Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Lord of the Rings Online vs. World of Warcraft

Is Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO) the "WoW killer"? Or is it just a "WoW clone"? Since the NDA was lifted yesterday, the positive buzz in the blogosphere about LotRO is rising to hype-level. Most people who played the beta like it a lot (including me). And unlike other games, like Vanguard, that target a completely different market segment, Lord of the Rings Online is placing itself in direct competition with World of Warcraft for the same demographic of casual to enthusiastic players.

That the makers of LotRO have played WoW is evident. Much of the user-interface is very similar, and even most keyboard commands do exactly the same thing in the two games. The basic gameplay, with its emphasis on questing, strongly resembles that of WoW. Nevertheless LotRO is far more than just a "WoW clone". The developers obviously learned from World of Warcraft, but that just means they realized how and where to WoW moved the genre forward. Following that trend toward greater accessibility and user-friendliness is an obviously good strategy, if you don't want to limit your game into a niche existance before it even started. If you were able to play WoW, and liked it, you will be able to play LotRO, and in all likelyhood like it as well. That gives LotRO access to a huge potential pool of customers.

Lord of the Rings Online is definitely the "next big thing", and it will outsell any previous Turbine game. But it won't "kill" World of Warcraft. Nobody can kill WoW, except Blizzard. The best LotRO can hope to achieve is to come close to the success of World of Warcraft, selling several million copies. And it is far too early to predict whether it will get there, because that depends on many things we don't know about yet. Will the servers be stable at release and afterwards? How will the end-game of LotRO be? How many hours can you play LotRO before it becomes boring?

The reason why Lord of the Rings Online will be a hit is not that it is better than World of Warcraft. But it is similar enough in quality to WoW, with the exact ranking of who is better probably the subject of years of discussion on blogs and game forums. Millions of people bought the Burning Crusade expansion for World of Warcraft, and by the time Lord of the Rings Online comes out on April 24th, many of them will have grown bored of WoW again. The Burning Crusade is nice enough as an expansion; but while it adds lots of content to WoW, that content is very similar in style to the old WoW. The Burning Crusade expands World of Warcraft, but doesn't reinvent it. Lord of the Rings Online reinvents WoW, taking the same basic gameplay and adding lots of new classes, new spells and abilities, and new game mechanics to it.

And that is probably the best way to do it. Making the "anti-WoW" is a recipe for failure. You can't hope to compete with the biggest PC game success ever by making everything radically different than it. But making a total clone wouldn't work either, especially not if it is a cheap clone. Lord of the Rings Online is definitely not a cheap clone, it oozes quality, but it isn't the anti-WoW either. It manages to inherit many of the strengths of WoW, while adding sufficient new material to it to make it a viable alternative. Having a strong license behind it, one considerably better known than the Warcraft universe, doesn't hurt (except with some purists).

I don't think there will be a mass exodus of WoW players towards LotRO. But World of Warcraft will be two-and-a-half years old in April, and lots of people will have burned out and looking for a similar-but-new game. And Lord of the Rings Online is exactly that, similar-but-new. Most people who play or played World of Warcraft like it. I like World of Warcraft. But that doesn't mean that I'm not looking for a new game after 3,000 hours of WoW. The average MMORPG player gets tired of his favorite game after a couple of thousand hours. Lord of the Rings Online is placed well to inherit many of these players, plus a couple of people more who are attracted by the lore. Turbine has a winner on their hands here, which will make them filthy rich if they can handle the expected traffic.
Hold on a second here.

It is not that I am a purist. I have read the series and a few other books about the history of the series. However, if you were to quiz me about details I probably wouldn't pass.

The problem here is that LotR defined fantasy. It was written in a way that no other work of fantasy fiction has been ever since.

To make a game that directly contradicts the PRINCIPLES of the world, story, and lore is just wrong.

I am all for better games and copying what works. However, I am not for it when it involves destroying a license.
At the time i played LotRO, it seemed like it had taken my favourite game, made it lag horribly graphicly and altered the interface to a way i didnt like.

So that will be the impression of many "newcomers" jumping the boat for a week or two..

But if they've managed to fix that, then i might consider running an active subscription for both. We will see.
My main concern with LOTRO is the "tourist" feel that I got just like with SWG. By trying to have the game take place at the same time as the books, you are constantly aware that there is something grand happening that you aren't a part of. My guess is you never get to be too active a participant in it.

I started out as a dwarf, and you immediately meet Gandalf followed by meeting Gimli a good 5 minutes later and then they're gone and you're on your own and feeling like what they're doing it probably a lot more fun than what you're doing.
I will post more in the future, but I am sorry to inform everyone that the Lord of the Rings "super hype" died after the last movie came out. Since then several of off shoot product lines have simply died off. If LotRO breaks 200,000 players I would simply be amazed.
Did they fix the quest dialog?

I rolled an elf, spent FOUR HOURS doing just a few quests-- mostly running all over the place trying to find the quest NPCs-- and it really didn't look that good.

YEs, yes, high-quality graphics, etc, etc, but we're not to the point where it could look realistic enough to suspend disbelief, and LoTR is a highly realistic storyline. Warcraft isn't, so the cartoon-look works with it.
Come on, I had an elf who just walked funky-- no woman walks like that unless she's got some urgent buisness to deal with, to try to be polite.

