Master of Jewellery Online

This was supposed to be a Dragon Age 2 post, but then I saw an email from Turbine, notifying me that the LotRO EU to NA transfer is over and that I can finally have a go at the game. I had it installed and ready, but I’ve been waiting for the transfer to complete before I tried it because I didn’t want to deal with the transfer shenanigans. I was planning to give it a whirl for an hour or so and then go back to writing the DA2 post. The quick toe-dip turned into a five-hour session before I even knew it (okay I did). So today instead of DA2 I bring you my impressions on LotRO.

Creating my character.

This is approximately how my Ironbreaker looked like in WAR.

Initially I was planning on rolling a Warden after hearing about how interesting their gambit mechanic is. It turns out Wardens are a class that needs to be unlocked through turbine points, so I went with a dwarf champion. There’s nothing better than a dual wielding ball of fury (I miss my Slayer). My plan is to gather enough turbine points on my dwarf so I can unlock the Warden and play him from then on, but I’m already glancing at the Hunter. I’m not sure if the two character cap is applied per server or per character, because that could prevent me from rolling a thousand alts. We’ll see.

How my character looked with the purple cape.

Looking like a patient of a psychiatric hospital has never been easier!

PS: The cape you see in the screenshot is an item I got from a promotional code. It came with 250 turbine points, a pocket item and a Bree Pony (which I was really glad I got).

The Bad

Here are the things I didn’t enjoy so far:

  • I realise LotRO is quite an old game now, but I still cringe every time I see my dwarf swing his weapons. Some animations are quite terrible, as are some of the weapon models. But I guess I can live with that. The spell effects are quite nice though.
  • Being reminded on every turn of the LotRO shop is really bothering me. I can understand the need for Turbine to turn a profit from the F2P model, but it feels like half of the game functions are locked unless I spend (a small amount) of turbine points for them. I was fine with inventory space, quests, outfits, crafting materials and even two of the classes being locked. But when I wanted to create an auction and discovered that I can’t unless I spend 95 TP on purchasing 5 auction slots, I was about to log out. Later I also discovered that I need to buy trait slots I already unlocked if I want to use them. There’s a fine line between turning a profit in order to develop and sustain the game and greed. Right now it feels like Turbine are more fond of the latter, but I’ll just bear with it for now (I have no intention of paying for the game yet) and see how it affects the gameplay.
  • Because LotRO is such a PvE, story-driven MMO, I expected the quests to be better. It simply feels like there are too many quests of the “run there and back again for no reason” kind. But apart from those, I’m quite enjoying the better epic quests (or whatever they are called).
  • No PvP. I went into the game knowing that there is none (I tried Monster Play back when I did a trial for the game a few months after it came out and it’s not really PvP), but I can’t help but feeling like something is missing. I can’t really fault the game for that, but rather myself. What I can fault it for is the fact that Monster Play needs to be unlocked. Boooo.
  • Nothing really screams Middle Earth at me. Perhaps my inner Middle Earth nerd has faded a bit (I admit I have forgotten most of Hobbit and Silmarillion) and the IP has merged with most other fantasy settings in my brain. Or perhaps the game doesn’t really start resembling the LotR setting until the later portions of the game. In any case, so far the game feels pretty much like a generic fantasy MMO, which is a shame since the IP is supposed to be its strong point.

End of the intro section of the game.

The Good

And here are the things I have enjoyed:

