Why don't I like Lord of the Rings Online?

God knows, it should really be my natural favorite, given that I’m a major Tolkien geek. But I’m on Day 4 of the free trial and I’m not really getting into it. I don’t know if it’s basic new-to-the-game confusion or what, but I’m not really getting any greater sense of immersion or anything like that. I can get lost in WoW for hours, but not LOTRO.

I find that little interface things bug me. What mobs are hostile? How do I tell? How close is the average aggro proximity? Why does it feel like 90% of my time is spent traveling between quest hubs? Why do the controls feel sluggish?

It’s not that I hate LOTRO…I have a mildly pleasant time playing it so far. It’s just nowhere near the level of enjoyment I expected to have given my Tolkien geekdom. Maybe Tolkien geekdom is actually a handicap for this game…

Well part of the issue is the community is almost totally off of the beginning and middle areas. It used to be more immersive and group oriented. But most people moved on to the upper areas, and the Devs gave into demand and streamlined the early game for people to start alts and get them up to speed quickly. And because if it the RP feel of the game was somewhat sacrificed.

Sounds to me like you’re just experiencing newbieness. Mixed with “I play WoW and this game sortof looks like it”-ness.

What mobs are hostile? Mobs with red life bars are hostile. Mobs will yellow life bars are not. Some “hostile” mobs threaten to attack first (and can therefore be run past if you don’t dawdle), but that’s something that you’ll just need to discover. It’s usually pretty logical (wild boars and some bears threaten to attack first, orcs, not so much).

There is no “average aggro proximity”. It depends on your level and the type of mob. Wargs will attack you from a long way off, as will archer type enemies, while you can get a lot closer to ye-average goblin before he’ll go on the attack.

Why are you running between quest hubs so much? I have no clue. Did you make a hobbit? The Shire is kinda sprawling and the quests there involve a lot of travelling, but that’s the price you pay for doing hobbity style quests - you’re a lot less likely to need to go kill ten rabid wombats/collect 12 squirrel tusks in the Shire. Instead you’ll be delivering mail, recovering spoiled pies, or otherwise running errands. Sure, there’s some “clear out the wolves that have overrun my farm!” stuff, but there’s a lot less of it. If you don’t like the diffuse playstyle there, I A) Question your Tolkien Geekery, because I don’t know what else you’d expect there and B) Suggest you try either creating a different character in a different area, or just hop on a horse and travel to either Bree or Thorin’s Gate and try the quests there instead.

I can’t offer you anything about the controls. They recently sped up combat so you don’t have to wait for auto-attacks between skills the way you used to. The game -is- a “queuing” based combat system though - if you push a button while a skill is executing you do, in fact, have to wait for the previous skill to finish before the new one executes, even though (and I know this is gonna be a tough one for some MMO vets) there’s no little “progress bar” for how close to do you are swinging your sword. Some classes do have “induction based” skills where you get to see the little bar for how far done you are singing your song or whatever, so maybe playing a class that actually acts slower would help. There is a deliberate amount of “between skill lag” in combat - you can’t just chain from one attack to the next to the next unless the attacks are designed to let you do that. If a skill says “fast” it will ignore this lag, if a skill says “immediate” it will even interrupt the animation of the previous skill and launch right away, but as a rule, skills take time to execute and have some ‘recovery’ time during which you can’t launch another. I suggest you leave your other MMO experiences at the door, if possible.

I disagree that geekdom is remotely a handicap, unless you’re going to complain that it did not, in fact, take you three days of real time to run across The Shire. Yes, there are concessions to standard MMO conventions (there are a lot more monsters in the world than there ‘should’ be) but in terms of lore and feel, the game does a very good job.

What level are you? I suggest you try a different race/class combo. And be sure to follow the ‘epic’ quest line (the ones that list as “Volume 1, Book 1, etc” in your quest log), since those are the ones that are particularly going to play to the story driven strengths of the game.

Really though, it sounds to me like it’s the opposite of your geekness that’s getting you. I’d say the fact that you’re used to a comfortable with WoW is causing the differences (which are, in fact, just differences, and not anything related to the quality of either game) to grate on you because things aren’t how you expect. Try to forget about “How WoW does it” and just play LotRO. You’ll find it’s an equally good or better game even though it doesn’t work the same way (in spite of the superficial similarities).

