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Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard & F2P Goodness

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,595MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

With the recent release of the Lord of the Rings expansion, Rise of Isengard, interest has once again been sparked by Turbine's venerable game. In our latest look at LOTRO, MMORPG.com's Lori May checks out the game, its F2P revenue model and more. Read on!

In the wake of Lord of the Rings Online’s latest expansion, Rise of Isengard, we decided it was high time to take another look at this popular free-to-play (F2P)/subscription hybrid MMO. While many folks seemed hesitant to give this one a try prior to the F2P conversion, the ability to enjoy 65 levels without ever paying a subscription cost means there’s little reason not to sample the familiar and rather beautiful world from the Lord of the Rings book series (and eventual movie franchise). And no, this one isn’t just for folks obsessed with the novels.

Read more Lori May's Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard & F2P Goodness.


Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • kevjardskevjards carlislePosts: 1,463Member

    nice read..not..i love lotro but very disappointed so far with isengard..its now gone from one of the best mmo's to a solo rpg...the addition of the f2p is ok..i dont mind that..atm i feel like frodo..lotro is a lonely road atm..hope it improves real soon.i will stick with it though being a lifer.

  • McGamerMcGamer Fairfield Bay, ARPosts: 1,012Member

    Unfortunately it's gone beyond trying to convert to single player mode. They have totally dumbed down their crafting/harvesting system the same way SWG tried to do with the NGE because they were worried about WoW. Except this time I think Lotro is worried about SWTOR. Game devs need to stop worrying to the point of paranoia and just stay true to their fanbase. 

    I had played Lotro ever since alpha testing and was in the beta for RoI as well. Sad to say, I cancelled my subscription and won't be going back unless Turbine changed back some of their bad choices. I am sure it won't happen anytime soon if at all, but I know I am not alone on this view because others have agreed with me on their official forums. 

    But like many devs these days, they choose not to listen to the people making their paychecks possible.

  • nerovipus32nerovipus32 dublinPosts: 2,735Member

    Failing with an IP as vast and loved as lord of the rings tells me turbine are not a great developement studio, the original lord of the rings game middle earth online was a far superior idea.

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member

    Originally posted by Czanrei

    Unfortunately it's gone beyond trying to convert to single player mode. They have totally dumbed down their crafting/harvesting system the same way SWG tried to do with the NGE because they were worried about WoW. Except this time I think Lotro is worried about SWTOR. Game devs need to stop worrying to the point of paranoia and just stay true to their fanbase. 

    I had played Lotro ever since alpha testing and was in the beta for RoI as well. Sad to say, I cancelled my subscription and won't be going back unless Turbine changed back some of their bad choices. I am sure it won't happen anytime soon if at all, but I know I am not alone on this view because others have agreed with me on their official forums. 

    But like many devs these days, they choose not to listen to the people making their paychecks possible.

    THIS.

     

    +1

     

    Additionally I don't really like F2P mode, cause it clearly changes devs focus to make game connects to store in as many places as possible, to increase store sales as far as changing game mechanics to boost store sales (it was done in Lotro).  

    It 'feels' like it is more about the store than game itself. 

     

     

  • raistlinmraistlinm new orleans, LAPosts: 673Member

    Originally posted by nerovipus32

    Failing with an IP as vast and loved as lord of the rings tells me turbine are not a great developement studio, the original lord of the rings game middle earth online was a far superior idea.

    Not sure what to think about someone saying an idea that never saw the light of day is superior to the gameplay that made it in, maybe you are right but I heard the same types of comments about the original pre CU/NGE SWG and that game couldn't sustain a population large enough to satisfy it's developers either.

    Not sure I'd be so quick to just dismiss Turbine as a developer either since the fact remains that ip's don't make the product there are far too many games with sure shot ip's that also failed or underserved that ip's percieved market from AOC to STO and MXO.

  • junzo316junzo316 Raleigh, NCPosts: 1,684Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by nerovipus32

    Failing with an IP as vast and loved as lord of the rings tells me turbine are not a great developement studio, the original lord of the rings game middle earth online was a far superior idea.

    But it was only an "idea", and never came to fruition.  There may have been a reason for that.  Many times lofty ideas never see the light of day because there isn't an easy way to implement those ideas.  Just look at Darkfall.  A lot of lofty ideas, but the game that was released was no where near the original idea for the game.

