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Lord of the Rings Online: Preview: First 10 Levels

DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

We got to play from levels one to ten with a Hobbit Burglar at an event in San Francisco. Today, we share with you how those ten levels treated us. This article is based on the seven hours of gameplay Senior Editor Dana Massey experienced during the event.




image The best thing Turbine did with quests was the sheer quantity of them. Little rings on the mini map show quest givers in the character's general vicinity. I did dozens of quests in each area of the land I traveled through and never managed to even accept all that were offered. Someone who just had to experience everything could spend days in the early level areas doing quests and I am not sure the well would ever run dry. I explored the whole Shire and good chunk of the human lands and had more quests than I knew what to do with. It was - at times - overwhelming. Not that that is a bad problem to have.

To help with this, Turbine added a little progress list on the right side of the screen. There, players can add or remove quests to their active list and have simple instructions on what their next step is. All that needs to be done is to click on one to bring up even more detailed instructions. The tool was intuitive and handy. For example, when I left the Human areas for the Shire, I removed the old quests from my active list. I still had them and even re-added them when I went back to Human territory, but since I had no hope of completing them all those miles away, I just stowed them until I wanted to take them up again.

You can read more here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

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Comments

  • eburneburn Winchester, VAPosts: 740Member
    Ahh boo.. I was pretty sure LotRo would have been one of the top notch MMO titles coming out soon I could just skip over. But now I'm interested. Good job Dana, I was afraid Tolkien's works would do this again. When I heard of the film adaptation was being made I was all against it at first, but then I learned to appriciate them for what they are. Now it seems the same will be said about the MMO.

    I kill other players because they're smarter than AI, sometimes.

  • SturmrabeSturmrabe dayton, OHPosts: 927Member

    Turbine DOESN'T do it again... ever since I first heard they were the dev team I lost interest in playing, just like I did when I first heard SOE was doing SWG, and with DDO...

    There is no doubt they can make a pretty MMO, even AC2 LOOKED good, but thats where things break down...

    Its sad, really

     

    Grinding quests is still grinding, sounds too much like FFxi (group combos, lots of quests, little char customization) but with a tired engine and a shiny new skin

    imageimage
    Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood. -Nietzsche

  • trillahtrillah montreal, QCPosts: 158Member

    Very good review, it make me want to play the game even more than i already wanted to.The one thing I am not happy to hear is the character customization.

    I tought they would have gone a step ahead with this one and have more option then say *cough warcraft cough* since they only have so many races to choose from I mean, look at eq2, they have all these options with char customization and they have what, around 16 races? I hope they will be improving that area but for the rest, it look fine to me!

     

  • CoirCoir PerthPosts: 97Member
    Show me one single game that doesn't involve 'grinding'. They all do. Every single one of them. However one mans grind is another mans fun.

    Grinding faction and rerunning the same instance 40 -60 times is a grind to me and boring as watching paint dry. Lotro disguises the 'grind' quite simply with good content. And the ability to solo or group as you wish is a great bonus for the casual player. They have more then a 'pretty' MMO. Then again you'll never see it. <shrug> To each their own 'grind'.



  • priestess70priestess70 PakenhamPosts: 4Member

    To all those sceptics who are so quick to jump in and criticise I say "Don't knock it until you've tried it"     The author of the article said himself he went there not really expecting much and walked away after 7 immersed hours in the game to write what I feel was a very clear and unbiased article.    I am always willing to give a new game a DECENT try, I hated a few games when I first tried them, but rather than quit quickly I allowed myself some time to really give them a feel and they turned out to be addictive and fun.

     

  • UbermanUberman Denver, COPosts: 340Member
    Another formulaic, level-based, fantasy MMO?  /yawn

    The only thing that might differentiate it from the popular tripe in the MMO industry today are the visuals.  That in and of itself is not worth the purchase price.