I grew up with LoTR being told to me by my mom, an original Tolkien freek. (I'm pretty sure she didn't spraypaint "Frodo lives!"-- pretty sure) Yeah, it was nice to meet the dwarves from The Hobbit. But it would have been nicer if it was more than a cameo. Elrond! Yay! Oh, ok... run... rodger, oh cool forbearer of Spock.....
I think maybe some of my lack of fangirlishness is like Albatross says-- it feels like you're a tourist. I love LoTR. My family went to see the entire series as a group-- we NEVER go to the movies. I can explain all kinds of silly things about it... and the beta left me cold.
You mentioned that the Interface is similar to WOW, but what about the quests? Are most of them kill X amount of mobs, or are there a large number that require environmental interaction?
The biggest advantage LoTR is going to have over WoW is that it can be more flexible and innovated with its classes and end game advancement. It will still have to look good and have stable servers but it could deffinitely pull in some decent subscription numbers.

At the moment WoW is tied in with PvP combat too much and it slows down the introduction of new classes and rewards at the max level. After all the can't have the people who been playing since the beginning become too powerful.
Hearltess, you couldn't be any more wrong. Play the game some more, see that they magic you think is in the game, isn't magic at all, see that healing, isn't health at all... and then complain. They've stuck with familiar MMORPG archetypes and slanted them to be lore appropriate... what would you have them do otherwise? I mean, since you think they've gone about it so wrong, why aren't you out there making the best LotR game ever?

Good jumping crap, some people astound me.
@ Wolfgangdoon:

The quests vary from kill this, find that, deliver this, etc. Standard MMO fare. The best ones are the instanced cinematic kind.

@ relmstein:

I totally agree about the freedome with classes LotRO will have thanks to separating player characters in their form of PvP. All "balancing" can be done on the monster side, without ever nerfing or redoing the player characters. Hopefully this will make it easy for them to build and adapt new PvE, while still being free to buff/nerf the monsters to keep MP balanced as well.
Hearltess, you couldn't be any more wrong. Play the game some more, see that they magic you think is in the game, isn't magic at all, see that healing, isn't health at all... and then complain. They've stuck with familiar MMORPG archetypes and slanted them to be lore appropriate... what would you have them do otherwise? I mean, since you think they've gone about it so wrong, why aren't you out there making the best LotR game ever?

I have a large review of LoTRO on my blog which I believe addresses a lot of the concerns that Heartless has with the title. Now, before you all start spamming death threats to my inbox, I liked the game, but felt as though it did not do LoTR license justice. The *game* is fantastic and would make a great MMO, but I just felt in implmentation there is just no way to make the user part of an epic story that so many people know.

People don't play MMOs to meet Gandalf, they want to BE Gandalf. They log in every day because if they grind out a few more skill points and vanquish one more dragon, people will KNOW them. They will be famous and powerful... They are *the* hero.

I disliked the presence of the healers and casters but there was little they could do. And sorry, but health and mana by a different name are still two bars that accomplish the same mechanic.

All that being said, I liked the game and expect it to do well, despite the fact that I am unlikly to play at realease.

Anyway its all in my review here:
Ok, sorry for the hostile post back up there... I realize we won't all agree on whether the game is good or not. That's the nature of the beast, but what I'm confused on is if you don't like how they've handled the classes or whatnot... how would you prefer it done? I'd honestly like to know, because perhaps there is a good idea out there somewhere.

Me personally, an avid Tolkien fan and MMO-gamer, I love the way Turbine's adapted the standard MMO aspects to mesh with the Tolkien lore. It'll go a long way towards reaching their target demographic because they don't have to re-invent the wheel.

Morale over Health, and defeat over dying is not a hard concept to grasp. I understand what you mean Cyndre, by the ideas being the same, and I actually LIKE that they've done so...

What I'm saying is, how would you have approached it otherwise?
Hearltess, you couldn't be any more wrong. Play the game some more, see that they magic you think is in the game, isn't magic at all, see that healing, isn't health at all... and then complain. They've stuck with familiar MMORPG archetypes and slanted them to be lore appropriate... what would you have them do otherwise? I mean, since you think they've gone about it so wrong, why aren't you out there making the best LotR game ever?

Good jumping crap, some people astound me.

Bildo, you seem like a nice enough guy but you're really on the verge of blind fanboi-ism with some of these posts. As cyndre already pointed out, a bar that drops when you get hit by monsters is a health bar, whether they decide to call it morale or health. Somebody who increases that bar is a healer, regardless of whether they are increasing "health" or "morale". It's a nice little work around to try to keep things true to the lore, but it is just a work around.

The argument "well then why aren't you out there doing it?" is absurd and should be driven from the internet immediately. You don't have to know how to actually create a game to know what things would make that game better in your own opinion. I can't think of a game I've ever played that didn't have a substantial number of things I wish were done differently. For each game it's a matter of whether those items are so overwhelming that you can no longer truly enjoy it. For you, LOTRO doesn't cross that point. For heartless it does.
I am evidently in the minority on this one, but the fact that LotR takes place in a world with such defined lore (and within the context of a specific story) makes me much LESS inclined to play it. WoW is based on, of course, WC I-III, but those were different contexts within the same medium of gameplay.