     

    I became bored quicker than I thought with the new expansion and have since cancelled my sub.  I was hoping for something "more" (though I don't know what that "more" is). 

  • ArthineasArthineas Selinsgrove, PAPosts: 231Member

    Originally posted by nerovipus32

    Failing with an IP as vast and loved as lord of the rings tells me turbine are not a great developement studio, the original lord of the rings game middle earth online was a far superior idea.


     

    Not sure where you get the "failing with an IP thing" .  Lotro is thriving and all the servers I play on are always very busy.  As Turbine said, Isengard has been their most successful expansion ever.  Turbine has done quite well with the Lord of the Rings IP.

  • BergirBergir Toronto, ONPosts: 299Member

    Nice review!

  • ComnitusComnitus Williamsburg, VAPosts: 2,462Member

    Originally posted by Arthineas



    Originally posted by nerovipus32



    Failing with an IP as vast and loved as lord of the rings tells me turbine are not a great developement studio, the original lord of the rings game middle earth online was a far superior idea.






     

    Not sure where you get the "failing with an IP thing" .  Lotro is thriving and all the servers I play on are always very busy.  As Turbine said, Isengard has been their most successful expansion ever.  Turbine has done quite well with the Lord of the Rings IP.

    It really is a matter of taste. I love LotRO, but the main issue before was the limited population (causing Turbine to shift away from the heavy group focus and towards solo player viability). With F2P, more people should be playing, so I'll likely check it out again very soon.

    image

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,204Member Uncommon

    The re-review seems rather generous.

    Aesthetics -  7.5 - 8

    The environmental visuals are very nice as is the soundtrack.  These are the greatest immersive features the game has to offer.  However, the character models look very dated and plastic, the animations are wooden, and the armour sets haven't seen new meshes in years.

     

    Gameplay - 6.5

    The gameplay is very slow and clunky.  The game lacks any sort of cohesive design and over-arching system behind it.  Ever single expansion the combat system, and as a result class mechanics, is completely overhauled.  Turbine has flipped back and forth between their approach to combat mechanics and Rise of Isengard is no exception.  Despite all of these overhauls the combat is still very slow and clunky with long skill cooldowns and heavy use of mob spammed debuffs.

    Itemization has been a mess since Mirkwood with lower level instance gear surpassing the quality of higher level newer gear.  With the new combat revamp low to mid-tier gears don't work well with character progression at all.

    Crafting has absolutely no consistency to it at all.   The first six tiers approach creating items in one manner, while the seventh tier (the one slapped on with RoI) approaches creation with a completely different philosophy.  For tiers 1 - 6 crafters harvest and refine materials and can create basic recipes that are automatically granted.  More recipes can be purchased from a vendor, found as world drops, or gained through faction reputation.  For tier 7 harvesters must gain faction through reputation to even be able to refine materials, most recipes are faction gated, and the crafting process flip-flops haphazardly between professions.  On top of all that stat itemization in crafting at mid-levels is still a mess.

    Housing is the same half-baked unfinished hooked system that has been in place since its inception.  The housing items and available hooks aren't distributed well at all.  The neighborhoods are completely out of common hubs.  There is a skill that can return the player to their house (on a one hour cooldown which can be reduced by a store purchase), but neighborhoods are ghost towns even so.  Compared other instanced housing systems, say in EQ2, LotROs is horrendously crude.  Even Facebook games let you decorate your digs better than LotRO.

     

    Innovation - 6.5 - 7

    The skirmish system and scalable group instances is one of the more interesting and somewhat unique aspects of the game.  It keeps a lot of old content relevant and lets players decide if they want a challenge or just to smash things.  It's one of the few truly innovative features the game offers.  Without this I would give the game a 5 for innovation as it doesn't do anything original and all the rest of their subsystems lack the polish or depth of any other major title.

    Even after you point out that their innovation is lackluster you give them an 8.   That's just too high.

     

    Polish - 7

    I'm being generous here.  The game has outstanding bugs from years past (auction house - mail box - mouse scroll lock bug) and this last expansion released with a major area that caused many crashes to desktop along with falling through the world.  Turbine's development pace is, in a word, glacial and under-delivers.