I kinda disagree with this. I don’t know what server you’re on, but everytime I’m in the newbie areas on Arkenstone or Windfola, there are always plenty of folks about. (Note: I’m one of the odd folks who think that Middle Earth should NOT be wall to wall adventurers the way say, WoW is, so my idea of what “enough people” is may be lower than yours.) And neither of those are regarded as “high population” servers, to my knowledge.

Of course, if you are playing at odd times of day or something, or expect to rub elbows with tons of people, YMMV, but I find that most of the folks who say “the newbie areas are so empty now!” are the people who were playing the game back when the newbie areas were packed to the gills. They’re no longer PACKED but they’re far from empty (I use to play EQ. I know what really empty newbie areas means. :wink: )

Are you starting as an Elf? If you could, go to Bree or Hobbiton - those are my favourite questing area and seems to have more tie-in with the lore.

What class are you playing? Some classes can get a bit more tedious than others.

There are quite a number of lore scattered throughout the games, but it depends on your starting area. Hobbiton and Bree seems to be much more interesting, for exampe.

Click/target the mob. If it’s health bar is red, it is hostile. Other colors are yellow and green.

I don’t know the hard numbers on this. It will be a comparison between your level and the Mob’s level. WoW does this too, but I think WoW has a smaller aggro field. (In LoTRO, if the mob’s name is greyed out to you, you will get no xp for killing it, and it will not aggro on you unless you attack it. Good for farming resources in lower level areas.)

*snort * Early WoW had same issues. There wasn’t a FP in Ungo’ro Crater, for example.

I am guessing that the playable areas in LoTRO have greater “volume” (discrete map coordinates) than WoW, but I don’t know how to measure that scientifically. The Bree Fields and North Downs are HUGE. I think you are subconciously picking up on that difference.

There could be several reasons for this. I know that the LoTRO graphics demands are higher than WoW’s. Try turning down some of the graphics/detail settings, and see if they make a difference. Blizzard made a deliberate marketing choice of the graphics engine they chose, to make it more accessable to more customers.

I also notice that some self-interruptible actions require the animations to complete before you can commit to another action. Dismounting from a horse is the most obvious “sit and wait” moment, especially when a mob is chewing on your shoes. For hunters, it used to be that special attacks (like Barbed Shot) required the action to complete before you could even move (to chase a fleeing goblin, of course!) your character. They have nerfed that somewhat, but there are vestiges of this design decision lingering in the game.

I’ve played WoW on-and-off since launch, and I’ve just picked up LOTRO about two weeks ago. I now have a level 20 hunter, and just bought a starter horse and a starter house. To the best of my ability, I’m committing 100% to the game and trying very hard not to continuously indulge in “WoW does this aspect better” nitpicking/train-of-thought.

Despite my best intentions, I’m still not fully hooked. I want to be hooked, but I don’t think it’s fully taken-hold.

LOTRO has better graphics, more immersive, “real-feeling” environments; better roleplaying and fun hooks (player houses/neighborhoods; ability to have a surname and a family tree; plentiful titles). Not to mention the LOTR lore.

The one aspect of LOTRO that really, REALLY annoys me is the map system. The mini-map can’t be zoomed, and the quest-turn-in icon display on the map and the main view are often difficult to see or differentiate. Part of this is getting used to it, but a fellow ex-WoWer has the same complaint. The inability to install GUI add-ons makes this a permanent problem. I guess I got used to QuestHelper in WoW, but this issue annoys me so much that it really detracts from my enjoyment of the game.

The only other thing that might be an annoyance for some, but not particularly for me, is population, as mentioned before: even in a main town like Bree, I might encounter only a half-dozen players on my walk through town. In WoW, I’d encounter 3x that number just in the auction house.

All this to say: my impression probably nets out to be the same as Jayjay’s; it’s beautiful, it’s fun…but I don’t know if long-term it’ll keep me out of Stormwind.

The one aspect of LOTRO that really, REALLY annoys me is the map system. The mini-map can’t be zoomed, and the quest-turn-in icon display on the map and the main view are often difficult to see or differentiate. Part of this is getting used to it, but a fellow ex-WoWer has the same complaint.[/quote]

Can you explain better? Have you tried using the quest guide system? Right click on the ring next to the quest you want to ‘focus’ on and select “Set as quest guide focus”; This will cause the minimap arrow to point you in the direction of the quest you’ve selected. (This doesn’t work when the quest in question has its next step in an instance, but otherwise works pretty well)

I’m sorry about QuestHelper (whatever the heck that is) but the reason for the no-add-ons rule is pretty sound. Namely, they don’t want to have to deal with all the UI addons that are essentially hacks and cheats that WoW has.

