The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar – NDA Lifted

lotro [The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar] The NDA has been lifted for The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. As this announcement caught me off guard, I really don’t have anything prepared so I’ll just go off on a very brief ramble review here.

I have been in the beta for several months now and I still log in to play at least once a week. My wife has me playing World of Warcraft most of the time and that is fine with me because I am planning on pre-ordering The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar anyway (and taking advantage of the lower fees). I really don’t want to play it too much before it counts. Surprisingly, even though she is a big LotR fan, she is not showing any interest in the game. She says she just got into WoW and does not want to go starting something new right now – so perhaps it will be a game down the road for her.

The graphics in The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar are rather well done, and I have greatly enjoyed looking at the scenery. The combat has been entertaining, if not really much new. It is fun to watch the combat movements, I really like the way they animated the arrows in flight. A heck of a lot better than the goofy EQ2 animations for that. The characters remind me of the DDO ones and that would only make sense as Turbine made that game as well.

I only dabbled in “monster play” one evening so I don’t have much to say about that but it looks well done. Seems like they have taken a lot of what WoW did right and included it, mainly the “quests on tracks” that lead you around. As for something new? I can’t say they have anything special going on here. It really is more of the same, but with a different setting.

They do have a solid game here, well put together and fun. I really did not encounter any bugs of note. I also was in the Vanguard beta and I would say Turbine is way closer to being ready to launch than Sigil was and Sigil have already launched.

The setting is very appealing to me. It’s a treat to travel to Bag End or listen to the conversations in the Prancing Pony. I was a bit surprised and a little disappointed to find Gandalf standing before me right away when I started my dwarf. I hope they keep the encounters with special characters to a minimum. I do look forward to playing this at retail and hopefully I can share some screenshots soon (there is some debate as to if we are allowed to share them yet, the revised NDA says no but they said the NDA was lifted so waiting for an official word).

Most importantly, at least to me, is that I can’t find a pre-order copy in any store around here. They just aren’t carrying them so far. Weird.

Interesting facts, perhaps only to me: My wife shares Bilbo’s and Frodo’s birthday. Smaug was killed on mine.

If you have any specific questions, fire away and I’ll try to answer them.

Additional reviews: Tobold, Cyndre & JoBildo’s nice walk-thru of one of the first quests.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

24 thoughts on “The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar – NDA Lifted”

  1. Glad to see the experiences seem to be constant with the previews. I’ve also been looking forward to this one for a good while.

  2. I had an invite into the beta awhile back, my guild’s GM position kind of landed in my lap… so much for my ‘free’ time. Have you had a chance to take a look at what the game is like after the leveling is done? As good as the leveling game is, it’s what happens afterwards that keeps people playing.

  3. I’m on the staff for LotRO Vault, but I wouldn’t be if I hadn’t fallen in love with this gem of a game back in August during Alpha 2. It doesn’t break the mold in terms of gameplay, but it doesn’t need to. It gets the look, feel, and essence of the books down so well, that it could play like crap and I’d still be paying to see the world unfold and the story be told. Simply put, March 30th (pre-order/open beta) can’t come soon enough.

  4. All I did was solo play and had no problems. There are some quests designed for groups, but you don’t have to do them if you don’t want to. Solo play is important for me and I am happy with how they design for it.

  5. I think they did a pretty good job of staying true to the books, but the Lore-Master still bugs me some.

    With the Minstrel, they get round it by having healing be “raising morale” by singing songs and such. You aren’t restoring hit points. Semantics, I know.

    Not many of the purists complaining on the beta forums though, which should say something. Perhaps it says they already gave up? lol.

  6. We totally need to use the full name of the game every time we say it. “The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.” No shortcuts, no abbreviations. Can we find more words to add?

  7. Questions I have….

    1) What time-frame is the game based in? Is it pre or post “The Hobbit”? Pre or post Fellowship of the Rings? Where abouts does the player find themself?

