Tobold's Blog
Monday, February 12, 2007
Lord of the Rings Online first impressions

The NDA of LotRO was lifted today, which gives me the opportunity to post the "first impressions" preview / review piece I already wrote a month ago. Here it is:

On January 13th I had the opportunity to play The Lord of the Rings Online stress test beta for a few hours. These are my first impressions. Please keep in mind that I only played the game for about 4 hours, taking a single character to level 8, thus I don't know much about the higher level content.

The first thing you notice when entering The Lord of the Rings Online is how beautiful it is. The graphics are artistically pleasing, technically up-to-date, and most importantly running smoothly without much lag. The direct comparison with Vanguard is striking: LotRO looks better *and* runs smoother. You will need a decent computer to run this, but you won't have to take out a second mortgage to buy one.

I created a hobbit minstrel as my character. You can also play humans, dwarves, or elves. And there are 6 more classes: Burglar, Captain, Champion, Guardian, Hunter, Lore-master. If you wonder why there are no "priests" or "mages", this is due to the Tolkien lore. There is no commonly available "magic" in the game. But that is only semantics, the abilities of the character classes in practice work exactly like magic spells in other games. The minstrel I'm playing is a kind of healer / bard, and plays very nicely. Besides a healing spell, an improved melee attack, and a "cry" that works like a direct damage spell, I have a series of ballads to sing. These ballads combine a short-duration buff with some direct damage to the enemy. Thus I can't buff before the combat, I need an enemy target to hit to use them. The ballads exist in several tiers, tier 1, tier 2, etc., and I can only use a tier 2 ballad if I have a tier 1 ballad buff currently on me. So keeping up all the buffs during a longer combat isn't trivial, and makes for some quite interesting gameplay. If there are still enough people remembering the original Everquest, I'm sure that this will be called "twisting" ballads, after the EQ bard gameplay.

The game starts with a short tutorial, in which you are running to safety with another hobbit, after encountering a Nazg├╗l in Dark Rider form. After the tutorial you find yourself in a newbie area, where you can do different quests to about level 6. You can't just walk out of the newbie area, you have to complete the main quest line there, which is conveniently marked as such. The last step of that quest line moves you from the public newbie area to an instanced event, the completion of which brings you to the main map. This is very cool, as the instanced event allows some scripted encounters that would be impossible to pull off in the presence of other players. At the same time the instanced events are short enough to not make this seem like a single-player game. Very well done.

General gameplay is similar to what you would expect in a post-WoW game. There are lots of quests, which serve both to tell you the rich lore of Middle-earth and to guide you through the game. I never managed to run out of quests, rather the opposite. You are never at a loss about what to do next, which is great. Quests cover the usual range of killing mobs, collecting stuff, or going someplace else. Quest items you find are not only marked "quest item", but also say for *which* quest they are, which makes you wonder why nobody else has thought of that yet. Combat has the usual mix of auto-attack with special abilities. But already at level 6 I had so many special abilities, that I didn't really notice the auto-attack any more, I was constantly hitting buttons to twist ballads. That keeps combat interesting. LotRO does a good job of not making you feel like a newbie in the newbie area. You don't have to kill any rats, although wolves, boars, and spiders are on the menu. Many fights are against human bandits. All mobs drop generous amounts of loot, you aren't kept short and can afford to buy weapons and armor, if you don't get them as quest rewards first.

Beyond the usual MMORPG gameplay, Lord of the Rings Online has a range of interesting special features. You can be awarded titles for special achievements, for example I received a "the Wary" title for reaching level 5 without dying once. You can choose which of your titles, if any, you want to display. But special achievements can also give you more than just a title, you can earn so-called "traits". A typical way to earn a trait would be completing the majority of quests in one area, or visiting a number of landmarks. There are also class traits, which you get by using your abilities a certain number of times. As far as I understood you are supposed to end up with more available traits than you'll have slots to equip them, with the number of trait slots depending on your level. This allows for additional character differentiation. So if my minstrel would use his cry a lot, he'd get an "improved cry" trait, which he could equip to further specialize in this area. But I'd have to choose between that and the "patience" trait improving some stats, which I get from finishing a series of quests to transport mail bags between the various hobbit postmasters. Hunting for traits is an alternative to questing, so besides the quest log you have a lore log, telling you how far you are in the different achievements. And there are lots of those too.