     

    Social - 6

    This is one of the least fun games to form up groups I've ever played.  You are discouraged from randomly helping others in overland content as they will get an xp loss unless you group up.  Forming instance groups seems needlessly painful for some inexplicable reason.  The only global channels are user generated so unless someone new knows the channel and how to join one they can be left in a very quiet chat world.

    Guild tools are rudimentary at best (you can lock out new recruits from guild housing chests).  There is a huge lack of guild tools for recruitment and finer grained permissions for members.

     

    Longevity - 8

    The game will last until 2014/2017 just because their license is already secured out until then and there are diehard LotR fans.  Outside of that there are better games for what people are looking for (pvp, pve combat/instances/gear, socializing, housing/decorating).

     

    Value - 6

    For the early levels, like the reviewer said, a lot is free.  You can easily level until 30 - 35 without buying anything.  Once you get past that you will be paying $7 - $10 (each) for quest packs, skirmishes, account upgrades, and so on.  Many of the newest features added to the game are store exclusives and some features (the ability to skip the intro area) have been removed from the game and put in the store as an exclusive.

    It's a F2P game and moving more in that direction with every update and patch.   If you just want a game to play very casually with your kids or spouse this isn't a bad one.  If you really want to enjoy an MMO experience there are much better game options out there.

  • mazutmazut SofiaPosts: 885Member Uncommon

    Very good game, even more now with f2p. The PvP is almost pathetic. No ballance, at all. Only one boring zone. Bit its PvE aspects are great. Good story and interesting places, not only for Tolkien fans, but for MMO its well made.

     

  • mazutmazut SofiaPosts: 885Member Uncommon







    Originally posted by Torvaldr





    The re-review seems rather generous.





    Aesthetics -  7.5 - 8





    The environmental visuals are very nice as is the soundtrack.  These are the greatest immersive features the game has to offer.  However, the character models look very dated and plastic, the animations are wooden, and the armour sets haven't seen new meshes in years.





     





    Gameplay - 6.5





    The gameplay is very slow and clunky.  The game lacks any sort of cohesive design and over-arching system behind it.  Ever single expansion the combat system, and as a result class mechanics, is completely overhauled.  Turbine has flipped back and forth between their approach to combat mechanics and Rise of Isengard is no exception.  Despite all of these overhauls the combat is still very slow and clunky with long skill cooldowns and heavy use of mob spammed debuffs.





    Itemization has been a mess since Mirkwood with lower level instance gear surpassing the quality of higher level newer gear.  With the new combat revamp low to mid-tier gears don't work well with character progression at all.





    Crafting has absolutely no consistency to it at all.   The first six tiers approach creating items in one manner, while the seventh tier (the one slapped on with RoI) approaches creation with a completely different philosophy.  For tiers 1 - 6 crafters harvest and refine materials and can create basic recipes that are automatically granted.  More recipes can be purchased from a vendor, found as world drops, or gained through faction reputation.  For tier 7 harvesters must gain faction through reputation to even be able to refine materials, most recipes are faction gated, and the crafting process flip-flops haphazardly between professions.  On top of all that stat itemization in crafting at mid-levels is still a mess.





    Housing is the same half-baked unfinished hooked system that has been in place since its inception.  The housing items and available hooks aren't distributed well at all.  The neighborhoods are completely out of common hubs.  There is a skill that can return the player to their house (on a one hour cooldown which can be reduced by a store purchase), but neighborhoods are ghost towns even so.  Compared other instanced housing systems, say in EQ2, LotROs is horrendously crude.  Even Facebook games let you decorate your digs better than LotRO.





     





    Innovation - 6.5 - 7





    The skirmish system and scalable group instances is one of the more interesting and somewhat unique aspects of the game.  It keeps a lot of old content relevant and lets players decide if they want a challenge or just to smash things.  It's one of the few truly innovative features the game offers.  Without this I would give the game a 5 for innovation as it doesn't do anything original and all the rest of their subsystems lack the polish or depth of any other major title.





    Even after you point out that their innovation is lackluster you give them an 8.   That's just too high.





     





    Polish - 7





    I'm being generous here.  The game has outstanding bugs from years past (auction house - mail box - mouse scroll lock bug) and this last expansion released with a major area that caused many crashes to desktop along with falling through the world.  Turbine's development pace is, in a word, glacial and under-delivers.





