With a license as lucrative as Lord of the Rings, Turbine Entertainment could have simply created a World of Warcraft clone with Middle-earth nomenclature on it and called it a day. That The Lord of the Rings Online is such an accessible experience is bound to draw comparisons to the genre's leading title, but that it's so enjoyable to play is a testament to its great design. Its inventive aspects are peripheral, but they are there, and combined with slick and engaging questing, the package makes for plenty of appealing exploration.
The raven says 'caw.'
Tolkien fans won't be left in the lurch, either. The game is brimming with well-known characters and name-dropping galore, as well as familiar races that should please anyone acquainted with the LOTR universe. Men, dwarves, hobbits, and elves are all represented, along with seven total classes being up for grabs. For massively multiplayer game veterans, though, this doesn't make for a lot of choices when games like EverQuest 2 offer so many more combinations, particularly if you plan on playing multiple characters. On the other hand, there is a good variety of gameplay styles from which to choose within those limitations. Classes like the pet-handling lore-master and the stealthy burglar play much differently, and all of them have a role to play within a group of adventurers. Significantly, all of them are viable solo classes as well.