lord of the rings online

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Official Site: Lord of the Rings Online
Studio: Standing Stone Games, formerly Turbine/WB Interactive Entertainment; published by Daybreak Game Company
Launch Date: April 24, 2007
Genre: Fantasy Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid F2P (Optional Sub, Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

One Shots: First steps into a wider world

Every MMORPG player knows that there is something incredible and magical in the feeling that you get when you take your very first steps into a new game. It’s the fresh scent of the unknown mixed with potential, excitement, and energy.

Reader François knows this all too well as he documents an early moment from Final Fantasy XIV: “The trees of the Shroud meet the sky as Kan-E-Senna watches a young adventurer depart for the other nations of Eorzea. A familiar sight for anyone who started in Gridania.”

Small pet peeve, but when your city has a name like “Gridania” and your street patterns are all twisty-turny, you’re going to make my eye twitch. Elves need to buy better urban planners, IMO.

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Lord of the Rings Online starts testing Northern Mirkwood

With the beta for Lord of the Rings Online’s Update 22 on the test server, players eager to escape the clutches of Mordor are able to see greener pastures in the north — Northern Mirkwood, that is.

The zone of Northern Mirkwood is split into two regions: Eryn Lasgalen (Wood-elf forest) and the Dale-lands. “A new Lake-town has been built, Dale has been re-settled, and the Kingdom under the mountain thrives, but change has not lessened its pace,” the devs said.

Quality-of-life improvements are also in the works for Update 22, as noted by Lina’s Biscuity Burrow. And musicians are going to flip over the fiddle, which all players will be able to enjoy.

LOTRO Players took players on a tour through the new area with several videos, including a look at the Elfking’s Hall, Lake-town, Dale, the Lonely Mountain, Raven Hill, and Erebor. There’s even a trip to Smaug’s bones, if Hobbit history is important to you. Go there and back again after the jump!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 156: Downfalls and uprisings

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over the fate of MOBAs, investigate Alganon’s nebulous state, talk about why subscribing to an alpha test might not be the smartest thing in the world, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Global Chat: To RIFT or not to RIFT?

Everyone’s talking about RIFT’s new Prime server idea — and whether or not it will get us playing Trion Worlds’ fantasy MMO once again. Naturally, the blogosphere had a few thoughts about this.

Stargrace said that it was “highly unlikely” that she’d return for this: “While I am drawn into progression servers for EverQuest and EverQuest II due to a heavy nostalgia factor, I don’t get those same warm fuzzy feelings about RIFT.”

“If anything induces me to give RIFT Prime a try it will be the extent to which the experience doesn’t accurately replicate the original,” Bhagpuss said. And Endgame Variable takes a look at it from the perspective of a former player: “Do I want to pay a subscription to play old content in RIFT — a game I’ve already played to death — or pay a subscription to play new content in FFXIV or WoW?”

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LOTRO Legendarium: The 10 best pages on Lotro-Wiki

Earlier this week, one of my online friends and fellow Lord of the Rings Online player put out a notice that there was now an official Lotro-Wiki Discord channel. In addition to giving players another place to hang out and discuss the game, this channel reminded me of the invaluable benefit that this wiki has provided to me and many, many others over the years.

In a game as insanely big and complex as LOTRO where there are systems upon systems, numerous expansions, dozens of zones, and so many bizarrely named characters to keep track of, it is helpful to have a central repository of knowledge when trying to figure things out. Lotro-Wiki is great for both the newbie and the veteran with answers to pretty much everything you could ask about what you need to do, where you need to go, and how to get those rewards you desire.

To tip my non-existent cap to this site and its hard-working volunteers, today I want to point you in the direction to 10 of the best and most useful resources that Lotro-Wiki has to offer.

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EverQuesting: EverQuest II is a packrat’s paradise

While some consider the acquisition of stuff to be distracting to gameplay, others of us know that it is actually a vital part of of the experience. Everyone needs a friend who is a go-to for whatever you need, their bags bursting with everything you can imagine, from obscure stuff collected forever ago to bushels of crafting materials. And I am that friend.

Hi, I’m MJ — I am a packrat, and I am proud of it!

And with all the talk lately about hoarding, I’ve come to better appreciate just how nearly perfect EverQuest II is for someone like me. EQII is truly a packrat’s paradise! Here, you are free to stock up on all the essentials (and you can decide what is essential) and non-essentials alike. And all this without having to resort to any microtransactions! Sure, there are a couple things that would make it even better, but I hold this MMORPG up as a model of item management. If only more games aspired to this.

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Lord of the Rings Online patch adds plenty of attractive loot — in lockboxes

The lockbox movement continues to cover the entirety of Middle-earth in shadow as Lord of the Rings Online’s Update 21.3.3 focuses more on moneygating attractive loot than on other content.

