Well, I loaded LotRO this morning. After the install and another hour for downloads I was ready to play... and ran into a problem. They're system apparently installs an SSL certificate and this broken piece of trash decided that my system clock was out of sync and therefore the cert was invalid. I suspect the issue had to do with the new year and a cert on their site that was not updated because, after an hour wasted wading thru their tech support system (most of which was disabled) and finally sending them a scathing emai ltelling them exactly what they could do with their install if it was not fixed today, I got an email informing me the issue was fixed and, lo and behold, it was.
Now, I finally get in and get to look at the game. I am running in high res with anti-aliasing and it does look phenomenal. The landscapes are beautiful and I truly feel like I am running around in the Shire. The intro quests were fairly smooth and, with the notable exception of the lack of a waypoint system or something to indicate which way I was supposed to go, I was having a pretty good time. I especially liked the excellent choices of background music. Very pastoral and evocative of a fictional English countryside. The one thing I was very much NOT charmed by was the somewhat clunky combat. The animations just did not have the right timing to give me a real feel like I was in control of my toon.
I loved the little bits of book lore, such as a hunter casually mentioning that he saw so and so "talking to that 'ranger', the one they call 'Strider'". But then I noticed how poorly the NPCs moved when walking to the gate to open it. When my burglar "sneaks" I get the feeling that I am gangsta-leaning to the left. Very disconcerting.
My hobbit is only level 6 now, but at this point I am nearing the limit of 40 quests in his journal and having a very hard time, even using our db, to run through them all. Too many of them run me forward in the story to other quest hubs before I have done any of the quests at the current one. perhaps they need to make better use of prerequisites to make sure you do not get the travelling quests until you are ready to move on.
And then there are the crashes. I finally stopped after the 10th time that I got the "your video card encountered an error, but was able to recove" because every time it does this the game engine totally craps itself and ceases rendering all graphics. the screen goes totally dark although the game is still running and the only option I seem to have is to close the window and restart the game.