Is The Lord of the Rings Online, Worth Playing?
While it is starting to show its age, no other video game has brought to life JRR Tolkiens’ Middle Earth in the way The Lord of the Rings Online has for the past 15 years.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
Developer: Standing Stone Games LLC
Publisher: Standing Stone Games LLC
Price: Free
Release Date: 24 April 2007


While there are older MMORPGs on the market, such as World of Warcraft and Everquest, unlike those games, LOTRO at times seems to be run on a shoestring, and as a result, The Lord of the Rings Online is not the best-looking game visually, despite the world builders doling wonders with what is essentially an obsolete engine and limited funds.

Fortunately for the developers, fans of The Lord of the Rings are just happy to be able to explore places they have read about for decades, and they do not overly care that the visuals are not cutting edge.

While SSG has spoken about upcoming visual updates, the engine is fast approaching 30 years old, and it is unlikely that much can be done without alienating the LOTRO community, many of which are running Windows XP machines or even older versions, something LOTRO itself officially supported until June 8th 2021.



The Lord of the Rings Online has struggled performance-wise for over a decade, with players often experiencing rubberbanding that can result in players being catapulted up to 800 metres in the wrong direction when riding a warsteed and around half of that while on foot.

Equestrian antics aside, large cities such as Minas Tirth can sometimes cause frame rates to drop to single digits, with some players on older hardware reporting that Minas Tirith caused their PC to shut down and, in a few rare instances, burn out their GPU.

While a few players have experienced hardware failure after playing The Lord of the Rings Online, this cannot be verified and is more likely the fault of ageing hardware or poor ventilation and not the result of The Lord of the Rings Online’s admittedly abysmal optimization.



Unlike many MMORPGs in The Lord of the Rings Online, players are required to pick a profession, which then gives them access to three at least somewhat related crafting or gathering abilities; unfortunately, the way this is laid out is no player is fully able to support their crafting endeavours without having alts or relying on other players.

While there is an auction house,  even on the most populated EU server, there was not enough ore (including at highly inflated prices) to level a single metalsmith, let alone support multiple crafters and professions.

Forcing players to depend on one another, in theory, is a great way to encourage social interactions; however, in reality, it simply forces players to create more alts and spend more time rehashing old content to level alts than actually enjoying the game, further weakening the already diminished endgame community.

Premium Currency:

For players with unlimited time (and patience) who do not mind repeating the same content a few times on multiple alts, it is possible to farm enough premium currency to purchase almost every unlock in the game, including the latest expansion pack.

However, this is no easy task, and even with the vast majority of LOTRO content going free-2-play, you are still looking at around 250 hours of farming to unlock everything.


Role Play Community:

Despite having a relatively small player base, The Lord of the Rings Online has one of the most well-known roleplay communities in the MMORPG, which has been able to put on some pretty unique events, including a yearly musical festival which can see over 700 people attend, an impressive feat for a server that normally hovers around 500 players online in total.

Large events aside, players have many opportunities to engage in small group roleplay, with entire areas of capital cities existing purely to allow players to roleplay in peace without facing interruption from other players going about their business.

While RP can happen anywhere, Laurelin (EU) and Landroval (NA) are the two largest roleplay servers, having served as the official roleplay servers for LOTRO since their inception.

Music System:

The Lord of the Rings Online has a relatively impressive music system that allows players to play various instruments solo or as part of a synchronized group; as a result, LOTRO has attracted many digital musicians who play the game solely to entertain others with music, rather than engage with endgame or traditional group activities. 

Little Endgame Activity:

The Lord of the Rings Online is more about the journey than the destination, and as a result, while the developers continue to invest in endgame content, much of it is open-world content, with traditional instanced raid and dungeon content releasing at a much slower rate.

As a result, The Lord of the Rings Online raiding community is almost nonexistent, having lost most of its better players to other games with more active endgame content, resulting in a deficit of talent and ability that ensures that the developers are unlikely to invest heavily in endgame content, without a drastic shakeup of The Lord of the Rings Online community.


