Veteran MMORPG developer Turbine (previously responsible for the likes of Asheron's Call and Dungeons & Dragons Online) has a new massively multiplayer game in town, and this one's a big licence. Translating such an epic tale must have been a daunting prospect, but fortunately Lord of the Rings Online manages to capture an enticing whiff of Middle Earth, and not just the smell of hobbits' feet.
The lush visuals certainly help to invoke a suitably Tolkien-esque atmosphere, with rolling green farmlands spilling into bustling towns packed with finely rendered buildings and hobbit-holes. Notch the graphics settings up and it all looks simply beautiful, although only a higher spec PC will be able to cope with the workload (particularly in the busier, player-packed cities).
It's not just the look of Lord of the Rings Online that impresses, but the references to Middle Earth lore which aid your immersion in the world, from the tales of hobbit traders to the Ring-wraith you catch a glimpse of in the very first quest. The quests are a definite highlight here, being crafted with lotro gold and a considerable attention to detail.
The latest update for Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online, entitled Volume III, Book 1: Oath of the Rangers, is now live. It introduces 4 new skirmishes, Duo Mode, new high-level skills, and the Spring Festival to the game. The new skirmishes include the Necromancer’s Tower and Depths of Nûrz Ghâshu, and each one is intended for 12 players. Additionally, new crafting recipes and updates were introduced, as well as a new scenario featuring the Rangers of the middle earth.