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.
Filed under: LOTRO