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Lord of the Rings Online ― Multisolo

ridingWhen talking about fantasy MMOs, LotRO mustn’t be left out. This online variation of the the world of Lord of the Rings is worthy of the big ancestor and namegiver, and although gameplay is not so unique, you won’t find too many flaws in it.

It is free since September (2010.), for which cause it was left by thousands and started by millions, so the conversion seems like a valid pull. There is a disagreement on the web between the fans of f2p (free to play) and pfp (pay for play), but I won’t go into it: I see reasons in both the fully paying and the microtransaction model alike.

I rather write about the game. The American publisher, Turbine (and Codemasters in Europe) follows the same principle in LotRO than in Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO): A free player can have such points that he/she can use for paying in the online store of the game, so this way even free players can have almost anything that paying players get. While in DDO you need to complete the quests again and again (this repetition was why I get bored of it time and time again, but otherwise it’s a good game), LotRo handles this part of the system as a separate type of tasks.

doing the workThese are the heroic deeds, and although they are in a defined number, but playing with two characters (free game allows only two) you still can get enough Turbine Points to get horses, maybe remove the money cap, buy some quest packs (each belongs to one or other lands of Middle Earth), etc. If you create the two characters to augment each other in ways, you can easily find yourself undecided regarding which one you will play next time you start the game. I ran forward a little.

I was at the tasks: Besides heroic deeds there is an epic story, and between the quests of it you can handle all the sidequests, your hobby, your crafts and the events of the war. Ups, this sounds a bit too many in the same breath — indeed it is. It is so many that I mostly neglect the main story, even if I don’t want to.

But the main story is genial. After every possible media chewed the Lord of the Rings theme to the bone I had not the faintest idea of what would this tell about, but the creators found a way to make it interesting and epic in the same time. Besides — because long playtime is a basic goal of every MMO — it is long like a tropical snake.

scaryEssentially the point is: The quest of the Fellowship of the Ring couldn’t be successfully done if there are not another little million of adventurers who pave the way in the background. In the game you are one of these background workers, so you are not just doing all the token tasks which otherwise could hinder the progress of the Fellowship, but you run into the Great Nines time and time again.

Similarly to the Lord of the Rings books this main story is broad, full of narration and dialogs to lend some continuity to the seemingly separated parts of it. The more marginal tasks have the same expansive descriptions. You bump into personal stories everywhere, and sometimes sightly simple problems become complex series of tasks.

What’s more, after a time the reading matter is a little bit too much, at least for me. The tasks are supported by clean-cut markers and indicators, so you don’t need to read everything, but at least half of the players says the essence of the game is in these little stories. Again, I don’t choose side in this: You can find the style you like.

dwarf smithyChoosing a favorite character is a little problematic, because basically all of them are warrior types, so you will not find too many magic user (two, to be exact, but only one of them is free). But on the field of fighting all the basic needs are served. There is dual weapon wielding, heavy armor, follower, as you like.

After you got to know the basics in the tutorial, mostly by following one of the Nines, the game would have a grip on you soon. Worthy of the grandiose books you can walk on grandiose landscapes, and each one of them has its own mood. That stubborn mist over the swamp burns itself into your mind and retina alike, as does the ancient dwarf city, the burial hills or, for the matter, the Old Forest with the Old Man Willow in its depth and with Bombadil Tom walking and singing merrily…

About the Old Forest I have to note the great mistake that it was left out from the movies. It was one of my favorite parts in the books, and in the game it has an awesome atmosphere, it is fascinating and — if you go deep enough — fearsome in the same time. Of course, similarly to every other quests, adventures in the Old Forest have their own little stories. For example, there is the legend of the eight entwives transforming into eight unique flowers.

So close to the end of the article I have to mention why I don’t give this game a 5. As I wrote above, gameplay is not unique, similar to WoW’s, but please, don’t be afraid. The hoard of WoW players on the starting lands, coming because it’d free, is much more annoying, mostly because they tend to compare the two games. And without any deeper experience, after just a few hours of playing they used to tell which one is better.

some ruinsThey are simply unworthy of your attention. I you neglect them, you can play a good game alone or in team. Because LotRO is excellently “soloable”, if I may use this ugly word, but on the other hand it is full of helpful players. There are only a few instances, so it happened that I helped some adventurers in a quest that was suggested to do in team. They returned the favor immediately, and we talked only after the work was done. We mutually thanked the help to each other, then everyone went on his way.

The mood of the lands, the background stories of the adventures, the spontaneously formed teams and the more serious fellowships (this is the party in this game), the almost forced out horseriding (there are huge distances to walk), the skills improving together with your character, and the apparent care of the developers (for example it can be seen well in the festivals) create a highly addictive mix.

And this is a good game.

Garcius—

dobozTitle: Lord of the Rings Online
Publisher: Turbine
Developer: Turbine
Homepage: http://www.lotro.com/en
Style: MMO, RPG, adventure, action

Ami tetszett:
Middle Earth
stories
quests

Ami nem tetszett:
almost WoW-like gameplay

5_45

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