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Models, animations, I'm not sure... the game already got a few graphic overhauls so far and looks great for a 6 years old mmo. I like the animations, it has lots of emotes too, the models are nice (or maybe it's just me, never understood how could it be a 'make-or-break' issue for players, in TSW for example). But I accept that it's personal taste and preferences, that's why I started with "not sure" on the latter ones.
On the other hand, UI change... lol. Is it possible you haven't heard about the Lua support ingame? You can modify the UI as much as you want, set it up exactly how you like it. (Though I like the basic UI so dont have first-hand experience with Lua)
Edit: wasn't sure since when so just checked the dev diaries, the manager went live with Isengard: http://lorebook.lotro.com/wiki/Update_5,_Armies_of_Isengard,_Official#Lua_Plugin_Manager
They already changed the interface once, to be more WoW-like. (The character sheet most notably). And you can use LUA to do whatever.
They seemingly have upgraded many of the character models in the game (NPCS at least). And honestly, I think the game looks better now than many more recent MMORPGs. Much better than say, SWTOR
The real problem is the game is too grindy to be overly alt friendly (but I have a lot of alts) and yet at the same time, the end game isn't so great.
R.I.P. City of Heroes and my 17 characters there
Not my favourite character models in a mmo but still decent .I completly agree with you on animations and also I would like some change in combat too ,even if I like a lot of things in this game , the combat animations are making me stop playing it every time I try to return .I doubt any big change will happen at this point, the game is too old for Turbine to invest in such a big change so I just visit it from time to time,the Shire is still one of my favourite zones in a mmo.
it used to be on the top,but when it went f2p something happened.
Only real issue for me was the animations, i just could not get into the combat, it was slow and very boring, in the end that is why i stoped playing LoTR. If they ever changed it a couple of years ago i would have been willing to try it out again, it's just been to long now and i have moved on to other games.