  • The classes seem interesting and the combat is complex enough for me to not be bored even when doing the generic quests.
  • The deed, trait and virtue systems seems very complex and it feels like I’ve yet to scrape the surface of it. It could prove to be very interesting. In fact, the game as a whole seems quite complex, which is a good thing. It promises to keep me occupied for quite a long time.
  • Crafting appears to have adequate depth to it. It’s not as simple as picking two crafting skills and making stuff because there are quite a few of them and you really can’t be self-sufficient. And while it’s not really complex with its recipe design, it should take quite a while before I understand all of it. I haven’t had much of a look, but LotRO promises a player driven economy.
  • I got a horse early, which is a very good thing, I hate it when games give me a mount after I’ve already ran the length of a continent in my adventures. Plus the mount is very realistic and one of the better animated ones I’ve seen (although I haven’t really seen that many). The sidestepping is quite awesome, it looks like the horse is dancing. Love it!
  • The game has everything a decent AAA MMO title is expected to have. A fully customisable and complex (but intuitive) UI, an appearance system complete with dyes, a very detailed quest tracker, tutorial and tips that will start you on your way and tooltips explaining stats and systems within the game.
  • There are plenty of roleplaying opportunities. I’m not really a roleplayer myself, but even I have noticed a bunch of opportunities to do so, which might interest other players.

My Bree Pony.

The Saga Continues?

For all my whining, the true testament to the quality of the MMO is the fact that I’ve spent around five hours playing it and want to return. I feel like I haven’t even scraped the surface at level 11 and that there’s so much to see and do. Perhaps I’m this MMO hungry simply because I haven’t played one for such a long time. But it seems like LotRO is a game I could enjoy for quite some time, we’ll see. For now, my adventures continue. A snowman I found.

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10 thoughts on “Master of Jewellery Online

  1. I believe… once you purchase something from the turbine store (with points or cash) you are then a “premium member”? But not a vip (P2P). Anyway, this reduces (I think) the amount of advertisements and popups.

    I think you’ll really enjoy Warden, once you’re given the chance. The gambit mechanic is a lot of fun. Mine is only 24… or something. I already have a Guardian near 65, so I didn’t really see the necessity of rushing a second tank to the forefront just yet. ^^

    Which server did you happen to transfer to?

    • I started on a new one, didn’t play before the transfer at all. Rittermark I think, the first one that had a queue. :P

      Yeah I’d love to play the Warden, but I have to first earn the odd 600 TP to unlock it. But I don’t think it’ll be a grind since the Champion is kinda fun.

      • Be sure to follow your deed tracker… shift+L I think. It’s been a little while since I’ve played. My brother and I are waiting for more chapters to unlock.

        But the deeds! They will be your prime source of TP. Also, they give you traits which are sweet. x]

        It’s a shame you didn’t go to Elendilmir!

      • Oh yeah, I’m doing my deeds allright. They give some nice bonuses, but I’m a bit miffed about my defensive stats since they all appear as N/A. I understand block to appear N/A since I don’t have a shield, but parry says I don’t have a melee weapon equipped (which I do, two of them) and evade says that it’s not applicable atm or something. And yeah, I did turn off my defence negating skill before I checked. It’s strange because I keep buying passive parry and evade skills which don’t even show up.

        Oh well.

  2. I think the defense skill you are talking about is Fervor? You can’t block/parry/dodge when you’re in that stance. x]

    It should be available, at least parry/dodge, when you aren’t in fervor.

    It’s also possibly a bug. Like, the negative effects of your fervor are staying on after you remove the buff.

      • Hm I didn’t know about them not applying while mounted, but yeah, I was talking about Fervour and I disabled it before checking. It still showed N/A (I even tried it with a shield that I recently trained for, no dice).

        I’ll try asking in game and if it people say it’s a bug I’ll report it. :)

  3. I bought a few timecards just before it was announced that it would change to F2P and I still have them sitting on my shelf. The games environments are nice in some areas but the game was not for me. I did not enjoy the quests. I actually enjoyed Dungeons and Dragons Online a lot more. The dungeons in that game felt unique and I liked that each was a little different. I think I even did some platforming a few times in between puzzle solving.

    On an unrelated note, your blog gives me eye strain. I am not sure exactly why. Perhaps it is the black on white.

    • Yeah, sorry about that, it can be a bit tiring to read white on black for a prolonged period of time. I realise that but I really don’t fancy having a black on white blog, they’re all kinda ugly.

      Thanks for the feedback though, I’ll toy around with the themes.

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