The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) is a story driven MMO experience that takes place in the fantasy Lord of the Rings universe. Featuring familiar locations, characters and plot elements the game is particularly satisfying for fans of the Tolkien universe although is still a high quality MMO offering for those unfamiliar with the franchise. Originally a paid MMO for Windows and Mac the MMO game has since transitioned to a free to play title with paid add-ons.
LOTRO follows a standard MMO design with customisable avatars, multiple classes, NPCs and plenty of quests spread throughout the world of Middle-earth. This large continent provides a mass of land for players to explore with locations already heavily explored by Tolkien content such as the Shire, the Mines of Moria, and Lothlórien alongside some relatively untouched locations that provides a blended adventure. In time you’ll be able to explore each of these lands although your starting location is influenced by your choice of character. Locations include large settlements, major landmarks and various structures that all provide an opportunity to find an instanced challenge or quest.
Many of these are also closely integrated to the core game progression of The Lord of the Rings Online which is game story books. Originally featuring 8 of these books for players to adventure through these have materially grown since release through various expansion packs and content updates. Each book has their own specific quests and story paths to follow which are filled with Lord of the Rings history and lore of the world you are adventuring through and this is where some interest in Lord of the Rings will accelerate your experience.
Before you can take these challenges and quests though you’ll need a customised hero from the free peoples of Middle-earth to embark across the land. This starts with a choice of race that ranges from Beorning, Dwarf, Stout-axe, Elf, High Elf, Hobbit and Race of Man and impacts your available classes, race skills, traits and deeds. With a race selected you’ll then choose a class from Beorning, Brawler, Burglar, Captain, Champion, Guardian, Hunter, Lore-master, Minstrel, Rune-keeper and Warden with some limitations on options. Beorning can only be a Beorning class for example while a Dwarf or Stout-axe cannot be a lore-master.
As you would expect from a MMO every class has their role to play in the combat with your familiar archetypes like tank, damage, crowd control, debuff, healing and buff with many straddling the lines between two or even three of these roles. These roles can also be focused on with additional customisation through character stats, skills, traits, virtues and equipment that all have the MMO depth one would expect to find. This ensures that everyone will find their place in the world of Middle-earth for their preferences and find a role to play in the epic battles, raids and skirmishes you’ll face against the forces of Sauron.
Beyond the trait system in LOTRO players also have access to vocations which determine which professions players have available to them and key to your economical role in the MMO world. Each vocation gives players three professions which includes harvesting skills for resource gathering and then crafting skills to turn them into advanced products. Some available professions include cook, tailor, farmer, prospector and metal smith which can all help you gear your own character, contribute to a game guild or make you money in the economy.
Other mechanics within LOTRO are as you would expect from the MMO genre which ensure a full and amazing experience across housing, fishing, PvP and even PvMP where you’ll play as monsters against other players.
- MMO combined with the Lord of the Rings universe that provides familiar and new content for players to experience.
- Choose a race and class to customise your experience across playstyles as you find your ideal role in Middle-earth.
- Story focused experience that takes players through several books of game content.
- Huge array of customisation for your adventure with housing, fishing, crafting professions and everything in between.
- Originally a paid MMO on release and now available as a free to play title.
Review Platform: PC