Varies by server, obviously, but… why does it matter how many people you -see-?

No personal game-play biases here, I see…

Yeah, one of the things I like most about the quest guide. If you press “M” to look at your map and hover over the quest you’re trying to do, it will light up the little Ring at the quest destination, or highlight one or more areas of the map (the latter is frequently the case in “go kill X wargs” type quests). You’ll see the quest directives for all of the quests on your quest tracker, which makes it easy to coordinate objectives.

One of the biggest things about LOTRO is learning how to use the quest guide focus and the quest tracker effectively. If you add something to the tracker, it’s “locked”, but if you just pick up quests and never add anything, it will just display the last 5 quests you received. I routinely remove all quests from the tracker and then add the quests I want to work on together, for example.

Personally I like LOTRO a lot but that’s as a WoW refugee, not an active player. The nice thing about LOTRO is that there seems to be less emphasis on endgame play and there’s a lot less discipline required. Lots of classes are durable enough to off-tank while still doing DPS, so pulls don’t usually require the level of precision of WoW (mark all mobs, have a strict kill order, tank/offtank is always in control of all mobs). As a minstrel, I just shout “hey, I’m getting hit” if people haven’t picked up everything, and if the tank’s stunned or something, a cappy or hunter can easily hold a few mobs for me.

There also is a lot of content you can do on your own, which is nice when leveling up. Skirmishes are especially good now – great XP while leveling, and they open at level 30.

I personally like the world a lot. I like the music system – I always keep a few instruments in my pack that I use just for music, like my harp and my lute. I like the casual atmosphere. It just seems less cut-throat somehow. On my server (Arkenstone) at least, if you’re doing something in the same area as someone else, people usually fellowship up as a matter of course just to get things done faster. Nobody runs in front of me to steal monsters or nodes. I can’t remember ever getting nasty tells because I accidentally tagged their mob, or people begging me for cash. It just seems more “adult”, more relaxed, less “grindy”.

It’s true that you don’t see a lot of people at hubs, but you haven’t seen the biggest current hubs (21st hall in Moria, Emyn Lum in Mirkwood are biggest, to a lesser extent Rivendel; not many people use Bree because the layout there is annoying). There’s less reliance on auctioning, too. Fewer rare ingredients, and you don’t have to really grind for cash like in WoW. I spent a huge part of my WoW time just gathering mats to sell in order to buy the things I needed; LOTRO just isn’t like that. You can make money at a decent rate while doing other things you’ll want to do anyway, like skirmishes or quests or instances. A lot of consumables can be gotten from reputation/quest rewards rather than having to buy them all.

Oh, and one other thing. The stable system is weird at first compared to WoW because it doesn’t route you automatically between hubs. However, after an awkward period at midlevels, it gets easier. You can get a racial deed fairly early to port you to your race’s home city (e.g. Thorin’s Hall for dwarves), and in general it’s easy to travel between racial home cities, so your map can be set wherever you’re traveling a lot. The only real irritation for me after learning how to work the system is the Misty Mountains, so I use my map there when working those quests.

Once you get to Eregion (the first expansion area, part of the Moria expansion) it gets a lot easier to get around, too, due to more hubs. And in Mirkwood, any character can buy a port spell to get back to the hub city from the main rep group there, so your map is freed up - many people use 21st Hall since there are a few reasons to get back to Moria from time to time and there’s an auction hall there.

Am I wrong that WoW has a history of UI “addons” that present data to the user that Blizzard didn’t want presented, and therefore subsequently had to disable? I believe I am not. I’ve heard some very interesting stories about these things.

I played WoW for a while and never had any problems with this, I’m just representing what people have told me regarding this policy.

Not that I know of. Yes, some data channels have been closed off by patches, but Blizzard has a LONG tradition (since the game began) of not only allowing, but encouraging add-on developers. And they’ve responded to the add-on community by incorporating some of the most popular mods into the core game. There is no adversary relationship there where Blizzard is chasing around behind mod developers slamming doors shut.

About the only things that Blizzard forbids in add-ons are bots, or add-ons that actually DO too much by themselves. A lot of the functionality that’s lost to add-ons through the patches is incidental, because Blizzard was tweaking how the game itself worked, looking for a more efficient way to channel data and incidentally closing off the old channel in the process.

