Imx Fix in my experience
 
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April 8, 2007 7:02 AM


A lot of LOTRO players have taken on a Napoleonic type complex when it comes to LOTRO vs WoW comparisons. Too bad the breadth and depth of comparisons is as great as it is, even if I'm just 7 levels into the game.

You kill stuff, you gather stuff, you run around and talk to random idiots who can't do things for themselves and you get XP for doing all of the above. The only thing I've run into so far that is different from WoW and represents and innovation is how certain events will permanently change the game world.

After you've been questing in the newbie area you will get a quest to go kill a head bad guy. When you initiate the quest you zone into an instanced 'dungeon' (it's a town) and you go thru the dungeon killing mobs and talking to NPCs. After you've done the quest and killed the bad guys you zone back out and the town has physically changed (it's on fire in the instance and afterwards is all singed/burned/under-construction). That right there is a HUGE differentiator from WoW and it is worth playing the beta just see how it works.

For those who haven't finished that quest series yet, they will see the town in it's pre-inferno condition and have quests that apply to the timeline before the fire. For those who have done that quest, the town is all burned and new/different quests are available. In WoW nothing changes until the devs patch in new content, so seeing this change was pretty neat and breaths some life into the game.

Unfortunately, there are too many comparisons to WoW and all of the basic MMORPG mechanics to make LOTRO feel fresh (for me, right now, as a level 7 Burglar). I played WoW for a year and a half and had 86 played days on my main (an undead warrior specced for tanking). As a tank you get used to tedious gameplay and repetitive actions and watching timers, and then you burn out and quit. I did that recently and picked up LOTRO at the urging of my best WoW friend and I'm afraid I might eventually let him down.

The game will certainly evolve into it's own game and the WoW comparisons will fade away into those endless "mac vs pc" threads that only insecure nerds take part in (ahem). I suppose that's a measure of success though since no game has come close to challenging WoW's MMO hegemony. There's enough here to warrant a $5 preorder at EB to try the game out, but the fact that I had to run around and kill piglets to get 6 pieces of pork for a quest says that Turbine hasn't avoided what makes WoW tedious and has instead embraced it. That leads me to believe that I'll let my friend down.

To reiterate; collecting 10 apples for an NPC that is too lazy to walk 5 feet in front of him to collect them himself is NOT FUN. A long quest series that tells a story and yields permanent changes to the game world IS FUN, so I'm causiosly optimistic about the game while being worried that I might end up playing another tedious game. There's other issues with the game that are easily explained away since the game is a beta. There are animations that need to be smoother, textures that need to be smoother and much of the textual elements in the UI need to be refined (WoW's ability to make something clear via text is unrivaled in my opinion).

At any rate, the MMO market is ripe for an FPS, that's for sure. My guess is that LOTRO might be able to be the game I play until a good MMOFPS comes out, but then again, it might not.