As you are likely aware, my usual escapism from Fibromyalgia is playing SWTOR as a distraction from the pain levels. However certain gameplay styles can be pretty intense, which does not work well on high pain days. To that end I’ve recently picked up Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) again – and I’m loving mixing it in with my other gaming time. Here’s why!
What is LOTRO?
LOTRO (official site here) is another MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online Game). Technically it’s an MMORPG – adding in Role-Playing. Both SWTOR and LOTRO are RPGs, even if you don’t ‘role-play’ with other players. As far as I know this is the only MMO based on Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings trilogy.
You create a character based on character typologies within the Lord of the Rings World – but only those that are portrayed as ‘good’: Humans, Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves etc. You then choose a class of fighting style. These are loosely based on traditional MMO Types – Damage (DPS), Tank (Absorbing damage and generating aggravation) or Healing. I started a ‘hybrid’ class Dwarf recently using the Rune-Keeper class which balances damage and healing fight-to-fight.
What I Love About LOTRO
I’m going to do a post soon comparing this game with SWTOR, but here are the main things I really like about it:
1. Lots of Free-to-Play (F2P Content)
The ‘Epic’ quest, the main Lord of the Rings story, is free as far as I know up to Level 50, though someone recently said F2P’s aren’t limited in level, although their content may be limited. But there are a ton quests available and plenty of options for customising your character even if not a subscriber.
2. No Notable Crafting Limits (at least initially)
One of the things SWTOR force you to unlock are ‘crew skills’ – essentially the missions you need to be self-sufficient in crafting. Not so in LOTRO. As an F2P I am able to craft excellent gear for my level (my highest is only Level 26 so far). Sometimes I need to buy the odd rare ingredient from the Auction House but that’s no burden. You get all 3 skills needed to craft without purchasing any unlocks – which F2P players in SWTOR don’t get.
3. Slower Game Play and Total Freedom
I purposefully chose ranged fighting styles (casting or shooting from a distance). Couple this with a freedom to roam, hunt, fish or craft and this is a slower paced game – which works perfectly for me. Although you can follow the main storyline, you’re not pushed to do so. Nor are you locked out from anything notable until you have completed a particular quest. Often I sideline the main storyline (Epic Quest) and just do what I feel like. This is a great amount of freedom, allowing me to play according to how I feel.
4. A Simply Beautiful Game
While it could be argued that the graphics aren’t great in some areas, overall LOTRO is a beautiful world to explore. The game developers have put effort into the design of Middle Earth:
- Variations in Weather
- Adding day time and night time
- Aspects of nature that aren’t enemies: such as deer, squirrels and foxes, for example. Just because it wanders the map doesn’t make it an enemy!
A Few LOTRO Screenshots
TL;DR Why I love LOTRO
While I don’t find it as immersive as SWTOR, LOTRO has a lot to Offer, something I will embellish on in a future post. So now, if I have a really bad pain day, this is the game I fire up and one I would happily recommend to you to try. The Lord of the Rings World may not appeal to everyone, but I’m glad to have it as a variation in my downtime!