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Revisiting Lord Of The Rings Online Part 1

Revisiting Lord Of The Rings Online Part 1

I’ve been playing Lord Of The Rings these past months and got my main minstrel up to level 44. I have another minstrel at level 42 which I don’t play anymore and a captain close to level 30. I’ve been playing mostly in monster play on the monster (creep) side as a weaver (spider). The creeps fight against the free peoples (freeps) who can only come out in the ettenmoors after level 40. I thought it was a good time to report on the updates and playability of this game.

On June 13th, 2007 the first free content update was added called “Shores of Evendim” which features book 9. The books are epic quests which roughly follow the main story from LOTR. Watch the trailer here.

Lotro has a new area called Evendim

Evendim map was opened up above the shire with new monsters and quests to be done. Some of these quests are hard and you need to be over level 30. The salamanders are a fun enemy to fight against because they can blow fire. The deer in this area can attack as well so be careful! The worst part of this area is the huge lake which takes up a big part of the map. Fastest way to get across it is to swim very slowly. They really should add a boat or something to get across this lake. Also this update brought in a very hard quest called “Thief-taker’s Bane” which really needs more than 1 minstrel. Most of the players who finish this quest really hate it but It’s a good challenging quest compared to some others. This is a fun addition especially for the level 30 to 40 people looking for solo quests.

Each class can now get unique epic armour from drops and the first 24 person raid was introduced in the Misty mountains called Helegrod. I Am not high enough to try this raid but I’ve heard it can be rough. Some have complained about the lack of epic drops in other areas outside of raids. I don’t know if I will try a raid when I get my character to level 50. I only raid in monster play right now.

There was some much needed changes to the crafting professions too. Farming is now more profitable and is needed for the cooks. Before this patch cooks would be able to buy all ingredients from npc’s instead of regular players at the auctions. Now this has changed for the good. Farming is now profitable and cooking is not as easy as it was.

The music system in the game got better with two additional instruments. A drum and bass can be bought to play music. They also added a way to play abc notation from a file. This brought in some fun for regular players who couldn’t play as well as others.

My spider in Lord of the Rings Online

Monster play had some changes happen on the creep side and some incentives for the freep side. A major change was to the spider who now can spit poison making it a range attacker. I actually created a spider of my own around this time and have been playing one ever since. I am now rank 5 on Elendilmir server and rank 4 on Firefoot server. Ranking a monster player can only be done by killing freeps.

My personal opinion of this update was that is was needed for more solo quests but it brought in some bad bugs which needed to be fixed. I still haven’t finished the book 9 quests yet so still need to do more with this update. This update also brought some new enemies to kill for level 40+ players which is desperately needed for this game. I give this update a 8 out of 10. I liked it and was entertained for a few weeks and I still have stuff to do in this area.

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Posted by on August 31, 2007 in experience, new content, review


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Riding My Very Own Pony In Lord Of The Rings Online

Riding My Very Own Pony In Lord Of The Rings Online

I have a pony now for my minstrel in LOTRO

I just reached my first and second goal in Lord of the Rings Online. My first goal was to reach level 35 so I can buy a pony. Elves and men can buy horses but dwarves and hobbits can only buy a pony. There are 4 type of styles available: Bay pony, Blonde Sorrel Pony, Bloodbay Pony and the Chestnut Pony. I bought the Bloodbay pony for 4 gold and 220 silver but I thought the color would be black but it’s brownish color. The picture icon is the only one that looks black but it’s not. I’ve read in the forums about other people thinking it would be black so I think it should be fixed by giving us a black pony or changing the icon’s color.

Some of the ponies I can buy in Lord of the Rings Online

I love the fact I can ride around anywhere and go faster than running. Also I get through some mobs I wouldn’t even try to outrun. If a person gets hit too much on a horse then they will fall off. I have found out that using the regular horses from the stable master is a bit faster than your own horse. But the big advantage is that I can get into areas where a stable master horse can not go. The pony is well worth the money and I only had to grind a bit to make enough money. I already had 3 gold and some silver when I reached level 35 just from doing most of the quests solo.

