Hey folks, my name is Tim and im a returning player.
I'm a refugee from WoW, who transferred over to this amazing game about a year ago, but then due to work commitments had to hang up my cloak.
But, fortunately, im back!.
At this stage I really dont know which server or class I'll be enjoying. In fact, id be grateful for some advice in that direction.
What I AM looking for, however, is a mature and active kinship whose happy to take someone patiently leveling their way up.
So, what can I tell you about mah'self? - Firstly, Im British. Which I guess from an american point of view means im always on from late afternoon to early evening. I tend to be on from midnight untill 4 or 5 am here. I do, however, enjoy playing with anyone and everyone.
So yeah, all im looking for is a mature, active kinship. PvE, Social, whatever. Heck, im even thinking about giving some RP a go.
Instead of just pimping for my Kin (which rocks) I'm going to actually try to address your questions (what a radical concept!) I only joined Lotro a few months ago myself, so I'll bounce some thoughts off you.
First, don't be shy about trying different servers. With only 2 character slots/server (for FTP), this will give you a feel for how active the server is (for your online time slot!), and let you experiment with more than 2 classes. And all your characters on all servers will earn your Account "Turbine Points" - the currency (other than RL cash) that you buy advanced content with. (Many Players have advanced characters on more than one server, some use other servers to "farm" or "grind" TP - diff discussion.)
The two servers specifically tagged as Role Play (Laurenlin RP is more "serious" than Landroval RE - "roleplay encouraged") tend to be more mature with less g4mr b01z - the community as a whole is more into the story/world than the game as game/competition, but to each their own, and you'll find exceptions everywhere, natch.
If you left-click the "general" tab for in-game chat, you can select different channels (until you internalize the /shortcuts) - try on /regional or /ooc, or /advice. The more active/aggressive (or desperate, ahem) Kins will advertise regularly.
However, I'll say this - many kins are desperate to get anyone, and they end up with a kin full of just anyones. My kin has a policy of "2 week probationary period" - they look at you, you look at them, both get a feel for things (as opposed to talking to one frontman who is doing their best to recruit you), and you see what you think then. Don't feel committed - one simple click and you're free and on to the next contestant. A good kin should feel right, not "good enough".
Oh - and if you're going to search on the boards, you might as well do it in the dedicated subforum:
Just to expand a little bit. Laurelin was originally a European server and has a slightly more restrictive rule set -- they enforce RP style names and discourage out of character chat in public channels. Landroval was the unofficial North American RP server and has the same rules as every other server. Turbine never agreed to make different rules for different servers, but did agree to honour the set of rules Codemasters had set up for the EU servers.
The server merge happened a year ago and by now both servers are seeing more players from other regions, so the difference is less obvious than it was last year. However, you will likely still see more players in your time zone on Laurelin than on Landy.
At first, a newly formed kin who'll take anyone to swell its ranks may not be such a bad thing. At least you can be reasonably sure of having other people in your level range with whom to quest and trade information.
A more established kin will have more higher level members who can help with crafting items for you and offering more knowledge of the game. But their members may mostly be focussed on higher level characters and may or may not have alts in your level range, so you may find yourself doing more soloing that you want to. Obviously this isn't a problem if you want to solo most of the time.
It may take a couple of tries to find the right kin, so don't feel badly if you decide to quit and look elsewhere. Just message your kin leader that things aren't working out for you, say good bye and good luck and move on.
Another post because I reread yours and noticed you also asked about which class you might enjoy.
To answer this one, we'd need to know what you enjoy doing. LOTRO has the standard trinity--tank, healer, dps. There are also utility classes here which offer buffing/debuffing, crowd control and other utility skills such as transportation.
As a WoW refugee, which class(es) did you enjoy there?
Standard tank here is a Guardian. Classic sword (or axe, if you make a dwarf) and board tank with heavy armour and lots of mitigations. They also have a dps stance which allows them to do more damage at the expense of some survivability.
The other contender for main tank is the Warden. Wardens are a more complicated class, depending on a system of gambits for their damage and their tanking abilities. Gambits use simple attacks in various combinations to build stronger attacks, defenses and self heals. They can be great fun to play just as a solo class, but their damage is generally not good enough to get into raids as anything but tanks. Wardens have some travel ports, but fewer than Hunters have and Wardens travel solo--no bringing the party along. They're also a "premium class" which means you have to pay extra to be able to play one.
Captains and Champions can off tank. Champions can also build to become effective main tanks, but their general role is DPS.
Minstrel is the standard healer class, somewhat like WoW's priests, but with better DPS. I find mine more like my old WoW shaman in many ways. Their heals are reactive; someone takes damage, you cast a heal to fix the damage. They're also very good at buffing themselves and their parties and are currently enjoying very good dps as well. If you join a raid or an instance party as a minstrel, you'll be expected to heal. Mini dps is good, but power hungry, so you have to build very specifically to eke out every dribble of power to be able to sustain it for very long.
The other main healer class is Rune Keeper. They're somewhat like Wow Druids. No shape shifting, but their heals are pro-active; cast lots of HOTS so that when someone does take damage the HOTS will fix it. They also do very good DPS but their attunement system makes it impossible to do both at once and a bit of a dance to swap between. They're also a premium class and must be paid for to play one.
Hunter is mainly a DPS class. Very good at single target DPS, less effective against multiple mobs. Unlike WoW hunters, they're not a pet class. They're the best travel utilities in the game though. Like WoW mages, they have ports to most major areas and can bring their party members with them.
Champions are the kings of AOE DPS. Heavy armour wearers, they can also be built to tank, but most are happiest chewing up lots of mobs at once.
Burglars are good single target DPS and also have a vast toolkit of stuns and other crowd controlling and debuffing tricks.
Lore Masters can put out respectable DPS, but are most valued for their abilities at crowd control, buffing and debuffing and other utility skills. They're one of the two pet classes with a large variety of animal pets with different talents and uses. They can do some healing, but generally not enough to main heal a group through a major instance, let alone a raid.
Captains are the kings of versatility. They have great buffs, they can off tank, they can heal, they can do respectable if not great DPS. There's very little a Captain can't do. All raids want at least one and usually two Captains, and any smaller instance group is better for the presence of a Captain as well. They're generally not the best at any one of their functions, but they're the only class that can fill almost any role.
A bit longer than I thought this was going to be! It still doesn't cover all aspects of every class but should give you at least an overview.
Have you found yourself a kinship yet? Not a real answer to your question but here is a suggestion. I started playing on the Arkenstone server back in January for no particular reason and am now trying out the kinship "Light in the Darkness". I don't know if this is the best route but it is the path that I have taken so far...
I just wanted to write because although I am American, I live in Britain, and often face the time-zone problem when playing. If you happen to find yourself on Arkenstone and bump into a Elf Guardian named 'Geldareg', just say hello!