LotRO also has a crafting part. Crafting isn't available in the newbie area, but fortunately I realized that the light hides I found on the wolves and boars I killed where crafting materials, and kept them. Using Forestry I was later able to process the light hides into leather, and with tailoring made some light armor. Crafting seems interesting enough, without being terribly complicated. You need a recipe, some of which you get at the start, others you either find on mobs or buy from a vendor. Besides the recipe you need some materials, tools, and workbench, which limits crafting to fixed locations. Probably not a bad idea, it gives the crafters a meeting point to gather at. The one thing I didn't like was that you can't freely choose what tradeskills you want to take, you only have the choice between a couple of packages called vocations, each of which bundles three tradeskills together. I took the Explorer vocations, which gave me Tailoring and the Forestry I needed to process the leather. But Forestry is also used to find and gather wood, and instead of getting Woodworking as the third craft, I received Prospecting to gather metals, So I ended up with lots of gathering skills, without being able to process the wood and metal to something. The idea is obviously to force the crafters to trade among each other. I did see mailboxes, but didn't see an auction house. I hope that was just me not finding it, otherwise trading materials for crafting will be complicated.

Overall the Lord of the Rings Online is an excellent game. It is hard to describe the feel of the game, but in essence it just constantly made me very happy. There were so many things to explore, things to do and to see. And there was so little frustration involved. I didn't get to report a single bug, for the simple reason that I didn't encounter any. I was only sad that the servers weren't up all of the time, but this being a stress test I wasn't terribly surprised about Turbine having problems with the logon server. If they can fix their server issues, LotRO is going to be the "next big thing", the game you can't possibly miss of 2007. The officially announced release date is the 24th of April. I am very much looking forward to that, and I will certainly buy this game. Recommended!
Finally! I knew this day was coming for awhile, Tobie, as I'm not only a tester but part of the LotROVault site at IGN as well. It's been killing me not to go all over the place telling people how good this game is, both for the LOTR fan and the MMORPG fan.

The AH you were looking for can be found in Michel Delving as a Hobbit, Duillond as an Elf, Bree City, and Thorin's Gates as a Dwarf (might be mistaken on the Elf one...). So there is one, and trading goods should be easy due to it. Not only that, but there are also "orders" you can place at certain places across Eriador to buy some crafting components off of NPCs once every so often.

It's on a cooldown and typically will cost you more than a player's goods. But it's a great way to 1) keep the cost of the goods down on the AH and 2) for players to get what they need no matter the state of the server's AH.

I've been dying to get into this game for real, as for a pre-order person that day is just a little over 6 weeks away. I can't wait.

Glad to see you liked it Tobold, and I'm sure many others feel the same way.

There's just so much to do aside from "killing". It doesn't reinvent the wheel, or try to make some bold new stake on the MMO market. It's very much akin to DAoC, EQ2, and WoW. But it does a lot things better than all 3 of those games (accomplishments and crafting), and some worse (speed travel on horse-taxis seems awkward). But all in all, it's one of the most fun and immersive standard style MMOs I've ever played.

March 30th can't come fast enough.
So, would you leave WOW for this?
Not sure if you're asking me or Tobold, but for me the answer is an easy "YES!". After 2+ years of WoW, and then seeing the life this game breathes I'm eagerly awaiting March 30th. My WoW account ends some 20 days prior to that date.

There's just something about LotRO, aside from the story which I've been a fan of since my youth, that draws me in like no MMO has for a good while. It's not "addiction", it's plain good old FUN that makes me come back to it again and again.
Way to fuck it up Turbine. I wish I could take D&D and LotR, and make two completely unfaithful video game adaptations while still being able to sleep at night.
You will never beat wow you pig fucker!
I have no way to censor words out of comments, I can only delete the whole comment. So please be advised that I'm very close to deleting all comments containing "fuck" and not adding anything useful to this discussion.

There are some very interesting themes here to discuss, like how close the game is to the lore, and whether it will "beat WoW". Just temper your language, will ya.
I've played both DDO and LotR... let me the 1st, but not the last to say both are very faithful to their respective IPs. If you think otherwise, that's all well and fine, but your opinion couldn't be any further from the truth.

DDO follows the spirit of D&D quite well (which may or may not make for a good online game with a sub fee), and LotR goes great lengths, VERY great lengths, to remain true to the lore while still driving compelling gameplay.
In short, you're just plain wrong in your summation, Heartless.

Turbine goes so far to remain authentic to LotR that every last bit of Sindarin is correctly applied... I'm not sure any other developer would've taken the care to do this.

I'm a Tolkien nut, and trust me when I say that if anything about the way they're handling the license were really that suspect that I'd be the first to rip them a new one.

