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Lord of the Rings Online is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) which is set in J. R. R. Tolkien’s mythical world of Middle-Earth. This was, of course, the setting for The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy on which the game’s lore has been based.

About the Game

The game is a standard role-playing game with quests and missions, with the unique selling point of being based in Tolkien’s well-loved fantasy world. You choose your character, customising from four races and seven classes (or Beorning – see below for more), and then set off to adventure through the region of Eriador, which was the original map, and Moria and Mirkwood, both later additions to the game.

Mirkwood, fans will be delighted to learn, includes the lair of super-villain Sauron, the gothic castle complex on the gloomy mountain! Still more map regions were added with expansion packs and updates, and you can also play across Gondor, Rohan and even take your dwarves to Isengard.

The game is often compared to World of Warcraft, but it is more cerebral with plenty of text attached to the various quests. This means you get a little history lesson or a socio-economic revelation as to why you should accept each mission that is offered to you. Speaking of your missions, you can keep tabs on them with the quest tracker on the mini-map. Activities such as cooking and farming are very important (hobbits do need that second breakfast, after all).

The completion of offered quests does not only give you upgraded weapons and more XP (experience points), but it can also help to upgrade your class, race and virtue traits too. Fishing is the game’s only hobby at present, and fishing well will help you collect more deeds. Deeds are accomplishments that are earned or won in the game, unconnected to quests or missions – think of fishing as a valuable extra-curricular pastime!

Reputation is another method of earning those desirable experience points, as it looks at how well acquainted players are with factions or lore. Reputation is earned on quests, by defeating monsters, achieving deeds, and using appropriate Reputation items.

The Nitty Gritty

As in other similar MMORPGs you must navigate your way around the map, solving quests, defeating enemies in combat. You must also spend some time interacting with NPCs (non-playing characters, usually AI ‘bots’), other players and various entities who pop up from time to time to make your life a bit more challenging.

Rather than health points, this game uses morale. You must maintain high morale through food, music and relaxation. Alongside the more usual experience points, you will also use magic or mana which is known simply as ‘power’ in this game. That is unless you are of the Beorning class in which case you will use ‘wrath’ instead of power. Rather than being ‘killed’ enemies (and your allies) are ‘defeated’ when their morale reaches zero.

Satisfyingly, rather than an inventory or cache, you can customise your own house, which then acts as a repository for all your loot, weapons and gear. Fast travel to and from your home is possible through various methods. There are ‘quick travel skills’ or you can get around by riding horses and ponies, goats, and even elks. Instant travel is also a feature, thanks to the efforts of stable-masters.

There is no real PvP (player vs player – the basis of multiplayer games) to be found here. Instead, there is player vs Monster Player. You can play as a monster in this mode, choosing from the monster classes which include Orc Weavers, Orc Defilers, Spider Weavers, Uruk Blackarrows, Uruk Warleaders and Warg Stalkers. Customise and equip your creepy creatures and send them out to battle.

Monsters fight the ‘Free People’ as the alliance between humans, elves and the other inhabitants of Middle Earth is known. However, Monster Players are confined to the Monster Player areas, namely Ettenmoors and Osgiliath, and they cannot explore the other parts of the game as the Free People can. However, monsters can earn their own quests, deeds and titles.

Races and Classes

With the exception of Beornings, any race can choose any class to adopt. The seven original classes are: Burglar, Captain, Champion, Guardian, Lore-Master, Hunter, Minstrel with Rune-Keeper and Warden coming along later. If you choose Beorning, as your race, then your class is set to Beorning also, and cannot be changed.

  • Dwarf: short, grumpy, strong and loyal, a dwarf can be a staunch friend
  • Human: People can be anything: strong or weak, brave or cowardly, friend or foe!
  • Hobbit: Small, loyal and sweet, hobbits have large hairy feet and almost insatiable appetites for delicious meals
  • Elf: ethereal and delicate in appearance, elves are tough, strong and excellent at strategy
  • Beorning: also called ‘Skin-changers’ these tough and suspicious people can transform into bears
  • The Lord of the Rings Online screenshot 2 The Lord of the Rings Online screenshot 3 The Lord of the Rings Online screenshot 4 The Lord of the Rings Online screenshot 5

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