Since I've been playing for a few months, this really is a summary of my experiences as a new MMO player and a new LOTRO player.
I have avoided MMOs for years, mostly because of unwelcoming communities & immature players. I am not a fan of PvP for the same reasons. I reluctantly installed my free copy of LOTRO & decide to give it a try, mostly because I love the books and movies.
Surpisingly, I was almost immediately immmersed in the world and have not regreted my decision to try the game one bit. Below are some of the things that sold me on the game and renewed my faith in online communities:
*Tolkien's world is faithfully honored by the development/design team. I am so pleased that all of the characters, events, and locations have been beautifully rendered in every way [tone, dialogue, visuals, & aurally]. I really feel as if I am part of a living, breathing world.
*The online has been very welcoming and supportive. I have been slow to respond, mostly because I lack confidence as a player and feel I lack the skills to type fast enough that I won't be a burden or liability to other players.
*The players, almost without exception, have very friendly, helpful, and supportive. Many times, I have received help on a quest without asking or an expectation of reward or even thanks. This has inspired me to do the same for others.
*Combat is much easier [so far] than I expected. Still challenging, but with a good learning curve.
*The pacing of increasing challenge/difficulty has been well-thought out and nicely executed. Just enough handholding until a new player feels confident. Thanks!
*I thought being free-to-play meant I would have a lesser experience than a premium player. Happily, this turned out not to be the case, which made me feel [oddly enough] like upgrading to premium would be a good move.
*I love the way Turbine Points are handled. I especially love the fact that you can earn TP [enough to actually buy some things!] by doing quests and deeds! Very nice!
*The Quest Tracker is a great tool and very well executed. Makes it very easy to decide which quests you should be doing and when. I also love the fact that I can always find which direction I should be headed in order to complete a quest.
*The special events and festivals are a wonderful addition to the experience and add a fun dimension to the world. They happen often enough to keep players interested, but not so often that they become jaded.
*The crafting system is incredibly robust and really makes me *want* to craft. The items you can make are very useful in-game, too!
*Perks are pretty awesome, especially since they are earned and essentially free.
*The economic system makes sense and doesn't feel inflated or cheap.
*The fast-travel system makes it very easy to travel long distances without being prohibitively expensive.
*The in-game mail system is fun, affordable, emminently useable.
*Character generation is fantastic, especially the pratice of giving each race a unique origin. I also love the fact that story threads and characters are introduced early and keep returning in the main story. Again, this is superb storytelling and really makes me feel a part of the world events.
*There are many more things to list, but I simply don't have the time to do so.
In short, this is a fantastic game and I hope I will be playing it for many years. I wish I had started 5 years ago!
I am glad you are enjoying your time in game and genuinely hope your fun continues. I know many people feel that the game gets less amazing the closer you get to endgame but overall this game is well done(despite its flaws).
(Edit: in before the disillusioned folks start posting)
Freeps:Taredhelion(63,Guard) ; Turmanarmo(32,RK) ; Rawlings(22,Burg) ; Drengi(29,Champ) ; More that will be leveled later
Creeps: None of note ... yet.
This is my first MMO as well. I am not really attracted to online games, I am a fan of Tolkien's work. I feel like this game does it justice, although there are a number of departures from the books. I've played for over a year now, and I have played all the way to end game raiding. There are things you will love, there are things you will hate. Stick with it through the grindy parts, its worth it. And don't miss the chance to "waste" time doing nothing. Just poking around will yield some profitable surprises. Or may be just some grins. Either way, there is a lot more to this game than following the shortest route. Do some RP'ing. Do some exploring. And some of the best content is least played. Try out Book1 Chapters 9-15 when you can. Great story!
You gave a very nice review, it reminds me of the things I love about the game. I too am one of few players who have taken up with playing MMOs and this is my one and only. Having played from 1st Beta I can tell you the game has gone through lots of changes and additions. Some directions I don't like and others I do. Being a lore geek and lover of Tolkien's works I enjoy what they have done in the quest lines and even the dialogue in each quest. I guess I enjoy most the people behind the characters in the game. It's a great community!