Could you please tell a bit more about the hardware requirements.

What resolution did you play?
What hardware do you have?
(cpu, ram, gfx)

thx :)
Great review of the Beta and I are on the same page regarding this game.
Bildo and tobold, about LotR. I know you've probably not been in beta a whole lot. But have you tried TBC's new starting areas?

My question is how does it compare to them. Also you mentioned by level 6 you have tons of abilities. Are you given 2-3 class abilities each level? Do they have a specialization aspect to them?

I'm almost always choose a 'caster' in just about any game I play. Does the Lore-master class fulfill this aspect of the game? To be blunt, I don't enjoy melee. So aside from the Bard is there a class that does not 'need' to swing a weapon?

Magic Items. LoTR's has no concept of real 'magic'. But what about the items you find in game. Are they simply DPS upgrades or do they have the whole green/blue/purple concepts to them?

I must admit LoTR'as was off my radiar till I started hearing about how much people loved the game. Sounds like I'll be getting it on launch just to try it out.
"Will LOTRO be released for the Mac / Xbox / Playstation / Gamecube?
LOTRO is currently only in development for Windows-based PC platforms."


I hope it's even possible to port this one to macs. Anyone know?
Played a little bit in the beta as well and must mostly agree with Tobold, Turbine has done a quite nice job. A very nice intro/tutorial I must say. The game looks quite nice and have some nice details - e.g. you start off with a full set of bags from start, item descriptions do indicate if an item is usable for crafting.

As for Lore-Master: I have played one to level 6 only. He does use melee, but also offensive "spells" and debuffs and has a pet to aid in combat.

Definitely a buy I would say.
I'm not Tobold, but I'm bored at work, so I'll answer, too.

In early Alpha, I ran it with 1G of RAM, an ATI Radeon 9800Pro (128MB), and a Pentium IV 3.0 GHz.

I ran it on the essential "Medium" settings in 1024x768 resolution (no widescreen monitor for me :( )

Now I'm running it on High settings with 2G of RAM. RAM makes all the difference in the world for my system, considering it's a somewhat old video card.

I can run in Ultra High with minimal problems, but the framerate then really suffers around a lot of players or mobs.

@ Emyln:

The art styles are distinctly different between WoW and LotRO. WoW goes for a sort of comic book vibrancy, where LotRO goes for artistic realism... think the DDO graphics engine tweaked to be more effective and you've got the idea. I can't really compare the areas in TBC to LotRO, as they're both different types of Fantasy, it works better to compare the areas in WoW: Vanilla to LotRO.

In that regard LotRO's areas are very similar to WoW's. Early areas, being geographically far away from Mordor and Angmar (the game's endgame slant will be in Angmar at release), are nice and bright and relatively calm... think Elwynn Forest. But as you progress into the North Downs, the Trollshaws... and certainly Angmar, you'll find some very evil looking and fearsome foes/scenery.

The game has this great concept of Hope and Dread that is affected by the areas your player is in too. For instance, in a place like Rivendell your character will be filled with Hope, you're Morale (HP) will be higher than normal, and maybe your strenght will increase as well... but then say you find yourself later at the gates of the Witch King's castle... dread will fill you and your Morale will lower, as well as your effectiveness in combat. This really makes strategy important in some areas.

The Lore-Master I think you will find very similar to WoW's warlock. Buffs, debuffs, pets (crows, bears), staff in hand for when you need to whack the enemy to conserver power... it's very warlock-esque. The Minstrel is very much a priest type class, but also very capable of solo-ing, like a shadow-priest. I can see the Minstrel giving Monster Players in the Ettenmoors great fits later on.

As for a purely ranged "nuke" class, that would be the hunter, though while solo-ing even they need to to use their melee weapons at times. The best chance of "NEVER!" using a melee weapon would come with the Hunter in grps, or the Lore Master once he gets a bear pet (level 12 or 14 I believe).

As for items, this is the best part of LotRO for me. Every Incomparable item is comparable. That means raiders, small-groupers, crafters, and solo-ers will ALL have fair chances at the best loot in the game, through all different means. No raiders getting the best, no crafters getting shafted... it's going to be even-field.

As for Item-quality, they do have different degrees, and some items are also known as "bane" items. These will have specific advantages over certain mobs types (a la Bilbo's Sting). Also weapons of superior quality have bonuses to stats, just like the items in most MMOs.