     The "mail bug" is not a bug, its bad design, and few of your complains are "without steady ground". I agree there are some glitches and bugs, but in general its very polished. I still dont have RoI, no idea aboit it.





    Social - 6





    This is one of the least fun games to form up groups I've ever played.  You are discouraged from randomly helping others in overland content as they will get an xp loss unless you group up.  Forming instance groups seems needlessly painful for some inexplicable reason.  The only global channels are user generated so unless someone new knows the channel and how to join one they can be left in a very quiet chat world.





    Guild tools are rudimentary at best (you can lock out new recruits from guild housing chests).  There is a huge lack of guild tools for recruitment and finer grained permissions for members.





    This is one of the few games with top of the top communities. I give it at least 9/10. Friendly, helpful and mature.





     





    Longevity - 8





    The game will last until 2014/2017 just because their license is already secured out until then and there are diehard LotR fans.  Outside of that there are better games for what people are looking for (pvp, pve combat/instances/gear, socializing, housing/decorating).





     





    Value - 6





    For the early levels, like the reviewer said, a lot is free.  You can easily level until 30 - 35 without buying anything.  Once you get past that you will be paying $7 - $10 (each) for quest packs, skirmishes, account upgrades, and so on.  Many of the newest features added to the game are store exclusives and some features (the ability to skip the intro area) have been removed from the game and put in the store as an exclusive.





    It's a F2P game and moving more in that direction with every update and patch.   If you just want a game to play very casually with your kids or spouse this isn't a bad one.  If you really want to enjoy an MMO experience there are much better game options out there.














    Except expansions, you can play with minimap payment. If you complete your traits and most of its achievements (you kill/ explore ... etc anyway when you do questing) you win a lot of free Turbite Points - the ingame curency. That way you can buy some of the more interesting teritory and quest packs to play. Ask ingame or search the net for more info. Some quest pack are more interesting then oters, you can buy only 1/2 without regrets.








     





     









     




     

  • MorrowbreezeMorrowbreeze redfield, KSPosts: 141Member

    People always have a reason to complain it seems. Before MMOs became popular it was forum ranting over single player game minutae. I suppose that still goes on...

    LOTRO is not a perfect game, it is a good game if you can get into the mindset that it is what it is. And it is a solo heavy ,socially heavy adventure with a decent representation of what Middle Earth is.  If it aint for you , move on.

     

    If there are features not present, look elsewhere. The game was never meant to be PVP- but devs accomodated by adding PVMP. that part is not the game focus. f2per who have entitlement issues need be reminded that one can go all the way to 65 without spending a dime. It has been done. Why moan over the grind needed to achieve that if its free?



     

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,183Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by nerovipus32

    Failing with an IP as vast and loved as lord of the rings tells me turbine are not a great developement studio, the original lord of the rings game middle earth online was a far superior idea.

    Well far as I am concerned it is a pretty neat game for being fairly free.  Middle Earth Online was a disaster waiting to happen,  I was so glad Turbine picked up the IP from those incompetents.  I don't understand the problem some of you have with the crafting systems, they seem to work fine for me.

  • mazutmazut SofiaPosts: 885Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Ozmodan

    Originally posted by nerovipus32

    Failing with an IP as vast and loved as lord of the rings tells me turbine are not a great developement studio, the original lord of the rings game middle earth online was a far superior idea.

    Well far as I am concerned it is a pretty neat game for being fairly free.  Middle Earth Online was a disaster waiting to happen,  I was so glad Turbine picked up the IP from those incompetents.  I don't understand the problem some of you have with the crafting systems, they seem to work fine for me.


     

    I think Tolkien is spinning in his grave, I'm sure if he was alive this game wouldn't exist :), but as MMO its good game, even very good.

  • itgrowlsitgrowls newport news, VAPosts: 2,951Member

    i usually don't complain about lotro because up until this expansion it has been a fun experience. I was highly disappointed in this expansion. It's like developers like this have all completely forgotten that to keep a game fresh you have to have to improve upon the ui. There is no AOE looting, there are no random events, no combat mounts, guild perks, rewarding exploration, fishing with something other then fish as the reward.

     

    UI elements like these could have completely changed the game for many a player it's disappointing that the devs only care about canon and releasing a tiny zone as an expansion. Sure they have new dungeons and skirms but cmon now people, that's not the only aspect of an mmo that people like to do. There's even an outcry from WoW players about this.