  • MesopoliesMesopolies Hillsboro, ORPosts: 51Member
    Awsome review! I can't wait till this game comes out. I hope I get in beta.
  • JorevJorev Fenwick Island, DEPosts: 1,500Member

    "While the petting zoo feeling was disappointing, it is hard to fault Turbine for doing what almost every MMO on Earth has ever done.   Idealistically, I'd hoped things would be different, but given no one has yet presented a better way of doing things, perhaps that was a bit naive. "

    I disagree. I expect developers to be innovative and not copy every aspect of WoW's simplicity in hopes to mimic their success. LOTR shouldn't be using icons over questgivers and showing their location on a minimap with obvious scripts that don't offer any puzzle solving. That is just way too easy and gives me the feeling of being led around by my nose.

    The way quests were done in early EQ1 were much better. Not knowing who had a quest actually made every NPC worth engaging. When questgivers have icons or glows around them, indicating there is a quest available, it makes every other NPC unimportant and no one bothers talking to them. Those other NPCs might as well not even be there at all.

    In early EQ1 you had to pursue a conversation with a NPC in an attempt to extract information. Some of it was useful, pertaining to a quest or tactical, geographical information, while some of it was lore, or just plain fluff. The information wasn't just handed to you on a silver platter. You could miss a quest or important information by not pursuing a line of questioning which made each NPC potentially valuable and each quest more realistic and individually attuned. You had to think and problem solve since some were quite vague, but that makes them challenging and unique and the game fun, even though at times frustrating as well.


     

    image
    "We feel gold selling and websites that promote it damage games like Vanguard and will do everything possible to combat it."
    Brad McQuaid
    Chairman & CEO, Sigil Games Online, Inc.
    Executive Producer, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
    www.vanguardsoh

  • malachidarkmalachidark Leesburg, FLPosts: 93Member
    another well written review, good job dana =)

    i'm not too sure though if i'll play LOTRO though. the character customization is a large feature and very important. and it also seems that there's lots of instancing (i could be wrong i dunno). if it's anything like DDO then i wont play it, Turbine totally messed up with that game.

    as for one of the above posters who said Turbine AND SOE made him turn down a game, i say this: go marry a night elf, blizzard fanboi!

    oh and btw i dont think LOTRO is copying WoW in any way. nor do i think WoW copied pieces from EQ and the other "elder" games, it's just the way mmorpgs are. Turbine's not trying to make a completely innovative game, they're trying to make one with the same feel as the rest but with a LOTR spin on it, which will be very popular with role-players.



    Currently Playing: Tabula Rasa
    image
    Gaming History: EQ, EQ2, SWG, EVE, Anarchy Online, CoX, GW, SRO, Rakion, Ryzom, WoW, Rappelz, Shadowbane, 9Dragons, DAoC, Dungeon Runners, DnD Online, Space Cowboy, LotRO, Vanguard, Fury, Hellgate
    Wanting to Play: WAR, TCoS, Darkfall, Aion

  • DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

    Originally posted by malachidark
    another well written review, good job dana =)

    i'm not too sure though if i'll play LOTRO though. the character customization is a large feature and very important. and it also seems that there's lots of instancing (i could be wrong i dunno). if it's anything like DDO then i wont play it, Turbine totally messed up with that game.

    as for one of the above posters who said Turbine AND SOE made him turn down a game, i say this: go marry a night elf, blizzard fanboi!

    oh and btw i dont think LOTRO is copying WoW in any way. nor do i think WoW copied pieces from EQ and the other "elder" games, it's just the way mmorpgs are. Turbine's not trying to make a completely innovative game, they're trying to make one with the same feel as the rest but with a LOTR spin on it, which will be very popular with role-players.

    With regards to instancing:

    LotRO is very much on the "open world" style of gaming. It is not hyper instanced.

    There are instanced missions, but those are largely large story events that involve changing the world (something you cannot do when others are around).

    They also use layered instances. IE: I am in an instanced tutorial (alone) when I start. Then I go into a city with other newbies and we play, but when I complete my newbie arc, I enter a new instance to fight off invaders in that town. Eventually, the town burns down at the end of the quest. Then, I enter the completely open world, where the town has burned down for all in it (given they've completed that quest).


