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I decided to make this a seperate topic rather than respond to a current thread, since I'd like to see other people's opinions on this topic; not only for LoTRo, but for all level-based MMOs in general.
The question I posed in the Title is what I'd like to see discussed. It seems to come up quite a bit with those that find LoTRo is not the game for them; which is fine, as we aren't all going to like the same games.
The part I don't understand is how any MMO that uses levels is not considered linear?
They all start at level 1 and as you progress you gain higher and higher levels, and in order to gain higher levels you have to gain more exp. So, as a natural consequence of gaining higher levels you have to move to new areas to find more exp. in order to continue the leveling process.
In this way, yes, LoTRo is a linear MMO. In fact, it is even more apparent than most games because of it's epic story-line (even though it is entirely optional) which is laid out in Book and Chapters. You start with Book 1 Chapter 1, and it goes through Book 11; Book 12 will be coming out in a month or two.
However, I fail to see the difference between this progression and any level-based progression. You start out in lower level areas with mobs of various levels (Usually levels 1-10). Then you are introduced (through following the quests or exploring), to gradually more difficult areas. These areas are filled with progressively higher level mobs and quest lines.
There is nothing stopping a player from hoping on a horse and heading off to whatever area they choose to be in. In fact, I know of some players that have totally skipped the beginning area for the race they started since they liked the areas of other races better.
If you think the area is "too easy" you can just skip it and go to another area. There are some quest-lines that you may miss if you choose to progress this way, but there is nothing that is required (not even the epic story-line is required). In fact, you can skip every single quest completely and just level with wandering around and killing what you like; however, it will probably take you longer to level than someone who just concentrates on quests.
As with any MMO, LoTRo is what you make of it. You can choose to play it however it is the most fun to you. It doesn't "force" you to do anything that you don't choose to do. They have purposefully designed the game to have a story-line that does "flow" from level 1 through level 50. However, just like a lot of our favorite RPG games (Oblivion, Baldur's Gate) you can choose to fore-go the main plot and just do side-quests. Or, you can just wander the country-side at your leisure and not do any of the quests. Personally, I think you'd be missing out on a lot of very well done content; but again, it's your choice.
So, that brings us back to the original topic. Is LoTRo more linear than any other level-based MMO's? What experiences that you had in game brought you to that decision?
Let's try to keep this flame-free. Thanks.