Johnson has his first pony in LOTROMy minstrel is now at level 35 with a new pony

I have been playing this game with this character for a month a couple hours a day. I do most of the quests solo and a few of the group quests I found I could do by myself without looking for others to play with. The new content coming out on June 13th will have a lot more solo quests with a brand new area. In fact right now they have opened a new preview server, Roheryn, which has all the new updates they will be adding this month.

I’ve played in the preview server and the upcoming changes look very good. The best part is you get an instant upgrade to level 30 on the preview server. The new area is very well done and very challenging for a level 30+. I’m hoping to write more about this update later after I play some more.

The biggest problem I am having in the level 30 range is I can’t do much soloing so I must group up. I’ve been grinding out for experience for some levels because all the quests are way too hard for just me. The new content coming out this month will address this issue. All the quests will be in the 30+ range! That is a welcome addition for me.

I have just reached my second goal yesterday but that’s for another post! Just be aware you might find me in the ettenmoors protecting the hobbits in their village from the evil monsters!

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Posted by on June 6, 2007 in experience, review


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Player Vs Player in LOTRO?

Player Vs Player in LOTRO?

Yes, LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) has PVP but not exactly. They have what’s called PVMP which means player versus monster player. Their is also a sparring option which players can fight each other until one is defeated. They won’t actually die and can continue what they were doing after a couple of seconds. Most people ignore all spar requests by turning off sparring in the options.

LOTRO has a pvp area in the Ettenmoors
The map of the monster play area. The red marks are the keeps which can be taken over.

I’m not a lover of PVP (Player vs Player) and rather play solo in most games. Some MMO games have some sort of PVP built in to the system. From the extreme where everyone is vulnerable for attack or where you can only fight when both parties agree. I don’t really like this type of gaming because I like team play and helping others. Also I’ve been playing games since I was a child trying to get away from ghosts from pacman. I’m used to finding patterns or weaknesses in a computer generated character. I can’t seem to do the same with a real person.

So I figured I wouldn’t like PVP in LOTRO but I have to say I actually like it right now. I might not like it when the regular players get in to the zone and start fighting. If I keep in a fellowship or raid I’ll probably enjoy this side of the game. I’ve been in full raids which consists of 24 monsters and had a lot of fun trying to take some hard places over. The Ost Ringdyr is the hardest and we had a great leader who knew exactly where we should be at all times.

PVP in Lotro is fun but small part of the game
Select the type of monster you want to play! You can play all 5 monsters anytime.

When you get your regular character to level 10 you can enter the Ettenmoors with a level 50 monster character. This is the only area where you can play as a monster. You can play as an orc, warg, spider or uruk. The orc reaver is the main tank class which has some powerful melee skills. The spider weaver can play as a tank also and can snare enemies with their webs. They also have a way to bury themselves under ground for safety or a trap. I think they look really cool and scary. The uruk blackarrow is the main archer and is a very good class to start with. The uruk warleader is the main healer and can revive other defeated players. No raid should be without one. The warg stalker is the stealth class and has a fast escape skill too. They can sneak around just like the burglars in regular play.

Monsters have quests in the Ettenmoors too
My spider beating up on a tasty eagle to get some feathers for a quest.

Monster play was only entered by these pools

When you get to level 10 you need to search for a red fell scrying pool in Thorin’s gate near silver deep mine, Michel delving in shire or south west of Bree town near the black rock. Just right click on the pool and you will see a selection window with different characters. Each account can have up to 5 monster characters on each server. Any accomplishments you make on your monster character will be saved for the next time you want to be a monster.

Once you pick your character you will name it and be placed at the starting point. There are 5 keeps around this area which can be taken over by monsters or the regular players. When the servers start up there are 3 keeps in the hands of the good people and 2 keeps in the hands of the evil players. This can be changed but only by a big raid. I’ve had the pleasure of being in a raid with a great leader who knows exactly how to take each keep with no deaths. In fact my very first raid in any MMO has been in the monster play and I enjoyed it! Each keep has a captain which has to be killed for the keep to change over.