Now players who spring for keys to open the Mordor lootboxes might find an Osgiliath travel mount (which can also be obtained via an Ashes vendor), earrings with a “cosmetic effect,” or a Lasgalen Owl vanity pet. The small patch also worked in a fix for a launcher crash issue and adjusted the challenge requirements for Abyss of Mordath’s first boss.

Destructoid recently published a piece in which the game’s endurance and fun factor were singled out for praise. “It nails the wanderlust that is inherently tied to frolicking around a rendition of Middle-earth,” the author said.

Source: Patch notes

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Perfect Ten: Major MMO expansions and updates to expect in 2018

Now that we’re almost 1/12th of the way through 2018, it’s probably about time to stop anticipating the year and start experiencing it. We have already looked at MMOs coming this year, multiplayer titles on the way, the current healthiest MMOs, MMO predictions, and the best value games on the market. So what’s left?

Expansions. Expansions and major content updates are what’s left. It might seem a little presumptuous to try to outline what’s coming this year, since many studios still have their long-range plans under wraps, but when we sat down in the MOP office to talk about it, we ended up with a much larger list than anticipated.

So here’s a look at the major MMO expansions and content updates we are expecting and anticipating over the course of this year. After this? You’re on your own, kid.

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LOTRO players pull off massive multi-day Winterstock concert

In case you missed it, over the past few days the Lord of the Rings Online community has been running one of the largest  MMORPG player concerts in history. Winterstock V, sponsored by the Lonely Mountain Band kinship on Landroval, has been entertaining crowds with a lineup of 47 player bands performing in front of Thorin’s Hall. Not all at once, you understand. There is a schedule.

Standing Stone Games has been livestreaming the event, but in case you missed it, the studio has archived hours and hours of footage. And guess what? It’s all waiting for you after the break.

It’s really neat to see what players can do with a decade-old music system (plus the coordinated cosmetic outfits add that layer of professional dazzle). Check it out below.

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LOTRO Legendarium: My LOTRO wish list for 2018

Ever since I’ve been writing this Lord of the Rings Online column — which spans back to 2010, if you can believe it — I’ve started out every year with a little tradition of making a wish list that I’d like to see happen for the game. This year, I actually debated whether or not to do it, because Standing Stone Games has already sort of laid out its big plans for 2018 (or at least some of them) and I know that the studio’s smaller stature means that we probably can’t expect as much as we once did.

But then I thought, hey, it’s tradition. And why is it a bad thing to aspire to greater things and encourage the studio to reach for those? Should we just roll over and give up on this title that we love? Far be it! So I’m dusting off some old ideas and tossing in a few new ones to give to you my list of 11 things (for 11 years) I want to see happen in 2018 for LOTRO. Let me know what some of your wish list items in the comments too!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO offers the best sky views?

I know it’s a simple and basic thing, but I absolutely adore a great skybox in my MMORPGs. There’s something about looking up at a majestic and vibrant sky in-game that puts me right in the middle of the world and immerses me in the environment.

Fallen Earth will always be remembered fondly by me for its gorgeous sunsets, and World of Warcraft definitely brought it with some of its painterly clouds and patterns in the latest expansion. Lord of the Rings Online and Final Fantasy XIV both have crystal clear nights full of twinkling stars that make one feel small and awed.

Which MMO offers the best sky views and which zone makes for the best gazing? Bonus points if you include pictures!

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Perfect Ten: 10 tips for crafting a unique MMO character name

Tell me if you’ve ever been here: You just finished spending way too much time pouring over options in the character creation screen and have finally settled on a race, class, and visuals for your upcoming hero. But then you draw a blank on the character name field — or worse, your usual nomer has already been taken and you’re in the 98% of MMORPGs that don’t allow for duplicates.

What do you do?

Because I’m not one of those players who is content to slam my head on the keyboard and accept the letter soup as an acceptable name for the next 200 hours of my gaming career, crafting the perfect name is very important to me. I have roster of names that I typically use, but those aren’t always available, especially in older games that have witness the passage of thousands of players before me.

So I’ve come up with several tips and techniques to create a fun names that exude personality, charm, and style without falling into stale tactics. And because I am your oldest and dearest friend, I’m going to share these tips with you today.

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Here’s how one high school teacher uses Lord of the Rings Online in her English class

What do you say that we all go and enroll at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics?

Hear me out here: It’s at this school that Dr. Helana E. Brigman, an English instructor, is using Lord of the Rings Online to help teach Tolkien to her class. She intends to take players on a two-week intensive journey into the game: “Each morning we will create our own fellowship and work our way through the game’s epic book quests on low-level starting characters (all Hobbits). In the afternoon, we will roam Middle-earth on our choice of characters, and I will introduce you to deeds, crafting, and hobbies.”

Best class ever? We think so!

And while we’re on the subject of this gaming community, Winterstock V is happening this weekend and will be broadcast over LOTRO’s official Twitch stream. The four-day player event involves a schedule of dozens of bands performing concerts on the Landroval server.

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