So there is now a public beta for the upcoming Lord of the Rings MMORPG. I signed up a couple of weeks ago and got my access key last week, and I spent a good bit of this weekend playing it. If you’re interested, you can sign up for your own on this page.
While it’s definitely still rough around the edges – there are periods of intense lag that I can only resolve by logging out, there are tons of little scripting errors which lead to ‘general error!’ messages while doing quests and investigating things, and the character animation seems off and somewhat disconnected from the world, it’s still very fun. It’s also cool just to be able to run around inside a 3D version of middle earth, and the graphics are very good, definitely a step above Worlds of Warcraft from a technical perspective. Art direction on the other hand, I’d still give a very hearty nod to WoW.
I can sum the gameplay up with: it’s a competent copy of WoW and the diku-derived gameplay that preceeded it. It doesn’t add much new to the experience but the setting and the competent execution make it worth checking out.
I guess the highest praise I can give it is this: I’ll be buying it, preordering in fact, to take advantage of the $9.99/month subscription offer if you preorder, versus $14.99 if you don’t.
You need a PC to play. If you decide to download the beta, do yourself a favor and use the torrent link. Their downloader stinks.