    I cannot wait for GW2 i hope their numbers are so huge that it completely changes the industry.

  • UzlebUzleb Windsor, ONPosts: 162Member

    **Pando Media Booster will, once the download completes, and unless otherwise directed by the user, continue to "seed" the files out which can use bandwidth. If you'd like to disable Pando (to prevent this) rather than remove it entirely this can be done from its Control panel option.

     

    This point IS NOT MADE CLEAR SO FREE DOESN'T MEAN $#!^ when it comes to your ISP.

    Don't forget to uninstall.   PMB.exe

     

     

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  • RobsolfRobsolf Grand Rapids, MIPosts: 4,247Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by mazut






     

    I think Tolkien is spinning in his grave, I'm sure if he was alive this game wouldn't exist :), but as MMO its good game, even very good.

    I agree.  But if Tolkein were still alive, the movies wouldn't exist, either.  He was very much opposed to people messing with his work whether it did his work justice, or not.

    Turbine did a good job with the lore, IMO, as well as putting it to good use in their own stories.  I didn't realize how much of the stuff ingame was based on the Appendix in RotK til' I reread it a few weeks back.

     

  • SporinSporin FalkirkPosts: 18Member

    Aesthetics: 9/10

    I clearly must not have played the same game as you? Because the LotRo I bought looks awful, the characters are wooden, the horses are even worse, the background scenery is the only thing that looks any way half good. Yes, it has a ok story & nice, helpful people playing it, but thats about it. Most of it was empty, dead & very boring. Sorry.

  • TimukasTimukas TallinnPosts: 693Member

    Originally posted by nerovipus32

    Failing with an IP as vast and loved as lord of the rings tells me turbine are not a great developement studio, the original lord of the rings game middle earth online was a far superior idea.

    I agree 100%. Pity that one of the best IPs is wasted by Turbine.

  • AthcearAthcear Washington, DCPosts: 420Member

    I like Lotro a lot.  Been playing it for the last year and am having more fun with this game than with most others I've played.  That said, the new expansion is very disappointing.  No new dunegons, no new game modes, nothing really groundbreaking.  They updated existing systems and made them work a little better.  The quests are smoother.  The number issues are better.  The gear grind is more friendly.  But there's nothing new or amazing, and at level cap there's nothing to do besides run old instances at the higher level, and the one new raid.  The new raid is really cool, but it's a huge investment.  A good kill takes around an hour, and a practice attempt can run even longer, and you may not even get to the parts you need to practice.

    Important facts:
    1. Free to Play games are poorly made.
    2. Casuals are not all idiots, but idiots call themselves casuals.
    3. Great solo and group content are not mutually exclusive, but they suffer when one is shoved into the mold of the other. The same is true of PvP and PvE.
    4. Community is more important than you think.

  • divmaxdivmax JhbPosts: 106Member

    When LOTRO launched and right up to Moria, I felt that the developers were truly dedicated to producing a game based faithfully on the spirit of Tolkien's works. The art of storytelling and world design came first. Since then, every expansion introduces more blatant commercialism and more ways to completely skip the art, storytelling and world.

    Its become a bunch of menus and a town hub, thanks to Instance Join.

  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Manchester, NHPosts: 2,926Member Uncommon

    If you've never played LOTRO and like the IP, then it's absolutely worth trying.

     

    I'm totally disenchanted with the game have already abandoned it for the foreseeable future after reaching the level cap in ROI.  They barely release content and the expansions are getting smaller and smaller.

  • KisraKisra CairoPosts: 8Member

    Originally posted by Sporin

    Aesthetics: 9/10

    I clearly must not have played the same game as you? Because the LotRo I bought looks awful, the characters are wooden, the horses are even worse, the background scenery is the only thing that looks any way half good. Yes, it has a ok story & nice, helpful people playing it, but thats about it. Most of it was empty, dead & very boring. Sorry.




     



    Wooden characters Oo

    Clearly you need to buy new pc man better then the wooden pc you got at that time ....

  • Lester_CreechLester_Creech nelson, BCPosts: 515Member Common

    Lotro went from being my favorite mmo to making me want to barf out of boredom. i log in about once a month, sigh heavily, and then log out again.

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