The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar - recenzja gry

Date: 2007-05-17 13:20:00
The review was based on the PC version.

I will not discover America by writing that MMORPG is practically not played in Poland. Practically it means: compared to Western Europe, North America and Far Asia. Admittedly, free representatives of the genre (read: Tibia ) are relatively popular with us, but - let's be honest - Tibia was cool 10 years ago, then it only competed with Ultima Online , and now it is crap, which is simply a waste of time. If people were willing to pay 30 to 60 zlotys a month for Tibia (most morpegs are in this range), it would not be free. Whoever felt mortally offended until he was out of breath should not continue reading, because there are no compensation for the loss of the meaning of life. Anyone who has made them shiver with uncertainty or even spasms of laughter, I invite you to read on. For a review of one of the coolest morpegs on the market - created under the Lord of the Rings license.

I wrote about what LOTRO is and why it is cool two months ago in the beta test of the game. I will not repeat all of this, especially since nothing has changed in my very flattering opinion since then. With the proviso, perhaps, that after a few months of more or less conscientious looking into Middle-earth, I lost my original admiration for its vastness and diversity, which I had at the beginning of the year. As I write these words, however, we can already see another land opening on the horizon in the form of an expansion of the game, and thus the basic objection to LOTRO - limiting the starting world to Eriador - is losing weight.

There is a lot of what the player gets at the start. Many morpegs scare novice players away with their degree of complexity, not clearly laid out rules of the game, or even worse graphics than that of single-player erpegs. Meanwhile, LOTRO not only leads the player by the hand through the initial part of the game, but also leads him through a beautiful world. Every time he stops just to look at the area, to see the city lying at his feet from above, to look at the river flowing down the mountains. It may not be the level of graphics that we are able to imagine reading Tolkien's books, but the world created for the game is very nice and varied. Regardless of whether we start our adventure in Ered Luin as a dwarf or elf, or in Bree Land as a human, or - classically - as a hobbit from the Shire, we will always enjoy LOTRO this essential role-playing game pleasure to explore. She will be assisted by a wealth of missions assigned to us, which try as much as possible to deviate from the morpegic scheme: kill five bats and bring me ten daisies. 'They try' does not mean that they go very far - nevertheless LOTRO shows many features of a single-player role-playing game.

First of all, we are not forced to play with others. In LOTRO, we will find a sufficient number of quests that we will have to do alone, so as not to feel bored. An important part of them are story missions, thanks to which we more or less follow the book's footsteps - treading the heels of the future Fellowship of the Ring and often protecting it from dangers that she had no idea about. The LOTRO action begins with the beginning of the Trilogy trilogy (six books, if you are precise), right after Frodo left for Bree.

On the other hand, if the story path we chose there is a task that will ask for help from a group, we will usually find willing helpers without any problems. This is a side effect of the fact that in most morpegs, at least at the beginning of the game, most players follow the same paths while completing the same missions. It's good that many people play at LOTRO, and the average of many of them seems to be relatively high - this makes it easier to get along.

Performing quests is greatly facilitated by an excellent journal and the accompanying multi-level map, radar and handy tracking system. Thanks to this, it is impossible for the player to forget what he was supposed to do and why - just a glance at the legibly organized notes and everything becomes clear. This is another bow to all those who decided to start their adventure with morpegs with The Lord of the Rings .

Anyway, the popularity of LOTRO has surprised the developers of the game. It was such a euphemism, not to say that the servers are overcrowded, just after the premiere, Codemasters were forced to increase their number (for each language - English, French, German) from two to three, and another week later to four. Still, it is not uncommon to have problems logging in during peak hours (in the evening, I mean). And there are more and more players at LOTRO. Those who started the game earlier by pre-ordering it (you could tell them by the bonus morale regenerating coats :-)) are now running far, and new ones are appearing in the starting areas. In such numbers that we can expect new servers to be added soon and at a similar pace.

What is particularly captivating, let's call it ugly and emphatically: addictive, is the system of titles and character traits improvement, which the player obtains as he completes not individual quests, but entire series of them. Besides, it does not always have to be a sequence of quests, often the trait or title is obtained as a result of clearing the area of a certain species of monsters or finding all locations that are specific for some reason. The trait could be charisma + 1, and the title could be 'spider killer'. Some titles are very valuable, especially as the player can brag about them at will. Junetka the Undefeated (title obtained for failing any fight until level 10 of character development) sounds much better than Junetka the Spider-slayer, right?

The fights themselves and their losing were very nicely solved. First of all, the player does not have a classic health level, but a morale level. Thus, a lost fight is treated as an escape. It seems to be no practical difference, but it is of great importance for the player's morale - because he was not killed. The rest looks classic: 'respawn' in a designated place, ten-minute weakening of the character, visual disturbances.

Out of the seven available character classes, each offers a significantly different fighting style. Guardian is a classic tank, durable, operating with a weapon in one hand and a shield in the other, dealing perhaps not the greatest damage, but capable of withstanding the longest on the battlefield. The related champion does not use shields, and wields a second weapon in his other hand - thanks to this, he deals much more damage per second, also taking more hits himself. Nevertheless, it is an excellent class for fighting fast and spectacular fights, also with many opponents at once. Reserved for the human forest, the captain is the last of the classes that mainly use classic weapons - but the captain is welcome in the team, as his morale-enhancing abilities become truly useful when he has to raise them to someone ...