LotR is like fan fiction - technically distinct, but an adaptation of a known narrative to a new media.
@ Albatross:

I already apologized for the negative comment... way to make me feel bad. :(

I really am interested to know though, how it could be done any other way? That sort of "health and healing" is necessary, and not exactly a facet of any game that needs to be broken.
"YEs, yes, high-quality graphics, etc, etc, but we're not to the point where it could look realistic enough to suspend disbelief, and LoTR is a highly realistic storyline. Warcraft isn't, so the cartoon-look works with it.
Come on, I had an elf who just walked funky-- no woman walks like that unless she's got some urgent buisness to deal with, to try to be polite."

I agree. It just looks... wierd. Anytime you try to closely emulate the Real World "look" of things you're going to get into trouble if you try to be too complex. When I ran around a corner, my elf leaned over at the waist. But it wasn't a lean like might happen in real life, it was the upper body bending in a curve whuile the legs stayed perfectly straight. Looked horrible. And male elves have legs that are too short.

Picky? Yes, it is. But if I'm going to look at it for 1000 hours, it has to look good. If it was more cartoonish, I could live with it. But the closer they try to get to RL, the pickier I'm going to be. That pretty muich killed it for me. I keep meaning to go back, but the image of that elf turning the corner just turns me off everytime.
Sorry :(
Well for one thing, they would have a lot harder job on their hands... To start they could have increased health to dmg coeffiecients to make incombat healing unessesary. Change combat mechanics to make avoiding damage, the new 'healing.'

Then impliment a robust bandageing and medical system to allow out of combat healing.

Example: Aragorn gets attacked by 10 orcs. In an MMO he would taunt them all and then just eat damage while the priest healed him. In Tolkien through, he dodges, blocks, parries and at the end of the fight is brusied, tored and bleeding. He tears off a piece of his cloak and wraps the bandage around. His 'health' starts to go back up.

Now I just thought of that in 20 seconds. With a year, I could devise a very robust system.

For ranged DPS, why do you HAVE to have a spell caster? Aside from the Balrog or the battle with sauron, when did Gandalf or anyone for that matter, hurl magic missle or fireball?

So why encorporate it into the game? Make warriors, thieves rangers, hunters, pet classes, hell even toss in those shapeshifters like the bear guy in the beginning of Fellowship, as a class.

I just think they went too far to be sam old MMO, taking the 'safe' route because they didn't want to rock the industry boat by changing trested mechanics. In doing so they changed the license extensivly and IMHO made a great game at the expense of a great lore.

Like I said, the game is good *despite* its title and backround. It would been great set in Someland with the great Sometale as the lore.
Arguments aside, I think the game has the potential to do well, so long as the marketing support is there so that people actually know the game exists and can see what its about. Certainly I intend to pick it up at release -- I'm tired of WoW. Not so much the gameplay, as the setting, the annoying balance issues, and the 'sameness' of all the quests. LotRO is more story driven, and I like that.

In a way, the arguments are a good thing. A product people get passionate over (love it or hate it) is always going to do better than a product people are apathetic about (Asheron's Call 2, anyone?)
For the people complaining that the game has a "health" bar, the game has "magic", etc but by a different name - how exactly do you expect them to have implemented it? Yes, someone posted an example about using bandaging etc, and that might have been a viable option in that one instance, however, the game has to be made for *players* and players expect to find familiar (and MMORPG conventional) roles in a new game. You might expect innovation and new designs, but the typical MMORPG player expects to find well-defined and familiar roles with which to describe a class. If a game designer departs too far from the typical player's expectations - they will be innundated with complaints that the game toys with familiar roles. They can't win either way then.

Now, I haven't played it, just watched my wife playing it over her shoulder while I played other games. So far it looks very addicting, very innovative, and while it has some lag problems (name an MMORPG that hasn't had lag problems at release please), it seems like they really have taken immense care in the game design. I think it looks superlative, looks well designed, and looks innovative in some areas.

I *love* the fact that it won't have traditional PvP, mostly because I think it will discourage those players who typically live just for PvP and tend to plague most games with rude and offensive conduct (trash talking, griefing etc) as their normal mode of behaviour. I think LOTRO will attract a different crowd, and hopefully be more enjoyable to play as a result. The design they have come up with for PvP (you can play the evil folks and gain bonuses for your good characters) is nothing short of brilliant. I watched my wife and a friend of mine, roll up some wargs and take on the good folks who were defending a hobbit village - it looked challenging for both sides and a lot of fun.

As for comparisons to WOW, those are innevitable, but I would prefer to see people look at the game in and of itself. WOW may be the most popular game out there but you will do a game more justice if you look at it, try it and see if its enjoyable than if you try to compare it to another game, no matter how popular (and I have to admit I can't understand *why* WOW is so popular, I found it derivative and boring to be honest).

LOTRO has a lot to live up to, mostly due to the tremendous power of the books (and now movies) in the popular mind. Its inevitable that it won't satisfy everyone - that is 100% impossible. It does seem to be a solid title overall though and I am looking forward to playing it when the preorder access is opened.
This is Bildo (can't sign in for some reason...)

From a lore standpoint, Albatross, having a shapeshifter would be worse that having players play the Istari. Beorn was in the Hobbit, and he was not exactly a common type of character.

As for ranged DPS, that comes down to the Hunter. The Lore Master acts as a pet class, crowd control, and debuffer. And anyone who's played it a good deal can tell you it remains very true to the spirit of the lore. At 1st glance it may LOOK like a caster, and even function so, but you're not casting "spells" You're using knowledge of the world to harm and trick your enemies.

But like you said, it's still essentially a caster in function, and that's why you might not like the direction it's going. Fair enough really.