Hell, Blizzard has changed its own macro processes several times to prevent bot-like behavior. Does that mean that macros that did six actions in a row (like they did at game launch) are cheating? Or is it just Blizzard going “Oops! Didn’t mean it to work like that…better fix it!” without laying some sort of “cheat” label on the people who wrote or used that macro?

Well, look at it this way: This is in the EULA:

You agree that you will not, under any circumstances:

D. use any unauthorized third-party software that intercepts, “mines”, or otherwise collects information from or through the Game or the Service, including without limitation any software that reads areas of RAM used by the Game to store information about a character or the game environment; provided, however, that Blizzard may, at its sole and absolute discretion, allow the use of certain third party user interfaces;

It seems like Blizzard is at least aware of the potential. That said, a little review of the issue indicates the the primary reason for avoiding interface addins for LotRO not simply to avoid “cheating” - gaining unauthorized info through the UI - but also is to avoid hacking - that is to say, people downloading “interface add ons” that also happen to contain keylogging or other little ‘surprises’ that can compromise user accounts.

But yes, I think soemtimes the cheat label is fair, because you know, there are times when you REALLY SHOULD KNOW BETTER. Otherwise, when you get right down to it, there’s no such thing as “exploiting” in an MMO because you know, if the developers didn’t “mean for it to work that way” they wouldn’t have put it in the game, right?

Airk, what you seem to be forgetting about WoW addons, is that they depend entirely on WoW’s built in scripting language. Blizzard is in full control of what addons can and can not do, if someone comes up with an addon that does something Blizzard doesn’t like, they can(and have in the past) make changes to their language that breaks the functionality of that addon.

I played LOTRO for a short while when it came out. Its just much less “arcadey” than WoW. You’ll spend a lot more time traveling and doing “gofer” quests, at low levels, especially if youre a hobbit. I think one of WoW’s greatest strengths is that you can start battling immediately and its not a long walk to quests at low levels.

Time flies when youre grinding and killed 50 whatsits to get to your next level. There’s less of that type of grinding it this game.

Er…so what? Blizzard is theoretically in control of everything in the game. Doesn’t mean there are no exploits.

So. Short form:

Turbine didn’t want to spend time doing this kind of bug hunting and dealing with the attendant complaints when their changes break all kinds of legit addons as well. (Which inevitably changes of this sort do. Even benign UI functionality changes often break add ons).

To sum up:
UI Addons are a lot of security and maintenance work. Turbine does not wish to partake of that.
It’s a more casual game. You don’t need a threat meter or a whack-a-mole healing add on.

So does anyone want to discuss the game, or are we going to argue about ‘cheating’ and UI addons?

Heh. Not if you try to do the slayer deeds (for leveling up a trait).

Zone: Angmar. Slay 450 Warg to gain +1 to my Determination trait.

It sure quacks like a duck…

I’d say that’s still less than there is in WoW where the entire game is like that. (Now with accomplishments for extra grinding!)

Remember. It doesn’t take much to qualify for “less”

Some, but not all, of the deeds are grindy. However, if you do a lot of the quests, most aren’t that grindy (there are exceptions, particularly the slayer deeds that involve rarer creatures or in the highest level old-world areas).

However, since there are so many deeds to choose from for each particular virtue, and because a lot of deeds – really, most of the virtue deeds – are dead easy to do (exploration deeds, deeds for questing in particular zones, and slayer deeds in low-level areas or where skirmish creatures qualify), it doesn’t feel so grindy. You can only get 10 points for each trait, but there are way more than 10 points available.

I think I had to grind on one or two traits as a Minstrel and that was it. Probably less would be needed now, since one was a trait I didn’t end up using, and this was before the Mirkwood expansion.

Regarding addons: I noticed this a lot at first, but less so now. In WoW, it was something of an arms race; you needed addons to find nodes or work the auction house or you got outcompeted. No addons put everyone on the same page, and the UI is heavily customizable as preented anyway. The only thing I’ve occasionally wished for is a threat meter, but it’s mostly out of curiosity anyway; the threat meter I used in WoW was single target, and a minstrel is never going to rip a boss off of a tank or hunter. Threat just isn’t as ‘touchy’ in lotro where you have to constantly manage it to a hair of ripping aggro; DPS races just aren’t that extreme.

WoW is a much more technical MMORPG experience. That may appeal to some, but not so much to me. Lotro is more casual; more characters can crowd control more types of monsters, pulls are less precise, bosses less extreme, important items less expensive, group mixes more flexible.