Hunter uses bows, and in hand-to-hand combat he uses rather short weapons. This character is perfect for hitting enemies from a long distance - in the case of a well-controlled hunter, enemies of the same level are often unable to even reach him or die in the first contact with him. Surprised at close quarters, however, he should rather run away than pretend to be a hero.

The burglar is a relatively strange and difficult character class in the first contact. The idea of fighting it is to stay hidden, sneak past enemies, instead of attacking them, and if anything, attack should be to deal critical damage suddenly. However, it requires practice and not always successful, and a thief surprised, unprepared to fight, is basically a dead thief (well, they ran away, considering the specificity of LOTRO ...).

It's very nice to play as a lore-master (wizard), who at the beginning only has one offensive spell - a fireball - but he uses his two-meter 'wand' pretty well, hitting opponents on their heads when needed. The complete set includes a whole set of debilitating spells and is able to summon creatures that will fight for him. This is another class of characters that should plan the fight and not be surprised, but skillfully conducted, it is able to defeat whole groups of opponents on its own.

Finally, I saved my favorite minstrel class (musician). The class is bizarre, not to say funny, because its strength lies in playing melodies on the lute. These melodies either raise their own and their companions' morale (this is the only class that can heal themselves almost from the beginning!), Or they hurt, and severely, enemies. Imagine a bearded dwarf who chases potential listeners with a guitar, and they all die just a few tones on hearing it. Ave, Kakofoniks! Yes, it is extremely stupid. And just as effective.

As it happens in morpegs and what in The Lord of the Rings, this craft could not be missing - with English crafting. There are a lot of them in LOTRO, and the pleasure of doing them - if you like :-) - is great. There are six professions in which the player can improve, and each of them consists of three skills, thanks to which the craftsman will be able to obtain the necessary resources. So: we want to produce weapons (armsman), so we have to be able to mine the ore (prospector), carve a woodworker and forge a saw blade or other weaponsmith. In general, however, players chasing through forests for wood or ore are definitely less than fighting with goblins. I also played with my pickaxe just enough to find out that it was a fun job and went back to handling the sword.

If there is a serious reason why LOTRO cannot get a 100% rating, it is the lack of normal PvP - like in EVE or be it WoW. By its normality, I mean that - taking into account the rules of the game, the rules of global conflict, meetings in arenas - virtually every player can fight to the death with anyone. Both in the form of a duel, as well as during a large-scale battle. After all, this is one of the main reasons MMO games were invented. Of course, the scale of the problem is understandable in the case of The Lord of the Rings - here for PvP to make sense (fictional), you would have to write a separate book for the dark side and create a piece of the world that Tolkien treated neglectfully - as opponents. Therefore, it should be appreciated that Turbine came out of the problem relatively pleasantly - bringing Monster Play to life. It works in such a way that one of the lands has been separated, players are able to enter it from around 40th level, while their opponents are ... also players who can take part in a kind of dressing up already at level 10. By putting on the skin of a monster with 50 experience level. And then we have the classic battlefield - including castles that can be obtained from the opponent. This is cool, but it has nothing to do with the perfect climate of the rest of the LOTRO world.

I admit without hitting that I don't know much about music. However, I can distinguish the one I like from the one for which it was worth getting up from the chair to turn the radio down. : -] And there is also a third kind that we wish for in games - nothing that we would listen to, forgetting about God's world, but also nothing that would disturb us in other activities. And that's how it is at LOTRO. If we listen closely, we will find somewhat pugnacious Scottish motifs (in the dwarves) and somewhat sublime orchestral playing (in humans) and calmer mumbling (elves, hobbits). The thing is, after months of looking into Middle-earth, I didn't turn off the music, at best I turned it down a bit.

Separate praise should be given to the sound of the game, as the fact that everything that surrounds us (whether we can see it or not yet) sounds adequate is especially significant here. Four races, a multitude of animals and monsters and a very diverse environment is a mish-mash, which we do not experience in real life, and, among other things, thanks to the sound it seems to us quite real and close to us.

This entire review is a pean to one of the best morpegs ever made, a worthy competitor to World of Warcraft . However, there is a scratch on this diamond, which is unlikely to be mentioned by reviewers from other websites, but whose existence is signaled by players who have come really far in LOTRO. I have not experienced it myself yet, but for the sake of peace of mind I have to quote this voice - supposedly high-level characters not only have less and less interesting jobs, but also they are more and more demanding in terms of the group size they require to complete. The above adds up to a small variety of available weapons and a very fast rate of breakage from use. According to this information, there are even such bizarre problems as the need to pay several times more for the repair of equipment than the player was able to earn on the completion of a given task. This is a very big minus for the game, if it really is. However, if this is the case, I am deeply convinced that Turbine will quickly improve these ailments with the help of patches - the pace, size and quality of in-game fixes that took place still at the beta stage, bodes well for the future tuning of the game.

50 zlotys a month do not go on foot - that's for sure. It is impossible to answer the global question whether LOTRO is worth the 50 zlotys a month. Each of us, players, should answer the question of whether instead of having a look at a few games a month and then forgetting about them, or instead of spending a few bucks on a beer, it is better to enter Tolkien's Middle-earth and live there for this money. for some period of time.

Borys "Shuck" Zajączkowski

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