Lord of the Rings Online – First Impressions
I downloaded the game client a week or two ago – waiting for the time when I would be able to dedicate a few solid days of gameplay, since I am playing on a 10-day free trial offered up by a good friend. Realizing that I would probably wait for ever with that standard, I decided to at least load up the game and create my first avatar. My first impressions – in terms of avatar creation – were not overly enthusiastic. For the most current mmo of the day, I was hoping for more customization in terms of aesthetic and diversity (I couldnt give my elf black hair … dark dark brown – but not black). I wouldn’t have expected The Godfather to have more customization elements! That and the fact that I could not choose to play a female dwarf made me question how they managed to sustain their people!
My first impressions of the in-game world were a bit better. Graphics were on par with what I expected – keeping in mind that I am running it on an old Nvidia graphics card, surely with the newest technology the images would be smoother – but I am not sure where else mmo’s can go in terms of aesthetics. The images, artwork, lighting and shadowing all appear … normal … along current mmo standards.
I didn’t play beyond the first introduction quest – having me follow some guy to the gates and whatnot – and I was playing on a laptop with no mouse – so my avatar looked like she couldnt decide whether to run to the left or the right. But I will reserve my gameplay commentary (in terms of mechanics and intuitive design) until I play on my desktop and make a few levels.
My questions going into this are really quite simply. Cutting my teeth on EverQuest in 1999 (oh the nostalgia!), then playing Dark Age of Camelot from release to its first expansion, Horizons (wonderful tradeskills – lonely world), (following my partner playing Star Wars Galaxies), LineageII beta, a short stint in Guild Wars and World of Warcraft (am I still paying for that account!?), I am looking for signs of innovative gameplay, unique design, interesting game element (tradeskills, craftsmanship, PvP, PvE, etc) that seperates LoTRO from the herd. For all the enthusiasm of my above mentioned friend, I wonder how far LoTRO goes to take that next step towards being the first game in a new generation of mmo’s.