There are plenty of quests a monster can do in this area to gain destiny points. You can use these points to buy more permanent skills or use it for your regular player but just for a short time. I would recommend to use them only for your monsters until maxed out or in emergency situations for your regular character. You will find that you can only buy a certain amount of skills because you have to be at a higher rank to buy the rest. To get to the next ranks you need to kill player controlled free people characters. For each player you kill you get some infamy points. When you get enough points you get to the next rank and can buy more stuff. At this time of the writing you probably won’t see any players but later on more will be entering this area. There have been reports of brave player controlled characters at level 40 running scared in this area.

Raid fighting in the EttenmoorsRaid of monsters in LOTRO for PVP
A big raid in the monster play area.

This is where the PVP starts and will continue. Once regular players get to level 40 they will be allowed to enter this area. This is totally an option for you and is not a requirement. If you are level 40 and above you can travel to rivendell and find the horse stables. choose the Ettenmoors travel and you will be entering the monster play area. As your regular character you will also find quests in this area. But always be aware their will be more player controlled monsters out there waiting to kill you. You can also start a raid to take back the keeps away from the monsters. I’m sure in a couple months this place will go back and forth and have some great battles!

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Posted by on May 4, 2007 in pvp, review


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LOTRO: The move to middle earth virtual world

LOTRO: The move to middle earth virtual world

On April 24th, the Lord of the Rings Online officially launched. Everyone can go to their local retail stores and buy the game to play online. April 29th was the end of the 5 day extension for late preorders and now everyone playing has actually paid for the game. I bought mine at fry’s and so glad I knew I could get $10 off if I bought the preorder before. I had to ask for it or they wouldn’t have given it to me. I hate when that happens!

Having fun killing enemies in LOTRO with a friendA real life friend and I played in the game LOTRO
Johnsono and Johnimli playing and fighting with Geekwen and Geekwing.

I felt it was a good time to go through my experiences I have had since my last posts. My friend and I started from the very beginning of open beta with new characters in a fellowship. I have to say the quests in bree and the shire are the best and doesn’t take a lot of running around. This is true especially for the bree area where the quests are in a small area and can get you to level 10 easily. The dwarfs quest with the gears take so long to run back and forth which really gets tiring just to get to level 10.

There are also some fun unknown quests to get titles like the pie-eating champion. For this title you need to get to the festival grounds in bree which can be seen on the map north of bree town. The contest can happen anytime in the day but never at night. I just waited at the table near Humbert Sandheaver until he started the contest. Then I just had to eat six pies before time ran out. There are couple of more deeds I didn’t know about mentioned in the PC gamer magazine TD posted about here.

LOTRO has a pie eating contest to get a title

I have my main minstrel character, johnsono, who plays on the elendilmir server. He’s mostly going to be a solo character like I was before in closed beta. Already have my first gold and going for my second gold. Already got my prospecting to the master level. My second character is a captain and It’s a fun character which I will level up in the months to come. The other characters on that server is a lore master, guardian and another minstrel to play with my friend. A minstrel and a guardian plays well together especially when they know what they are doing.

On one quest called, Rescue By The Moonlight, the minstrel and guardian team finished it with the minstrel sacrificing his life at the end for the guardian to finish the quest. The lore master and guardian failed miserably half way into the quest and still haven’t finished it. I probably could do a bit better with the lore master by practicing more with his skills. I usually let my bear do most of the fighting when I solo so in a group I have to change my strategy.

Starting a kinship with a friend in Lord of The Rings Online

We also started a kinship to try things out. You must have 6 people in a kinship but they don’t have to be all 6 separate accounts which means you can add your alt characters. It’s a good way to talk to your friends without using /tell or forming a fellowship all the time. We also just bought some headsets to use the voice chatting option to coordinate attacks. Many times I wasn’t able to type fast enough before we were defeated or trying to tell the guardian to be careful of a mob nearby before going in.

For right now I am still having fun doing the quests I have already done in the past. My main character just got to level 18 so I’m in no rush. I have a full month of playing before I get billed first. I am planning to go with the $9.95 special founder price but if I make more money I might try the lifetime $199 price. No other MMO game has interested me except for guild wars just because there is no monthly payment for it. Maybe I’ll try that game in a year. I still like my offline games like command & conquer 3 which I just got. I am very competitive against the computer but not so much against other people.

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Posted by on May 1, 2007 in experience, review


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Virtual World Marriages Bring Real Life Debates.

