Something The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ has that City of Heroes lacks is a sense of distance. There are a few huge zones in CoX, so you dread going all the way across Independence Port, Nerva, or a Shadow Shard zone, but for the most part movement is very fast. Two monorail lines (or one villainous ferry) visit almost all the zones. You have teleporters in your base and at least three extradimensional waystations that serve as mini-monorails. Once you are in the zone, you move quickly, leaping tall building in a single bound or running faster than speeding locomotive.
In The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™, you walk. On foot, you cross a zone in 5-10 minutes, assuming you can run in a mostly straight line. Hunters run a bit faster, and you can get a horse at higher levels. The rental horses are pretty quick, and there are a few teleport abilities (again, go Hunters).
To me, moving two zones over feels like a huge project. Maybe I have been lulled by convenience, starting with Asheron’s Call’s portals and ingrained by years of CoX, but I do not want to spend 10 minutes traveling before the adventure begins. If this is a fellowship, finding members and bringing them together is potentially a half-hour or longer project. Even in-zone, fifteen minutes is not unusual.
For creating a sense of place, this works well. Only Breeland separates the Lone Lands from the North Downs, but they feel very far apart. If I need to get from Ost Guruth to Esteldin (two cities of comparable level), I am running through three zones. If I throw silver at the problem via ponies, I am still staring at the screen waiting to play for a fair while. Those people are way over there.
When some guy gives me a quest chain that takes me repeatedly across the Weather Hills, north of Bree, and to Ost Guruth, I am not completing this in one setting, even if the quests are gray. I am going to need two fellowships (more search time), because the quest of “travel for 20-30 minutes” comes between the first big enemy and the instance. It may not look like that huge travel quest is there, but you go from Bleakright (over the waterfall, if you please), back to Candaith’s camp, up to the Weathertop, back to Candaith’s camp, to Bree and/or Ost Guruth (I think both are required), then back to the camp again to start that instance. If that doesn’t sound bad enough, Weathertop is a steep mountain that you ascend via a weaving path that curls to the summit, and there are many raven scouts to pester you along the way.
That’s one example. While you are at Ost Guruth, they might mention their lack of oatmeal, which is obvious a cause for one of the heroes of the realm. Stop by the inn at the other side of the zone, get sent to the lower-level part of Evendim that borders The Shire, about 2.5 zones over. That is some serious globalization for oatmeal.
I don’t know how big Eriador is, but even the individual zones feel huge. And Eriador is not done. And Eriador is only one chunk of Middle Earth. If you try the game, hit M and keep right-clicking. That is how much of the world is left to flesh out. They have enough space to keep adding new zones for a few decades. Do we get giant eagles to fly between regions? One does not simply walk into Mordor.
In part, I find this good. I am working here now. Moving along is moving on. It sometimes feels restrictive. When quests send me long distances, it just feels annoying, especially when the path does not have horses (or they are arbitrarily expensive: 5sp to ride across town, 15sp for a half-zone, just put in less money rather than the goldsink).
I see players unwilling to run the distances who look for assistance (teleports) in global channels for longer than it would probably take for them to run it. Or maybe that is through hostile territory.
And then I remember that I have a Hunter. Hunters are the real wizards, able to teleport themselves (and groups) across the map. I can reach any major city in seconds, with most worthwhile places a short ride away. It is like a tax on every class but mine.