lord of the rings online

Play LOTRO for free
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

Global Chat: What do you remember about Guild Wars?

Late last month, the classic Guild Wars transcended its 10th birthday and prompted a flood of nostalgic posts and shared stories. A few MMO bloggers tore their attention away from the current crop of games to talk about what they loved about their initial foray into Tyria.

“Not only did GW1 revitalize MMOs in general for me, but it gave me a mission and story-based online game that I could play with [my friend],” said Aywren. “I remembered the music, I remembered the world, the Jade Sea. The colours! Oh, how I had loved the look of the world,” Paeroka gushed.

Tasha had perhaps one of the best testimonials: “Getting involved in something like Guild Wars to the extent I did seeps into every part of your life. Over the years I’ve treated the game as an excuse to learn new skills and open doors into new experiences I might not have had.”

Buckle up for an exciting Global Chat, as we hear a rant on double-jumping, a return to Champions Online, a player vouching for World of Warcraft’s virtues, and more!

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LOTRO Legendarium: The return of the dungeon

While I’ve been playing Lord of the Rings Online as one of my main MMOs for almost a decade now, it’s primarily been for the single-player experience through the majestic and detailed world. I suspect that a disproportionally large percentage of the playerbase approaches the game in a similar fashion compared to other fantasy MMOs.

There’s something about LOTRO’s group content that’s never been able to convince me that it’s worth doing in the same way that I would in other games. I’ve liked it well enough when circumstances conspired to throw me into a group experience, but I’ve never felt that doing dungeons was something I had to do to gear up. Quest rewards have been just fine to get me through the zones and epic story thus far, and I don’t think that will change.

And for a time, it looked as though Turbine had acknowledged that this was the case by taking instance clusters off the table in early 2014 in favor of lesser group content, like epic battles, roving warbands, and a handful of tougher areas. However, now that the game is under new leadership and well into a new year, we’re seeing the return of the dungeon at last. Why the change of direction and how might it benefit the community? That’s been on my mind a lot as of late.

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LOTRO’s update 16 arrives with new instances and LI imbuement

There are phrases you never expect to hear from Lord of the Rings Online patch notes. Like “giant mecha battles” or “featuring voice work by Sting” or “new instance cluster.” But that last one is actually in the patch notes for Update 16. Turbine is adding a new instance cluster containing three new instances for players to explore. No word on giant mecha battles, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on those.

You have more to enjoy this update with the inclusion of the new Legendary imbuement system and four new regions: Upper Lebennin, Osgilliath, Lossarnach, and South Ithillien. Another installment of the epic story and several class adjustments round out the rather prodigious size of the patch.

[Source: Update 16 patch notes]

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The Daily Grind: How many MMOs are on your hard drive?

I got a new gaming computer last week, and I’m in the process of downloading a few MMOs. I’ve only got 300 GB to work with, though, thanks to Comcast, it’s godawful bandwidth restrictions, and the fact that it has a real live monopoly on internet service in my hometown.

I’ve already downloaded and installed GTA Online (60 GB), Star Citizen (25 GB), Lord of the Rings Online (20 GB), DC Universe Online (20 GB), Marvel Heroes (15 GB), Infinite Crisis (5 GB), and the Star Wars Galaxies EMU (5 GB). That’s half of my monthly allowance and it’s only May 4th!

Those titles will provide plenty of entertainment for the next 30 days, but there are several others I’d like to dabble in for both personal and professional reasons. Next month, I guess! What about you, MOP readers? How many MMOs are on your hard drive at the moment?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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The Daily Grind: When should MMO devs just stop tweaking?

Yesterday’s reveal of Lord of the Rings Online’s legendary item imbuing system struck me as a promising show of faith from the devs but nevertheless a truly terrible idea because they’re just building a new house on top of a shaky foundation (LIs, not the game). It reminded me of something I once read from a very clever Ultima Online player a few years ago on the news that the veteran game was getting yet another item-fussing system intended to balance the last one:

“Why stop with Enhancing, Imbuing, Reforging, and Refining? They should add Improving, Spiffing, Refracting, Adjusting, Tweaking, and Twerking too, each with one or two hundred random items and math problems to solve. Just keep piling on crap until the system collapses under its own weight and we all end up in GM-crafted armor again because no one knows what’s good anymore.”

I am glad Turbine is doing something about LIs, I really am. But if LOTRO’s legendary item system is so broken, why not just gut it or delete it? Why create yet another potentially flawed system to patch its problems? Why do MMO devs, especially the ones working on older games, keep falling into that trap — why can’t they just stop touching it?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Perfect Ten: How to find the right MMO for you

A common question that I see posited around forums and Reddit is, “What MMO should I play?” If there is a more loaded question than that in this community, I haven’t heard it. What is usually being asked, by both newcomers and long-time players, is, “What MMO is right for me that I haven’t played yet?”

While I hear you and have been there, the truth is that there is no one universal answer to that question. There are just hundreds if not thousands of MMOs, big and small, out on the market, each with its own personality, feature set, and setting. Those have to be compared and matched up with the millions of people who all have their own unique preferences. It’s what makes recommending an MMO a difficult proposition.

I’m game for difficult! Today’s list won’t be “10 MMOs that I think you should play” but a rundown of how to sort through the important categories that are out there in the hopes of finding the game that’s right for you.