Conversely, one of the reasons I LIKE the game so much is its idea of classes and reform of the holy trinity. I think it works very well, and that the Minstrel is a very cool class to play, as well as from an RP point of view.

It's plain enough our opinions differ. But remember that Turbine was brought on into development as help back when LotRO was still MEO under Sierra. They've been to the table and back with good and evil races, player housing, new combat mechanics, perma-death, good and evil balancing with your character's choice... they've been all over the map.

In my opinion, from a sheer marketability standpoint, the choice they made to go with the norm is a far better decision that trying something drastically new. But it appears we just plain old disagree there.
Wow, Warren, I couldn't agree with you less.

People are NOT looking for the same old/same old, they DO want something new. Why should I leave WoW or EQ2 just to play the same game all over again?

Having actual hits by a bow or sword be usually fatal and relying on avoiding damage to win a battle would be an amazing mechanic, very true to the books. I would love a Fantasy MMO that was NOT just a remake of EverQuest.

Part of me dies when someone tells me, "I always play druids. EQ, DAoC, EQ2, WoW..." These games and others like them are so similar people play them interchangeably.

It doesn't sound like LotRO is going to mix things up at all. People may come to check it out, but will they stay when there's so little new?
That's a really good question, Brenda. For me, in LotRO, I find it perfectly suitable... it's the grandaddy of Fantasy as it were, but I know what you mean.

LotRO could very well be the LAST standard MMO I play. With games like Conan and Spellborn on the way... indeed even Tabula Rasa, MMORPGs may be changing now that they've reached a sort of critical mass with WoW to thank.
Bildo, check the time stamps on our two posts. I'd begun mine before yours existed so I certainly wasn't trying to rub salt.

Also, I think you're trying to respond to cyndre with the last post and not myself. No big deal, but wanted to let you know.

I'm not claiming that LOTRO needed to break new ground with health bars, etc. My point is that it's misleading to talk about LOTRO as if they're doing something new and amazing when in fact what they did was just rename it. I honestly didn't dislike LOTRO, I'm just not sure I like it enough to make it "the" game that I'm playing (as I usually only subscribe to one at a time).

My friend and I both were in the stress test together, so we quested together as soon as we were out of the newbie areas and able. Because we'd planned to play together and he was wanting to play a healer class, he rolled minstrel. To complement that, I rolled Guardian. We chatted through Google Talk as we played and both of us would occasionally go into hysterics as we'd be in the middle of a very close battle and his character would kind of prance around the screen making music (very repetitive and annoying music, unfortunately).

It sounds minor, but in the end it was a major reason that he asked me to go back to WoW and try the expansion rather than investing our time in LOTRO. When we're investing time to create these "heroes" it's hard to want to see yourself prancing around the screen for a year. Since they're using a morale system anyhow, it seems like it would have been possible to integrate something closer to the Dark/Dark Defender that I had in CoH. He was a healer class that could only heal those around him by dealing damage. I'm not sure why there couldn't have been a class that dealt minor to medium damage which in turn raised the morale of the party memebers around them. Would have been more fun to play and stayed in the realm of what they were going for.

At this point my guess is I play WoW until either Conan or Warhammer steals my heart. I honestly want a new game quite a bit.
"I'm not sure why there couldn't have been a class that dealt minor to medium damage which in turn raised the morale of the party memebers around them"
I think this somewhat describes the Captain class.

For the debate going on in this thread I agree with Tobold. LotRO did not need radical changes from WoW. Turbine in the past has tried approaches that were more unique. They got some fans but the appeal was not that large to the majority of MMORPG players. In my opinion, more people are going to be turned off by the lack of magic in LotRO than those turned off by too much magic for the Tolkien lore. Turbine has done a good job of balancing the opposite pulls.

I have correctly guessed the North American appeal of every MMORPG that has released since EQ that reached more than 30,000 NA users. Heartless be prepared to be amazed.
I know how you feel Albatross. For me LotRO is that new game though, and I can only imagine how I'd feel were I forced to wait until the fall for Conan or WAR... Spellborn's out in a few months though... if it helps. :) VERY different gameplay there.
I'm all for a good MMO, but when the devs are only able to engineer a website like the one they have, I don't see how this can be a success. Guild Wars has a great, content-rich website. You need to convince users they're going to be well-served investing the time involved to mount a successful MMO campaign. If they let people know "half-assed" is alright, they're not going to get my money.
HAHA You losers!!! All of you are wrong. Hands down, the best game out there today is "Hello Kitty: Island Adventure"!!!
They're not getting my money, period. Ever again. Not after I played Asheron's Call 2 ( for 2 1/2 years, 1 1/2 years of which having 2 accounts. And of course I bought the expansion pack for both accounts.
They're not getting my money, period. Ever again. Not after I played Asheron's Call 2 ( for 2 1/2 years, 1 1/2 years of which having 2 accounts.

If they had you for 2 1/2 years and more than half of that with double accounts, they obviously did something right...:)
My main interest is how the game will develop over time.

Will the developers slowly cave-in to pressure from the hard-core Tolkenites and lose their original vision while forgetting to fix the bugs? (ie SWG)

Or will the developers stay focused on the bugs and fine tuning of the game? (ie WoW)

I fear that LOTR will go the way of SWG because trying to please the Tolkenites will be a constant distraction for the devs.
If that is so Bildo, then I guess no lessons have been learned from Star Wars Galaxies. No game is a success in the MMORPG industry because of a big name license. My statement stands. This game breaks 200,000 active subscribers I will reevaluate the game's position in the market and make my amends accordingly.
I think LoTR's biggest problem, is that for it to actually make an impact, it is going to have to smash records. They are going to have to have at least 2/3 million people sign up and start playing the game within the first 6 months, to take population away from its competitors (WOW).

They are releasing a game to directly compete against WOW, lets face it they are both MMORPG games and they are going to be competing agaisnt each other for players. And the time couldn't be any worse for them in my opionion, WOW just released there expansion, there is tones of new contents and new activities for players to do, the people that had or were loosing interest in the game have got it back.

Do you seriously think that those people are going to give the game up, in a matter of 3 months when LoTR is finnaly released? If they are going to make an impact, they are going to need to take at least 30% of WOW's total population within the first 6 months, or i belive the game won't grow above 500,000 players.
LoTR online has one big thing working for it: Who hasn't dreamed of being part of middle earth? Fighting the evil forces of Sauron and killing orcs and trolls.

Other than that though the game looks pretty standard so far. And I am VERY disappointed with the monster play trash that Turbine is trying to pass off as an innovation to pvp. Basically monster play is just half-baked pvp that lets you play as an orc for a bit.

I want my main to be an orc! MMO developers have got to stop being scared of pvp and embrace it. That is why my money is on Warhammer Online.

First of all, I don't happen to be in LOTRO beta yet. I will keep on trying to get a preview to get a better view then just blogs, videos and screenshots.

I really understand the "tourist" argument which was brought up in the beginning of the discussion. "We" players will probably never be able/allowed to slay one of the Nazghul or approach Sauron in a 30-people raid. Which is a good thing. This would be totally ridiculous. I think the players must understand that there are the books, the movies and the game and all three satisfy different needs. Playing Bilboo_85 still won't make you be that special hobbit. But what a game can give you is to let your own character develop and evolve into a mature being that can make a difference. In another blog Tobold wrote that practically everyone in WOW is a hero. Still, we chop (now Outland) rats, bats and gnats for their tails, heads, entrails or teeth. Does that make really a difference, when you see 10 others heros next to you doing the same thing?

No and the reason for that is simple: Game mechanics. We all want the same amount of fulfilment, joy and sense of achievement (and exploration for the EASK types ;) ).

I think the uttermost fans of the Tolkien myth will always be annoyed by anything that strays from the written path. The same will happen to Star Trek Online fans. The ones that are deepest in lore, knowledge and fandom are the easiest to repel, because in their mental universe, LOTR looks as they see fit. Same with Star Trek.

But people, realize, that is still a game. Nothing more, nothing less. Games are meant to entertain. I assume the ones that will like LOTRO most and will make it a (in my humble view) ~2-3 million seller (quite unlike the orthodox view of 200k copies sold haha to that) wíll be the WOW playes, too bored to play WOW anymore, who have seen the movies and want to enjoy something different for a year or two. After that they will jump to the next big thing, be it Age of Conan or Star Trek Online.
This is interesting. There seems to be an assumption that the 6-7 million World of Warcraft subscribers will all continue playing MMOs once they quit WoW. I'm not convinced that's true. There was absolutely nothing to indicate that Warcraft would be as big as it is. There wasn't a graph in existence that predicted how popular WoW was going to get, and now people look at that number and try to apply it to other properties.

I'm not sure 200,000 is the right number, but I'd be completely shocked if 2-3 million was the right number. My guess is south of 1 million for LOTRO. WoW became a force unto itself but I think trying to apply WoW math to other games is foolishness until somebody else proves they can carve out a respectable audience in comparison to WoW.

Honestly, Vanguard had more buzz this far from release than LOTRO has right now. What are the official Vanguard numbers?
What are the official Vanguard numbers?

They don't exist and never will. You only post user data when you are proud of the report. Posting Vanguard's numbers would only hasten its demise.
I'm not sure 200,000 is the right number, but I'd be completely shocked if 2-3 million was the right number. My guess is south of 1 million for LOTRO. WoW became a force unto itself but I think trying to apply WoW math to other games is foolishness until somebody else proves they can carve out a respectable audience in comparison to WoW.

The post is called LoTR vs WoW. What I'm saying is that the people who are playing the beta are rating LoTR numbers at shy under a million, WoW is still oviosuly the winner....
Nobody is claiming that LOTRO will defeat WoW, or won't defeat WoW. It's a foregone conclusion that WoW is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. My point is that I'm trying to look at it more as if WoW had never existed, and the only subscription numbers we knew were the non-WoW ones. 2-3 million would be a mind boggling success. Heck, 750,000 would be an amazing success.

WoW subscription numbers really make it difficult for people to remember what good numbers were like previously. Unfortunately, we have no tangible proof that WoW subscriber numbers will translate to other games going forward.
I just got into the Beta and so far, I feel like it's the exact same game as WoW, except with a couple differences discussed above.

