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One Man's LOTRO vrs WoW Grudgematch!

By popular demand! (Well, basically, a friend asked me to write up a pro and cons list of each and I figured this would be a good way to communicate my findings.)

World of Warcraft

Pros:
  1. Very, very popular.
  2. This is beneficial because there's no real shortage of players to play with (especially later on when you run into everybody's high level characters). Due to fear of losing customers, sweeping changes are unlikely, and this will lead to a very stable unchanging game.
  3. Stable with very low system requirements.
  4. You can run WoW comfortably on computers made 3 years ago. My computer, a middle-of-the-road configuration, can run this game butter smooth with every single graphical option enabled.
  5. Well-balanced and refined gameplay.
  6. Blizzard knows how to craft games - frankly, their reputation won't tolerate less.

Cons:
  1. Very, very popular.
  2. Problematic due to busy servers, attraction to gold farmers/sellers bothering you when you're trying to play, and finally because Blizzard fears change lest they hemorrhage millions of customers. Static games may interest some, but others prefer their MMORPGs to make big sweeping changes to stay interesting.
  3. Blizzard.net mentality.
  4. Where Chuck Norris is never allowed to rest. Blizzard.net players have a reputation for being rather immature little dweebs... this reputation, while not deserved for each individual player, is not entirely undeserved on the whole. The channel spam on WoW is, at times, a form of textual lobotomy that has you searching desperately for ways to turn it off.
  5. Graphically unimpressive game.
  6. World of Warcraft doesn't use great polygon counts nor textures to impress. They use very simple graphics intended to easily support hundreds of players. That's how they keep those low system requirements low. Individual character appearance variation is very low.
  7. Old.
  8. World of Warcraft was released in 2004. Three years is about all you need for all the major guilds of players to have thoroughly gutted and claimed the bounties of this game world. If you're looking to get in on the ground floor, expect to stay there unless you know people in high places.
  9. EverGrind Enabled.
  10. World of Warcraft started off as a very casual friendly game. You could get maximum level in about 200-300 hours. Then they opened up level 60. And level 70. And level 80. Frankly, this game now suits those who have forever to play. If you want a casual game, one suited to playing a half hour every once in awhile, you're better off with City of Heroes/Villains. LOTRO, while it will eventually be equally grindy, currently requires much less time to max out than WoW.

Lord of the Rings Online

Pros:
  1. Better Atmosphere
  2. Lord of the Rings Online not only has a flashier graphics engine than WoW, but the overall graphical style is more believable. Lord of the Rings feels like a collaborative effort of Turbine and JRR Tolkien. WoW feels like a collaborative effort of Blizzard and Fischer Price. The players are pretty mature too. Due to its similarity to WoW, some Blizzard.net riffraff have invaded LOTRO, but they're not nearly as common in LOTRO as the source.
  3. Unique gameplay additions
  4. You can play notes on instruments, smoke pipeweed, and the classes are not balanced in the typical manner. (See my Lord of Rings Online class balance page here)

Cons:
  1. You've got to buy it
  2. You probably have a copy of World of Warcraft all installed and ready to go. LOTRO, on the other hand, $50.
  3. Derivative, not as well balanced gameplay.
  4. Lord of the Rings Online starts with a World of Warcraft foundation - and why not? WoW is, after all, a popular game. From there, unusual balancing has occured. None of the classes in LOTRO play like you would expect.
  5. Higher system requirements
  6. Minimum: Pentium® 4 1.8 GHz or equivalent, 64 MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 3 or ATI® Radeon® 8500, 512 MB System RAM, 7 GB of hard drive space. Recommended: Pentium® 4 2.8 GHz or equivalent, 128 MB NVIDIA® GeForce® FX 6800 or ATI® Radeon® X850, 1 GB System RAM, 10 GB hard drive space. You might even need to upgrade.

Overall, I would have to say that Lord of the Rings Online is most likely to appeal to JRR Tolkien fans (or fans of the recent movies) that have never played World of Warcraft. A very tight niche.

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