I haven’t posted about LotRO for a while, so it’s time for another round-up of thoughts on that game. On the one hand, I don’t tend to play the game for hours on end the way I used to with Warcraft. On the other hand, I think that’s mostly because I have other things to do these days. I’m almost always working on things that are in some way related to the website and my reviewing.
I find LotRO to be a more relaxed experience than Warcraft. There are more frequent towns and stablemasters, so it’s easier to just play for a little while and have some fun without needing to invest a huge amount of effort at once. Every time I think of playing Warcraft again I think of how much effort it would take just to get to the area of my next quest and try to finish it that I end up not bothering; now that I’m happy to be spending the majority of my time on other things, I’d much rather play a more relaxed game where I can easily log in, wrap up a few quests, and log off again.
It isn’t that the quests are somehow fundamentally easier, but that there are more of them. If you want to advance in Warcraft—particularly if you tend to solo—you need to do pretty much all of the quests, and that means often traveling well out of your way to get the next stage accomplished before you can move on. With LotRO, I find I can always find a deed to work on or a quest to accomplish that suits my level and won’t take a serious investment of time and effort, if that’s what I’m looking for. There’s a ton of fellowship quests available if you want a greater challenge, but LotRO makes it much easier than Warcraft to subsist on other quests should you so desire simply because there are so many. Occasionally you need to do some traveling, sure, but you don’t have nearly the preponderance of “FedEx” quests as Warcraft, and most of them are meant to introduce you to a new area and can be batched.
This isn’t the only reason I prefer LotRO to Warcraft right now (the crafting system is another reason, but I’ll talk more about that once I’ve explored the further reaches of it some more), but it’s definitely a big one.
I do have to say that I was wrong when I initially said that the game seemed less immersive, and the characters more androgynous and obviously computer-generated. I think it was just that I was used to WoW’s cartoonish style. Now that I’ve gotten used to LotRO’s style I actually quite like it, and find the more “realistic” swaths of grass and such to be more immersive than Warcraft’s style.