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Lord of the Rings Online

Lord of the Rings Online, also known as LOTRO, is a 3D fantasy MMORPG based on the epic works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Make your own epic journey across the vast lands of Middle-Earth in this story-driven, feature-rich MMORPG!

Publisher: Turbine
Playerbase: High
Release Date: April 24, 2007
PvP: Duels / Monster Play
Pros: +Vast world to explore. +Great story-driven progression. +Mounted combat, player housing, instruments, and many other features. +Powerful musical score.
Cons: -A lot of content still requires purchase/subscription. -Early- and mid-level areas feel deserted. -User Interface and other elements feel dated.



Lord of the Rings Online Overview

Lord of the Rings Online was originally a subscription-based MMORPG, but now allows players to get a taste of the iconic world of Middle Earth for free. That world has been massively expanded over the years with continuous updates. The winding depths of Moria, the wide plains of Rohan, the thickets of Mirkwood, and much else has been added through periodic expansions. While LOTRO only offers the option to create characters of the free races, a PvP mode called Monster Play allows players take command of powerful monsters in large-scale arena battles. For those more interested in making music than making war, Lord of the Rings Online includes a built in music creator and gives all classes the ability to play at least one instrument.

Lord of the Rings Online Key Features:

  • Welcome to Middle Earth – the official Lord of the Rings set! Find yourself fighting and exploring the amazing Tolkien world.
  • Variety Galore – 10+ playable classes, 5+ races, 10+ professions, and over 1,000 titles.
  • No Money Necessary – free-to-play, but some content requires purchases.
  • Need a House? – player housing system available.
  • Great Story Writing – game is driven with good story progression.

Lord of the Rings Online Screenshots

Lord of the Rings Online Featured Video


Lord of the Rings Online Classes and Races


  • Beorning – Beornings are descendants of ancient Men, and they are capable of “skin-changing” into bears when angered. They can be unlocked through the cash shop, and are only available to the Beorning race.
  • Burglar – the Burglar relies on stealth and deception, being great at attacking from the shadows and debilitating their enemies. They are available to Hobbits and Humans.
  • Captain – Captains are born leader, emboldening allies through their presence. They use battle cries and banners of war to both strengthen their allies and weaken their enemies. They are available to Humans.
  • Champion – Champions are masters of melee combat, dealing unrelenting damage while being able to tank just as much. They are available to Dwarves, Elves, and Humans.
  • Guardian – Guardians are the protectors and defenders of those in need. You will find Guardians on the frontlines, where they can see the white of their enemies’ eyes. They are available to Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits, and Humans.
  • Hunter – Hunters are at large in the forest, where they can use their bow and lay traps for their prey. When they do come out in the open, they are excellent ranged fighters capable of taking down even the biggest foe. They are available to Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits, and Humans.
  • Lore-Master – the Lore-masters seek knowledge and wisdom, and as such they can cast powerful boons upon their allies while confounding enemies. They are available to Elves and Humans.
  • Minstrel – Minstrels are the heart of a fellowship. Through ancient song, they inspire, renew, and bring hope to their allies, giving them the motivation and gumption needed to face the forces of darkness. They are available to Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits, and Humans.
  • Rune-Keeper – Rune-keepers are students of ancient languages and runes. Through their studies, they have learned to both heal and destroy. They can be unlocked through the cash shop and they are available to Dwarves and Elves.
  • Warden – Wardens are melee fighters who use a javelin and a shield against ranged foes. They make great tanks and can be unlocked through the cash shop. They are available to Elves, Hobbits, and Humans.

Full Review

Lord of the Rings Online Review

By Toan Layne

LOTRO is a 3D fantasy MMORPG developed by Turbine and published by Turbine and Midway Games. It was released on April 24, 2007, and it is currently available through the official website and Steam. The game originally featured a subscription-based model, but has since adopted a F2P model with a cash shop and a VIP subscription option on September 10, 2010. It’s currently one of the most popular F2P MMORPGs. Let’s find out why.

Welcome to Middle Earth!

Lord of the Rings Online is set in Middle Earth, during the fantastic journey of the Fellowship as they try to take the One Ring to Mt. Doom. Players will be able to explore such legendary locations as Gondor, the Mines of Moria, the Shire, and Rohan. You can also meet famous characters from the books and movies such as Gandalf, Gimli, Frodo, and many others. Fans of Tolkien’s universe will find themselves immediately drawn to the game’s world.
The character creation screen in LOTRO is nothing special. You can choose between five races (Man, Hobbit, Dwarf, Elf, and Beorning) and ten classes (Beorning, Burglar, Captain, Champion, Guardian, Hunter, Lore-master, Minstrel, Rune-keeper, and Warden). The customization itself is fairly basic, though there are decent options for facial features. Players can also choose a character’s nationality, which will give them a title later on.