    Dana Massey
    Formerly of MMORPG.com
    Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  • SturmrabeSturmrabe dayton, OHPosts: 927Member

    To quote a friend of mine:

    "I think the game will draw in a lot of hard core LOTR fans yet to me it just seems like a generic MMORPG. It doesn't introduce anything new to the MMO world, its one thing to keep a few tried and true features and a whole other to have nothing but, and one of the great things of the books/movies is the epic-ness of it all. How can LOTRO portray any sense of epic-ness with 1000 other people in a server? It just seems like its a medicre MMO trying to ride the Lord of the Rings namesake. "

    I'm a life long LOTR reader/fan, have all the extended version gift box sets, read the Silmarillion and all the Unfinished Tales... get once Turbine was announced I almost literally cried.

    Is it just be or is MMORPG.com getting like so many of the game mags out there, afraid to write a bad review so it doesn't loose insider perks and adverts? To biased and you loose readers, as many a game mag has found out!

    imageimage
    Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood. -Nietzsche

  • DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

    Originally posted by Sturmrabe

    Is it just be or is MMORPG.com getting like so many of the game mags out there, afraid to write a bad review so it doesn't loose insider perks and adverts? To biased and you loose readers, as many a game mag has found out!

    Everytime we write anything positive, someone makes this exact post.

    Bluntly, you're wrong. I'm sorry, but saying you enjoyed something doesn't mean you've sold out to the man. I clearly explained all the things I disliked or liked and the reasons I disliked or liked them. This allows people to evaluate the features I mentioned on their own and form their own opinions, as well as reading mine That's really all you can do at this early stage.

    Plus, I more or less agree with your friend (and my article said as much). The only thing I'd add is that they did a damn polished job of it. The mechanics are the same, but the setting is great and the content is bountiful. I've played many games with these mechanics that do not allow me to level up exclusively through quests... That was a major reason I enjoyed LotRO. The fact that the game felt so "complete" at such an early stage was quite impressive.

    As the headline said: this game is not innovative.

    If you're seeking innovation... look somewhere else.

    If you want a familiar, yet really polished MMORPG in just about the best fantasy setting possible... LotRO will interest you.


    Dana Massey
    Formerly of MMORPG.com
    Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  • FastTxFastTx PTBO, ONPosts: 756Member
    I won't play this game past Beta if it doesn't offer anything new or interesting to the MMORPG genre. Other than good graphics, a good next gen MMORPG needs to attempt to change the genre for the better, but all I see is just another MMORPG being sold off a trademark name. I never did like any of the other games, however since I am a fan of Tolkien's works, I will give this game a try if I get into the beta, maybe I'll discover something then.


  • SturmrabeSturmrabe dayton, OHPosts: 927Member


    Originally posted by Lepidus

    Originally posted by Sturmrabe Is it just be or is MMORPG.com getting like so many of the game mags out there, afraid to write a bad review so it doesn't loose insider perks and adverts? To biased and you loose readers, as many a game mag has found out!
    Everytime we write anything positive, someone makes this exact post.

    Bluntly, you're wrong. I'm sorry, but saying you enjoyed something doesn't mean you've sold out to the man. I clearly explained all the things I disliked or liked and the reasons I disliked or liked them. This allows people to evaluate the features I mentioned on their own and form their own opinions, as well as reading mine That's really all you can do at this early stage.

    Plus, I more or less agree with your friend (and my article said as much). The only thing I'd add is that they did a damn polished job of it. The mechanics are the same, but the setting is great and the content is bountiful. I've played many games with these mechanics that do not allow me to level up exclusively through quests... That was a major reason I enjoyed LotRO. The fact that the game felt so "complete" at such an early stage was quite impressive.

    As the headline said: this game is not innovative.

    If you're seeking innovation... look somewhere else.

    If you want a familiar, yet really polished MMORPG in just about the best fantasy setting possible... LotRO will interest you.