Any others?
There are indeed AHs, as Bildo points out. The problem I had was that there was nothing on it. I may have been using it incorrectly, but there were literally 0 items on the AH as far as I could tell. Not that I would have been able to afford anything, anyway.

Some quick thoughts from my 10 or so levels: The title system is a great parallel advancement course, because the rewards are obvious ("I can put 'I'm a badass' right in my name for all to see!") and uniquely worthwhile. One of the nice things about WOW is, of the 4 parallel advancement tracks (levels, honor, crafting, and rep), only rep (and sometimes crafting) feels like a worthless grind (and that's been remedied in BC). I'm looking forward to Lotro's Title track.

And the scripted events are fantastic. They blow away WOW's "Boss X says Y, then summons creature Z, then dies, then says C" events for cinematic quality. They really take advantage of instancing in a way that every game can and should.

There are lots of other nice extras. You can actually play music with the musical instruments. . sort of. I love the idea, but they actually try realtime playback with internet lag and latency, meaning you hit the note button and the sound comes out a random 0.5-1.5 seconds later. Trying to string together a melody like that or, god forbid, play with someone else is brutal. Still, it has enough potential that when they get around to implementing pre-programming sequences it's going to be great.

Performance on my laptop was surprisingly good for the quality of the graphics, and strangely the moments of visual lag seemed to have nothing to do with scene complexity. I was able to run crowds of 20-30 characters running around fine, and then all of a sudden I'd grind to 2fps in a room with 1 other person. It makes me wonder if visual refresh is tied to network somehow, which would be bad, bad, bad. Regardless, Vanguard can't even come close to the quality per performance.

Unfortunately, all of this is pretty moot. It'd be like trying to review WoW without leaving Tirisfal. What's the game like 100 hours of played in? What's the high-end dungeon experience like? How's the gear advancement go? You're not going to be able to get a satisfactory answer to that until the game's been out for at least 6 months, so buying it at launch is simply a gamble. One I'm probably going to take.
One other feature that Tobold didn't get to try, but I have, and am in love with is MONSTER PLAY. Initially LotRO being a PvP light game made a lot of potential customers wary of LotRO, but let me one of many to tell you that Monster Play is nothing short of genius for both the license and the health of the game.

As soon as level 10, players can take control of a monster which is level 50 (orcs, wargs, spiders) each one of them is like its own class. The player is teleported to a massive, NON-instance Zone called the Ettenmoors, where they'll quest, kill, take keeps, fight players, and generally run amuck all in the name of the Dark Lord, while players of level 40 and above will be roving about the zone trying to quell the evil uprising. I'd get in depth more, but I'm lazy and won't unless someone asks. :)

What's genius about this mode in terms of class balance is that BECAUSE the "competition" is between player classes, and temporarily controlled monsters, developers never have to touch the regular player-classes to balance for PvP... they can balance it all through the monster side.

No nerfs to a Class's PvE skills because someone cried enough that it was unfair in PvP. Monster Play effectively rids the game of that problem while still having a compelling PvP aspect... like I said, genius.
Well, I was also in the stress test and put in a bit more time than you did Tobold. They actually invited me back to the closed afterwards, but I haven't gone yet. Not positive I will. Hard to say.

I was impressed with the landscapes quite a bit, and some of the quests were a lot of fun (especially the instanced quests). Most of the issues I had with the game were very minor things which I expect to be ironed out by release (spawn rates varying drastically sometimes resulting in being attacked by the mob you just killed, crafting orders that can't actually be picked up after paying and waiting the cool-down period, entirely too many evade bugged mobs).

My main issue with the game was the feeling that it is so incredibly WoWified that it truly needs to be something special, and I'm not sure that it really is. It's a fun game, don't get me wrong, but at the end of the day when I was searching for something new to play LOTRO gave me a yearning to go back and try the WoW expansion rather than commit to LOTRO for good.

Are there any rewards when you do Monster Play for your normal character?

Or is it just for fun?

Thx :)
Yes there are rewards, but the items and armor for it haven't been implemented for us tester yet. There are other kinds of rewards aside from items though, which are in play for us now. They're called "perks", and go in different slots of your character's traits (think of these like talents). These perks can be buffs to movement speeds, morale regen etc, but nothing so buffing that you'd feel compelled to PvP even if you don't like to. The real meaty rewards of Monster Play will undoubtedly be the gear when it's implemented.