Virtual World Marriages Bring Real Life Debates.

I found this interesting article reading some forums and really thought it was something to share. It had all the major virtual world and games mentioned on this blog and brought up a subject which is in the current news. You see all this debating about same sex marriage in real life but I never even thought about it in a virtual world. Social interaction in virtual worlds is a big part of why people like them.

The article mentioned that LOTRO decided not to add a marriage feature into the game. The reason stated was that they couldn’t decide to allow same sex marriage or marriage between different races. WOW, Everquest and NannyMUD were mentioned allowing any marriage. Second Life was mentioned for having no rules on marriage too.

I never thought of getting married in a virtual world. I actually remember some friends from the bbs days in the 90’s getting married online in a chat room. I believe most online games right now do allow marriages for anyone. When LOTRO brings in a marriage option I hope they will allow it for anyone. A hobbit and a dwarf could be a perfect couple to battle the evil forces.

My take on this is marriage in a virtual world should be allowed for everyone. It won’t harm other people and it will make the social interaction even better. Leave the silly debates for the real world. But it is a good read to see what other games have decided. The only thing that gets on my nerves with these games is the constant name calling, harassment and stereotyping. Using the word gay to call something lame is still offensive.

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Posted by on April 29, 2007 in drama, news


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A helpful post to lotro players

A helpful post to lotro players
The start of The Lord of the Rings Online with some help

April 6th was the start of open beta for everyone who didn’t pre-order LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online). You might be ready to start in the open beta or playing right now but still need some helpful tips. I am always reading the forums to find what problems people have. The number 1 problem is getting more money! This is still beta and still may be tweaked a bit before the game goes live so don’t get too discouraged about it.

Forming groups will gain more levels faster but everything is shared! Also for unique or expensive items all the members of the group have to roll and the highest number rolled will get that item! If you are going solo you shouldn’t have much of a problem with money. Remember you don’t have to repair your items unless they get really low. Usually you will get a better item with your next quest or a drop from a mob (monster or other enemy character). Good drops come from humanoid enemies and I find spiders drop really well. Find some low level spiders and start grinding (constantly killing same monsters for experience or money).

This game is not very good for people who grind for experience. You get a lot of experience with doing quests! Make sure you get all quests you see. You have a limit of 40 quests you can do at one time. This is where a fellowship (grouping together with other players) will come in handy. Grouping will also allow you to do harder quests which give you more experience.

Crafting is another way of making money but can also cost money if you’re not careful. I’ll leave this for another post because it is very involved. I haven’t farmed yet but hear that it’s very costly to buy the seeds for the first timers.

Lord of the Rings shows Gandalf helping players

I have played mostly a minstrel through closed beta and open beta so that is the class I know best. It’s a very good solo character but you do have to wait longer than other classes to finish some of the harder quests. Because minstrels are healers you will be asked to join groups a lot more than other characters. Remember you are a healer first so don’t think of attacking mobs when in a group. Especially if you are grouped with lower level players. Watch their health and heal as much as you can! Only attack if everyone is staying healthy because minstrel attacks can be helpful sometimes.

Lore-masters don’t seem needed in some groups but they can help mele (close combat) characters with their pets and skills. Your pets can be very helpful because you can send them in first and then attack with your range skills. By the time the enemy attacks you they should be half-way dead. You can move your pet skills from the pet bar to your quick slot bars for easier fighting (thanks to geekwing for this tip!). Burglars should always try attacking behind a monster for the best result! Be stealthy as much as you can around mobs. Hunters are the best at long distance fighting with their arrows and traps. Hunters are great in a group with some mele players.

There is a cap at level 15 so take your time and relax. Play each of the 4 races because each will start at a different area and have a different story. The elves and dwarfs will start in the same place and share most of the introduction quests. The humans and hobbits share their own area and quests as well. Try some crafting and explore the game world. When you get to level 10 you can try the monster play which is fun and needs another post all it’s own. Monster play will get better when regular player characters can enter the area at level 40+.

