Friday, November 14, 2008

Uh-oh, here's the dreaded comparison post. Well, not really. At least, I'm not arguing blindly for one being better and the other being a knock-off copycat.

Massively has a good article detailing differences and similarities. While not as extensive as I would have liked, I'm quite pleased with the results. Never trust a blind post on some forums for your info on what game has what feature and which one is better. Heck, never trust a blog either, but leave it to the professional game journalists to do the job for you. Check out the article.

Now, here's my feelings...

First, I've never played any MMO except for LOTRO. Therefore, any opinion I have of WoW is only through third parties. Fortunately, I have spent a good deal of time immersing myself in the MMO world and blogosphere so I can get a good idea of what different MMOs are like. My sister and her boyfriend also play WoW, so I have a close source for questions, comments, ect.

To me, WoW is indeed that 800 pound gorilla that no game will ever surpass. Well, never say never right? How about this - that will probably never be surpassed. If this game were a physical object on the earth, it would throw the planet's gravity out of whack it's that huge. LOTRO, on the other hand, is a comparably much smaller game. And that's fine with me. I appreciate the audience we have built, and while more is better because more means money for better gaming, I'm content with the population we have.

Juding from my third party sources mentioned above, the game does seem very similar, but there's no need to call either one a rip off. It's a product of the business, and business's copy other businesses when they're competing for the same consumer - in this case the MMO player. There are very similar mechanics, and there are a few different mechanics.

Where the differences truely lie is in what I'd like to call the atmosphere. WoW presents a very different type of fantasy setting than LOTRO. I'd call LOTRO's fantasy a real fantasy. That might seem like an oxymoron, but I agree with Massively's take on it. This world is inhabited by something, that while fantastical, would not seem out of place in our own world's past. It feels natural and normal, particularly in the game setting. WoW on the other hand presents a whole weath of different fantastical and sometimes flamboyant elements. The fantasy is the world and the world exists for the fantasy. LOTRO, the fantasy exists for the world. It is the world that defines what exists and what doesn't whereas WoW gives the impression that this world was created to showcase many of these really cool fantasies.

Some might argue this realism makes LOTRO boring. I find it quite the contrary. It makes it compelling - at least for me. Experiencing something that I could accept in the real world, even if in the past, brings me into the game world and atmosphere. I feel like I could be there. It helps sell the game for me. And of course the lore of the world, being a fan of Tolkien, helps a great deal.

I hope my thoughts on this weren't too scattered. My current job is very physical and I mostly feel like crashing into my bed when I come home at night. Updates to this blog will be more scattered, but hopefully regular enough to fulfill my own goal of having a regularly updating LOTRO blog to read. But of course the Mines of Moria expansion comes out on Tuesday, so despite my exhaustion, there will be a wealth of new first-hand posts to be had.

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