Also, on the monster side, you can earn points to improve your monsters as well, but they don't have armor and weapons persay to equip. The char-gen and diversification on the monster side is pretty slim, think of it like you're playing a mob, not a real evil character, and that's essentially what being a Monster is about. They're inherently weaker than a level 50 player, but in numbers they can be brutal, and I think that's the idea considering that monsters can be played from level 10 on, while players can't get into the zone until 40 (ideally 45+).
Turbine are great at making MMORPG games, Asherons Calls 2 (AC2) was a great example. The crafting in LOtR sounds similar, which was a really good thing about AC2, and the quests in AC2 were amazing, the team work was awseom, the ping and control of the servers where a hell of alot better then WOW has ever been.

But.....WOW is hooooge, and for this to make a dramatic impact on the MMO enviroment, this will have to become hoooooge, very very quickly. Wishing LOtR all the best.
"They're called "perks", and go in different slots of your character's traits "

When I bought a perk this weekend all it gave me was a 30 minute buff.
My experience with Turbine is that they make great games but bad at distributing for players outside of US. I remember it took more than 1 year for Asheron's Call after US release to reach where I live. I hope they have improved on that and we can get LotR Online promptly.
Tobold's post makes me interested in this game. However my girlfriend and I (who are playing WoW at the moment) are not familiar with the lore of LoTR. As such, would we be able to enjoy the games as much? She played a bit of Warcraft 3 so she can relate to WoW a little. However if we were to be lost in LoTR because we are not familiar with LoTR at all, this will seriously dampen our spirits in playing the game.

Anyone can advise?
Really Pendan? I could have sworn they were equippable traits at one point... make sense I suppose though.

I do hear the accomplishments related to MP will have nice traits tied to them, though I don't think they're in-game yet.
However my girlfriend and I (who are playing WoW at the moment) are not familiar with the lore of LoTR.

You can not imagine how old this comment makes me feel. Have we really arrived in an age where there are people interested in fantasy universes, but not familiar with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings? I mean, the whole genre is based on that. Every bloody orc and elf in every fantasy setting traces its lineage directly back to Tolkien. This is like saying "I'm a Christian, but what is this bible thingie you are talking about?". ;)

If you strip away the LotR lore from LotRO, you end up with a game which looks suspiciously like World of Warcraft without the Warcraft lore. Lots of people played WoW without being familiar with the Warcraft lore, so playing LotRO without having read Tolkien is perfectly possible. Having said that, I'm planning to read the Lord of Rings again in my next holidays. For people who don't have that much time, I'd recommend the movie trilogy for $25 at Amazon.
Your comment about Tolkien Lore is the funniest thing have read in a while Tobold.

All this buzz about LOTRO is really setting it up to be the WOW killer. The well known license should help bring it to a wider audience (Well know to old fogies that is lol). How does it handle the casual vs. harcore issue? I think that in order to expand the audience for MMORPGs to the real mainstream (think of the 100's of millinos who watched the LOTR films) it will have to do a lot more to please casual players while still holding on to the hard core. Have any of you thoughts on how LOTRO handles this issue.
I would definitely NOT use the films as a reference for LOTR lore. They are complete rubbish and a disgrace as far as being faithful to the books (yes they were beautifully made, but Tolkien must have been rolling in his grave when they were released - absolute pants).
If you want to know more about the Lore, try the Silmarillion and Forgotten Tales.
Have we really arrived in an age where there are people interested in fantasy universes, but not familiar with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings? I mean, the whole genre is based on that. Every bloody orc and elf in every fantasy setting traces its lineage directly back to Tolkien.

Possibly true for the orcs, but elves have been in litterature and fantasy litterature in other forms than of the Tolkien mold. But it is safe to say that his work have had a huge influence on the current view of elves.

But it would be a definite recommendation to read the books and see the movies (Peter Jackson's, not the old earlier attempts if anyone remember those) if one is not familiar with it. Not because I think it would be necessary for the game, just because they are well worth reading and seeing.
Have we really arrived in an age where there are people interested in fantasy universes, but not familiar with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings? I mean, the whole genre is based on that. Every bloody orc and elf in every fantasy setting traces its lineage directly back to Tolkien.

This is interesting. but you have to understand that just because he pioneered the genre does not mean that his was the best.

I'm in my 30's now but I started out reading Raymond E. Fiest and David Enddings. When I read Tolkien, it was my 4 or 5th Fantasy universe and to be quite honest, I thought it was terrible. Dry and quite boring. But before you cry and start flaming me, understand that for me the attraction of fantasy is magic. Swordplay/strategy/warfare is boring to me and that was essentially the 2nd and 3rd book. But I did love book 1.
Actually, iirc, the game MUST use the lore from the books (and only the trilogy) and cannot use any IP from the Peter Jackson movies.