    Well to be fair, I was thinking of another couple reviews moreso than this one when I said that, but from what you said even just about Char creation, just not being innovative doesn't really describe it... I mean, if the Char creation quality was only up to EQ2 levels it still wouldn't be INNOVATIVE, but it would be up to the "AAA" MMO standard thats already been set...

    Perhaps that comment isn't justified by this review, but even the bad ones aren't bad enough... to say DDO came out to "mixed" reviews really is being too generous... its floundering at best.

    imageimage
    Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood. -Nietzsche

  • DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

    Originally posted by Sturmrabe
    Well to be fair, I was thinking of another couple reviews moreso than this one when I said that, but from what you said even just about Char creation, just not being innovative doesn't really describe it... I mean, if the Char creation quality was only up to EQ2 levels it still wouldn't be INNOVATIVE, but it would be up to the "AAA" MMO standard thats already been set...Perhaps that comment isn't justified by this review, but even the bad ones aren't bad enough... to say DDO came out to "mixed" reviews really is being too generous... its floundering at best.
    That's fair enough. I was - in my head - thinking "mixed critical reviews", rather than population or player reaction.

    For me, I write what I think. I honestly have never considered a phrase like "Studio X won't talk to me if I trash their game" when writing. That's just one of those things you need to take our word for though.

    For LotRO, the bottom line for me was that I had a lot of fun, despite its flaws. Read the article, I think I mostly talk about flaws, but for whatever reason, I had a blast. That's a good sign for a game, flaws can be fixed, fun is harder.

    My original headline was "I liked it and I don't know why", lol. Anyway, it's a mixed bag and not for anyone, but that's what I thought in ten levels. Garrett's doing a full preview for when the NDA comes down, so I am sure we'll go more in depth then.


    Dana Massey
    Formerly of MMORPG.com
    Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

  • duanermcduanermc Ascrackistan, ILPosts: 38Member

    I think LoTR is going to be a good game. I like it when I have a lot of little quests to do. Kill 6 of this, or 10 of that, etc. plus turning in the quests yields good bonus points to level faster. All you guys that don't like it, don't play it. That way there will be less people to drag down their servers and I will get a better gaming experience. Lol.

  • SturmrabeSturmrabe dayton, OHPosts: 927Member


    Originally posted by Lepidus


    Originally posted by Sturmrabe
    Well to be fair, I was thinking of another couple reviews moreso than this one when I said that, but from what you said even just about Char creation, just not being innovative doesn't really describe it... I mean, if the Char creation quality was only up to EQ2 levels it still wouldn't be INNOVATIVE, but it would be up to the "AAA" MMO standard thats already been set...

    Perhaps that comment isn't justified by this review, but even the bad ones aren't bad enough... to say DDO came out to "mixed" reviews really is being too generous... its floundering at best.


    That's fair enough. I was - in my head - thinking "mixed critical reviews", rather than population or player reaction.

    For me, I write what I think. I honestly have never considered a phrase like "Studio X won't talk to me if I trash their game" when writing. That's just one of those things you need to take our word for though.

    For LotRO, the bottom line for me was that I had a lot of fun, despite its flaws. Read the article, I think I mostly talk about flaws, but for whatever reason, I had a blast. That's a good sign for a game, flaws can be fixed, fun is harder.

    My original headline was "I liked it and I don't know why", lol. Anyway, it's a mixed bag and not for anyone, but that's what I thought in ten levels. Garrett's doing a full preview for when the NDA comes down, so I am sure we'll go more in depth then.



    Well I can't fault you there, Turbine seems to be on the very edge of greatness, yet someone or something keeps pulling them back to mediocrity. (One would assume on the corperate level.)

    AC2 was just beautiful, and the first game to have a respec, but the combat, the lack of shops, and a retarded pyramid scheme guild setup combined to give me LITERAL headaches when I played it... also WTF is up with only 3 races, 2 of which were as ugly and disingenuous as sin?

    Then they get what SHOULD have been the GOD license of MMOs: D and freaking D, that which every RPG in small or large part was based off of. EQ was modeled to be D+D online but without the license and look how successful it was/still is (its numbers now probably beat DDO,lol).