With that said, I also thought that the graphics are actually worse than WoW's... WoW's environments were filled with interesting architecture and enemies.. with my (admittedly very small) amount of play time so far, the environments seem a lot less interesting, and the character and enemy art just isn't as nice looking. I stopped playing WoW last year, so I'll continue to play to check it out, but so far I'm not overly impressed.
I think the best MMO to date was MXO(Matrix Online) pre-SOE days. Paying actors to participate and make the game feel alive was just so exciting. Plus having outside support through machineradio, the activities in the game made me want to actually have fun...not mindlessly grind away. Yes Mxo had tons of bugs, but the main idea was excellent.
People will play for many different reasons. Its supposivley close to WoW in the way it is played. But a lot of people play games like this to experience "The World" to walk around in what is known as Middle Earth. In WoW people dont enter orgrimmar and wonder if its anything like what they pictured from the book (assumming that WoW has any book) They dont have to be Gandalf or any of thoes heros. They get to be there on hero and experience different aspects of the game, the more suddle aspects. Then like in the book when they feel called of to adventure they head off and do quests and grind. Also the "Big Hype" is already in motion and odds are a lot of people will buy it at release. Also this game seems more like something that you wont get bored of the second you say get your mount. In WoW i got my mount and quit. I don't plan on buying this game, but i think its a great idea and its unique but not too unique. It expands to all sorts of people.
I have played every game Blizzard has had to offer to death. (except Warcraft I). And I can honestly say one of the main reasons I play World of Warcraft is to be there in the world that I've only caught glimpses of from above in the other games.

I love to see the places where epic events occured. Like the giant Dark Portal, the ruins of Alterac, and the throne room in Lordaeron.

I am also a huge fan of Tolkien. When I was younger one of my biggest hobbies was learning all the lore and minute details about the history.

I do not anticipate the release of LotRO whatsoever. I feel as though ever since the movies came out Hollywood and CEOs have been trying to find out how they can force feed us products related to LotR.

This game seems like the ultimate prostitution of a timeless publication.

Warcraft doesn't have this problem. It always was, first and foremost, a game.

I only hope that LotRO disappears unnoticed into history.
^So you hope the game fails, but refuse to even give it a chance...your loss.
Well I think this could be the next best thing or a waste of time. Have any of you heard of pirates of the carribean online? sure they spent lotsa time on it but only got about 1000 or so people to play it. So give it a chance, but to fall in love with the idea.
woops ment to say "so give it a chance, but dont fal in love with the idea."
The one thing that I felt was lacking in LOTRO was the PVP element. If LOTRO was taking place sometime in the Two Towers or the Return of the King, people could choose to be one of Sauron's forces, and meet the Free Peoples out at the Black Gate, or at Helms Deep in a battleground type of thing. Players could also quest to do the Dark Lord's bidding, and meet up with opposing players in the world.

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."
Galadriel, Lord of the Rings

I would like nothing more than to be a part in the Lord of the Rings lore, not nesissarily a hero, but one who travels with Aragorn into the paths of the dead (in the book, he travels with a small militia), and one who takes part in the Battle for Gondor. I hope Turbine does not neglect the story in subsequent expansions. This game has great potential, I hope Turbine does not destroy it.
LOTR should of licensed Blizzard (from the get go) and allowed them to make LoTR online, before WoW ever came about.

Anyone who thinks this game can hang, I remind you of one thing.

Diablo (and expansions)
Starcraft (and expansions)
Warcraft I-III

Blizzard = the god at making the most mass-appealing, entertaining video games.

They are gods.

And they have no intention of lowering their standards (See the cancellation of Starcraft Ghost)
"I think LoTR's biggest problem, is that for it to actually make an impact, it is going to have to smash records. They are going to have to have at least 2/3 million people sign up and start playing the game within the first 6 months, to take population away from its competitors (WOW)."

People are not going to leave wow for lotro il tell u that now those who would quit wow are those who recently started or who dont have "high lvl chars" so they can say hey not missing out on much lets play lortro il tell u now again the game aint gonna beat WoW .Ever.
I also played the Beta and I think if they have not yet tried WoW they may get into it and if they try WoW not want to go back but if you're already into WoW it's just too different, WoW is like a huge battlefield and so fun that's just another Everquest 2.
"People are not going to leave wow for lotro il tell u that now those who would quit wow are those who recently started or who dont have "high lvl chars" so they can say hey not missing out on much lets play lortro il tell u now again the game aint gonna beat WoW .Ever."
# posted by Anonymous : 12/5/07 21:39

You are completely wrong there.
If u asked me after having played over 2 years of WoW and have raided 4-5 days / week for sometimes shorter, sometimes longer periods I can only tell you what I see. People need a change. Cannot put up with the endless grinding of epics dungeon after dungeon. There is nothing else to do. Many people that I know who have been actively playing for a long time are leaving the game. Blizzard collected enormous amount of money and could not add any relevant content to the game for casuals. The hardcore did have dungeon after dungeon to grind but the expansion came way too late. For us who knew the game inside out it provided us less than 2 months of actual gameplay. Now it would be instances again. No thank you, I need a change and even if it is a small one I am happy about it. Lotro is a great game to get one through to the next big game.
I am still subscribed but only just barely.
The game is ok. It copies a lot of WoW and cranks up the lag-o-meter for the trouble. Not really lag, but just it taxes your system where WoW can play smoothly without the slightest bit of interference. The world is wonderful...I got to meet Tom Bombadil! The quests are fairly decent, but nothing any different than you've done before. I've upgraded ram, now im going to consider my video card, if that doesnt make it run on maximum settings with excellent frames...I'm going to give up my 10/month account and settle back to WoW. Truly, DAOC is the best game out there...but nobody plays it, I guess WoW or LotRO is next; which I can't decide yet.
this is wat LOTR fans can expect from WOW players...the WOW community wont accept anything like this..its either WOW or nothing for them
I think LOTRO is extrodinary, the way that people HAVE to rush to get armor or weapons, this game allows you to have fun without going to level and get loot to by the best thing you can get, this game wants you to experience things and makes you feel part of the story
First off I have to say that I got hooked on Tolkien a long time ago, and that the whole Lord of the Rings series has inspired me to become a writer someday. That said, I think it goes without saying that this series is something I hold close to me.

