NotRO

Just thought I’d mention; closed my LotRO account a couple of weeks back.  I really just can’t find much to say about the game.

It pays homage to the FryTiger school of art, like WoW, which emphasises texture artistry over polygon count to deliver belivability while you’re immerseed instead of maximum beauty in screenshots.

But it just wasn’t “Lord of the Rings” to me – it doesn’t have the grandeur, the epic je-ne-sais-quoi… As I said to Toto, it’s just not New Zealand. It’s not supposed to be based on the films, but that’s not my point – Peter Jackson just got it right.

I mean, the hobbit stuff is very Hobbity, like a disney ride or something. But the rest of the world seemed not to be that much less hobbity. I think one of the clinchers for me was when the forest turned out to be done the way WWII used to do forests…

Hand on heart – when I think of “Lord of the Rings – The MMO” – I think “Brad McQuaid does Asheron’s Call”. And that’s not what LotRO is. It may be a saga, but its not a hero’s tale. The only hardship my toon endured was seeing Bloo reroll his character because we got killed when the game accused me of cheating. The only sense of development I got was numerical (Chapter II).

When I’ve had time, I’ve been playing a bit of EQ2 here and there and thoroughly enjoying it. Having lost my regular group, I’m not playing nearly as much as before, but thanks to LoF I don’t have a problem getting a group when I do. Shoo is now Level 69 and 1/3rd. I’ve had a chance to see inside Mistmoore Castle – one of my favorite EQ1 zones, for perverse reasons – and I’ve been on some raids.

I got on just in time for a Labs raid on Sunday with a few extra levels and AA under my belt, and the difference was noticeable. Only 1 death before the end encounter (which we failed, seems it got “tuned” in the last update). But I also made both parses on several occasions (DPS and healing).

I’m pretty sure some of that is down to the way some damage and healing gets reported — I think some of the healing spells/regends report as healing done by the target rather than by the healer, certainly some damage effects do (such as Fae Pyre).

Now that I’m mastering my final run of spells, and with some advice from Shanelle back on Oasis and ‘Roo of LoF, I respec’d Shoo a little. I can’t tell if Lu35 or my respec did it, but I’m definitely a little less of a tank. However, the changes to my damage output rock. My healing doesn’t seem to have suffered for the respec.

I’m really just curious, tho, to see how I do at the next raid so I can compare the two specs. I’d mentioned before how I wasn’t sure what the Fury’s role was, and that may have been because I had a very utilitarian AA setup – focus my druid AA on damage dealing while focusing my fury AA on buffage, recovery and healing.

(Before picture)

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14 Comments

I really wanted to like LotR. The game play, I thought, was fresh and different enough from WoW. The crafting, etc was all cool. The art was very impressive.

But…

After playing for a few weeks it felt like the same ole grind, and grind was not something I was looking for.

Grouping with the guild from Ars was pretty cool but I did not get to do enough of it because of the odd, irregular and often short times I was on. I could not keep up in level with the regulars and I was high enough away from the casuals to make the later weeks a pain.

Since that time I have been playing EVE-Online again. I feel that there is enough varied game play there to keep me interested and active depending on the mood I am in.

Well I remember Asherons Call being a completely boring piece of crap (jeez by the numbers or what?) so I wouldn’t touch LotrO with a 10 foot pole.

Someone barfed on your EQ screen, Ollie.

I have to say – I just can’t believe LotRO doesn’t have a mentoring system. Why? Why? Why?

Well, actually, it kinda does – the whole reflecting pool for dealing with instances. But if you want to run around doing quests with your recently-started buddy … yeah, then you’re pooched.

It’s too bad you’re out on LOTRO I was looking forward to playing with you. I even had a level 15 ready to go when you got caught up. You’re right about the mentor system, though to be honest more games don’t have something like that than do. You don’t actually need one to play together in LOTRO a high level can group with a low level with no downside to the low level except trivializing all the content (which is a huge downside to me but others seem to not mind).

It’s interesting to see your views on the game as they’re so dramatically different from my experience. I’ve found the combat system infinitely more enjoyable than EQ2’s. It starts off slow but unlike EQ2’s it doesn’t stagnate less than halfway through the level tree. Turbine has managed to make a combat system that evolves and changes through the entire level grind. Mobs actually have special abilities that make fighting one type of creature feel different from fighting another type. EQ2’s mob type A uses green sparkles that hurt you while mob type B uses red sparkles that hurt you system was always a disappointment. I’ve yet to find the ability button mashing order that I can use to get through 99% of the encounters like I had in EQ2. The book system to level up your abilities in EQ2 sucks to say the least. It’s nothing more than added grind for minimual fun return that only further differentiates the haves and the have nots in that game. LOTRO does a trait system with your abilities that you can use to improve them, but unlike EQ2 you accomplish this through normal play not buying outrageously priced stuff on the auction house or farming mobs over and over for a lucky drop.

