What is a video game ?
Why do I play a video game ?
A Game is basically an entertaining activity, some are more stimulating than others, and some stimulate reactions over concentration. If you get this logic right; you can discover a whole world of possibilities through video games. Someone could just decide to create a "goat Simulator" for fun (and you would pretend to be a goat), or create a Massive Multiplayer Game where everybody interacts with each other to accomplish goals in the game.
There is a myriad of games out there today and some will tickle you to play, based on your interests of course.
About Lord of the Rings Online :
Yes I am interested in the Lord of the Rings lore. I like the Medieval style, the powerful evil, the hobbits, the elves, the faith, the glory, the flowers, name it. I read the complete story years ago, way before the movies. Am I a complete sold out and corrupt Lord of the rings fan ? Nope, not at all. I just like the writing style and the human-side, possibly believable logic-reality-fantasy, story of it all.
2nd. The Genre:
MMO. I am not a MMO FAN, in fact, I hate MMO's. They are a repeatable-similar-cut-and-paste infinite same thing said differently, lather repeat. This type of game is kinda of free-roaming-reading do the same thing. The story is vaguely known, the sense of it is tasteless. Just roam, talk to someone and pretend it is fun. Now that's my point. (Lord of the GATHErings I called it back in my debut)
Is Lotro entertaining? Well... I must say that something was entertaining, and still is... after playing this type of game for so long now... and still playing it !
What happened to my anti-MMO player side ? It got impressed !!
The cutscenes were a nice feature that propels you directly into the current conflict (linked to the departure of the fellowship...and following right down in their footsteps is totally great. The feeling of being part of the LOTRO world was achieved greatly with all those characters and storyline. The sense of my character being known to this fake-world was cool. There is also an outrageous number of QUESTS ! From main quests, side quests, skill quests, deeds quests, trait quests to crafting quests, I am probably forgeting some.. there is so much.
Yes, the graphics are now outdated even with full DirectX11. But it doesn’t get you out of the story that much. If you like the Lore, you will probably find it cartoony acceptable.
What was the most entertaining to me, was the fact that I can take out the time I want in the LOTRO world to do whatever I wish. Roleplay with some stangers, do quests, craft, manage my house and garden decorations, look up the price of some useless item that some people desire. (Of course, in other MMO's you can also lose your time the way you want) But the most appreciable assets in those moments; The sounds !
Everytime I hooked up my headphones.. I was submerged in the wild environment, the ambiance and the tension felt everywhere in the wilderness.
LOTRO convinced me where no other MMO could. The sound ! Especially in Moria... this is where it all began down the hill for me... I became a LOTRO FAN :) in Moria.
Before that, It was Lord of the Gatherings !
I hopped in from time to time with a friend or two... running beside them and trying to follow up their leveling. Which was a pain ! Since they were so much into it and were leveling Fast in VIP mode.
OK Now we get to VIP and the Free to Play thing.
YES, before... believe it or not. IT was not FREE. You had to pay the game, and subscribe for the experience. I was not playing at that time.
It then became f2p. Which is a matter of attracting new players to try the game and hopefully, make them pay to achieve their pleasure.
It is FREE totally up to lvl 20... then you get the point, that if you want to continue and level up... or have some fun in this world, you will have to grind a lot of time to achieve some goals and earn some turbine points (In game store currency) to buy some useful needed quests pack or stuff. Yup, it’s a business world, where programmers need to eat, and infrastructure guys needs funds to host the game on Technical Horsepower, If you want a free computer, free energy, free internet, free games... well... Then you better get out and change this world to accept FREE as a currency.
In the meantime, you won’t have any time left to play your favorite game, you will probably be outside growing your food and waiting the harvest to exchange some for... lets say... a computer! :)
Is this game entertaining? YES, to me it is! And it is well worth some money. I bought some Turbine points with real money when there was a double bonus points event... and then waited for the 30-50% rebate on quests pack that comes along once or twice a year... It was well worth the ride. (More than VIP)
4th factor: Replayability:
Yes you can replay over and over again. Let’s say with another character. There is so much quests... that you can probably live a lot of adventures in a completely different manner.
The rest will be similar, in traits, deeds, skills and all with a slight new flavor. It's the same Game.
5th factor. Price over time spent:
If you pay 60$ per year for the new call of duty and you only play the campaign like me... well it is a shame. The game is much more satisfying online versus people. You can frag for a full year ! 60$ for 300 hours of game play.
But for me... Since 3d Shooters is not my Main Genre, I play the campaign for 15 hours, do some LAN party with friends... and then put it on the shelf. 60$ for 40 hours ! Not the most satisfying purchase.
In LOTRO, I spent about 70$ and got... if one level is 3-4 hours roughly... 320 hours since 2010 and I am not done at all with my purchases ! (Played with independent Client)
It is well worth the run.
If you are a Lord of the Rings enthusiast, you will probably like it even more. Besides that, it is well balanced in simplicity and complexity and its pace follows comfortably your period of learning the game.
It's a MMO, you may be charmed by the genre or you may hate it. But from an adventurous point of view, even with my hate of MMO, I still have fun in this game.
Conclusion, LOTRO is good, and for myself, my adventures continue mainly because of the subject world; Lord of the Rings, and its outstanding engineering sounds that keeps me coming back into the woods.