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!
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.
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.
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 Videos
Lord of the Rings Online Links
Lord of the Rings Online Official Site
Lord of the Rings Online Steam Page
Lord of the Rings Online Wikipedia
Lord of the Rings Online Wiki (guides, databases, and more)
Lord of the Rings Online Subreddit
Lord of the Rings Online System 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
RAM: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 2 GB
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
Lord of the Rings Online Additional Information
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.