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fish[2]As I mentioned in our recent podcast I have recently started playing Lord of the Rings Online again. Now I haven’t touched this game since it went free to play several months ago, and frankly I didn’t have high hopes for it.

You see the last few times I tried it I was put off by how, well generic and grinding it was. However it seems that the developers have put some serious work in. They appear to have gone back through at least the early starting areas and redone a lot of the quests to make them more interesting and engaging. I find this interesting as this is also what Warcraft has recently done. It seems sort of odd to me, as it is essentially admitting that you failed, or at least weren’t as successful as you wante, first time round.

It is amazing that more free to play games aren’t, well, good. I also find it rift_gamesurprising that it took the game going free to play in order for them to go back and fix the, shall we say dull, content. I think that with paid for mmo’s, because you have had to stump up £30 to buy it, you are already inclined to work through the boring stuff because you are already invested. Rift is a great example, I won my copy and ended up playing about 5-6 hours worth, however had I paid for it then I probably would have stuck with it for a lot longer, hell maybe even come to love it (seriously doubtful).

I know developers have to always keep an eye on the end game of a mmo, but surely the opening levels are by far the most important, as these are the times whentortage6 a player decides whether to keep playing, or should that be paying. Age of Conan is a game that knows this better than most, with its opening 20 or so levels being of a quality that the rest of the game doesn’t quite live up to, however it did enough to impress me first time around (before the Godslayer expansion) to shell out for a couple of months.

Unfortunately I fear that what will happen with LOTRO is that I get into the high teens, early twenties level wise, all the interesting and fun content will evaporate and I will be stuck with quests to kill bears, boars and wolves from pretty much every npc. I hope I am wrong, because as it is going I can see myself playing LOTRO for quite some time.

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