Very Slow Support:

The Lord of the Rings Online has never been known for its support, and the pandemic and subsequent growth of  The Lord of the Rings Online have resulted in support wait times that are quite frankly unbelievable, with players often waiting up to 6 months to get a reply to their ticket, and in some cases as long as 18 months. 

If EG7 Global wants to show they are committed to The Lord of the Rings Online, ensuring that support tickets are dealt with in a reasonable time should be first on the list.


“A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to”, unlike SSG support reps, who are normally very late.

Slow Leveling.

Levelling in The Lord of the Rings Online is very slow, and despite several “balancing passes” to speed up the levelling process, almost everyone agrees that Lotro is one of the slowest games to level in, which is just as well when you consider that beyond the world and the stories contain within, Lotro has very little to offer, with a nearly extinct PvP and Raiding community.

It once took a multi-guild alliance of the most active guilds on my server almost a week to arrange a single raid. While not every server is as dead as my old server was, Lotro still, to this day, is not a game for serious raiders, which has resulted in very few potential raiders joining the game and even fewer sticking around for more than a few weeks.


Character Customization.

The Lord of the Rings Online has decent character customization options for its age, and the developers occasionally add new options; however, compared to more modern MMORPGs, The Lord of the Rings Online’s character designer is rather bare-bones and creating a unique-looking character is all but impossible.



The Lord of the Rings Online is unique in that you are more likely to encounter a retired English teacher than you are to encounter a no-life raider, despite The Lord of the Rings Online having broad market appeal and attracting players of all ages and from all walks of life.

Toxicity-wise, The Lord of the Rings Online is one of the mildest MMORPGs online, and while there are trolls here and there, world chat is generally pleasant and welcoming to new players.

The Lord of the Rings Online has a larger than average amount of Christian players due to JRR Tolkien being a devout Christian, who wrote in detail about how The Lord of the Rings is a work of Catholic/Christian fiction, even if he did not originally set out to write it that way.


The Lord of the Rings Online FAQ

The Lord of the Rings Online is a massively multiplayer online role playing game video game developed and published by Standing Stone Games LLC, it was released on 24 April 2007 and it is Free-2-Play.

Platform Availability.

The Lord of the Rings Online is available exclusively on PC.

Are The Developers Active?

The Lord of the Rings Online receives roughly one large and two medium-size updates each year; however, even large updates are relatively content-lite for those interested in competitive endgame content, with the vast majority of development resources assigned to world-building and quest creation.

How Many People Play The Lord of the Rings Online ?

As of April 2024, around 120,000 people play The Lord of the Rings Online on a fairly regular basis.

How Active Is The The Lord of the Rings Online Playerbase?

The Lord of the Rings Online is fairly active, meaning that matchmaking is stable for much of the day in populated regions and viable in less populated regions, even though wait times are considerably longer.

Is Cross-Platform Multiplayer Supported?

The Lord of the Rings Online does not support cross-platform multiplayer.

Is There Group Finding/Matchmaking Support?

The Lord of the Rings Online offers the following matchmaking options:

  • Solo Matchmaking
  • Group Matchmaking

While The Lord of the Rings Online has a group finder, unlike most MMORPG communities, almost no one uses it to actually “find a group”, instead opting to form a group in chat and then using the group finder to teleport into the instance. 

Admittedly, a few players post custom grouping requests; however, they often sit unnoticed for hours, and players who wish to “get things done” need to do so the old-fashioned way and advertise their group in chat.

Are There In-Game Microtransactions?

The The Lord of the Rings Online in-game store sells:

  • Cosmetic Items.
  • Cosmetic Item Bundles.
  • Premium Currency Bundles.
  • Starter Packs.
  • Pay for Convenience Items.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

The Lord of the Rings Online is rated PEGI 12+ and contains the following:

  • Violence

Final Verdict.

The Lord of the Rings Online is an excellent window into Middle Earth, as JRR Tolkien envisioned.

While there are better MMORPG experiences elsewhere, I recommend The Lord of the Rings Online to lovers of Tolkien’s works and classic MMORPGs.

Is The Lord of the Rings Online Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "The Lord of the Rings Online " a rating of 8/10, indicating that it is a good game, that is well worth playing, and while it may have a few shortcomings, the average gamer will enjoy it.

You Might Be Interested In: