My husband and I pre-ordered LOTRO and started the open beta for founding members on Friday. Having spent time in the previous beta, I knew what to expect but it was the first time we got to play together. He started a dwarf guardian, while I rolled a human minstrel. While I love the appearance of the elven starting area, I enjoy the quests in the human lands much more, so hubby payed the 1 silver horse ride to get his dwarven buns over to Bree.
I already knew I'd love this game but the other half wasn't so sure, and he planned to keep his EQ2 subscription as a back-up plan. But by the end of the weekend, I think Turbine has won him over. That's not to say that everything is perfect and there aren't issues that cause frustration. But many of those issues involve the community, just as in other games, and there's just no way around that.
There are three types of mobs I've encountered so far. There are regular mobs, signature mobs which are just a little tougher but can be soloed if you wait until they are lower level, and then there are elite mobs which are group encounters. We picked up this quest which involved killing an elite brigand leader and a few of his buddies. We arrive at the hill top where they spawn and there are about 15 players standing about. I asked if anyone would like to join us to take them down. No answer.
The mobs in question spawn and are immediately attacked by various solo players. At various points the players realize, "oh crap I can't kill this" and they take off running with mob in pursuit. So now the hill is full of fleeing players. The mobs return to their spot and start attacking the other players who were left standing around waiting their turn. Again, they take off running.
My husband and I are standing a few feet back out of aggro range, watching and waiting our turn. Again, I ask if anyone would like to group up and again, no one answers. Eventually, everyone just left and we were left standing there alone. So we pulled one mob at a time and got the job done. It was a tough fight for two, but as long as we only had one of them, we were ok.
Hopefully, as people level, they will realize they can't do it all alone and will be a bit more receptive to joining others to get things done. Yes, there is a lot of solo content and you could solo to 50 if you really wanted to. But some of my most fun moments have been in the group quests. They involve some neat story lines and can be very challenging at times.
For anyone that's currently playing, particularly minstrels, I found a handy tool in the options menu. I can't remember exactly how it's worded but it says something about using your target's target for unfriendly skills. Basically, all it means is that I can keep the tank targeted for heals and any attacks I use will hit whatever he is targeting. I would have thought it would do this by default but you have to go in and check that off. Since some of my attacks increase my healing abilities and buff the group, I was having a heck of a time clicking between tank and target. Now, it's a breeze.
I see most people hit the level 15 cap over the weekend already, so I have a feeling a lot of people who don't normally craft will take it up since there is not much else to do. I started to craft but found it to be very expensive. Selling back to vendor only gives you a small fraction of what you spent on vendor components. I'm finding it more profitable to vendor all the harvestables rather than craft with them.
Overall, I'm really having a fun time here. I hear Turbine has this reputation for frequently adding content to their games so I'm looking forward to what's ahead.