Anyone know anything about how much there is to do at max level? Part of the fun of WoW (and what turned me off CoH/CoV) was that there was TONS to do after hitting the level cap. The game of WoW really did 'Start' at 60.
I'm almost 40, and I love fantasy and sci-fi, but unbelievably enough, I have never read LOTR (although I tried). I also tried reading Silmarillion, and all I can say is big ups to anyone with the will and concentration skills to make it through that. BTW, Feist is terrible, but of course this is not a discussion of books.

I've been playing WoW for about 2 years, and I didn't think I would leave anytime soon (particulary with TBC), but reading this article and the comments is really making me want to try this game. I'm married and have whelplings, so my uninterrupted playtime is pretty sparse. I always felt that WoW didn't do enough for the casuals and the soloists. The info here really suggest that LOTRO will be a great game for someone like myself.
You're all piggies. Oink oink silly piggies.
Sounds like it'll be a great game, 6 months after release when the bugs are squashed, the classes balanced the the online resources to help you get unstuck from difficult quests are done. Nice review.
, "The game of WoW really did 'Start' at 60",

And for the rest of us with social lives/wives/kids/jobs, it came to a very quick conclusion!

No housing, lamentable crafting and absolutely nothing to offer the non-raiding player once the group quests were done. I just hope LotR resists the urge to pander to the hardcore - and instead caters for the silent majority, with a nod towards sensiblly-sized non-punative raids!
First say that I am fan of Tolkien Works (not just the one in the Middle Earth but also other works). And also I have played some other MMORPGs (EQ, EQ2, SWG, Eve, WoW ..) and MUDs (Medina).

Second and after a lil background I have to say that after playing for almost a month to the Beta I like the game, it has inmmersion and keeps the lore (more or less). I think it has much more deph than Wow. I completly agree on this review, a well done review indeed.

However what I have to say that if you want a game were you can say "I can pwnd you Aragorn" this is not the game. And I hope they dont make the same mistakes as SoE did with SWG and JEDIs'.

--> UIN <--
Anonymous said...
, "The game of WoW really did 'Start' at 60",

And for the rest of us with social lives/wives/kids/jobs, it came to a very quick conclusion!

Ignorant untrue stereotypes ftw! Oddly enough, I still spent time every day with my wife and children while I was raiding Naxxramas a few nights a week. Oddly enough, I still held on to my job with no issues, and went out with friends with no issues.

Oddly enough, every single one of my friends who considered themselves "casual" played Warcraft longer than I did on a daily basis (I was playing 3-4 days a week while raiding, for 2-3 hours each of those days). Yet I got to read plenty of whining from those who claim it was that pesky "life" thing that got in the way and anybody who wasn't experiencing the same issues obviously didn't have one.

Moving forward, we could always...I don't know...have mature conversations rather than official forum conversations?
LOTR will run on any new (Intel-based) Mac -- all you need to do is install Boot Camp (free from Apple) and a copy of Windoze.

I really doubt they'll port it over to native Mac OS, particularly since owners of newer Macs can run any PC game flawlessly. It doesn't make financial sense for a game company.

I'm currently playing Half-Life 2 on my MacBook Pro and it's no different from playing the game on a PC.
Alright, i was just wondering about something. When your playing as a monster, do you get to burn stuffs. Please say yes.
Something I keep looking for but can never find about LOTRO:

How does teaming work? The mechanics, that is. For instance, if I want to join a team how do I do it? What about if I want to start a team?

Do I have to have people my level in it or can I invite anybody?

How big can the teams be?

What kind of travel powers are there? I hate taking 30 minutes to get from Point A to Point B. Is there a solution to that? Is it any good?

In nearly every game all the characters look the same from a distance. I mean, in a field of warriors you'll never be able to pick out your friends. Is it the same way in LOTRO?

How about the emotes? Lots of them?

Since LOTRO has servers, rather than doing it like Guild Wars, what's going to happen when the subscriptions fall off? I understand that joining teams is very important to complete quests. So, if subscriptions fall off and the remaining peeps are split amongst the servers ... we're just SOL, right?

I know these questions may seem trivial, but normally I don't like the sword-n-sorcery games and I really disliked the LOTR books. However, this game sounds pretty creative in a lot of ways. I'd like to give it a shot if the mechanics of the gameplay are well thought out. Since the website is suspiciously sparce on details, that makes me nervous (enough not to buy the game unless I hear otherwise).

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