As a huge huge Tolkien fan, I must say this game is extremely appealing. First off I want to explain what's fantastic about MMO's and that people have forgotten they're for: They're not just for rushing to endgame, they're not just for PvP. They're for fully enjoying a well-fleshed world and essentially living a second life in said game, and having a variety of experiences. Something alot of MMO players have forgotten in their impatient rush to end-game and gear. The best MMO's make a rich, versatile, alive world for you to explore and experience.
Let me explain and tell you a very recent scenario that actually happened:
In preparation for the 3rd Hobbit installment, my girlfriend and I travelled to the Shire to enjoy the sights and sounds. We ventured up to Bilbo's house, and explored it a bit. We saw a humorous painting of Smaug, and a few other notable things. Another traveller walks in as we were staring at the painting, he bows to both of us and tells us he is from Dale, and came to thank Bilbo for his assistance so long ago. He informs me they've rebuilt well, and he will travel back soon after attending to some business. We tell him we were simply exploring, adventurers who wanted to visit the unlikely Hobbit Bilbo Baggins. He invites us for a round of ale. We walk down to the Green Dragon, discussing the dire business going on South. He buys us a couple pints and we have a smoke and talk more (more real life things at this time.) He adds us as friends, gives some gold (at the time we weren't very rich, so it was very helpful), invites us to go fishing (of which we had to decline for we had other matters to attend) and is away on his own journey.
There was no combat, no hobbies, no crafting, no end-game, no raids, just good ol player community and interaction. Add in heroic combat, interesting and fun crafting and hobbies, raids, and you have a fantastic MMO. That is essentially what you're getting with this. A tight-knit VERY friendly and awesome community.
LotRO does a fantastic job of letting you experience Tolkiens world in a wonderful setting. The music, the graphics/areas, the overall feeling is very immersive. Countless times I have stopped and enjoyed the wonderfully presented and created zones. Yes the graphics are a bit dated, but it is a somewhat older MMO. The graphics are still decent and even in some spots beautiful enough to not be unenjoyable.
Yes, the F2P pricing model is very bad. But does that remove it's pros? No. Most MMO's have subs, can you *really* mark off this game so much for it's new pricing model? Just sub, and buy expansions for the most enjoyment and unhindered experience. You can't really expect them to not want money, they need it, and you need support.
The combat is normal and decent. The story is great for fans of Middle-Earth.
The music system is truly innovative and new, even to this day.
Overall, I highly recommend this game, ESPECIALLY if you're a huge fan of Middle-Earth. Enjoy the experience, live in the rich setting.. Stop rushing. Enjoy it.