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Learn all about LOTRO’s legendary item imbuement system

Lord of the Rings Online’s legendary item system has been a point of fierce community debate ever since it arrived way back in the game’s first expansion. With next week’s Update 16, Turbine is looking to improve the old recycle cycle with something called legendary item imbuement.

So what is LI imbuement? A new dev diary posted today walks players through the change: “Imbuement is an opt-in process available at level 100 that permanently transforms a legendary item. Once imbued, it never needs to be re-forged or reconfigured again.”

An imbued LI will be able to grow steadily through dozens of legacy tiers using item XP as an endgame alternative advancement system. Some of the old legacies will not make the transition into imbuement because of conflicts and other issues, however. The team said that it will evaluate how the new imbuement system is working at level 100 before potentially adding it for earlier levels.

[Source: Legendary item imbuement]

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LOTRO’s getting new dungeons with the Osgiliath instance cluster

Lord of the Rings Online’s Update 16 is heading our way on Monday, May 4th, and with it comes the first new instance cluster in a very, very long time.

The team penned a dev diary today that talks about the new Osgiliath instance cluster, which it says was created in response to fan demand. “After thinking things over, we knew just what kind we wanted to build for you next: a little love letter to Lord of the Rings Online past,” developer Ben Schneider writes.

The Osgiliath cluster is composed of the three-player Sunken Labyrinth, the three-player Ruined City, and the full-fellowship Dome of Stars, where players will face off against a Nazgul. As a bonus, the dungeons scale from level 50 to 100, meaning that players who are ready for Moria can begin to take on those challenges. The team’s also split the instances into two tiers of difficulty, with Tier 2 “bringing the hard” to skilled players.

[Source: Dev diary]

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO biomes do you love and hate?

Environment is super-important to me, both in real life and in video games. My surroundings have a large impact on my mood, with my favorite places lifting my spirits and oppressive ones turning me into Oscar the Grouch.

Thus, I find myself gravitating to certain zones in MMOs. Pastoral settings such as Lord of the Rings Online’s Shire or welcoming woods like World of Warcraft’s Elwynn Forest are safe bets for a dose of Justin happiness, as are Christmasy-type winter wonderlands. But I find jungle zones irritating, lava zones tired, and anything with a sand motif to be only useful as a highway to better places.

Which biomes do you love and hate?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Russian version of Lord of the Rings Online closes June 1st

If you were hoping that the Russian version of Lord of the Rings Online would last forever, we have some sad news for you today. The game’s localized servers will be shutting down on June 1st, with new account registration already disabled and all cash shop items discounted to cost just 1 mark. There’s also an NPC to power your character up in case you weren’t already at maximum level for whatever reason.

It’s not clear at this time whether Mail.ru was unwilling or unable to reach an agreement with Warner Bros. for extending the license for the game. Bonuses are being offered for Russian players affected by the shutdown in the other games that Mail.ru maintains.

[Source: MMO Fallout]

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Massively Opinionated: WoW vs. LOTRO vs. the banker

Welcome to Massively Opinionated, Massively Overpowered’s brand-new vidcast! We’ve all argued and bantered with guildmates and forumgoers over which MMO character is the most powerful or why sub-to-play is better than free-to-play. In Massively Opinionated, we’ll funnel those debates into a fiery and fun video program featuring journalists, bloggers, and community members from around the MMORPG world.

The rules are simple: The arbitrator, Massively OP’s own Larry Everett, invites three internet personalities to the show, asking them four questions that they can research to formulate their arguments and bolster their positions as they try to hold their own during the debate. The most persuasive panelist for each topic will be awarded a point, and at the conclusion of the ‘cast, the panelist with the most points will reign supreme!

This week’s panelists, debating topics that revolve around what makes MMOs special, are Mike Byrne from MMOBomb, Richie Procopio aka Bog Otter, and our very own Tina Lauro. Enjoy!

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The Daily Grind: Where do you go to relax in MMOs?

This morning’s Daily Grind comes to us from an anonymous Kickstarter donor with a deceptively simple question:

Which MMO zone is the most relaxing?

A lot of people consider dungeons and combat relaxing compared to their real-world daily grinds, but I love my peace and quiet, and sometimes I like to go to places in games that are anything but messy and loud. I can think of so many serene places — the old-world shrines of Ultima Online, the Naboo beaches in Star Wars Galaxies, the Shire in Lord of the Rings Online. But I’m giving my top vote to Glitch‘s weird and wonderful secret rooms, some of which were so magnificently obscure and truly useless that you had the impression that no one but you had ever passed through them, that they were truly private and safe and secret, which is always relaxing for me.

So which MMO zone is the most relaxing for you? Where would you go to relax in MMOs?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Global Chat: Are WoW Tokens worth it?

The debut of World of Warcraft Tokens into the game’s economy has caused quite a stir, particularly after the prices plunged during the first few days. Alt:ernative Chat discussed the economics 101 aspect of the event but ultimately posed a few soul-searching questions for buyers.

“Was it worth it?” she asks. “All that time it took to ‘make’ that money in game, is this a fair exchange for the real world money you’ve currently freed up? What if Blizzard turned around tomorrow and vastly restricted your ability to make gold in the future? Most importantly of all, do you now feel a greater obligation to play the game because you had to work for it in a different fashion than simply stumping up US/AU Dollars?”

To that all I can say is: Time is money, friends! In this week’s blogosphere safari, we look at the backstory of SWTOR’s Revan, ponder the merits of joining a multi-game guild, and read an analysis of Guild Wars 2’s elite skills.

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