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The Lord of the Rings Online (Pre-E3 2006)

Developer: Turbine | Publisher: Midway
Players: 1+ Player Game | Genre: MMO

Release Date: 04/24/07

lotr.jpgJ.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is without a doubt one of the most celebrated trilogies of all time. The novels have long been adored and in more recent years, the film adaptations have had a huge impact at the box office. It’s no surprise that there have been several video game titles based on the series, but most of these titles have been mediocre at best. If you’re a fan of the books or movies, you probably have not been satisfied with the games that have carried the license; however, there is hope on the horizon. Turbine is developing a massively multiplayer online RPG based in Tolkien’s universe, and they’ve been working on it for four years now.

Formerly known as Middle Earth: Online, the game has officially changed its title to The Lord of the Rings: Online. Not that the name change is all that impressive…in fact, if you ask me, the original title was better, but title changes aside, it’s the content and the appeal of the world that will make this game a success. Legions of wanna be hobbits, orcs and wizards are anxiously awaiting the game’s release which is now only a brief six months away. Not that you can blame them, with all the work that has gone into this game, it’s bound to be a fantastic experience.

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While there is still a lot of work yet to be done which makes that November launch date look a bit dubious, the developers do have a lot to show for their efforts. To begin with, the game’s story follows the timeline in the novels as opposed to the movies. The main adventure takes place while the fellowship is meeting in Rivendale and it is your job to slaughter as many enemies as possible along the route they have chosen to take so that they may have a safe crossing. Every now and again you’ll cross paths with the main characters from the book such as Frodo, Gandalf and even Tom Bombadil! Sounds like a jolly good time to me.

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The game will feature several playable races such as humans, elves, dwarves and more. Of course, there will also be a variety of job classes available to you depending on which race you’ve chosen. Once you’ve chosen your warrior, you are able to embark upon your journey and start questing to learn new abilities. In this game, your character’s life force is dependant upon the good deeds you have accomplished. This raises your character’s morale and makes them last longer during combat so it makes sense to complete as many quests as possible.

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Journeying through Tolkien’s fantasy world is sure to be an experience unlike any other. The magical creatures, memorable characters and amazing environments all come together to create an engrossing tale that we’re sure a lot gamers are going to really sink their teeth into. As mentioned before, there is still some work that needs to be done before this game is ready for retail and we can only hope that the team can wrap things up in time for the release later this year. Will this game be able to dethrone Blizzard’s WoW? Only time will tell.

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By Ryan Schaefer - 04/29/06
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence
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Screenshots for The Lord of the Rings Online (Pre-E3 2006)

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