The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTROL) is the free online browser game of the hugely successful book and subsequent epic film trilogy. The game is an MMORPG that includes all of the characters from the movies and has players taking on quests, competing in PvP battles, buying housing and leveling up to learn new and improved skills.
The game is developed and published by Turbine, the same people that brought us the online version of Dungeons and Dragons. It obviously drew large amounts of interest come its release, simply because of the Lord of the Rings name.
Before we start with the review, we should first warn you that the download is fairly substantial at more than 6gb and 10gb if you want the HD version. So if you are looking to jump straight in and play, you will be disappointed as it will be some time before its downloaded and installed.
Once you do manage to get the game installed and run for the first time, you will be presented with a video that takes you through the story and the four different races that you can choose from. Those races are men, hobbits, dwarves and elves, each of course offering different strengths and weaknesses.
You then have to customize your character to your liking before choosing a class to use. There are nine classes in total but some can only be played by specific races.
You then have the option of taking part in the games tutorial, which is always encouraged as you need to know not only how to play the game but also learn a little bit more about the background of the story.
Once you actually get going in the game, you will discover that it is very quest based and actually discourages you from typical grinding as the amount of XP and money awarded is very little. Quests are what really give players the rewards and there are many of them. Some will be fairly simple and quick whilst others will be a real test and take many hours to complete.
Though these quests are great, it does make the game feel more like a single player than that of an MMORPG at times. You are able to team up with other players in ‘fellowships’ and clans called ‘kinships’ to complete quests and you can engage in PvP battles but most players will not bother with this until they get to a high level in the game.
The game is massive, the graphics are stunning and it really does have you immersed into the fantastical world of both the books and movies. We have to admit that this game had a lot of pressure to deliver and whilst there are aspects that could be improved, they really have created something that more than meets the big expectations of fans.
Of course with any other free to play game, there are premium features such as a cash shop where you can purchase characters and items that are impossible for free players to get. You are also able to earn more experience if you are a premium player.
Despite this, it is not pay to win and just requires a bit more work by those that would rather not put money into the game.
Pros of Lord of the Rings Online
- Huge player base
- Excellent graphics for a browser game
- Grinding is discouraged
Cons of Lord of the Rings Online
- Massive download
- Seems more of a single player
- Some characters only available from cash shop