Lord of the Rings Free MMORPG
It's pretty certain that Tolkien would have done his ever loving nut if he'd been informed that one day the world he created with pen and paper would become a virtual online game in which you could buy morale potions with real life money. Tolkien was a serious business sort of guy. But he's long gone now and with the rediscovering of his works and the rabid pursuit of the fantasy nut dollar, all things hobbit are in, including the LOTR MMORPG.
Keep in mind that this review is being written by someone who has played several MMORPGs before, but found the LOTR books tedious and the movies even more so. (The next man to attempt to convince me that watching other people go for a bit of a walk for three hours will be fun is going straight to Mordor.)
Here in a quick and nutty shell, are the positives associated with the game.
- LOTR is a heavily story driven MMORPG. Unlike others of its genre (say WoW for instance,) the story feels immediate and real. Every quest is tied into the storyline at hand. Where WoW writes long quest texts that most people skip over in their hurry to kill ten more boars and hope they all have heads, LOTR focuses on a more character driven style of game play. Relationships matter and when you speak to a character they're more likely to tell you a short personal anecdote related to them not ending up with their heads hacked off than to blather on for many tedious lines filling your head with lore you couldn't care less about if you tried.
- The graphics are modern and well done. When you run through a grassy field of flowers, the flowers ripple and sway in the wind. The artistic style used is very much in keeping with a fantasy world, which makes for immersive game play.
- Character customization is particularly impressive, right down to the precise shade of your skin.
- For the most part, there don't seem to be too many Kill X of Y quests. They exist, but the main thrust of the game play is towards overcoming obstacles in the story.
- It's FREE. No download fee, no monthly subscription charges. This is the main draw for a lot of MMORPG players who don't want to have to fork out two hundred bucks a year to play a game they already bought.
Yes you can buy your character awesome. This will annoy gaming purists to no end. You can also buy extra content, helpful items, cosmetic upgrades, steeds and much, much more. Legendary items become even more legendary when you throw money at them. The game hand holds you through this process for the first time at around level five when it gives you ten teaser points and encourages you to spend them on a shoddy old horn. It's like a dealer giving you a little taste to get you hooked. Whether or not you succumb to the charms of the LOTR online store is mostly going to be down to will power, the support of your family and your genetic make up.