticed yet.  Cool looking abilities, extremely useful and effective in combat, whoop severe ass and chew plenty of bubble gum.  Next up I guess I’d fit in a Rune Keeper.  Simply because they’re quite overpowered.  Then a Burglar for the Fellowship maneuvers!

Combat

LotRO and WoW win a point each in this one.  LotRO implements the "each class has its own, useful, particular role" as well as the pretty famous and beloved "Fellowship Maneuvers" which are, in a nutshell, a particular ability which is operated by every member in the fellowship.  When a fellowship maneuvers triggers each player can participate in this by choosing 1 of 4 actions:  Direct Damage, Damage over Time, Morale Boost, Power Boost  (Note:  Power = Mana, Morale = Health, in LotRO – which is a more realistic explanation to losing without being buried in game.  In LotRO, if you lose all your morale, you are "defeated", not dead.  And you retreat back to safety while bringing down heaven to tears if you’re the raging type)  Individual choosing of an ability depending on whether the player wants health, morale or just to deal damage, makes a Fellowship Maneuver fairly useful.  But when coordination steps in, pulling off a Flush or a Straight maneuver can topple the enemy over and reinvigorate the whole team very quickly.  This is where LotRO wins a point in my opinion.  Teamed combat is extremely immersive in LotRO as opposed to WoW’s more homogenized style of play, where you’re more often watching add-ons and reading data off your interface than playing the game itself.

WoW’s combat on the other hand managed to take a point off of my cold hands due to the fact that it simply feels more flowing.  I guess it only makes sense seeing the theme is cartoonish while LotRO’s is a bit more realistic, while still a fantasy concept.  Still, I enjoy WoW’s quick playstyle, stack haste, mash the fuKK outta your keybinds and watch the DPS meter climb up.  Hi5.  LotRO’s combat may feel a bit slower, although more immersing than WoW.

Environmental Content

In this section, as to who takes the point, I honestly have no clue.  I simply won’t give WoW this point because the content in WoW is mostly a rip off, circle-around till you get to the real fight.  You kill the antagonist and the game’s over until the next expansion, really.  LotRO’s higher level content I’ve never gotten to try it, and I’m not the fanboy type (ye ye, shut up) to throw it a free point and cook up lies.  I’ve played low level and I felt I enjoyed low level content way more than WoW’s "Forced power leveling" type of game-style.  Regardless I’ve never done a max level raid in Lotro as opposed to wow.  And I can’t say I hated WoW’s endgame bosses – it was fun when we managed to pick up the pace and stop a particular’s officer quitting attitude.  It’s a no win-draw for this one.  I’ll see and judge once I’m there.

PvP/PvMP Content

Handing it straight out to LotRO.  Enough said?  Nah, I got a couple of rants on this one too.  The design of PvP in LotRO is way more justified than WoW.  Sure wow makes sense in doing arenas, but when I recall that the existence of WoW itself is being thrown in chaos by legendary badass mofos, making the players spar one another seems pathetic to me.  WoW’s PVP is also a simple game of comps and "preparation" over actual performance.  You perform depending on your talent setup, gear and team setup.  Doing what you have to do in the match becomes fairly straight forward, getting the time right for it and surprise butt-sexing your opponent just adds flavor to the whole fight.

LotRO’s PvMP may be more limited (i’m counting out spars for both games here, since spars are just a way to spend some time than anything else) seeing you only really fight in one area, and the objectives are fairly repetitive, but so are WoW’s (beat the opponents, take the areas),  LotRO carries it out way better.  It’s not promising balance, it’s taken for granted that it’s not meant for 1v1.  The concept is to charge the opponents and tactically advance forward to conquer towers or defend them.  The fight is meant to be slightly in favor of freeps (free people), so a freep can take more than one creep (monsters) down.  As a freep you play your normal character.  As a creep you get to become one of several races (races define classes in this case).  And the monsters will cover the same roles freeps can with slightly less power.  Creeps are created at max level and start out severely weaker than freeps.  You improve them by building up their passive abilities (via destiny points) and acquiring new abilities, based on ranks, which increases in PvMP warfare.  Played well enough, a moderately high ranked creep can oppose an average max level freep.  But a well prepared freep, particularly rune keepers will grant you whoop-ass enmasse. A freep generally takes 3 to 5 average creeps to take down.  Bigger groups of both freeps and creeps obviously don’t need trice as many creeps as there are freeps for it to be balanced, utilizing tactics correctly, creeps are on equal footing with freeps.  Making good use of the environment is usually key to a victory, be it a dominant charge or a successful defense.

Overall, this was more of a LotRO vs WoW than a LotRO blog post, but I believe I don’t need to justify comparing MMOs to existing ones.  Until Cataclysm hits, I believe Lotro will keep me happy and occupied for quite a while.

Shoutout – Watch One Piece

Completely unrelated to the above, I’d like to just point out One Piece to every and anybody.  It’s an anime – or a Japanese Cartoon.  Boasting 450+ episodes it’s hands down my most favorite anime of all time.  Adults and children should be watching this, it will get your blood boiling and foot tapping very fast!  Follow here if you’d like to check it out in it’s native language (Japanese) with English subtitles – which is, in my opinion, the only true way to watch anime = http://www.watch-onepiece.com/#one-piece-episodes

Off to it to now, drat my memory. (8th time re-watching >.<)

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