That is why I subscribed to Lord of the Rings Online, and all I have to say is it is the most amazing MMORPG I have played a long time. I have even converted a few of my WoW friends to Lord of the Rings Online, they have even canceled their subscriptions to WoW as a result.

In any event to all of you who say that we all log in to be like Gandalf, or to those who believe that. Well do you know how much of a injustice you would be doing to the license? We can't be like Gandalf because he is unique. If we were to become like him we would have to become Istari (or lesser gods) which it is not possible within Tolkien's world. This means we have to become our own unique and legendary hero, this is what MMORPGs are about, to create a new identity and NOT to be like someone else. I mean, of course you can't go off with Gandalf and Gimli because Tolkien never said that you could.

Moreover, this is not a injustice to the license. All of the history and lore is accurate to the book, albeit the fact we're wandering around doing deeds. I consider myself a Tolkien purist, you should ask my friends how many times I've stood up and defended Tolkien's works when compared to Stephen King or whatnot. And I have no problem with this game breaching license because really it adds a new dimension to Middle Earth which makes the story of the world more enjoyable. I'm sorry some of you people have such a problem with LOTRO because of this, but it would have been impossible for Turbine to not have breached the license by making this game. Unless they gave you the option of being a key figure, but then what kind of MMORPG would you have? None.

So I leave you with my thoughts on the matter. Take them or leave them as you will but I'd appreciate it if no one used this argument as a "so there." kind of thing because I just don't like that.

P.S. Yes I know this is a very late comment on the matter but I never found this article until now. And I felt obligated to discuss my views.
Probably because I'm a female, but the appearance of the character is important to me. I prefer LOTRO more than WoW in many aspects (which all been discussed in details as above comments). I really dislike that UGLY elf look in WoW, its gotta be the most ugly elf around. Its the ears *point point* I didn't choose to be elf simply because can't stand the look. Whom ever designed that elf must be drunk or something. Another thing is the female gnome in WoW looks too anime like... I love anime, but the look is just weird, like the female dwarf in Lineage II (ps, I think chars in that game have fat thighs). haha. MMORPG EVE's got the best face design but too bad I'm not a sci-fi gamer. Thats my 2 cents.
i am simply afraid of the transition from WoW to doesnt seem like it has enough classes and it also seems like it doesnt have enough races.....the sheer amount of areas in WoW are astoundingly amazing to me...and im not sure if LoTRO can hesitant to go out and buy a game and a subscription thinking that the game will be brilliant just to be dissapointed...i played the free trial but it doesnt let you have enough long term experience with the game
ive had wow for quite a while i have a lvl 50 and already im bored with 15days gametime i am sick and tired of it i get up go on wow and it is like....wanna go blackrock depths?
na m8 been there yesterday....the day before aswell so boring but lotro i get up wanna go do the new chapter in the book they put in yesterday
yeh alright
so new stuff unlike wow rush rush rush
I was a hardcore WoW player up until the Burning Crusade Expansion. I felt after it was released that all the work we had put into our characters with raiding and acquiring gear has been a total waste of time. My complete EPIC warrior was changing out his gear by level 62. That is pathetic. So I quit the game and the entire MMO market up until last week when I went to Gamestop and picked up a copy of LOTRO.
What a game! The graphics are just amazing. Gone are the days of the pixelated cartoon characters that used to dominate my weeknights. Instead I'm looking at almost photo realistic graphics with the finest DX10 has to offer. Amazing!
The gameplay is also far superior to WOW in just about every aspect to far. This is just from a level 10 of course. The quests make you feel like you are part of the storyline. Not just a peon in a massive world.
The game offers player housing and neighborhoods which is something awesome to have if you want to have a place to call your own in a online world (think UO or SWG housing).
I will continue with LOTRO for a while longer and see if this sheer fun and excitement continues or if it is short lived. But for anyone tired of the "leet uber doods" of wow and the endless grind fest, jump over to middle earth. The game is $9.99 at your local gamestop and gives you 30days to test. Most definitely reason enough to at least give it a spin!
See you in middle earth!!!
i just find it funny saying that, LOTRO copied WoW lets not forget WoW copied other mmos too.
well, the first MMO i layed my hands on was WoW. I got bored of WoW and tried out LOTRO. After playing LOTRO for a few weeks I went back to WoW for some PVP action. LOTRO includes PVP, but its only worth trying out once at the current cap of lvl. 50.

-LOTRO wins graphically.
-Quests in both games are for the most part similar.
-LOTRO is a quick MMO to pick up for first time MMO players, moderate gamers to Tolkien enthusiasts.
-WoW is PVP heavy and a bit more complex than LOTRO.
-LOTRO has a fun little music aspect of the game in which you can compose your own songs or do some covers.
-Wow has the "contested territories" that I found enjoyable. The fear of getting ganked kept you on your feet...virtually :P.
-LOTRO excitment is their instances. Questing can be quite a bore.

