The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar
Review by SiriusBlackKS
"Lord of the Rings, Shadows of Mediocrity"
First off I would like to state that I was an avid supporter of this game throughout development. I brought friends over to this game, pre-ordered months in advace, bought the collector's edition, got the special pc gamer items, and played from pre-order open beta day 1.
I have leveled every class from ranger 15-20 minus 2. I have also explored most of the map, and been the rivendell. So this is not some troll attempt, but an honest fan's opinion. I also do not like World of Warcraft at all.
On to the review:
A shiny new car with a broken up interior. There is no doubt about it LOTRO looks fantastic. The water reflections are amazing, the sky looks as real as the sky outdoors. The draw distance is handled very well, and I would argue looks much better at distances than oblivion.
The Turbine involvement is fantastic and should be a model for other mmo developers. They are planning on pushing out waves of free massive content upgrades over months not years. They are also active on their own forums and a part of the community.
This last pro that I will list is a love it or hate it one. It is the difference between the game being "enough" to keep you around. The lore is deep. VERY DEEP. Turbine has done an excellent job of adapting to the lore and trying to make it as lore perfect as possible. Those who really wish to "live the books" will find an opportunity to do so and see many familiar places and people throughout.
and now the Cons:
This part could really be summed up in one word, and that is that this game is flat out "Boring". There is next to know variation on quest choices once you leave the newb zones and pass level 15. Everyone will be on the exact same track of missions and story missions to level 50. Not even in a "go here and quest because it is the most effective" it is more of a "go here because that's where a person of level XX goes" The quests are extremely rinse and repeat with little to now motivation to continue. Go to next area, grab quests from npcs with rings above their heads, go kill X mobs then return. The monotony comes from the fact that after level 15 you will do a ton of these quests to even get one level, only to go on to the next group of npcs when finished.
Mobs give little to next to no exp so traditional grinding is not a viable option.
Beyond this the classes are flat out dull. Combat is a button mash fest with terrible animations and sounds. There is no flourish to be found in 99% of the attacks you will be hammering for 50 levels. The skill and deeds setup also means nearly every single character will be a carbon copy of the other, since there is not an abundance of Good traits, everyone will have mostly the same. This means there is next to no real class diversity or choice.
So in the end you pick from a tired out group of bland class cliches and begin working through hundreds of boring quest after boring quest to reach level 50 and be identical in play style, and probably even looks (due to very limited equipment styles) to the class next to you.
This game looks beautiful, and is great fanservice for those that have read all of the thousands of pages of lore, BUT is very, very mediocre in nearly every aspect, and a chore to play. There is little to no pizazz, and no real desire to climb another level. With a complete lack of real class customization it seems a lot more like a single player game with multiple people running around. It is far less deep than even Diablo in terms of character customization. An mmo should far surpass it, and not be inferior to a much older game.
In short this is not the new mmo. It is a tired out formula with a fresh coat of paint. It is only for the hard-core fans of the books, and those seeking a solid mmo will find little enjoyment past only a couple days of play.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 05/16/07
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