    2) Race- Do you get a choice of race, and if so, what are the possibilities? Do you only get to pick among the free races, or is it open? Like, amd I limited to men, hobbits, dwarves, and elves or can I pick the trolls (from the Hobbit) or maybe the wild men or even the river folk from which Seagol was sired?

    3) How does one make their way in this world, assuming they are not one of the central characters?

  8. 1. At launch, the game is set around the time Frodo left the Shire with the ring in his possession.

    2. Dwarf, Elf, Hobbit and Man. There is also monster play.

    3. Not exactly sure what you mean. It’s like most any other MMO. You get quests, level up, and move about the land. You will occasionally interact with some of the main characters from the books.

  9. Sweet merciful Jesus; I can;t wait for the final release of this game. I would have given body parts to be a beta tester, but there ya go.

    Hurry uppppppp….i want to plaaaaaay youuuuuuuuu.

  10. Very weird coincidence Ethic, I just finished a sci-fi book and the author mention she also shared Bilbo’s and Frodo’s birthday on the bio page. The book had a couple of MMO references in it which made me think the author played one. Your wife wouldn’t happen to be an author?

    I’ll probably check Lord of the Rings out in the summer when the Burning Crusade starts getting old. I am hoping that not having to balance pvp will allow the developers to introduce more classes and advancement options. I’m already hearing about getting traits for completing questlines which you can equip for small buffs.

  11. The traits and accomplishments (Deed Log) is probably my favorite part of the game… just so much they can add to diversify classes as the game goes on.

  12. Excellent and accurate preview. One thing to note about Gandalf is that the dwarf introduction instance takes place during “The Hobbit”. If you stand and watch Gandalf talk to Oakenshield, he is says that he is heading to the Shire to find a Burglar and that Smaug “is the dwarves problem”! I shivered when I saw this. It takes place 60 years before the rest of the game!

  13. Ethic: What’s your opinion on the size of the game world? Big enough or densely-packed/shoeboxy?

    (for reference, I consider Oblivion shoeboxy myself, right or wrong as that might be)

  14. Well, honestly, it feels kind of small to me. However, the FAQ says: The approximate size of Eriador at launch is 50 million square meters. I did not travel a lot, but it seemed like it didn’t take all that long to get from one place to another. Then again, I’m not a LotR map expert.

  15. On the world size, here’s Jeff Anderson’s explanation of the size and future of the game world:

    “And we talked a lot on this one because there is a strong desire from everyone to see the biggest moment of the fiction, to be there at Mount Doom, or to be there at Helms Deep, or at all of these cool places that we know about from the books. But the opposite constraint is for us – we could not give up on the persistent, attached belief that quality is the most important thing. So out of the desire to make a high-quality experience, we looked at the reality.

    We had two choices – we can make a very small Middle Earth that’s very high quality, but it’s got to be small because of how much time we have to make the game. Or we could do what the books did. Which is take the first book and create a high-fidelity, high-quality experience around that northwest section of the map of the Middle Earth. And then with expansions and additional content we can add in places like Mirkwood, or Moria, Isengard and Rohan, and Mordor, right?

    We thought that the second idea offered the better outcome. So instead of trying to shrink the world down so it all fits, or to chop it into little pieces and teleport people around, we went with the high-quality, high-fidelity first book rolled out at launch and then with the expectation that -.Turbine’s done a great job of providing a constant stream of updates, constant content – what we are talking about is chapters as the game progresses.”
    – Jeff Anderson Interview

  16. Loktofeit: I think that is a good choice, of the two. I hope they can continue to expand the land as they plan to.

    I enjoy the irony of people saying the world should be huge to show how long it would take to go from the Shire to Mount Doom. But the fact is, even Tolkien abbreviated their trip. He did not write every step they took. So for anyone upset about shortcutting a trip, remember even Tolkien did it for the sake of entertainment.

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