    You seriously could not imagine a sweeter plum from a MMO... and yet with all the lore, the built in classes, races, etc etc etc (one could literally go on for DAYS about all the content literally handed to them on a silver platter), they somehow manage to bollocks that up.

    And now LOTR... sigh... one wonders where they keep getting the money.

    But their games never fail to be beautiful, but something fundimental breaks down, its like a cloned sheep with fraying chromasomes, it looks good and sounds right, but it just falls apart.

    imageimage
    Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood. -Nietzsche

  • GorukhaGorukha WarsawPosts: 1,441Member
    .


    It's better be hated for who you are, than loved for who you aren't.
    image

  • dreamer05dreamer05 Kansas City, MOPosts: 544Member Common
    If this is really an unbiased review then I am shocked too. I was thinking negative things about what I had read about this game but reading the review I may have to take a second look. Although the whole "well it doesn't do anything inovative and the monsters look zooish, but so does every other games so its ok!" thinking is REDICULOUS seriously.

    image

    "God, please help us sinful children of Ivalice.."

  • SturmrabeSturmrabe dayton, OHPosts: 927Member


    Originally posted by dreamer05
    If this is really an unbiased review then I am shocked too. I was thinking negative things about what I had read about this game but reading the review I may have to take a second look. Although the whole "well it doesn't do anything inovative and the monsters look zooish, but so does every other games so its ok!" thinking is REDICULOUS seriously.
    The more I think about it the more I think the review isn't so bad, as long as one considers eye candy can do a lot for you for 10 levels...

    but with no, and I mean NO innovation, and typical Turbine excecution, people who buy this are gonna with they had their 50 bucks when the 30 day trial is over and so is their time in Middle Earth, (online)...

    imageimage
    Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood. -Nietzsche

  • WhitewalkerWhitewalker PatrasPosts: 86Member
    Great preview...

    I will be looking forward for more to come. LOTRO sounds great, I will definitly be giving it a try. image


  • WarfanWarfan Roseville, CAPosts: 22Member

    The game is stunningly beautiful at times.  Anyone who wrote off Turbine after D&DO will find they did so prematurely.  I think LOTRO will benefit from those WoW fans (non-PvP) who want something simiiliar but offer a refreshing change of scenery.

    I know I'm there, at least until Warhammer manages to make it retail... ;)

     

    Now playing Vanguard, but drooling for WAR

  • KniknaxKniknax LeicesterPosts: 567Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Gonodil
    NDA


    Did you stop playing the beta after 5 minutes? DDO this game is not, not even close.

    DDO is a fully instanced, group only, twitch based fantasy game.

    This is an open world, solo & group, strategic and thoughtful MMO. Its nothing like DDO in anyway. The combat is fun and fairly original in parts, the enviroments are interesting and well laid out, the storyline quests are engaging, and they are actually attempting to stay true to the source material instead of dumping in mages, warlocks and necro's like everyone else. Go back to the beta now, log in a dwarf and work your way through the Dwarf starter area for a few hours, exploring the HUGE Dwarf halls that are reminisent of Moria, then log in to DDO and sit on the dock (the starter area) then come back and say it is the same game.

    "When people don't know much about something, they tend to fill in the blanks the way they want them to be filled in. They are almost always disappointed." - Will Wright

  • SturmrabeSturmrabe dayton, OHPosts: 927Member

    Turbine = the Uwe Boll of MMOs

    imageimage
    Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood. -Nietzsche

  • GonodilGonodil San Diego, CAPosts: 335Member

    Also, I completly agree with what R.A. Salvatore said at the Mythic las vegas show. MMO's are most fun when YOU make up a story for yourself, not run through a tredmill of scripted scenes that TELL you what your story is.

    Even my current dislike of vanguard is less than my hatered for what LoTR:O is right now, because even with all the dumbing down done to vanguard, it's still a sandbox where I can make my own story, not be told what the hell to do and who the hell I am.

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