Friday, September 9, 2011

Testing Out LotRO By Suggestion

Based on some urging from Spinks over at Spinksville I figured I would give Lord of the Rings Online a try.

I downloaded it last night and played a little bit.  Not enough to make any real determinations about it but enough to get a full first impression feeling.

First things first.  I could not get "my name" which immediately annoyed me.  I know this is the internet with millions of people and the odds that someone else will use the same name are there but if I can not get my name it makes me an even grumpier elf.  If I do end up liking the game I will pick a new server and only join a server where I can get my name.  If I am going to play, I might as well be me right?

Second things second.  I can be a true hunter here.  I love it.  No pet, just me and my trusty bow.  Not like I do not like my pet and all, I love all my pets in WoW.  I made an actual connection to them as strange as that sounds.  If you have never played a pet class you probably do not understand but if you have I bet you know exactly what I mean.  My thing is that the way I envision my character when I first made it in WoW was as an archer and archers do not have pets.  So I am looking forward to having an archer now.

Some people say first impressions mean the most and while this is true to someone completely new to the genre I am not new to it, so while my first impression is not overwhelming positive I will continue to check the game out.  I understand that the beginning of all games of this sort are meant to be an introductory phase.

The introductory phase, which is all I've been through so far, is nothing special.  I do like how it gives you a lot of pop ups and explanation which would help a new player but having played other games of the ilk like WoW and Rift there was nothing here that I did not know about already so it was redundant to me.

I did not hold it against the game.  I always look at things from fresh eyes, or at least try to, and look at the bigger picture.

I do not like the artwork at all.  It looks like they are going for the "real" look and did not quite make it.  I think they would be better off going the "cartoonish" route of WoW.  People might complain about the models in WoW but in all honesty they are the best I've seen in any of these types of games.  The reason for that is movement.  As soon as you start to move things just feel clunky and with WoWs design it doesn't.  Most "real" looking games have horrible movement and this one is no exception.

I mentioned the same thing when I started rift about the characters.  They look nice and all but movement just feels wrong.   I would trade artwork for flow any day.  Give me WoWs artwork and good flow any day over games like this.

I also found the constant "selling" of their product to be annoying but it is understandable.  They need to make money and you make money by selling your product.  If you do not sell your product then you do not make money and have no product to offer at all.

Perhaps it is just me but I came in knowing I can buy things if I want.  I do not need to be constantly reminded of it when I hover over my locked bags or on each loading screen, or the reminders here and there while hovering over things.  If I like the game I would gladly pay for a membership and the expansions.  You do not need to keep reminding me that because I am playing for free I am the human version of pond scum.  Okay, it is not that bad but it feels a little like that.  I am tempted to buy all the crap just to stop seeing that I am being locked out of anything.

Speaking of hovering over things, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the pop ups and hover overs.  Some of the things I hover over seem so small that I need to break out a magnafying glass to read it while others are so huge it is like one of those phones with the huge buttons for old people so they can see the numbers.  Hey, can we pick a font and stick with it people.

I have not played much, only an hour and a half so far, and I am not going to give up on it without at least getting to level 20 being I feel that is a good test of a game, but I am not so much interested in it yet.

Maybe when I get some professions or I get to the point where I can get into the open world, so to speak, I might like it more.

So far, if I where left to make an early assessment of the game it would be as simple as, you get what you pay for.

It is a decent game so far, but you can tell it is free game.  A game like this is fantastic for games like WoW.  This, as a free game, give people a taste of the concept of what games like this are like.  Once they get that taste and want to buy a game they can move on to something like WoW which is much more refined.

So far I like it enough to give it more of a test but if the movement is going to be like it is at the start for the entire game I can not see me playing it all that much.  Movement is the only reason I don't really play rift any more and I paid for that, I am not going to continue playing something I didn't pay for when I dropped something I do pay for because of the same issue.

If the only things I can complain about so far as movement and font size, the game is off to a better start then most of other ones I have tested.

Perhaps when I reach the area of paid expansions those are coded better and the movement is not so herky jerky like it is now at the free game start.  If the movement is still going to be like that even in the paid areas I see no reason to ever give the game any money.  I paid for one game with horrible movement and I don't feel like paying for another one.

In the end, if it were to come down to it and it where a choice between this and rift I would go back to rift.  Like I said, I paid for that and this and rift so far seem like the exact same game so if I am going to play why not play one I paid for and not pay for a second one of the same thing.

I look forward to what will come as I play more.  It has great potential.  So much so I can really see me getting into it, if only I can get past the movement factor.


  1. Hi,
    Apologies to contact so abruptly. I've recently started by own World of Warcraft blog, and was wondering if you might like to share links between our blogs. Mine tends to focus on a humorous in-character viewpoint of the game world. I've only just started, it is over on and if you are willing to link, it would seriously help me increase traffic and get some viewers.
    Thank you.

  2. It is a decent game so far, but you can tell it is free game.

    Interesting that you say that because up until 12 months ago it wasn't. It's designed as a subscription MMO and with the exception of the in-game store links (which I can understand your annoyance with), it's basically the same game now as it was 12 months ago. Now, it's sure not as polished as WoW, but it's not actually a "free game" like random asian F2P MMO is. It's built on the subscription MMO business model.

    Anwyay, I hope you can get past the animation hurdle, maybe it's the sort of thing that you notice a lot at first because it's so different from what you're used to. Or maybe it'll be an unpassable barrier, but that'd be a shame because I think you'd really like the game. Some of what might put you off at first about the game - the lack of modern "polishing" features that WoW's got nowdays - is what I think will actually lead you to enjoy the game. There's many zones which haven't been revamped for the more modern solo-only style and are full of punishing group quests (which you can even get a group for sometimes if you try!), there's go-at-your-own-pace rep grinds, there's kill X hundred mob deeds in a zone for incremental character rewards, there's only rudimentary addon support so raids/instances aren't able to be perfectly scripted dances because players aren't getting prompted for every ability (and no party-wide DPS trackers either) etc. etc.

    Hope you are able to stick it out get past that initial visual barrier :).

  3. @ Nelthie - I added you and will read. Nice to see a little different perspective from doing a character based blog.

    @ PB

    I am not going to just give up on it already, I will keep playing.

    As for the looks free comment, it surely does. The artwork is not very refined but it is the moment that gets me more then anything. Same problem all "real looking" games seem to have. The difference with them is their character models look goofy, for lack of a better word. I can live with that. The movement is another story that bugs me but as you mentioned, I've been spoiled by wow in that regard.