Hollow Earth

Lord of the Rings Online

I began the week by setting up the appropriate accounts for my week-long trial of Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). I chose this week because I wasn’t going to be as busy as I normally am and figured I had plenty of time to try it out.

And halfway through I’m writing my review. This is telling of the game.

Alright, the first thing that obviously has to be said is that the game keeps you busy. Compared to the relative lack of “quests” in Uru, this is a good thing for LOTRO. Unfortunately, it seems like the only good thing.

Next, my experience. Well I started off by getting the client and installing it a few weeks ago. Then I set up a turbine account (a somewhat confusing process, but I did it anyhow). I then went into the long process of downloading updates. I put in my info and selected the area (aka Server) I wanted to go to. Logged in, and set up my character. Race, profession, eye color, hair style, beard style for my dwarf (hey, Uru’s in a cavern, of course I’m a dwarf). And I then set upon meeting people and seeing what the game had to offer.

Only I didn’t. What I did was begin my questing with a mess of cut-scenes and scripted events where random nobodies were killed off while I was conveniently “dizzy.”(I seem to get these random dizzy spells every time a notable member of the Fellowship of the Ring pops up by me. I’m either fainting from their awesomeness or bored into a coma from their verbose monologues and I’m wagering on the second option). Either that or I’m killing other dwarves/goblins/ugly horned things/kittens (okay, they’re called “highland cubs,” but they’re still kittens). The important point here is that it never stops. While that’s good in terms of keeping me busy, so far I haven’t seen many people. Two or three who never spoke. The rest are NPCs. I have no way of getting in touch with a group of people like I do in Uru or EVE. I want to chat with people or at least see other’s chat. Instead I’m running back and forth doing people’s errands.

Another thing to be said about LOTRO is the graphics. They’re terrible. Only Warcraft does them worse. The models are fairly low on polygons, the environments are rather simple and the textures are small and blurry.

Okay, I thought, maybe I’m just being hard on it because I liked EVE so much. So I tried a new “area” (server) and a new race (elf). And I was slightly right, but only slightly. I fought a battle with the elves, got dizzy when Elrond came into view, and then ended up in the dwarf’s land. So I can replay these quests from the perspectives of each race, which is neat. But, really, the game didn’t seem to ever open up. I was stuck in un-ending quests.

The last thought on LOTRO is about expectations and how they pertain to Uru’s past and future. I came into LOTRO with the expectation that I could relax with some old Uru friends and enjoy a world that, while not as beautiful as Uru’s, was still an interesting world; as well as enjoying the fantasy world of Tolkien. What I found was a typical leveling MMO only slightly veiled in the world of Tolkien. And this ties into Uru’s expectations. I’m sure people in the game (or at least I’d hope there are people in the game) who would tell me that there’s this going on and this and this, etc. But the strong usage of quests without the open-ness I expected (of being able to talk to friends, etc.) turned me off. As anyone will tell you, this was part of Uru’s downfall. People came into this game with varying expectations (expecting a game with more puzzles like Myst or large ages like the previous Uru). And while, from a fans perspective, those expectations are unfair and easily explained: the problem, sadly, was that those expectations were not tempered from the start or otherwise met. Hopefully any further incarnations of Uru will deal with this problem more effectively.


Filed under: Reviews

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All posts are my opinion only and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others.
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