Perspectives from a Tolkien Fan on Lord of the Rings Online

A Dwarven Fortress in The Lord of the Rings OnlineA Dwarven Fortress in The Lord of the Rings OnlineWith The Lord of the Rings films behind us, and The Hobbit still caught up in a multi-studio and directorial legal fracas, one of the things we Tolkien fans can actually count on is the April 24th release of the online multiplayer game, The Lord of the Rings Online. Over the last few days I've had the opportunity to take some time and experience the game first-hand, thanks to the folks over at Turbine (the developer).

Like most of the fans here on The One Ring, I'm not a hardcore online gamer. Granted, I've played more than my my fair share of classic PC games like Starcraft, Warcraft, and Diablo. And recently I've occasionally been playing Guild Wars, an online role-playing game. But, like many of you, committing the time to playing a massively multiplayer online role-playing game is something I haven't been able to do.

But that's where I think this game might be a bit different. Here's why:

  1. It's The Lord of the Rings. It's Middle-earth. And if Turbine creates a respectable and immersive vision of Tolkien's mythology, they're going to appeal not only to hardcore gamers, but legions of Tolkien fans.
  2. They've made an effort to honor Tolkien. They told me that they're hired real Tolkien lore experts, and--like Peter Jackson--have made being true to the story a guiding principal in their development of the game.
  3. They've been beta testing for over a year now, and I've still only heard good things about the game.
  4. The game will progress according to the actual story. When you start, only Eriador will be available to the players, but as the story of The Lord of the Rings progresses, so will the lands grow to include the other touchstone locations of Middle-earth.

Now, for me, the hardest part of the commitment to a game is the monthly fee. But, if the beta I'm playing now is any indication. I might just be willing to pay that monthly fee (or possibly the $200 lifetime subscription) to enjoy full immersion in a fully realized vision of Middle-earth.

I'll be posting my full review of the game soon... in the meantime, for all of the info you could ever want on The Lord of the Rings Online, visit the official website! Or, if you know you already want to play the game, you can preorder it at $9.99/mo or $200 for a lifetime membership.

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