LoTRO extends their Welcome Back Weekend

Last weekend, Turbine ran a Welcome Back offer for former subscribers. There was a 25% experience bonus, and an additional huge bonus amount of experience on your first kill (I went from level 23 to 26 on my first kill, and ended up at level 28 at the end of two days of playing). Unfortunately, either due to the number of people returning to take a look a LoTRO, or partially due to a data center move, the Turbine account management website and the LoTRO servers were highly unreliable for a couple days.

To Turbine’s credit, they’ve extended the Welcome Back weekend until April 6th. Former subscribers can log on for free, enjoy the big experience bump, the 25% bonus, check out new content, and participate in the Spring Festival events.

I’ve really enjoyed my time in LoTRO over the past couple days. My computer has finally caught up to the top of the LoTRO system requirements, and it’s a beautiful game at high resolution. The quests are well-written (although still Kill Ten Rat-ish….haha, Kill Ten Radish, that’d be a hobbit-y quest, wouldn’t it?), the classes are interesting, the crafting appeals to me, and I’m saving up to buy a house.

I’ve written about free MMO’s here over the past couple months, like Perfect World and Runes of Magic. While I’m impressed with their level of quality for free games, they’re still an order of magnitude away from competing with LoTRO in terms of polish and world design.

In the two years since LoTRO was released, I’ve grown to appreciate what Turbine has created. Initially I wasn’t enamored with the game. A lot of my dissatisfaction had to do with character animations. They’re still awkward, especially the way hobbits run (goofy little fatass bastards, with legs too short for their bodies), but I think having a system that doesn’t drop a frame helps smooth the visual experience I disliked so much during the open beta.

I played a free trial last spring, and subscribed for a month or two, but I tired of the amount of running from place to place while questing. This year, I find myself less annoyed with the amount of travel, and happier with the openess of the game world.

One aspect of WAR that turned me off was the funnel points into and out of zones. I felt constrained, like I wasn’t really in a big open world, being forced to cross from zone to zone only at specific points. LoTRO is marvelously open, and I appreciate that more this year than I did last year. Both WAR and Runes of Magic have a hemmed-in feeling for me.

I think I’ll be sticking with LoTRO for a little while. I’m curious how long it’ll last; I’m starting to feel a little like a poster child for ADD MMO gaming.

7 Responses

  1. A trend I’m seeing lately is that players that didn’t seem to “get” LoTRO at launch are digging it now, both on blogs and message boards. I wonder if it has something to do with burnout from AoC and WAR? Both of those games are nearly polar opposites of LoTRO in terms of design goals. Of course there is also a much smoother post 30 levelling experience now than at launch, that may also be contributing.

  2. It’s a good question, and there’s probably not one succinct answer.

    I’ll probably be exploring this in more detail, at least comparing WAR and LoTRO. I really expected to enjoy WAR a lot more, and I’m a little surprised that I’m happier in LoTRO, but I am.

  3. Yeebo,

    I remember the first time I started playing LotRO (through a free trial code from a founder), I was still in the midst of playing WoW. Everything from LotRO bugged me, mainly because I kept comparing it to WoW.

    Fast forward December 2008, with my WoW days being long over — I tried LotRO again, but this time had an open mind about things, and I realized that this was a game I enjoyed. :)

  4. Mallika –

    Oddly enough, I had the same experience that you did recently only reversed. I resubscribed to WoW after a long absence (12 months?). I picked up the level 44 hunter I used to play and spent some time looking at the game changes, getting some explorer achievement and completing a few quests. The whole time I was comparing the game to LoTRO and complaining. I have to say I was surprised, I’d quite WoW in the past from burnout, not because I didn’t like the mechanics. LoTRO just seems to be paced a lot faster to me, at least in a solo PvE context. I’m planning to stick it out until my current subscription expires in two weeks, but I don’t feel bad anymore about missing out on Northrend.

  5. Any chance you’re on Brandywine, Rick? Would be llike old Grove times!

    While LoTRO is my current game of choice for a verey extensive list of reasons, their current track record has been miserable. Zubon’s got a pretty solid list over at our shop: http://www.killtenrats.com/2009/04/01/turbines-recent-technical-record/

    That said, LoTRO isn’t the game it was at release, and a lot of people are coming back to it after being away a while. I played it at release, and it was a buggy version of WoW with Hobbits. Over 9 months later, when WoW’s endless raid grind pushed me away, I tried LoTRO (along with CoH, EQ1 even, and a few others) and found it to be the most complete game out there, plus they had decided that they were not going to copy WoW, finally.

    No, it’s not a game for everyone, but it really has a lot to appeal to the more casual type of player.

    • No Oz, unfortunately, I’m not on Brandywine. I joined up with Old Timers Guild on Gladden when I played LoTRO last year, and actually found two other Druid’s Grove people there (Muerta and Ellhendil, and I think I’m spelling Ell’s name incorrectly, but it’s close).

      It seems like there’s been quite a bit of downtime lately…next time I can’t log on to Gladden, I’ll come find ya on Brandywine if your server is up :)

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