An established online gaming company with some moderate success in its record released its next generation MMORPG based on a popular fantasy intellectual property. Whatever the initial hoopla, it was pretty quickly recognized as an incremental improvement on the WoW quest-based MMORPG model, with some changes such as a central quest line running through the story from tutorial to endgame, with the early parts customized to your character. One of the notable differences from comparable games was the financial model, which included buying an account once rather than paying a monthly fee; a cash shop provided assorted character boosts and account upgrades.
The game had immediate appeal Explorers and Socializers, and frequent events were a big draw that gathered players together, although it did split them into multiple instances of the zone which could be inconvenient. The PvE was relatively relaxed, the community was more positive than average. There was a lot of play and exploration below the level cap, and the endgame content was structured around single-group dungeons, although content did exist for larger groups of characters to tackle together, if you were up for fighting a dragon. It also had a draw on Achievers with its take on achievements, which linked back to Explorers given the range of achievements available. As much as the game tried to advertise to Killers with its PvP area based on taking keeps and sieging the central castle, it was mostly a PvE playground.
For its first expansion worth of content, it added a new tier of items, along with a new mechanic whereby dungeons would be more difficult unless you had run the dungeons enough to get equipment that countered the debuff mechanic. This new equipment also had the best stats in the game. You are familiar with the sort of forum wars that erupt when you put the best equipment in gated group content, but the Lord of the Rings Online got past it, and the game is still available with 4.5 years’ worth of updates if that is the game you are interested in playing.