Lord of the Rings Online very much seems to be a love it or hate it type of MMO. Some players find the game to be incredibly immersive and engaging, while some don't don't seem to "get it" at all, and wonder what the fuss is all about. Some even come to despise LoTRO with a hatred that borders on irrational (they shall remain unlinked here). LoTRO, like most things in life, is not for everyone.
To help you decide which of these categories you might fall into, I have decided to put up a short self quiz for a new player. The quiz is based on things you will experience in your first ten levels. The idea is to help you get a sense for whether you should keep playing. If you have played through at least two racial starting areas you should be able to answer most of these:
1. When you encountered the story instances in the first six levels of play, did you think:
A. Wow, neat, it's like I'm playing though a scene from a movie!
B. Holy crap, what is with all these stupid instances taking me out of the world. This is boning my immersion.
2. When you noticed that the armor that you were getting from newbies quests tended to make you look like you were dressed by a blind rodeo clown, did you think:
A. I have got to figure out how to get some better looking gear. I wonder if there is a dye or appearance slot system?
B. Holy crap, this armor sucks ass. This game is supposed to be pretty, what the hell?
3. When you did the quests to deliver mail in the Shire did you think:
A. Wow, neat. A challenging quest chain that doesn't involve any killing at all. Also fits the lore of the shire nicely.
B. God damn you nosey f-ing hobbits. Christ, why can't they just send me to kill something?
4. When you were sent to run errands for a female hobbit in Staddle to help another hobbit (that had a crush on her) catch her attention, did you think:
A. Awww..how sweet. Sure I'll help you little hobbit. Consider me your personal romance specialist!
B. Godamn, what the hell is up with all these fetch quests? Now I'm weeding!?! What is this, Lord of the Godamn Errands?
5. When you were asked to run back and forth delivering messages to the two elven brothers in Celondim and Duliond, did you think:
A. Wow, this is a neat little story. Evokes the wistful majesty of Tolkiens elves perfectly.
B. What the hell is up with all this running? Don't they use the mailboxes?
6. When you stepped into the old forest, got lost, and then got your ass handed to you by an elite tree or spiders [Edit: pre-old forest map revemp, newer players might not know what I'm talking about], did you think:
A. Wow, this place is scary. Just like it should be from the books. Neat!
B. What the fucking hell!?! I can't find shit in here. Screw this area, I'm going to Bree.
7. When you discovered that many quests could only be completed in groups, did you think:
A. Ahh, cool. Plenty of solo quests but a lot of group only content too. Nice split.
B. Why the hell can't I get any PUGs? I've been spamming for five minutes, I should have one by now. And what the hell is up with locking off content from solo players anyway?
8. When you discovered that PvP was limited to one zone, did you think:
A. Well that makes sense with the lore, can't have trolls rampaging though the Shire if it didn't happen in the books. The PvMP looks like a fun side game anyway. Maybe I'll mess around with it when I get some more levels under my belt.
B. What the hell? I though the books were all about a war between light and darkness? Where is the War of the Ring? I wanted a game like Helm's Deep in the movies. Why won't it let me roll an orc so that I can go to the Shire and eat Hobbit babies? This game is total weaksauce compared to EVE/ Shadowbane/ Pre-Trammel UO!
If you answered B to more than four questions: Continue to play LoTRO at your own risk. Don't stick it out for 20 more levels hoping it will "get good." It won't. You will be lucky if you aren't totally burned out on it by the mid 30s. You will bitterly regret the time you wasted playing it. You may go on to make a series of blog posts bashing the game, or even spend a solid f-ing year on a LoTRO message board antagonizing fans of the game. At the very least, you will be amazed at the number of brainwashed sheep that find enjoyment in such utter tedium.
If you answered A to more than four questions: LoTRO might be the game for you long term. As good as it is now, the game will only get better as you get into Goblin Town, Foreschel, the final Book quests, and the Mines of Moria. Welcome home!