LOTRO F2P beta Thoughts
Mordor Or Bust recently gave away 100 beta codes for LOTRO’s F2P testing, and I was able to snag one. I’ve not played LotRO before and never felt inclined to pick it up due to my love of EQ2, but hey. . . I’m a nomad anymore. Still have EQ2 and EVE, but am more open to trying new things out, especially if they’re F2P 😉
So I’m logging in and finding I’ve only got 4 races to play with. Not a big deal since I’m usually an elf anyway. Still and all, I wanted to try out a Warden, but needed Turbine Points to unlock it. Not a problem, though, because the beta key also came with a code for 5000 beta TP’s! So I bought that class, an extra character slot, and also the other locked class of Rune Keeper while I was at it. And I went with the race of Man for my Warden. Character creation was pretty straight forward — no worries about gimping a character like one can do in DDO, and I was soon fighting brigands and saving Rangers from Nazgul in the tutorial. At level 1 I had 3 abilities plus auto-attack, and in the tutorial that was of course plenty. From the tutorial I found myself in the small town of Archet, running a few tasks to try to figure out if the place was safe or if we needed to be worried about an impending attack.
And of course there was an impending attack once I’d completed all the other available quests. And thus the game “truly began” at level 8.
At this point, the Warden seems a pretty powerful class. My only real annoyance with it is its reliance on “gambits.” Each gambit tends to do a bit of additional damage as well as throwing up a short-duration buff. As you gain more gambits, you start trying to rotate though them all in order to keep the buffs up. Or if you are taking more damage than you want you can just keep running through the self-healing one. Still and all….it’s rather spammy. Attack-Attack-Gambit! Attack-Shield Bash-Gambit! Shield Bash-Attack-Gambit! Shield Bash-Shield Bash-Gambit! Taunt-Taunt-Gambit! Attack-Taunt-Gambit! Yeah…. at level 8 I already had 6 gambit combos. Most mobs died after only 2 or maybe 3 combos, so for the most part I just went with “Attack-Attack-Gambit!” over and over again, with the occasional leading off with the self-healing one if I thought it would be a slightly harder fight with multiple mobs. I can see how vs tougher mobs in dungeons later on getting a nice rotation through the various gambits would be helpful as well, but for soloing in the lower levels, it actually seemed a bit of a kludge.
With the 2nd character slot I’d “bought” I then created a Dwarf Rune Keeper. The affinity attribute it has for casting attack, balanced, or healing spells was an interesting mechanic, but in the lower levels it also was kinda kludgy. Nearly every new ability I got up through level 8 was an attack spell and thus increased attack affinity making healing a bit interesting to say the least. Pre-casting a heal before a fight would give healing affinity and then I couldn’t cast an attack spell for a few seconds until the affinity faded. The overall feeling was “this is a mage, but we gave it healing ability to help with the typical healer shortage all MMO’s have.” It feels like in a group later on that the class could take the role of either dps or healing, but not both, thanks to the affinity system. I still don’t know if I think that’s genius or completely moronic. Especially as the healing I was capable of at level 8 seemed decidedly sub-par. Perhaps in later levels more healing runes are obtained? Perhaps I’ll find out someday.
I still had a bunch of the TP, so decided to try another character out by buying another couple of slots. But the store interface would only let my do 1 at a time. How crappy. I tried buying it more than once, and also tried to set a quantity on it, but neither thing worked. I simply got told “you already have this in your cart” if I tried to buy a 2nd time, and the quantity dropdown only had a 1 in it. And then I ran into another problem — one can only purchase items from the store 1x in a 24 hour period.
Thwarted, I logged out for the night.
Next day I logged in again and went to buy the items I’d tried to get the prior day. Except now I couldn’t because even though it hadn’t let me buy the items, it had still deducted the TP amount from my account, so now my balance was too low.
Tried to report it as a bug, but the bug report command simply takes you to the generic beta forum. I logged in, and hit “submit a bug” link at the top of the forum, and got in a wonderful endless loop of “click link, get told to log in again, find yourself at the forum.”
I deleted the 2 characters and started over. This time with an Elf Minstrel and a Man Lore Master. Yeah, no Hobbits for me. I’ve never liked “short races” and just don’t play them. No idea why, just. . .don’t.
Anyway, the Lore Master was kinda fun, especially after about level 4 when I got a few more abilities and wasn’t auto-attacking mobs beating on me while my nuke was on cooldown. I didn’t take it very far though, since I was repeating the Man starter area and wanted to see how the elf one was.
So… off to try the Elf healer. Holy spammy combat again! And like the Warden’s Gambits, it’s set so you go “starter, next ability, finisher” except they call them Tier 1, 2, and 3 ballads. And oddly enough, while they do damage to mobs and add some healing effects to yourself (and I would hope your group later on), your actual healing songs are completely outside of this mechanic. This leads to the same feeling I had with the Rune Keeper — I can heal, or I can fight, but I can’t do both. I don’t know if that’s how it shakes out in higher levels, but that’s the feel of the lower levels, and that makes me go “yawn” and wish for my EQ2 Fury or Inquisitor, or even my DDO “Lord of the Blades” Favored Soul instead.
So my overall conclusion is: It’s F2P and I’ve got disk space, so I’ll probably leave it installed and play it from time to time as “something different” but I highly doubt that I’ll ever make this into a “main game.” I will probably buy enough TP to unlock a few character slots, the 2 extra bags, and the 2 classes, but then I’d be done with paying anything more for it at that point.