Another problem some people are having are the waiting queues for servers. It might not be the best to wait a couple of minutes to play and this might change in the future. My longest wait was around 10 minutes for Brandywine server. In fact Brandywine and silverlode seems to be the busiest servers with short and medium waiting times. Please try the other servers if you hate waiting. You are allowed 5 regular characters for each server. You can have 5 separate monster characters for each server too. At this time you can not move to another server so pick your main carefully!

Here are some good links and tutorials to help you out. Some will be links to forums which may change in the future.
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Posted by on April 7, 2007 in open beta, review


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Over million people expected in middle earth world tour!

Over million people expected in middle earth world tour!
Some pictures I took from the last day of the closed beta.
Click on pictures to view them full size.

The end of the closed beta for LOTRO eventThe end of Lord of the Rings Online closed betaEnd of closed beta with magical level raising and weapons

The closed beta for LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) ended on Monday with a big event. It was a fun and chaotic experience. They had high level monsters invading major cities. Hundreds of people started to fight them but the lag was terrible for people with slower computers like me. I could hardly move or fight for the first couple of hours. The servers did well but some of them crashed due to all the fighting in one area. The developers started raising the levels of the majority of players. This was a bit confusing because we had to wait in lines. After a whole lot of waiting and complaining they started to raise characters faster.

So I finally became a level 50 minstrel and was able to protect rivendell and bree from big drakes. I still had lag so it was very hard to fight at this time but after most of the people left I was able to attack with all my abilities. There was around 60 people beating up this high level drake and I had no lag at all. We all were defeated many many times but were able to get back into the fight easily. This had to be the best time I had in any multi-player game. The first couple of hours was terrible but the last hours were terrific.

Over million people expected in middle earth world tour!

The open beta starts for people who pre-ordered on friday March 30th. On April 6th the world is open to everyone for free who sign up to the World Tour! They are expecting 1 million people playing in the game. This might be a high expectation but I know there are a lot of people excited about this game. They will be starting with 7 servers and prepared to turn on more if they need them. All characters will be deleted before April 24th unless you have pre-ordered the game. Also you can only go up to level 15 so have fun making more characters.

My plan is to get all my characters out of the introduction areas and as high as I can get them. I haven’t decided which server to have my main character yet but probably will have at least one character in each server. I believe they should allow people to transfer their characters to another server but haven’t seen anything about this. I would hate to have the server I play on get full and can’t play on it anymore.

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Posted by on March 28, 2007 in closed beta, open beta


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LOTRO – The end of closed beta

LOTRO – The end of closed beta

Today is the last day of the LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) closed beta and it will be a deadly day for all the characters. All current characters will be deleted tomorrow. At 7PM Eastern time today the developers will drop high level monsters in towns all over the place. My level 28 minstrel will die a glorious death while healing as many people as I can. It’s been fun and I haven’t even touched half of this game.

Drinking at the pub I got very drunk and my vision was blurry

Seeing blurry view due to being drunk

Lord of the Rings Online has frodo in Rivendell

I saw frodo at rivendell protecting the ring

I participated in a pub run from one side of the world to rivendell which is a deadly place for low levels like me. I made it through because I was in a group of 10 people all running with some high level hunters for protection. We stopped at the pubs throughout the world to drink beer. Yes when a character drinks beer they get drunk and the world gets very blurry. Put your graphic setings to medium or higher to see these effects. At lower levels you will see little difference.

LOTRO has a beautiful display of Rivendell

I ran from Thorin's Hall to Rivendell

Checking out a waterfall in LOTRO while walking around

A beautiful waterfall at rivendell

I also joined up with fellowships to finish some hard quests with success and some failures. Some of these quests which are labeled for low levels are very hard. Any quest in the Great Barrows should not be done at levels under 20. Also the quest to retake weathertop needs a high level group to finish it.

The open beta starts on the 30th for all people who have pre-ordered the game. A week later the open beta will be opened for everyone else who can get the game cd. I think they will have them in a certain magazine. I’ll find out more before it all begins and post about it. Only pre-ordered people will have their characters moved to the live game.