Once that’s done, players will go through an instanced tutorial where they’ll get their first chance to meet several iconic Lord of the Rings characters. As a dwarf, I met with Gandalf and Gimli, and faced a troll in a cave. Talk about setting the tone, right? However, things settled down after that, and I found myself faced with the familiar Everquest/WoW type of MMORPG. The controls are the classic WASD to move, mouse to look around and interact, tab to target and the number keys to cast abilities. Quests are tracked on the minimap, abilities are learned automatically upon leveling, and combat is fairly static.

Leveling and Traits

Characters automatically learn both passive and active skills as they level up. To further character customization, you have class traits, virtue traits, and racial traits. Class trait points are earned by leveling up, and are spent in a talent tree, improving a character’s offensive and defensive capabilities. Virtue traits are gained by completing deeds and are used to enhance a character’s combat abilities. Racial traits are specific to the character’s race and they are usually earned by killing a certain number of mobs. These traits provide special skills or fast travel abilities. Both Virtue and Racial traits have their own talent tree. This system is actually quite in-depth and gives players a great sense of progression as they level up.

Deeds, Titles, Housing and Reputation

LOTRO is all about PvE, lore, and questing. To keep things interesting, LOTRO has a Deed and Title system. Deeds are similar to achievements in other games and can be divided into four categories: exploration, slayer, lore, and reputation. Different types of deeds are completed in different ways. Sometimes a deed involves killing a large number of mobs, and sometimes it involves exploring and completing an instance. Deeds also reward Turbine Points, which can be used in the Cash Shop. It's great that LOTRO gives players free cash shop currency just for playing the game. You then have Titles, which are earned by completing deeds, or mastering professions. Titles are purely cosmetic, appearing next to a character’s name. For example, if a player reaches Level 5 without dying, he or she will earn the title, “The Wary”.

There is also a housing system in the game, which becomes unlocked at Level 15. Players will own a house in an instanced neighborhood that corresponds to their race. There are 3 types of houses available, with 2 of them being personal houses, and the largest one being available only to kinships (guilds). Too bad player housing is in its own unique instanced area. It'd be cool to see player housing in the persistent world, but as far as I know, Ultima Online is the only game to ever have attempted that. Finally, you have the reputation system, which is similar to the one found in WoW. Players can earn reputation with a faction through daily quests, killing mobs, or running instances, which then unlocks certain rewards, such as items, recipes, and various other services.


When it comes to PvE, you have quest instances, world instances, raids, public dungeons, and skirmishes. Quest instances are designed for one player or a small group, and they are used for storytelling purposes. The beginning tutorial is an example of a quest instance. World instances are designed for a small or full fellowship (party), and they have quests, deeds, and boss encounters within them. Raids are designed for two or three full fellowships (12-18 players) and they involve defeating large, powerful bosses for high quality items. Public dungeons are similar to world instances, but the main difference is that anyone can enter without the need for an invitation from the main group. Skirmishes are instances that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Players join Skirmishes alongside their Soldier (a special Skirmish NPC). A Skirmish can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes and they can be adjusted for either solo, duo, small, or full fellowship, and raid size groups.


Lord of the Rings Online has a unique PvP system. Given that players cannot choose any of the warring factions, such as Orcs or Uruks, LOTRO feautres a system called PvMP (Player vs. Monster Player) or Monster Play. Monster Play is unlocked at Level 20 and players take on the role of either the Monsters or the Free Peoples, with the Free Peoples only being available to VIP players. The combat takes place in the Ettenmoors, where the heroes and monsters fight for control over 5 keeps. There are also 4 outposts in the Ettenmoors, and once one side controls 2 of them, they can enter the Delving of Frór, the public dungeon area beneath the zone. By participating in the fray, players gain ranks and commendations. There are 15 ranks in total, which progressively unlock better equipment for heroes, and better stats and armor for monsters. Commendations can be used to buy stat improvements, skills, and cosmetic upgrades.