I once said here that EQ2 was the most graphically impressive MMO around. Technology wise that’s still true, but something about LOTRO’s art style makes me prefer it to EQ2’s. LOTRO feels much more real than EQ2 did. It’s like running around in a world instead of the disjointed theme park (oooo Lavaland!) EQ2 was. Whoever does the terrain building over at Turbine deserves a hats off. There’s so many cool little things to see and discover in the world unlike a lot of other game’s vast expanses of blah with only a few scattered points where work went into to making something interesting. The environment in LOTRO is just fantastic.

LOTRO’s look is intrinsically different from WoW’s and works so much better for me. I don’t feel like I’m in a cartoon being the most obvious difference. Weapon effects are subtle and understated in LOTRO not the huge in your face anime effects of WoW. The weapons are scaled realistically and look like mortals could actually wield them in LOTRO unlike the giant He-Man weapons of WoW. Armor looks like something functional that people might actually wear in the wild in LOTRO unlike the wierd Cos-play party outfits of WoW (though the starting armor designs in LOTRO are horrible and thus make the characters appear much uglier than they really are that gets much better as you level up). It’s still a bit stylized, but to no where near the degree WoW was.

My only real complaint with LOTRO right now is a lack of content. EQ2/WoW have a ton, but that’s only because it’s been out for so long and have had time to expand on the content they released with. LOTRO compares pretty well to the original amount of content EQ2 released with, but then seeing all that content and having nothing left to do was what killed EQ2 for me the first time. It could go the same way with LOTRO though Turbine is pretty good when it comes to releasing new content so we’ll have to see.

When all is said and done though art style is a matter of taste so everyone will see it differently. LOTRO is still new to me (and I’m always a bit of a fanboy with new MMO’s) where I played a lot of EQ2 and WoW so the good parts are overshadowed by all the things I hated and made me quit playing them. I don’t see there being the slightest chance I’d come back to EQ2 at this point maybe we’ll put a work group together with WAR next year cause I did have fun while we were doing it in EQ2.

granik wrote:
… I’ve found the combat system infinitely more enjoyable than EQ2’s. It starts off slow but unlike EQ2’s it doesn’t stagnate less than halfway through the level tree. …
… It’s like running around in a world instead of the disjointed theme park (oooo Lavaland!) EQ2 was. …

Actually, if you see my “wish” list for RoK, you’ll see some LotRO inspired wishing along this line. AA makes some difference but I totally agree that they over-fixated on spell “line”s. A few EQ2 classes get a spell roughly every 10 levels that changes playstyle, Fury happens to be one.

I also agree entirely about the contiguous world; very few EQ2 zones manage not to feel like a sandbox – the fact that every zone boundary is a tunnel or something really hurts there, IMHO.

I found LotRO cartoony mostly because what I was expecting was sharper, harder edged, crisper. LotRO reminds me of how Baldur’s Gate II looked on the PSII compared to other games at the time. Everything about the art style made me think of isometric-view games.

It’s definitely very pretty, its just not the way I imagine LotR to look.

I’m reserving my judgment until I reach the misty mountains. I have mental pictures trapped in my mind from reading the books as a kid. Right now Bree and the surrounding area are not too bad.

I am surprised at how they are packing a lot of stuff into the terrain with out making it feel so close. The hills do seem to be placed at just the right point to hide locations from line of site. The travel running time does not take to long.

Heh, yeah I typed up my small novel of a post before I read your RoK musings. I saw later you agreed with me on many points.

The short of it is that I expect LotRO to be a very hardcore experience – with a UI that looks like its carved out of stone; trees straining in the wind. I found Bloo’s reroll on defeat annoying (when I was the cause of it) but I actually respect it because … it’s Lord of the Rings, dude.

I might have looked on the game differently if my first toon had not been a hobbit.

Ahh well I don’t share that expectation. Tolkien’s work is there to give the gameworld substance and it does a great job (I sometimes think a great part of my game enjoyment comes from the fact I’ve read the books a hundred times and have been such a fan since for so long, not from anything the game does in particular). In the realm of fantasy LOTR isn’t really that “hardcore”. “The Hobbit” borders on being a children’s story IMHO.

The world does become more harsh (trees straining in the wind, rocky crags, etc.) as you get further away from the civilized lands of Bree and the Shire just as it did in the movies. The transition from civilization to the wilds is one of those environment things I’ve raved so much about.

I was trying to find a way to put the Hobbit/LotR difference more subtly so that I could make the distinction that I found LotRO to be more Hobbit flavored (capital H) than Lordly.

It does become harsher but it still lacks that … oomf that I was expecting. Not sure really how to explain it; if Bruce is reading, maybe he can since we seemed to agree on it :)

Hey – before I forget, and since its a long walk up the corridor … Any chance of you replacing the AI tower with a 3d object so that bouncing grenades don’t bounce off the alphas (rendering them indestructible)?

Bah I don’t post here to talk about work. I just like to burn time rambling about my latest MMO addiction. You’re going to have to make a ticket.

The towers aren’t invincible they just are much harder to take out with grenades (ridiculously hard) other methods like having a tank or atg shoot them still work fine. The grenade problem is actually much bigger than with just the towers though it’s probably most evident there.

I was gonna make a ticket, but with the game AND thunderbird running this box runs like a dead dog, so it was easier just to post a comment here than wait for trac to load up ;)

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