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Posted by on March 26, 2007 in closed beta, review


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LOTRO, Stop for the beauty and fight in a rain storm

LOTRO, Stop for the beauty and fight in a rain storm

There’s only 4 more days for the closed beta for LOTRO to end which will wipe all the current characters. On March 30th the open beta for Lord Of The Rings Online will begin for the people who have preordered the product. Everyone will start from level 1 on the first day. I’ll be one of those and all ready to make my permanent characters. I don’t know how much time I will have to play but at least I know the way to get over level 20 and where the dangerous places are.

Click pictures to make larger.
Johnnyo burglar level 11 in Lords of the Rings Online

Johnnyo is my hobbit burglar

Johnimli is my guardian and I have him at level 13

Johnimli is my dwarf guardian

Johnsono is my main minstrel character which is now at level 22

johnsono is my hobbit minstrel

It took me 3 weeks for my minstrel to get to level 22 but I’m going to probably go slower this time so I won’t fail in a fight. In this game you don’t die but you actually flee from battle after your morale goes down to 0. You will reappear at the nearest respawn location with something called dread. This causes your morale, which is your life status, to be lowered for 10 minutes. It also causes lot of damage to your armour and weapons which you have to repair and can be costly. The benefit of not fleeing from battle is you gain titles like “The Undefeated” which is more of a pride thing to show other players. I was able to get to level 8 before I was defeated in a fight.

Low quality screenshot of the game Lord of the Rings Online

Lowest graphical settings

Medium quality screenshot of the game Lord of the Rings Online

Medium graphical settings

High quality screenshot of the game Lord of the Rings Online

Highest graphical settings

These pictures don’t show how amazing this game looks on a really good computer system. I played it on my slower system, which is an amd athlon xp 2500 with 1 gig ram, and kept it on the lowest settings with little lag but can’t play any higher. My brother’s new computer, which is an intel core 2 duo with 2 gigs ram, can be put on the highest settings with almost no lag. More memory seems to make a big difference in this game and obviously a better graphic card.

The most impressive thing about this game is the graphics and the weather system. I haven’t played a intensive graphical MMO before so this gets my notice. Probably in a few months I’ll take it for granted. You will also have day and night changes. The stars are fantastic at night and some of them twinkle if you look closely. Someone mentioned that all the constellations are there but I haven’t checked that for myself.

Check out the Moon and Stars at night in LOTRO

Moon and stars at night

Checking out a rainbow after a rain storm in LOTRO

Rainbow after the storm

Rain storm in Lord of the Rings Online

Raining storm while I travel

One day it can be a beautiful day fighting orcs and then the next day you can find yourself in a lightning storm with pouring rain. In some places the fog rolls in and is hard to see what’s coming at you. This can get scary in the old forest where trees and roots move around you. After the rain you might get the chance to see a rainbow.

They recently had to stop the rain because of a bug in the sound system. Hope they get it fixed before open beta because it adds a lot to the realism of the game. My biggest warning for people who don’t want to fail in a fight is not to run through an area with high level mobs. They will chase you and some will hold you with nets or webs. This is how I failed for each of my characters. It would be better to fight 1 or 2 enemies at a time when going into dangerous areas. You can also start a fellowship with other players or a bigger raid party. Lots of fun to have in this game and it’s nice to check out the scenery too.

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Posted by on March 21, 2007 in closed beta, review


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Last closed beta chance to rule them all in LOTRO

Last closed beta chance to rule them all in LOTRO

Lotro is an online game from Lord of the Rings

For anyone who was excited about Lord of the Rings Online having a stress test weekend then I have some more good news. TD Goodliffe played in the stress test and I tried it out as well. I thought it was a really fun game and loved the story line of the quests. I wanted more but would have to wait for the open beta at the end of this month. But there is now a chance for anyone to get into the closed beta until March 25th. All you have to do is buy the April issue of Computer Game Magazine in a local store or the digital version online.

I couldn’t find it any of my local book stores so I bought the digital version. If you do buy it online you need to forward your receipt to the email provided on the above link to get the beta key! I placed my order on Monday evening and got the key in the morning in my email. It would be faster if you order it during their business hours. This is for the closed beta and all characters will be deleted before the open beta on March 25th. I also wasn’t able to use my character I had in the stress test. I just made a lot of characters in every skill so I can test them all out. Good luck to all who tries this!

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Posted by on March 6, 2007 in closed beta


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