Cash Shop

LOTRO features both a cash shop and a subscription option (VIP). By becoming a VIP, players gain access to all character trait slots, 500 Turbine Points/month, unlimited chat, extra inventory slots, custom character portrait frame, access to all quest packs and skirmishes, daily 100% XP boost, access to all monster classes, no currency cap, and maximum auction house listings, among other things, for $14.99/month. All of the benefits have a cumulative value of over $300. In the cash shop, players can find quest packs, instances, raids, skirmishes, storage slots, auction house slots, character slots, classes, currency cap removals, cosmetics, traveling, housing, buffs and boosts to both stats and in-game currency, crafting items, potions, travel options, dyes, mounts, and much more. Players purchase from the shop using Turbine Points, which as mentioned above, can be farmed by completing deeds.

Final Verdict: Great

While F2P players can certainly play through and get a lot out of the game, the Cash Shop does put a lock on a lot of content, which means that players will most likely have to pay if they want to avoid a lot of farming for Turbine Points. Aside from that, Lord of the Rings Online is a cozy adventure, worthy of the works of Tolkien. It’s definitely a must-play for fans of Middle Earth, but if the subject matter does little for you, you’re still left with a good game.


Lord of the Rings Online Screenshots


Lord of the Rings Online Videos

System Requirements

Lord of the Rings Online System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / Mac OS X
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 1.3 GHz / AMD Athlon XP 1600+
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 8300 GS / ATI Radeon HD 3200
Hard Disk Space: 2 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / MAC OS X
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz or better / AMD Athlon 64 3500+
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT 256 MB / ATI Radeon X1800 Series 256 MB or better
RAM: 2 GB or more
Hard Disk Space: 10 GB

Lord of the Rings Online is Mac OS X compatible

Video card must support Dirext X 9.0 or above. Lord of the Rings Online supports 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.


Lord of the Rings Online Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

Lord of the Rings Online Additional Information

Developer: Turbine
Executive Producer: Aaron "Rowan" Campbell
Composer: Stephen Digregorio, Chance Thomas, Geoff Scott, Brad Spears, and Egan Budd
Game Engine: Turbine G3 with Havok

Closed Beta Date: September 8, 2006
Open Beta Date: April 6, 2007
Free to Play Date: September 10, 2010 (NA), November 2, 2010 (EU)
Steam Release Date: June 6, 2012


Mines of Moria (November 18, 2008) - Level cap raised to 60, added the Rune-Keeper and Warden classes, Legendary Item system, and two new areas: Moria and Lothlorien.

Siege of Mirkwood (December 1, 2009) - Level cap raised to 65, added skirmish feature, and two new areas: Southern Mirkwood and Enedwaith.

Rise of Isengard (September 27, 2011) - Level cap raised to 75, class revamps for Minstrels and Champions, added a 24-man raid, and three new areas: Dunland, Nan Curunir, Anduin.

Riders of Rohan (October 15, 2012) - Level cap raised to 85, added mounted combat, and six new areas comprising the Eastemnet: the Wold, the East Wall, the Norcofts, the Sutcrofts, the Entwash Vale, and the Eaves of Fangorn.

Helm's Deep (November 20, 2013) - Level cap raised to 95, added epic battle feature, trait tree revamp, and added five new zones to Western Rohan: Broadacres, Stonedeans, Kingstead, Westfold, and Eastfold.

Development History / Background:

The path to a Lord of the Rings MMORPG was a long one - perhaps an even longer journey than the one the Fellowship of the Ring embarked on. A MMORPG based on the Lord of the Rings license was first announced in 1998 by Sierra, but financial troubles soon halted development. In 2001, Vivendi Universal Games secured an eight-year right to produce video games based on the LOTR franchise. Vivendi and Turbine then announced Middle-Earth Online in 2003 with a scheduled release date of 2004. By 2005, Turbine decided to go it alone and bought the right to develop and publish what became The Lord of the Rings Online. The happy ending to this epic journey was an eventual release on April 24, 2007.

  • Ivan

    Very old game. If there's any reason to play it in 2015, it's the lore and nostalgia (or authenticity - no other MMORPG in the market feels as warm, grand, and immersive as LOTRO). Lots of grinding if you want to unlock expansions for free, but it's possible. I no longer play LOTRO but I only have good memories of it. Worth a try for those who haven't already played it.

    • Agreed. Lore and Nostalgia is the main reason to jump into LOTRO today. I think it's hard for newer players to get into it, unless they're big LOTR fans. Still a great game though IMO, but it'll only appeal to lotr fans.

      • yui

        I love me some LOTR but the game didn't make me feel like i should progress more, so i'd rather just read a book or watch the movies... :c

        Also, there's no manboob slider

    • Zariarn

      DAoC, Everquest, and Ultimate Online are very old games. This one is only 8 years old compared to 14-15 like the others. It has a lot more modern mechanics, options, and fluff compared to very old titles.

