The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Review
Combat in the game is pretty straightforward and standard for the genre. You setup your special attacks and spells on your hotbar, click on an enemy to initiate a fight, and then let the battle proceed automatically as you fire off your special attacks and spells after they've cooled down from their prior use. If you've played a similar game before then you'll have no problem simply steeping right in, and if you haven't it's simple enough to get the hang of pretty quickly.
Player versus player combat does exist in the game, but not in the traditional way. PvP is reserved for high level characters and is conducted in a separate realm, so those who don't want to take part will never see it. PvP in the game also has the distinction of providing you with the only way to play for the side of evil in the game. This is accomplished by taking your existing character to one of the scrying pools appearing in the cities in the game. You can then take on an alter-ego role as a high-level orc, warg, or the like and compete against the high level players who've taken their characters into the PvP realm to do battle. The good thing is that you'll instantly be at the level cap, but the downside is that you'll start out with some very basic equipment. So you may be the same level as the characters you'll face, but you can bet that they have a lot better stuff. Luckily there are opportunities to improve your monster's loadout and become more of a match for the other players. The PvP side of the game is enjoyable - it really is a lot of fun to be jumping around with a group of fellow orcs, taunting the good players, and then rushing to meet them in a large-scale clash.
The Lord of the Rings Online strongest feature is its tie to the epic trilogy. The developers have done a good job of brining Middle-Earth to life and as you make your way through the world you can see that it was carefully crafted to be true to Tolkien's work. The beautiful graphics do their part as well, and there are times you'll find yourself pausing to take in the view from the high ground or to admire some ancient elven ruins.
If you don't enjoy MMORPGs, I find it hard to believe that The Lord of the Rings Online will change your mind. At its heart it follows the same gameplay model as EverQuest or World of Warcraft, so on a high level it's basically the same as the other MMORPGs out there. On the other hand, if you do enjoy spending time with these types of games, then you'll find that there is a lot to like in The Lord of the Rings Online.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 85%. The online version of Middle-Earth is certainly worth a visit, especially if you count yourself among the legions of Tolkien fans out there.