So in conclusion each MMO has their strong points depending on a gamers perspective. I enjoy PVP aspects in WoW. After playin LOTRO it made me renew my WoW subscription to finish leveling my warlock.In my POV....WoW FTW!!!
After having read thru all of these posts, I still don’t feel I have a true grasp on if LotR is a good move after playing WoW for 2 years. Now I am very experienced in the mmorpg world: played UO, EQ, DAoC, AC and AC2, AO and now have 2 WoW accounts with 6 level 70’s, epic blah blah blah… and frankly, I am getting tired of WoW. I loved the game. Heck, I played it longer than ANY other mmorpg, even UO, which to this day was my favorite of all of the above, and WoW a close second.

Why was UO my fave? Content. There was SO much to do other than leveling. You could spend a month on crafting alone, and I can’t tell you how many countless hours I spent decorating my Villa near the sea. THAT is why it was so great; it had this amazing depth of content. WoW, on the otherhand, is all about the loot and leveling. You level to gain loot, and then use that loot to gain levels, so you can get better loot. Where EQ was a horrible level grind, WoW is a pleasing one. The world is HUGE with lots to explore and so much ‘stuff’ to try and acquire. The raids take teamwork and everyone has a defined role. It is strange, but when playing WoW, the grind does give you a sense of ‘accomplishment’, believe it or not. The PvP instances are a blast, and if you are a fan of console games, this will appeal most to you.

So what about LotR? What makes me hesitate to jump into the world is the fear of disappointment with the mmorpg mechanic in general, married with my favorite literary canon, the Tolkien saga. So far, I have read nothing or seen anything that indicates that this is no different than another action game with a multiplayer element. Is there enough content to keep me playing? Is it filled with L33T speak? I swear if I see a spam across the TRADE channel of “WTS Bilbo’s pipe 3g pst” I’ll scream. And is this just another level mill? If so, I might as well stick to my Paladin on Ursin with full Tier 4 gear, raiding Gruul’s. At least with WoW, I don’t expect anything other than an action game drapped around the fantasy genre.
LOTRO is already looking like it could be a better game than WOW and look how long it has been avalible? compared...
Wow Rulez!!! LotR Sucks! My friends keeps trying to make me play lotr and quit wow. I watch him play and yes the graphics are better but the catoonie feeling of wow malkes wow what it is. Tones of more quests,dungens,armor etc
Oy vey,
here I came in months after anyone else no doubt. But i simply MUST add my thoughts.
I've been playing LOTRO for awhile now and I am shocked at everyone on here who thought it deviated from the pure Tolkien "format". Indeed, the lore-master is a bit off and one thing that struck me odd was how much killing i had to do in the Shire, but as Tolkien purist, i found that the little things really made it special for me. For example, in the appendix it is mentioned that the Baranduin is brown and slow-moving. Sure enough as I crossed the bridge, I saw slow-moving brown water beneath my feet. I have stopped with my fellowship for power under the three stone trolls Bilbo "knew". I have even hunted for Hobbit skeletons in Fornost, a fact which evicted thoughts like: "Hobbits? At war? In Fornost? Do they think we are stupid?" only to read the prolouge of the trilogy and find that ther were hobbits there indeed. Every little bit of Tolkien, from Fatty Lumpkin outside the house in Crickhollow to telling a smith in Rivendell that Aragorn was ready to re-forge Narsil, I found was pure.
Additionally, I think that Lotro will take a long time to get old because they have more and more areas to add. Gondor, Mirkwood, Rohan, Mordor...Even Harad and Rhun perhaps! They will have to work hard to find a way to make this boring.
Though it will not be able to beat out WoW, I believe Lotro is very enjoyable for me because of its more realistic quality.
I have a NVIDIA geforce 8400 graphics card and 2GB of RAM, and a Quad core processor... is this good enough to run LOTR without lag?... because i would like to buy LOTR
I think Lotro is one of the best MMORPG that has ever been released.All that amzing story line and the feeling you have when you enter middle earth is amazing. Yes it has copied many things from WoW but it will sure be the next MMORPG after WoW
On My 2 cents, LOTRO is fantastic. I have been playing since Beta in 2006 and I stand by it. There is so much to do in the game that years upon years would never see you bored. The lore of the game is buried deep into the storyline, which makes things incredibly fun. The beauty of the game is unparalleled, it is truly a work of art and in the new Moria sections that have just been added, you get to observe The Bridge of Khazad Dum, Durin's Bane (The Balrog), and countless other incredible sights that are just fantastic.
Personally, I like how more mature LOTRO players are in comparison to WoW players. Yes, I am more than aware this is a generalization; however it is just my personal experiences over the past few years and I have come to believe it to be true.
I must say it is frustrating to read all these reviews from people who say:
"Wow Rulez!!! LotR Sucks! My friends keeps trying to make me play lotr and quit wow. I watch him play and yes the graphics are better but the catoonie feeling of wow malkes wow what it is. Tones of more quests,dungens,armor etc"
and have clearly NEVER PLAYED THE GAME.
Do us all a favor, if you have not played LOTRO and leveled up to the level cap, Keep your opinions to yourself. It would be like someone creating a WoW account, playing for 30 minutes, and judging ALL aspects of the game off their frustrating beginning!
In conclusion, LOTRO is definitely worth playing. Turbine has ambitious goals over the next few years and I personally cannot wait until we see the new additions of Rohan, Mordor, etc... in the years to come.
Lotro best MMOrpg so far ever seen
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