      • Ivan

        I said very old game, not "first few MMOs ever released"... Ultima Online holds a title that can't be taken- it made MMOs a thing. While LOTRO is old but good, it didn't revolutionize the genre - it's a WoW clone with better graphics

        • Zariarn

          It's not a WoW clone. They did have similarities but not a clone. Even WoW had similarities to games prior to it but I wouldn't call it a clone to those games. Alganon, now that's a WoW clone.

          The quest ui and tab targeting are about the only thing that resembles WoW. It's achievements, epic quest instances, changing environment, mounted combat, housing, player made music, fellowship maneuvers and other things set LOTRO apart from WoW. Some of those things LOTRO used long before WoW implemented them.

          They are the same style MMO but not clones.

  • Zariarn

    This is my true home MMO. I've been playing it since 2007. It has everything you want in a high production MMO.(minors in PVP) It's an older MMO, yes, but it has tons of content, lore, quest, etc to keep you busy. Great game if you want an older style tabbed targeting MMO.

    • Ivan

      I bought the quad pack a few weeks ago and have been playing more actively than I expected. Fantastic game for its age, and I'm slowly beating the nostalgia as I level past my old characters.

      • Zariarn

        Yes, the nostalgia gets me every time I got into the newb zones. Great times.

  • Vicky Fountain

    I can't really say how I'd react to LOTRO if I weren't already a lifetime of the books. That being said, I love the game dearly, because I know the story, the world, the characters, and it's ridiculous fun to explore the world that I already know and love. I have played other MMO's, like WoW, and while fun, they don't capture the heart like LOTRO does.

    • SZ

      Well said, and is exactly what has killed the game.
      "Once I get a character to level 100, I start a new one." = FAILED AS AN MMO
      The fact that it is more like a narrative, then an MMO, ensures that only LOTR fans will enjoy it.

      • Vicky Fountain

        I should probably have specified that I don't necessarily get rid of my high-level characters. There's still plenty to do in the game. Right now I have a level 99 and I haven't even entered Gondor yet. And the game is constantly in development, as Tolkien's world is more than big enough to allow for many more expansions.

        I'm a little confused by your last sentence, as I don't know of any MMO that doesn't include a narrative, a plot, a storyline, etc. Or that there is some kind of cap on level/experience; I mean, every game is limited and finite, and at some point, you're done and can't go any further. I think LOTRO is more "focused" on the narrative/literary/folklore than some other MMO's, which are more focused on action/fighting, but that's it's strength.

  • Yamy

    This is a very old MMORPG but still better than most older & newer games. It is quality & it is not abandoned but frequently updated & still growing on developing content. If you have not played it before you really should try it.

    • DucturTunma

      The lore is probably very good. I believe that the game is good, too. But it's probably very outdated for 2017 because I really prefer gameplay and visuals over many other things. Can you tell something more about the game and it's current state?

    • J’zargo Arch-mage

      Disagree with you, there are ton of better newer games than LOTRO(way better game mechanics, graphics, and others). This game was good long time ago, but not good anymore in this current time.

  • Robert

    I miss playing it, do to hardware and timing of xp being removed off the market and microsofts accursed operating system upgrading incompatibility, I currently have a wonderful gaming motherboard needing a gaming video card etc, well I digress. I've not been on in a long time but with everything going on and having myself an entire family of characters each playing a different part in their storyline and trying to get them leveled up, my top one is at 45 lol, I've not been to Mirkwood yet either, and I've only joined one clan which after a few months just stopped being there. With ways to make music in groups and players grouping musicians all over, it's amazing how many songs you can amass. It can really chew up your real life cause their always throwing a festival awarding new beautiful mounts for your stable of horses upon completing all the requirements, such fun. I miss my horses. I really wonder if any of my data still exists out there on Landroval? IT's always fun to help out the newbies get through the tough stuff and go harvesting and then you get to do your hobbies and sell your stuff at auction and it just goes on and on. Hope this helps.

  • Josh Hines

    Early and Mid level areas do not feel deserted. I play on CricketHollow and I see alot of players my level( early 30s ) running around constantly. Get the packs on sale like I did for Black Friday and got all 6 expansions unlocking all the content for 22.50. Also has one of the friendliest communities in any game Ive played so far!

    • Michael Carroll

      Sure they aren't bots? There are a lot of bots in this game.

      • All American Chutzpah

        From a fellow poster who has been banned by infowars. Keep up the good work! Good luck and fortune in everything you do to fight the good fight!